Many different things can impact our moods, such as stress, exhaustion, hunger, weather, relationships, and more. Some of these things are avoidable, while some are not. Because of this, many are starting to turn to mood-boosting supplements to help us better cope with day-to-day challenges that may impact our mood. If you’ve never heard of this before you may be wondering what is a mood supplement and are they effective? Let’s take a look.
What are Mood Supplements?
Mood supplements are often herbs, vitamins, minerals, or other compounds that are believed to help improve mood or manage mood-related conditions, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and more. With so many Americans battling mood disorders, these supplements can help provide some relief without relying on medications. While some of these supplements have a hearty dose of research to back them up, others are lacking so it’s important to speak to your health care physician before adding one to your routine.
Mood Supplement Benefits
As you might have guessed, the benefits of mood supplements can be widespread depending on what mood challenges you are suffering from. Mood supplements are best known for helping to improve overall mood, increase relaxation, reduce stress, and improve sleep.
Improved Overall Mood
It should not be surprising that mood supplements might boost your mood. Various research studies have been able to find links between certain compounds, including many vitamins and minerals, that can help to boost serotonin and dopamine levels in our brain. These are chemicals that help to balance our mood and make us feel good.
Improved Relaxation and Reduced Stress
Along with improved mood, some compounds might also help increase our ability to relax and let go of stress. Some compounds can do this by helping to improve our body’s resistance to stress while others may help to promote relaxation and calmness.
Being able to reduce your stress and improve your relaxation often leads to mood supplement’s next benefit, improved sleep. Sleep disruptions can put a huge damper on our mood, so much so that simply being able to improve your nightly shuteye might just be enough to boost your mood alone.
Key Ingredients in Mood Supplements
There are so many different mood supplements available on the market, it’s enough to make your head spin. What exactly is in mood supplements that make them work? Let’s look at some of the key ingredients found in many common food supplements and how they can help.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is a popular herb that has been used to help treat depression symptoms and other mood disorders with mild symptoms. It has not been proven effective in treating severe cases. St. John’s Wort can interact with some medications, specifically antidepressant medication, so always be sure to speak with your doctor before taking a supplement containing St. John’s Wort to avoid complications.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Some research studies suggest that omega 3 fatty acids may help treat depression symptoms, especially those high in EPA and DHA, commonly found in seafood. Most omega 3 supplements are well tolerated in the general population and can be especially beneficial for those who don’t eat seafood however, more research is still needed on its effects on depression in supplemental form.
B vitamins, including folate, B12, and B6, play a large role in mood regulation and deficiencies may increase the risk for depression. For this population, supplemental B vitamins may help treat symptoms, however, more research is still needed. B vitamin supplementation is generally tolerated well among most healthy individuals.
The deficiency of this essential vitamin is far more likely than many realize. In fact, research has shown that many people who suffer from depression have low levels of vitamin D, those with the lowest levels have the more severe symptoms. Many clinical trials have found supplemental vitamin D to help reduce symptoms in those with major depression, however, more evidence is needed before it can be recommended as a treatment for this condition.
Like vitamin D, magnesium deficiency is common in people who suffer from depression. Some studies have shown magnesium supplementation to help with depressive symptoms as well as improve sleep
5-HTP supplements have been shown to help improve depression in some individuals by increasing serotonin levels, a chemical that is often found low in those with depression. Some research suggests 5-HTP works best when combined with antidepressant medications, however further research remains needed before it can be recommended as a treatment option.
This amino acid found in certain protein foods has been shown to help improve mood and sleep. L-tryptophan can be converted to 5-HTP which helps to improve serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain which influence sleep and mood.
Another amino acid studied for its impact on mood is L-theanine, found in teas and some mushrooms. L-theanine is believed to help reduce stress and anxiety to help relax the mind without causing drowsiness like some medications. When combined with caffeine some studies have shown it to also help with mental focus.
Valerian root is a common additive found in many sleep supplements, popular for its calming properties. It has been used for many years for treating sleep conditions such as insomnia. It can also help you relax and ease anxiety symptoms, but further research is still needed on this compound when used as a supplement.
Also known as Gamma aminobutyric acid, the amino acid GABA has been studied for its ability to produce a calming effect in the brain by blocking certain neurotransmitters. This can help to treat symptoms of anxiety and stress. You can only find GABA in fermented foods, such as kimchi, miso, or tempeh unless it is in supplement form.
What to Look for in a Mood Supplement
First and foremost, when choosing a mood supplement, always be sure to do your research and choose a supplement that provides-third party testing if you can. Because supplements are regulated as food and not medications by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many claims on those supplement bottles don’t have to be proven for them to make it to the market.
Next, be sure to choose a supplement that does not contain a lot of added ingredients. Although the main ingredient may show promising research, those other herbs and additives could interact with medications or each other. Research on the safety and efficacy of combination supplements is difficult to get and often, lacking.
Lastly, be sure whatever supplement you choose, you discuss with your healthcare provider before taking it. The ingredients in your supplement could react to medications you are taking and it’s always a good idea to get the green light from your doctor before you proceed, just to be safe.
Who Should Take a Mood Supplement?
While supplements aren’t encouraged for all, and may not help with all mood disorders, those who are struggling with mild symptoms may find some relief. Those who are struggling with strong symptoms from a diagnosed mood disorder, such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder should always seek advice from their healthcare provider before using a supplement to help treat their condition.
Mood Supplement Reviews
Like all supplements, every mood supplement is different and not all are created equal. There are some mood supplements out there with plentiful research and high-quality ingredients, while others may be questionable at best. To help guide you to the better mood supplements out there, check out some of our popular mood supplement reviews to get started.
- SAM-e Complete Review
- Seredyn Review
- Serene Review
- Serenity Formula Review
- Seroprin-24 Review
- SeroSyn Review
- Serotain Review
- Serotonin Mood Support Review
- Solgar GABA 500 Review
- Source Naturals DMAE Review
- Source Naturals Mood Balance Review
- Stress, Mood & Memory Review
- Sunny Mood Review
- Symphora Review