Our Naturopath Joanne would like to share with you her all time favourite tried and tested, top 10 supplements for improving mood.
5-HTP (5-hydroxy-tryptophan) is a naturally occurring amino acid and precursor to serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that regulates mood. Studies show that supplementing with 5-HTP can increase serotonin levels in the brain and reduce feelings of depression.
St John’s Wort is an amazing herb that increases serotonin, dopamine and GABA in the brain. Increasing serotonin will help reduce feelings of depression. Increasing dopamine will improve overall mood and motivation. Increasing GABA will reduce anxiety and induce sleep.
SAMe (S-adenosly-L-methionine) is a natural occurring molecule in the body that plays a role in producing neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine, which provide us with feeling of happiness and motivation. SAMe also reduces histamine in the body. Histamine is another neurotransmitter that if builds up too high, will cause feelings of anxiety. Inadequate SAMe can be a issue in people with the MTHFR gene mutation.
Phosphatidylserine can reduce cortisol. Cortisol builds up in response to stress and can cause insomnia and fatigue. High cortisol will also lead to low serotonin and feelings of depression.
4-amino-3-phenylbutyric Acid increases GABA in the brain. GABA is our calming neurotransmitter and is important for sleep. People low in GABA may feel anxious, overwhelmed and restless for no reason. This supplement is my absolute favorite for sleep.
Curcumin is the active anti-inflammatory constituent of turmeric. Curcumin reduces inflammation in the body and the brain. Inflammation causes feelings of depression (see my blog on depression and inflammation). It is important that you choose a curcumin supplement whereby the curcumin is attached to a phospholipid, which will enhance its absorption into the cell.
Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA) found in fish oil are anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce inflammation in the body and the brain. Inflammation causes feelings of depression (see my blog on depression and inflammation).
Zinc is involved in making all of your important neurotransmitter for mood including serotonin, dopamine and GABA. Many of my patients are deficient in zinc. I always test for zinc along with copper, as they complete for absorption in the body, so they should be at a 1:1 ratio. Inadequate zinc can be a problem for people with pyrroles.
Vitamin B6 is also involved in making serotonin, dopamine and GABA. Supplementing with a small dose of B6 (around 15-20mg) can help support production of these important neurotransmitters. You don’t want to dose B6 too high as it will increase your production of histamine, which can make you feel anxious. Inadequate B6 can be a problem for people with pyrroles.
Magnesium glycinate is a very calming form of magnesium. Glycine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which induces feeling of calmness. Magnesium relaxes the muscles. The combination is perfect reducing anxiety and for getting good night sleep.