Your mental health is one of the most important things to take care of, taking time out for yourself, talking, exercise and journaling are just some ways of keeping your mind in check. But if you find that from time to time you struggle with your moods or you feel a little down or anxious, a good supplement regime can help.
Before I continue, if you are experiencing severe mental health issues or have suicidal thoughts, please PLEASE consult your doctor. My recommendations are not medical and are merely what works if you’re not at the stage of needing prescription medication. But need a pick me up.
I personally suffer from anxiety from time to time, sometimes it gets to the point where it’s crippling, others I give myself a pep talk and I’m good but I make sure I take my supplements every day to keep my mood elevated and my anxiety at bay.
I’ve just recently introduced this into my never ending list of supplements and I find it incredible! For me it started to work within a matter of days. I had been feeling exceptionally down as I had been stressed with work and it was coming up to the anniversary of the death of someone extremely close to me.
Rhodiola Root is an adaptogen herb (adaptogens are a group of plants that can help your body adapt to physical, chemical & environmental stress) and Rhodiola is one of the most effective adaptogens. It is one of the most powerful herbs for increasing energy, as well as improving your mood and focus.
It has been shown to improve brain health and help fight depression, in a clinical trial of 150 people, two thirds of the group had full remission of depression symptoms after one month. It increases the sensitivity of the neurons, including two neurotransmitters – Serotonin and Dopamine, which are for increasing focus, memory, pleasure and improving your mood. This is without a doubt my new favourite supplement and will definitely be one I will continue to use as it also increases athletic performance and energy and lowers cortisol levels (the main cause of unwanted belly fat). I take 400mg per day from the brand Viridian and it can be bought in The Health Store
This is another one of my brain/anti anxiety staples! I’ve been taking 2 every day religiously for over a year. I take it first thing in my morning and it sets my brain up for the day. I feel that the build up over time has reduced my anxiety levels massively as it improves the body’s response to stress.
L-Tyrosine is one of the most important amino acids in the body and plays a crucial part in the production of dopamine, our happy hormone. Low dopamine levels are thought to be linked to social anxiety. When the body is under stress, is it thought that we are unable to produce enough tyrosine, which feeds into the anxiety caused by the initial stress.
Studies have shown that supplementing with L-Tyrosine can reduce anxiety, as well as improve memory and performance under physical and mental stress.
I use Solgar, but Holland & Barrett do a more cost effective version which I’ve also found really good.
Before I created my own Vitamin D3, I was an avid user of this vital nutrient. Vitamin D comes from the sun, but in countries like Ireland & The UK where we’re not exposed to a lot of sunshine, we need to supplement with Vitamin D. As the days get darker during the Winter months, our need for Vitamin D increases, especially if you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
Vitamin D acts like a hormone in the body and plays a part in brain function, this is why deficiency is linked to an increased risk of mood disorders such as depression. Vitamin D is needed to help with the production of Serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that controls our mood and anxiety, so when your Serotonin levels are low you start to feel irritable, anxious, down or depressed. Vitamin D has been shown to boost Serotonin levels from double to 30 times!!!
Studies have shown that there is a direct link between Vitamin D deficiency and depression. Statistically, people who have low Vitamin D levels are at greater risk of depression.
Vitamin D3 is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning it needs a fat such as olive oil for it to be absorbed in the body. The D by Miss Fit uses olive oil as its carrier and is one of the highest doses in that most absorbable form, that is available in Ireland. You can find it in all good pharmacies & health stores.
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for the body, some of its functions are to protect our nerve and brain cells, produce Serotonin and to maintain a positive mood.
There are two types of Vitamin B12 and it’s important you choose the right one. Methylcobalamin and Cyanocobalamin. Cyanocobalamin is the most common form of a B12 supplement, but Methylcobalamin is the most absorbable, it also supplies your body with B12 for a longer period of time than other forms.
The thing I love about B12 is that is boosts energy levels, reduces irritability and fights fatigue AND it helps increase Serotonin levels.
Studies have shown that almost 30% of people hospitalised for depression, have been B12 deficient. A lack of B12 is known to negatively impact the brain. The study I found most interesting was one conducted on 115 people who were majorly depressed and had their B12 levels monitored. The study was done over 6 months and the researchers found that those with better long term psychological function, had the highest levels of B12. An even better discovery was that the ones who had the most improved moods had the highest levels of B12 in their blood. The ones who’s depression symptoms did not change had the lowest levels.
But make sure you use the right form.
Trytophan is an essential amino acid that acts as a mood regulator and from Trytophan, 5-HTP is made. 5-HTP can be used to help treat issues associated with anxiety, including headaches, irritability, difficulty sleeping and moodiness. It increases Serotonin and has been associated with a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms because of its calming effects. It is important to note that you cannot use 5-HTP if you are taking prescription anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication.
When you take 5-HTP it is converted into Serotonin and Melatonin. Serotonin as we know now, is our happy hormone and a lack of Serotonin can be responsible for depression, anxiety, negative thoughts, OCD, insomnia and low self esteem. When we reach adequate Serotonin levels, some of it is converted into Melatonin, our body’s natural sleep hormone, it is also especially protective of our brain and acts as a natural anti-depressant.
It is not recommended to take 5-HTP for more than 12 consecutive months and unfortunately, 5-HTP is not available in Southern Ireland, but Holland & Barrett UK deliver here and this is where I get mine – 5-HTP Holland & Barrett
It’s been referred to as “nature’s valium”, it has been shown to relieve the symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.
L-Theanine is an amino acid, commonly found in green tea. It is a substance that can cross the brain barrier, meaning it interacts with the brain directly, this is a really good attribute because it means that it also has a direct effect on the nervous system.
When L-Theanine is mixed with caffeine it can improve memory and learning and energy levels, but because of the powerful effects of this amino acid, it can be used as a natural remedy for anxiety and it can even lessen the symptoms of stress and depression.
So how exactly does it work with anxiety? High levels of L-Theanine in the brain will help relieve anxiety and here’s the reason why – it boosts GABA and glycine levels, these are two neurotransmitters that help lessen stress signals in the brain, assisting in a state of relaxation. To sum it up, both of these stop the transmission of negative signals and increase the amount of feel good signals that the brain transmits. It also puts you into a relaxed state, promoting a good sleep without leaving you feeling tired during the day. The average dose should be somewhere between 200mg and 400mg but up to 1200mg is safe, depending on your own personal needs.
L-theanine also boosts Dopamine & Serotonin levels and helps my mind focus when I have a busy workload, making it an all round winner in my eyes.
These are supplements I have being using myself and have found them to be a huge support in my life. If you need to rid yourself of negative thoughts and feeling, boost your mood and feel more calm, then I would highly recommend everything on this list.