How To Balance Brain Chemicals Naturally


We all wish that there was a magic trick that could put us in a good mood, and make us feel happy all the time, don’t we? To be happier, we have to know what the brain chemical neurotransmitters that affect one’s life are, as any imbalance will cause brain disturbances and/or mental illnesses. 

Neurotransmitters are natural chemical messengers that help facilitate communication between nerve cells. These chemicals regulate several mental and behavioural processes such as mood, sleep, appetite, behaviour, cognition, pleasure, memory, learning, and the stress response. Neurotransmitters related to mental health are:

  1. Serotonin: the famous neurotransmitter that balances mood, it has a ‘mood modulating effect’ and promotes feelings of well-being
  2. Endorphins: These act as natural painkillers and play a role in overcoming stress
  3. Dopamine: also called the ‘feel good’ or ‘pleasure chemical’ hormone, is the hormone of happiness, pleasure, and reward
  4. Noradrenaline: its primary role is to mediate the “fight or flight” response to stressful situations. It also plays a role in mood regulation and the ability to concentrate
  5. GABA: stands for Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid.  It is a natural amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter and has a calming effect, decreasing feelings of anxiety, fear, and stress
  6. Glutamate: responsible for cognition, learning, and memory

Neurotransmitter dysfunction leads to mental disorders, including: 

  1. Mood disorders such as depression
  2. Anxiety disorder
  3. Movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease
  4. Bipolar disorder
  5. Schizophrenia 
  6. Seasonal affective disorder

Neurotransmitter dysfunction is not the sole cause of mental illnesses, these conditions are highly complex and due to many factors.  However, dysfunction in neurotransmitters has been linked to these mental health conditions.

Tips to balance brain chemicals

Conditions caused by chemical imbalance dysfunction can be treated with medications, lifestyle changes and psychotherapy.

Medications, such as antidepressants, affect brain chemistry and are used to treat disorders associated with a neurochemical imbalance.  However, these medications are used as a treatment, not a cure, because there is no medication that completely cures the conditions. Medications that stimulate neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline can increase their levels in the brain. The medication functions by blocking the reabsorption of one or more of the neurotransmitters, examples of these medications include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s):  these block the reabsorption of serotonin, increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Examples: fluoxetine, paroxetine and citalopram
  • Serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRI’s): these medications work by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin and noradrenaline, and include drugs such as duloxetine and venlafaxine
  • Noradrenaline-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRI’s): the reabsorption of noradrenaline and dopamine are inhibited, allowing their levels to increase in the brain. An example of an NDRI is bupropion
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCA’s): block the reabsorption of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and noradrenaline, examples: imipramine and nortriptyline
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s): block the reabsorption of the 3 neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. There are a range of MAOIs, including isocarboxazid and phenelzine

In mental health disorders, symptoms and severity may differ from one patient to another and as a result, the response to medication differs from one patient to another. Therefore, the psychologist will prescribe the medication that suits every patient the best. 

Psychotherapy to improve and develop healthier thinking and behavioural patterns including:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a therapy that modifies thought patterns for mood and behavioural change 
  • Psychodynamic therapy is a talking therapy where the therapist will promote self-reflection and self-examination to develop a better understanding of present challenges and promote coping techniques
  • Group therapy may be helpful, where a number of patients work as a group to target causes and relievers of mental and emotional stress

Tips to balance brain chemicals naturally

There are several activities that can be performed on a daily basis to help naturally balance the brain chemicals. The objective is to naturally increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain.  Such activities include:

  • Taking regular walks and exercising for at least 10 minutes can improve one’s mood6
  • Practising yoga.  According to research, 1 hour of  yoga training for 6 days per week for 3 months increased dopamine levels7
  • Meditation for 1 hour improves dopamine production by 65%8
  • Diet modification: more saturated fat in your diet disrupts dopamine signalling in the brain
  • Increase protein intake. High-protein foods are a source of amino acids that form the basis of dopamine and serotonin production. Consume more tryptophan which is an amino acid that converts in the brain into serotonin, it is found in turkey and salmon
  • Probiotics have been believed to improve the mood
  • Get a good night's sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it is recommended to have seven to nine hours of high-quality sleep every night.9 Lack of sleep reduces the number of dopamine receptors in the brain
  • See the sun! spending at least 10 to 15 minutes in the sun daily to get enough vitamin D and  increase serotonin production
  • Vitamin D is beneficial, especially in cases of seasonal affective disorder 
  • Massage therapy helps to relax, relieve stress and increase serotonin and dopamine production 
  • Try mood induction by thinking about something that makes you feel happy and in a good mood, such as remembering and visualizing happy moments from the memory, looking at happy photos and thinking about  positive experiences10

