Mood Enhancing Supplements: 9 Effective All Natural Choices
Happiness has a unique biochemistry in the brain. Nutrition plays a vital role in regulating it. Providing your brain with the right nutrients through mood enhancing supplements can help set the stage for healthy mood balance.
A major cause of mood problems is stress. It can be hard to feel happy when you’re stressed. Stress depletes our brains of the feel-good neurotransmitters we need to be happy. It’s no wonder antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs are big sellers these days. But before you turn to these drugs, it’s may be worth your time and energy to consider the natural route. Try mood enhancing supplements.
Mood Enhancing Supplements Can Naturally Boost Happiness
Your mood can be effectively balanced and enhanced naturally. Natural mood enhancing supplements may be the answer. Mood improvement occurs if the building blocks are available to make four key happiness neurotransmitters. These are serotonin, dopamine, noreinephrine and gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Like so many natural remedies, those that improve your mood — like regular exercise, a good multivitamin and fish oil — also improve your overall health. Natural remedies also tend to be gentler on your body. They are less likely to cause negative side effects than drugs.
Here are some mood enhancing supplements that can help lift depression. They can also reduce anxiety, improve your resilience to stress and improve sleep. Read on to see which ones are right for you. You’ll want to take the first two mood enhancing supplements on the list regardless of what others you choose to try. These are fish oil and a good multivitamin.
Note: If you are already taking drugs for depression, anxiety or insomnia, talk with your doctor before adding a natural remedy. Some of these remedies, like fish oil and SAMe, can actually help prescription drugs work better. But they are best combined only with close medical supervision.
1. Sceletium Tortuosum
Sceletium tortuosum is considered one of the most effective all-natural anti-anxiety solutions available. This fast-acting supplement can calm and lift the spirits. It does so in a similar manner that many anti-anxiety medications do. But without having to permit time for it to build up in your system. You may have seen this South African succulent herb offered under the name of its most popular patent anti-anxiety ingredient called Zembrin. This herb is the most researched and most respected extract of Sceletium tortuosum in the world. The San Bushmen of South Africa have used sceletium for centuries to enhance mood. It is also used to relieve stress. It is commonly used to combat anxiety and fatigue too. Do you frequently find yourself stressed? How about irritable or moody? This is one of the mood enhancing supplements you want to have on hand.
SAMe is pronounced “Sammy.” It is a naturally occurring substance. It is found in every cell. SAMe is composed of amino acids. It also has a major role in the body. It drives a chemical process called methylation. This process is critical for the production of serotonin. As well as for dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are all important for regulating mood. Additionally, they regulate sleep and appetite. SAMe also seems to improve cell membrane fluidity. It helps brain cells signal better to one another.
Brain imaging studies indicate that SAMe affects the brain similarly to conventional antidepressants. Low levels of SAMe are linked with higher rates of depression. There is a wide body of medical research suggesting that SAMe can be an effective tool in treating depression. And research shows it also has joint health benefits! Along with exercise, SAMe is our first choice for mood improvement.
Typical doses range from 400 mg to 1,200 mg per day.
3. Fish Oil
Supplemental fish oil can lift depression. It can actually help you to calm down in the face of stress. People with high blood levels of omega-3s are less likely to report feeling depressed than people with low levels. They’re less likely to try to commit suicide. They respond better to antidepressant therapy. And they’re less aggressive. The latest research suggests that fish oil promotes structural improvement. In particular, in areas of the brain related to emotional arousal and regulation. “You won’t see as immediate a result as you will with some other supplements,” says Live in the Now Medical Editor Kevin Passero, N.D., of Bethesda, Maryland. “It can take 8 to 12 months to be really effective. But that doesn’t discount how valuable it really is.” Take a supplement that has a good amount of DHA in it compared to other fish oils. (A ratio of 2:1 of EPA to DHA is acceptable.) Fish oil is one of the most effective mood enhancing supplements. Take at least 1,400 mg a day. Make sure it’s a high quality fish oil.
Tyrosine is an amino acid. It is a precursor to two important neurotransmitters. These are epinephrine and norepinephrine. It also supports normal thyroid function. “As a general rule it is helpful for people with low, slow, down depression,” says, Dr. Passero. It goes well taken with SAMe. Some scientists believe that the brain may not be able to synthesize enough tyrosine under stressful conditions. Also, increasing the availability of tyrosine to the brain can help avoid the negative effects of stress. Tyrosine can also improve alertness after sleep deprivation.
We recommend 500-1,000 mg a day for energy.
5-HTP is the abbreviated version of 5-hydroxytryptophan. It is used by our bodies to make serotonin. By supplementing with 5-HTP, you increase the building blocks available for the production of this vital neurotransmitter. This helps regulate mood. It even regulates sleep and appetite. Reduced levels of serotonin are associated with depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. They can also result in aggressive behaviors, suicide, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and migraine headaches. Taking 5-HTP seems to significantly improve symptoms of depression. Improvements even occur in patients with treatment-resistant depression. It is a good first choice for people with revved up, anxiety-linked depression, Dr. Passero says.
Dosages of 5-HTP range from 50-400 mg. It should be taken at bedtime or in divided doses throughout the day.
Curcumin is best known for it’s ability to break up brain plaques. It is also shown to curb inflammation. It may be a spice to tap for those looking to boost mood through mood enhancing supplements. Believe it or not, studies have found that curcumin may improve depressive states even better than some depression medications. One study published in Phytotherapy Research was particularly compelling. It compared the efficacy of curcumin with that of fluoxetine. Fluoxetine is also known by the trade name Prozac.
GABA is the shortened name for gamma aminobutyric acid. It is a natural substance. It is used for relieving anxiety. Also for elevating mood. It works in the central nervous system. GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. It decreases nerve activity. It prevents nerves from overfiring. In addition to reducing anxiety, GABA improves sleep cycles. Thereby leading to more restful sleeping. It has powerful stabilizing effects on blood pressure. It also helps reduce pain from chronic conditions. Such conditions include arthritis and lower back pain. GABA supplements can help to relieve the intensity of pain.
Some doctors recommend GABA in the amount of 2 grams four times daily. But a safer, more realistic dose is 500-2,000 mg. Take on an empty stomach at bedtime.
Taurine is an amino acid precursor to GABA. It may actually work better than GABA for relieving anxiety. It crosses the blood-brain barrier and gets into your brain better than GABA. Then, it works to increase GABA production and produce calmness, Dr. Passero says. A typical dose is 500-1,000 mg a day. Take in divided doses.
Rhodiola rosea is commonly referred to as roseroot. It is a herb. It has been used in traditional medicine in Russia and the Scandinavian countries for centuries. Today, it is used for increasing energy and stamina. Roseroot is also used to improve strength and mental capacity. Plus, it is used as a so-called “adaptogen.” It helps the body adapt to and resist physical and mental stress. It is also used for improving athletic performance and sexual function. And it can alleviate depression and anxiety. Research does show it has significant central nervous system activity, reducing depression. It is especially good for low-slow depression, says Dr. Passero. However, people with anxious depression should avoid it. “Those people would do better taking a gentler herb, such as ashwagandha or holy basil,” he says. These are both Indian (Ayurvedic) herbs. They are known for their ability to relieve stress and reduce anxiety.
An effective dose of rhodiola is 170 mg. Take standardized extract twice a day. For ashwagandha or holy basil, about 500 mg daily of a standardized extract.
Stress can deplete your body — and your brain — of what it needs to be happy. Natural mood enhancing supplements can effectively help restore the building blocks of good brain chemistry.