by Dr. Edward Group

mood-enhancing-supplementsSome days, you wake up feeling energetic, happy, and positive about the day ahead. Others, you may wake up on the wrong side of the bed, feeling irritable and blue with low energy. You might think, “I’m not at my best,” and do what you can to get through it. Whether it’s work or family or financial woes causing stress, there are natural mood-enhancing supplements you can take to help. Taking care of your mental health is as important as caring for your physical health and well-being.

Mood-enhancing supplements are a natural part of complementary and alternative medicine, a “natural health” way of life that seeks to address the root cause of your issues rather than throwing medication at it. As one of many self-care tools, natural mood enhancers can help you feel your best no matter what life brings.

How Can Mood Enhancers Help?

The brain requires certain vitamins and minerals to produce neurotransmitters — chemicals that play a role in balancing mood and your sleep-wake cycles. When levels of these “feel-good” chemicals are low, it’s harder to feel calm, joyful, and fulfilled.

Mood-enhancing supplements — sometimes called nootropics — can help reduce stress, lighten your mood, and improve your mental health and well-being. If you feel consistently depressed or anxious, make sure you get the support you require by reaching out to your healthcare provider or a trusted a friend or family member.

The Top Natural Mood-Enhancing Supplements

There are many mood-enhancing supplements available. Here are several with proven benefits.

Herbal Supplements

The first category of mood enhancers includes herbs. These herbal remedies contain natural phytochemicals and antioxidants known for producing a happy mood, restful sleep, and more. All of these are considered adaptogens, substances that help the nervous system adapt to stress.

Full-Spectrum Hemp

Hemp (Cannabis sativa) is loaded with constituents known as cannabinoids that calm the mind and promote balance throughout the body. Hemp contains cannabidiol (CBD), but it contains a lot more than that. When you get a full-spectrum extract, you get all of these cannabinoids and together they help soothe stress and calm the mind.

St. John’s Wort

Used for everything from “the blues” to insomnia, St. John’s Wort is an herb that has a proven positive effect on mood.[1] Used by many around the world, this well-researched supplement decreases fatigue and nervousness related to feeling down and occasional anxiety. And it does this without unwanted side effects.[1]

Ashwagandha

People have been using ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) for thousands of years. It’s useful for helping balance moods. Part of its scientific name — somnifera — means “sleep-inducing,” referring to its ability to soothe nerves and restore your sense of peace and calm. Ashwagandha reduces levels of cortisol (a stress hormone). This helps you manage stress, reduces anxiety, and boosts feelings of happiness.[2]

Valerian

For thousands of years, valerian root was so popular for relieving ailments that people started calling it “all-heal.”[3] Today, valerian is a well-loved natural remedy for reducing anxiety and reducing anxiety and getting restful sleep. Valerian supplements help balance mood, calm upset nerves, and reduce stress. Valerian may also promote normal blood pressure.[4]

Rhodiola rosea

Feeling extra tired when under stress? Reach for Rhodiola rosea rather than your favorite caffeinated beverage for relief from stress-related fatigue. People have used Rhodiola around the world for centuries for a mood boost.[5] Today, Rhodiola is best known for alleviating stress-related feelings and improving focus and mood. Many users noticed significant improvements in their energy, mood, anxiety, and stress levels within 14 days.[6] You can also find Rhodiola rosea in mental vitality blend formulas like Neurofuzion® — which also includes St. John’s Wort, zincBacopa monniera, and lithium orotate.

Vitamins & Minerals

Chances are, you’ve heard that good food is good for your mood. You can look for foods high in these vitamins, but sometimes, you may want a little more help. Here are the top vitamins and minerals that relieve stress and balance mood.

B Vitamins

B vitamins are a group of eight nutrients (i.e., B6, B12) that are essential for brain health and a stable mood.[7] B vitamins support your central nervous system. They play a significant role in the production of “happy hormones,” such as dopamine and serotonin.[7] And since they are water-soluble — meaning they can’t be stored in the body — you should consume them daily through supplements or the foods you eat. This helps protect your emotional well-being.

Vitamin D

Sitting outside and soaking up the sun can be a great mood-booster. Your body produces vitamin D — aka “the sunshine vitamin” — when exposed to sunlight, which increases feelings of happiness and calm.[8] Low levels of vitamin D are linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety, which is enhanced during winter months or low-sun conditions.[8] If you can’t sit out in the sun, take a supplement or eat foods rich in vitamin D to enhance your mood. Getting enough vitamin D — whether through a supplement or time in the sun — can even improve your overall quality of life![8]

Lithium Orotate

Has your “get up and go” got up and left you? If stress is weighing you down, lithium orotate may help you reduce stress and let go of unwanted tension. Lithium orotate increases levels of happiness, calms mood swings, and even boosts your energy levels.[9] Global Healing’s Lithium Orotate can help bring calmness and clarity to your mind. Getting enough lithium in the diet has been linked to whole neighborhoods and groups getting along, with fewer issues.[9]

Other Nutritional Supplements

If you’re looking for a natural mood enhancer, sometimes other popular supplements can help, such as omega-3s, probiotics, and something you may not have heard of, 5-HTP.

Omega-3

Omega-3s are a building block for a healthy brain and a cheerful mood. These fatty acids form cell membranes in the brain that regulate the flow of hormones and neurotransmitters (i.e., serotonin). This, in turn, has an impact on mood and quality of life.[10] Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly effective at reducing feelings of sadness and pessimism, lethargy, sleeplessness, and low libido that sometimes comes with feeling blue.[10] Look for plant-based options versus fish oil, which can contain toxic oceanic contaminants. Good choices include algae oil and flaxseed oil.

Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that exist in some fermented foods — such as sauerkraut and kimchee — and have a positive impact on gastrointestinal health. But they do more than improve your digestion. The gut and brain are connected. Probiotics aren’t just for the gut! They support dopamine production in the body, boosting your sense of happiness.[11] Probiotics may help not only boost your mood but may also improve cognitive function and lower stress and anxiety.[11] Look for an advanced formula with 25 unique microbial strains, 75 billion CFUs, and a specialized prebiotic blend, such as Floratrex®.

5-HTP

5-HTP is made naturally in the body as a by-product of the amino acid L-tryptophan, which we absorb from the foods we eat. It helps the body produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and sleep-wake cycles.[12] However, many people are low in serotonin. Because of its serotonin-boosting properties, 5-HTP is an incredible natural remedy for promoting positive moods.[12]

Other Ways to Enhance Your Mood

If you find yourself feeling blue, these mood-boosting activities may help lift your spirits. Give one — or all — a try! And stick with it for a while. Changes don’t always happen overnight; it can take some time for your brain and body to adjust to healthy, new habits.

Go for a Walk

Whether you walk briskly or take a leisurely stroll, going on a walk can help leave stress behind. Even a 10-minute walk can elevate your mood.[13]

Meditate

Taking a few minutes to meditate and focus on your breath can restore your sense of inner peace and calm. Besides helping you to release your worries, meditation can also improve your focus and quality of life![14]

Eat Mood-Enhancing Foods

What you eat affects not only your physical wellness, but your mental health, too. A nutrient-rich, plant-based diet does wonders for keeping your brain healthy and your mood balanced.[15] Avocados, nuts, leafy greens, and berries are particularly helpful.

Listen to Music

Humans have been using music as a mood enhancer for millennia. Upbeat, cheerful music can increase your energy levels and elevate your state of mind.[16] Many praise classical music for its mood-boosting ability, as well.

Binaural rhythms or binaural auditory beats is something you may not know about. Usually set to calming music, the tones alternate from your right to your left ear, which stimulates both lobes of the brain. Binaural rhythms are an incredibly beneficial technique for lifting mood and even healing trauma.[17] You can find many to choose from online.

Socialize

Spending time with friends and family is essential for maintaining good mental health. Social support can increase resilience to stress, and laughter with a loved one can have a lasting, positive effect on your mood.[18] If you can’t get out to meet with people, arrange a video call or even a phone call. Or, try your hand at old-school letter-writing!

Points to Remember

Everyone feels down in the dumps from time to time. But feeling the blues doesn’t have to be a long-term way of life. Mood-enhancing supplements promote positive mood, healthy hormonal balance, and feelings of calm and inner peace.

Whether you opt for herbal supplements such as St. John’s Wort or valerian, other dietary supplements such as omega-3s or probiotics, or just getting enough of your essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D or lithium orotate, mood enhancers can bring about an enhanced sense of well-being. And who doesn’t want to feel their best?

If you are taking any prescription medications, speak with your healthcare provider before taking nootropics, as some of these supplements may interact with their effects.

Have you used any mood-enhancing supplements with success? We’d love to hear your experience in the comments!

References (17)
  1. Apaydin EA, et al. A systematic review of St. John’s wort for major depressive disorder. Syst Rev. 2016;5(1):148.
  2. Pratte MA, et al. An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Dec 1;20(12):901-908.
  3. Valerian. National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, US Department of Health and Human Services. 2016. Accessed 15 Apr 2020.
  4. Jainarinesingh J. Herbs that ensure good health and longevity. West Indian Med J. 2014 Jan;63(1):90-91.
  5. Ishaque S, et al. Rhodiola rosea for physical and mental fatigue: a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012;12:70.
  6. Darbinyan V, et al. Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Nord J Psychiatry. 2007;61(5):343-348.
  7. Kennedy DO. B vitamins and the brain: mechanisms, dose and efficacy — a review. Nutrients. 2016 Feb;8(2):68.
  8. Penckofer S, et al. Vitamin D and depression: where is all the sunshine? Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2010 Jun;31(6):385-393.
  9. Marshall TM. Lithium as a nutrient. J American Physicians Surgeons. 2015;20(4):104-109.
  10. Bozatello P, et al. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids in psychiatric disorders: a review of literature data. J Clin Med. 2016 Aug;5(8):67.
  11. Cerdo T, et al. Probiotic, prebiotic, and brain development. Nutrients. 2017 Nov;9(11):1247.
  12. 5-HTP. US National Library of Medicine. Updated 16 Mar 2020. Accessed 15 Apr 2020.
  13. Edwards MK, Loprinzi PD. Experimental effects of brief, single bouts of walking and meditation on mood profile in young adults. Health Promot Perspect. 2018;8(3):171-178.
  14. Bueno VF, et al. Mindfulness meditation improves mood, quality of life, and attention in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:962857.
  15. Selhub E. Nutritional Psychiatry: Your Brain on Food. Harvard Health Publishing. Updated 26 Mar 2020. Accessed 15 Apr 2020.
  16. Stewart J, et al. Music use for mood regulation: self-awareness and conscious listening choices in young people with tendencies to depression. Front Psychol. 2019;10:1199.
  17. Ozbay F, et al. Social support and resilience to stress. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2007 May;4(5):35-40.

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