Signs of chemical imbalance in the brain

There are a variety of common signs and symptoms of brain chemical imbalance, these symptoms include eating and sleeping habits, how we feel and how we interact with the world. These symptoms are typical symptoms of depression and anxiety problems:

  • Loss of appetite or overeating and weight changes
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (oversleeping)

Physical symptoms include:

  • Lack of activity, less energy, and restlessness
  • Difficulty in performing daily activities
  • Unexplained physical symptoms such as pain, headache, and digestive problems
  • Cold and sweaty hands, dry mouth, numbness, and muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath

Mental and behavioural symptoms include: 

  • Panic disorder
  • Extreme mood changes
  • Sadness and hopelessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure
  • Harming yourself or others
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling danger all the time
  • Lack of empathy
  • Lack of interaction with others and distancing from them
  • Poor concentration, memory and decision-making
  • Drug misuse may occur too

Symptoms may be more severe as in the case of schizophrenia, which has been strongly linked to chemical imbalances in the brain:

  • Delusions: a belief that is false
  • Hallucinations: experiencing sensations that are not real
  • Paranoia: feeling as being threatened
  • Disorganized speech and behaviour

Causes of chemical imbalance in the brain

The exact cause of chemical imbalance is still not completely clear, but there are some predisposing factors that could cause a chemical imbalance to occur. Some of these factors are:

  • Genetic factors ( depression and chemical imbalance may be common in some families)
  • Stress and trauma (those who are exposed to stressful life or psychologically traumatic events are more likely to develop brain chemical imbalance) 

Chemical imbalance occurs due to excessive or insufficient chemical neurotransmitters in the brain. This increase or decrease in levels of neurotransmitters occurs through:

  • Oversensitivity or insensitivity of receptors to a specific neurotransmitter.  This leads to responding too much or too little to the release of the neurotransmitter
  • Increased reuptake of the neurotransmitter – absorbing too much of the neurotransmitter before it binds to the receptor and affects the functioning of the brain
  • If the amount of a neurotransmitter released is too small. 


Brain chemistry is full of complexity. Mental health is primarily related to multiple chemical neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline in the brain to control one’s mood and well-being, affecting overall health and quality of life. Treatment focuses on increasing the levels of neurotransmitters, either through medication such as antidepressants or through lifestyle changes that increase dopamine and serotonin production to help everyone to have good mental health. 


  1. What is a chemical imbalance? [Internet]. Verywell Health. [cited 2023 Jan 19]. Available from:
  2. Brain chemistry & your mood: 4 hormones that promote happiness [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jan 19]. Available from:
  3. Recovery GA. Chemical imbalances and depression [Internet]. Georgia Addiction Treatment Center. 2022 [cited 2023 Jan 19]. Available from:
  4. Getting to know your 5 essential brain chemicals [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jan 19]. Available from:
  5. Integration C. How brain chemicals influence mood and health [Internet]. UPMC HealthBeat. 2016 [cited 2023 Jan 19]. Available from:
  6. Hansen CJ, Stevens LC, Coast JR. Exercise duration and mood state: how much is enough to feel better? Health Psychol. 2001 Jul;20(4):267–75
  7. Pal R, Singh SN, Chatterjee A, Saha M. Age-related changes in cardiovascular system, autonomic functions, and levels of BDNF of healthy active males: role of yogic practice. Age (Dordr). 2014;36(4):9683.
  8. Kjaer TW, Bertelsen C, Piccini P, Brooks D, Alving J, Lou HC. Increased dopamine tone during meditation-induced change of consciousness. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 2002 Apr;13(2):255–9.
  9. Hirshkowitz M, Whiton K, Albert SM, Alessi C, Bruni O, DonCarlos L, et al. National Sleep Foundation’s updated sleep duration recommendations: final report. Sleep Health. 2015 Dec;1(4):233–43.
  10. Falkenberg I, Kohn N, Schoepker R, Habel U. Mood Induction in Depressive Patients: A Comparative Multidimensional Approach. PLoS One [Internet]. 2012 [cited 2023 May 3]; 7(1):e30016. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Noran Kotaem

Bachelor's degree, Dentistry, The British University in Egypt

Noran is a dentist and a teaching assistant at the Faculty of Dentistry in the British university in Egypt. Passionate about research, reading and writing in the fields of medicine, nutrition and lifestyle. Keen to learn more about evidence based scientific research and writing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818