Always have the feeling of anxiety, fear, anger and sadness? Well, you should get back on track, keep loaded with your happy hormones and be over DOSE (Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins).
Hormones are your body's chemical messengers. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues or organs. They work slowly, over time, and affect many different processes. Hormones are powerful. It takes only a tiny amount to cause big changes in cells or even your whole body (Medline Plus, 2016).
Well, guess what? They are also responsible in regulating your mood and providing you with positive feeling of pleasure, happiness and good sensations. Health magazines and publications such as Healthline and Medline Plus as well as doctors discuss the four types of happy hormones as they were very essential to us especially that most of us suffer from anxiety due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Let’s meet DOSE (Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins), the four happy hormones as they were discussed by Raypole (2019) and Parkinsons (2021).
• DOPAMINE is your brain reward system, the feel-good hormone or the feeling of pleasure. It is usually released every time you are doing something you love like eating your favorite foods, celebrating your winnings, achieving your goal, pampering yourself like having a spa or massage or having your dream haircut.
• OXYTOCIN is your love hormone. This hormone increases every time you bond with your loved ones. It increases when you receive compliment or thankful words, hug your loved ones, play with your pet, hold hands, spend time with your family or during intimate moments. It is also essential in childbirth and breastfeeding
• SEROTONIN is your mood stabilizer. It stabilizes your mood and it helps decrease our worries and concerns. Serotonin increases through physical activities like meditating, running, sun exposure, getting a good night sleep, spending time in nature or self-care activities that reduce stress levels.
• ENDORPHINS is your pain killer. It interacts with the receptors in our brain that reduce the perception of pain and can help trigger a positive feeling in the body (Maleys, 2017). It is your body’s natural pain reliever in response to stress or discomfort. Reward-producing activities such as laughing, exercising, watching a comedy show, or even sex can increase your level of endorphins.
In addition to physical activities that can boost your happy hormones, some foods that we usually eat can also be a good source of happy hormones.
• Foods rich in L-Tyrosine (dairy products, nuts, seeds) and Vitamin B (salmon, green leafy vegetables, eggs) can be a good source of dopamine (Mc Phillips, 2022)
• Foods rich in vitamin D ( tuna fish, cereals, cow’s milk), vitamin C (watermelon, avocados, broccoli) and Leafy green vegetables and pumpkin (high in magnesium) can boost your oxytocin level (Myers, 2022)
• Foods that contain the essential amino acid known as tryptophan such as eggs, cheese, pineapple, tofu, salmon, nuts and seeds can help the body to produce more serotonin (Sisons,2018).
• Foods such as spicy foods, bell peppers, broccoli, citrus fruits, and strawberry can increase your endorphins (Laurence, 2022)
Moreover, Researchers have found that cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, causes the brain to release endorphins. Together with dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin these four neurotransmitters form the quartet that is responsible for our happiness and they are all released when we eat chocolate (Malleys, 2017).
Laurence E, (2022, January 28). These 4 Foods Naturally Boost Endorphins, According to a Neuroscientist. . Retrieved June 20, 2022 from https://www.wellandgood.com/endorphin-foods/
Malleys, ( 2017, May 23)The Link Between Chocolate and Endorphins in the Brain Retrieved June 20, 2022 from https://malleys.com/blog/link-between-chocolate-endorphins-in-the-brain/
MedlinePlus (2016, October 7) Hormones /Endocrine Glands. Medline Plus Retrieved June 20, 2022 https://medlineplus.gov/hormones.html
Myers, A M.D 2022, February 13, How To Increase Oxytocin: The Love Hormone . Retrieved June 20, 2022 from https://www.amymyersmd.com/article/how-to-increase-oxytocin/
McPhillips, K, (2022, March 29) Feel-Good Foods Known to Stimulate Your Body’s Production of the ‘Happy Hormone’ Retrieved June 20, 2022 from https://www.wellandgood.com/foods-that-increase-dopamine/
Parkinson’s NSW. (2021). Four Happy Hormones. Retrieved June 20, 2022 https://www.parkinsonsnsw.org.au/four-happy-hormones/
Raypole C. (2019, September 30). Happy Hormones: What are They and How to Boost Them? Retrieved June 20, 2022 from https://www.healthline.com/health/happy-hormone
Sison, Claire(2018, July 10) How to boost serotonin and improve mood. Retrieved June 20, 2022 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322416
Thanks to Kenneth Cristopher C. Dumlao, San Jose City National High School for his technical expertise and review for this article.