Everyone gets the blues or feels anxious sometimes. These are very reasonable reactions to the ups and downs of our lives. However, if you are living with mood imbalances as your near-constant companion, you’ll want to take action. These imbalances can interfere with your daily routine, relationships, and energy levels. They can take a heavy toll on your sleep, appetite, and even your immune system.
Getting to the root of your mood issues is the first step toward feeling better. If you already eat an optimal diet, get plenty of exercise, and are still struggling with low mood, there are a number of supplements that can help support your mood naturally.
In this article, I’ll cover what mood is and where it comes from (hint: your gut plays a HUGE role). Then, I’ll share eight must-have supplements you can use to support your mood and start feeling your best again!
Mood vs. Emotion: What’s the Difference?
While emotions tend to be short-lived and related to a specific situation or interaction, mood is a state of mind you experience day to day. It is often unconnected to what’s going on around you. Even if you’re at a fun event surrounded by family and friends, you can still feel down if you struggle with mood issues.
The way you feel can even impact those around you. A good mood is “catching” but so is a bad one. In what is known as “interpersonal limbic regulation”, your mood affects the hormones, cardiovascular function, sleep rhythm, and immune function of those around you. So while it’s primarily important to address mood issues for your own well-being, it’s also crucial to regulate your mood for the health of your loved ones.
The Gut-Mood Connection
You know the expression about having “a gut feeling”? There is something to it. In fact, your gut makes 90-95% of your serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood.1 Serotonin deficiency can cause depression, anxiety, and other mood imbalances, which is why repairing your gut can go a long way toward improving your mood. There are two gut issues I think of immediately when someone is struggling with a low mood.
Candida is a fungus, or yeast, that normally resides in your gut in small amounts. If your gut microbiome becomes unbalanced, Candida is able to multiply unchecked. This can happen when you take antibiotics that kill off your good bacteria, or birth control pills. A diet high in refined carbohydrates, drinking too much alcohol, and chronic stress can also lead to Candida.
When Candida overgrows, it coats the lining of your intestinal tract and interferes with your ability to produce serotonin. If not addressed, Candida can also break down the wall of your intestine—causing leaky gut—and penetrate your bloodstream, releasing toxic chemicals into your body. These toxins can lead to a whole host of symptoms that affect your mood, including irritability, brain fog, fatigue, and lack of focus. I recommend my Candida Breakthrough® Program as the best way to tackle Candida.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, occurs when certain conditions allow the bacteria from your large intestine and colon to overgrow into your small intestine. These conditions include a high-carb diet, nerve or muscle damage in your stomach, dysmotility, and taking certain medications. Overgrown bacteria can interfere with nutrient absorption, especially vitamin B12. This critical vitamin, as well as the other B vitamins, plays a significant role in the production of brain chemicals that regulate mood.
SIBO may also disrupt your mood simply because of the altered composition of your gut flora. The bacteria in your gut produce neurochemicals that are transmitted to your brain in what is known as the “gut-brain axis”. Studies show that changing the type of bacteria in your gut has a direct impact on your mood, personality, and behavior.2 My SIBO Breakthrough® Program can help you overcome SIBO.
Your Body’s Chemicals and Hormones
There are a number of brain chemicals and hormones that work together to regulate mood. Understanding these chemicals can help you further understand how your body and brain create mood.
Serotonin: I’ve already mentioned serotonin, which is mainly found in your gut and is sometimes called the “happiness hormone.”3 Made from the amino acid tryptophan, serotonin is essential for stabilizing mood, and also helps regulate sleep, digestion, and even sexual function.4
Thyroid Hormones: Your thyroid produces hormones that play a role in nearly every bodily function, including your metabolism, weight, energy levels, and mood.5 If you have thyroid dysfunction such as Hashimoto’s or hypothyroidism, you are not making sufficient thyroid hormones, leaving you more susceptible to mood imbalances.6
Dopamine: Dopamine is another neurotransmitter that controls your mood. The reward system in your brain releases “feel-good” chemicals such as dopamine to signal pleasure in response to a stimulus. The downside of dopamine is that certain substances such as drugs, alcohol, and sugar can hijack your reward system. When this happens, you need more and more of that substance to generate the same release of dopamine. This can ultimately lead to addiction.7
Glutamate: Glutamate is involved in nearly every brain function, including memory, cognition, and learning.8 As the most excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, glutamate has been implicated in a number of mood disorders. Both excessively high and low levels of glutamate have been linked to various mood imbalances.9
Norepinephrine: Along with the “stress hormones” adrenaline and cortisol, norepinephrine gets released during stressful situations. It has been shown to serve a key role in your alertness, arousal, concentration, and mood.
The Great 8 Mood Support Supplements
Prescription antidepressants may raise levels of both norepinephrine and serotonin. However, they also come with a long list of nasty side effects such as weight gain, constipation, and dry mouth. Turning to natural supplements to support mood may be a better option for many. As always, speak with your doctor before making any changes to your medications or supplement regimen.
- Rest and Restore™
My new Rest and Restore™ supplement contains an amino acid known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It’s one of your brain’s chief neurotransmitters. GABA inhibits the activity of neurons in the central nervous system. It has also been shown to increase alpha waves and decrease beta-waves, and create a profound sense of physical relaxation.
- SAMe (S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine)
S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe) is a chemical naturally produced in your body. It is made from the amino acid methionine, which is found primarily in animal protein such as beef, lamb, turkey, and salmon.10,11 SAMe can support hormonal balance as well as an appropriate inflammatory response.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in abundance in wild-caught salmon and other fatty fish. Studies have shown that two types of Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and modulate neurotransmitters while supporting an appropriate inflammatory response.12
- B Vitamins
As I mentioned, B vitamins serve an important part in the production of mood-boosting brain chemicals, including dopamine. These vitamins, particularly B12 and folate, have been shown to help maintain a positive mood.13
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin”, is actually a hormone that helps activate the genes necessary to release neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Unfortunately, although we can get vitamin D for free from sunlight, vitamin D deficiency is widespread because we spend too much time indoors. In fact, over a billion people worldwide are lacking in this vitamin.14 Along with getting outside as much as possible, supplementing with vitamin D can support your mood and well-being year-round.15
Nearly half of all Americans are deficient in the essential mineral magnesium.16 Research shows that magnesium supports a balanced stress response.17 My Magnesium Citrate contains the most bioavailable form of magnesium. It supports healthy bowel regularity and promotes energy production.
- Adrenal Support
Most of us live high-stress lifestyles that can cause all sorts of emotional ups and downs. Stress not only impacts your day-to-day mood; it also contributes to leaky gut. To help promote a more balanced physical and emotional stress response, I recommend Adrenal Support. Adrenal Support contains a mix of B vitamins and adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogenic herbs actually help support a balanced and healthy response to stress, and a balanced and normal stress hormone and cortisol production. Adaptogens also help modulate cellular sensitivity to stress hormones, thereby encouraging a more robust and healthy response to stress overall.
When your reproductive hormones are out of whack, you can experience a range of mood-related symptoms including anxiety, depression, and irritability. EstroProtect supports a healthy balance of estrogen, which can help alleviate symptoms of PMS and mitigate estrogen dominance.
Mood is more than psychological; it affects your entire body and well-being. Regardless of what is at the root of your mood imbalances, there are natural ways you can overcome them. These 8 supplements are a great place to start. Peace of mind and a positive outlook can be yours once again! Just remember to always consult with your doctor before adding supplements to your regimen, especially if you are currently taking any medications. I wish you all the best in your journey to optimal health!