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Moving on Up!


Just about everyone goes through an occasional bout of feeling down. Along with a better diet and daily exercise, adding a few tried and true mood boosters to your nutritional and herbal supplement program often makes a noticeable difference in a short period of time.

Just about everyone goes through an occasional bout of feeling down. These moody blues can have a variety of physical and emotional triggers. Stress and anxiety, hormonal and metabolic imbalances, drugs and alcohol, nutritional deficiencies, insomnia, lack of exercise, and chronic poor health all affect our moods.

Improving your diet and alleviating possible food allergens is a good nutritional beginning to uplift your moods. Lifting weights will also lift your mood, and a brisk 15-minute walk or two every day can help tame the blues.

Along with a better diet and daily exercise, adding a few tried and true mood boosters to your nutritional and herbal supplement program often makes a noticeable difference in a short period of time.

Here are eight scientifically researched natural remedies that will help you lighten up.

Multis Brighten Your Day

Dozens of studies conclude that taking a daily multiple vitamin and mineral makes moods better, whatever your age.

Canadian medical researchers from the University of Calgary departments of Pediatrics and Community Health Sciences found that boys and girls (ranging in age from eight to 15 years) with mood swings, depression, and aggressive behaviours showed a marked improvement after eight weeks of taking a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement.

The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (December, 2001) reported "effective mood stabilization with a chelated mineral and vitamin supplement" in medicated patients aged 19 to 46 years. "In some cases," reported researchers, "the supplement replaced psychotropic medications and the patients remained well."

Be Happy with B Vitamins

While multis contain varying amounts of the B vitamins, additional vitamin B complex supplementation may offer a more rapid and noticeable mood elevating effect. Studies have determined that B-vitamin supplementation enhances feelings of well-being. All of the Bs have beneficial effects in stabilizing energy and moods and supporting the health of the nervous system, but B1, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, and pantothenic acid have been shown to be especially helpful when battling a case of the blues.

Fishing for Good Feelings

Bad moods can range from mild, occasional bouts to severe debilitating episodes. Numerous studies have shown omega-3 fatty acids to be an effective nutritional treatment for even severe mood disorders.

An article published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (June, 2005) reports that bipolar patients taking eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from omega-3 fish oils experienced a 50-percent reduction in depressive symptoms. The researchers suggested that EPA and fish oils offer protection due to their ability to modulate neurotransmitter metabolism and cell signaling. The lead researcher was especially happy with the possibility of a safe, natural antidepressant with no dangerous side effects.

In the journal Current Psychiatry Reports, Stanford University School of Medicine depression researcher Dr. Regina Casper reported that "placebo-controlled studies in medicated patients suggest that add-on treatment with omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA, may improve symptoms of major depressive disorder."

Moody Women Need Chaste Berry

Women in the throes of menopause or premenstrual syndrome (PMS) have a higher risk of moodiness, irritability, and depression due to their hormonal fluctuations. The herb chaste berry (Vitex agnus castus) can make a world of difference, according to several studies.

The British Medical Journal (January, 2001) published the results of a randomized, placebo-controlled study on chaste berry conducted with women with PMS at the Institute for Health Care and Science in Huttenberg, Germany. Over the course of three menstrual cycles, the study found great improvement in women's self-assessment of irritability, mood alteration, and anger.

Reports in the journal Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery (August, 2003) concluded that older women going through menopause are also benefiting from the therapeutic, mood modifying effects of chaste berry.

Selenium Suits Men

Dr. James Penland, a research psychologist, has found that minerals modify moods. One of the studies he conducted found that selenium supplementation lifts the spirits of men. During a 15-week study, the men taking selenium reported that they felt significantly more clearheaded and elated toward the end of the study than they did at the beginning, before taking selenium supplements.

5-HTP, The Happy Pill?

The full name of this supplement is 5-hydroxytryptophan or 5-hydroxy-l-tryptophan, and it converts to the natural chemical serotonin in the brain. This feel-good chemical affects our moods, behaviour, appetite, and sleep. Adequate levels of serotonin contribute to feelings of well-being, calm, and satisfaction. An article in the Alternative Medicine Review (August, 1998) reported 5-HTP is well absorbed from an oral dose, and easily crosses the blood-brain barrier.

SAMe Makes Moods Better

S-adenosyl-L-methionine, SAMe for short, is an essential ingredient in the making of our own biochemical neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, and phosphotidylserine) that control our feelings of calm and happiness. Adequate levels of SAMe enable our bodies to more readily make these mood-elevating neurotransmitters with few to no side effects.

Herbal Uplifters

Peppermint oil and other essential oils made from cypress and lavender have been shown to have a positive effect on moods. Inhaling these uplifting natural oils appears to decrease lethargy related to low moods and mild depression.

We all have moods. They're a part of everyday life. Eating whole foods, exercising regularly, maintaining a mindful practice, and supplementing with natural mood lifters as needed is the best recipe for making every day a good one.



A Seat at the Table

A Seat at the Table

Laura BoltLaura Bolt