Holistic Pharmacist Blog...
Mood Health

Our mood and emotions are dependent on, and affected by, many factors in our lives. The way we choose to live our lives and what we decide to focus on has a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. The first step in living a fulfilling and joyful life is to make sure we are living a life that is true to us and that feeds our passions. These sorts of questions can be explored with the help of therapists or counselors or many of the other wonderful resources available out there. Then there are obviously some serious medical psychological conditions that will require drug therapy and which require treatment under the supervision of a specialized medical professional. However, for more mild or moderate concerns regarding mood health there are many great options out there.

The first step in feeling our best emotionally is to nurture our bodies with what we feed them and how we move them. Switching to a more natural, plant based diet can go a long way in improving our sleep, energy, and emotions.  Cutting out processed foods, sugar, unhealthy oils and excessive alcohol is a vital first step, as is getting adequate sleep and exercise. Part of this step could also include a good quality multi vitamin to ensure there are no deficiencies in vitamins and minerals that may lead to mood imbalances. Supplementing with adequate Vitamin D and Omega-3 has also proven beneficial in improving mood quality.

A supplement that is specific to mood improvement is 5-HTP. This is a metabolite of the amino acid tryptophan and a precursor to serotonin and melatonin. Many pharmaceutical antidepressants work on recycling serotonin in our systems. This supplement actually provides more of what is required to make serotonin, and has been found to be as effective as some pharmaceutical anti-depressants, with a quicker onset of action and much fewer side effects! It’s best taken in the evening as it provides a welcome relaxing action and helps the patient fall asleep and get a good quality sleep.

Another beneficial supplement for mood health is St. John’s Wort. Recent studies suggest that St. John’s Wort can help to provide natural relief from symptoms of mild to moderate depression, anxiety and sleep disorders.  The active compounds of St. John’s Wort appear to work by inhibiting reabsorption of serotonin by nerve cells in the brain, just like many traditional pharmaceutical anti-depressants do, with out the unwanted side effects.

SAMe, another option, is S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine. It is a natural supplement used for the treatment of depression, arthritis, and liver health. It is believed to help increase serotonin and dopamine production in the brain, which in turn also increases melatonin, which is derived from serotonin. Benefits in mood support can be seen in as little as 2 weeks.

If there is mood support that is required surrounding hormonal issues or PMS, Maca is a great option. It is a Peruvian root and is an adaptogen. This means that it balances the effects of major hormones in the body such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, and creates effects that are individual specific, elevating low levels of some hormones while lowering levels that may be in excess. In this way it is a very effective herb for energy, mood, and any type of stress.

Our mood and emotions and the way we see the world and respond to it makes up a large part of who we are. It is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to promote healthy mood balance and this starts with eating healthy foods, getting good sleep and maintaining healthy, loving relationships. We need an outlet for our emotions and we also need to feel as though we are living a life that is true to our purpose and passion. Once we have these basic principles in place there are some wonderful supplements out there to try if we require some further support or enhancement. 

Posted by pharmacist at May 24, 2013 Category: Other
Tags: mood, 5-HTP, Maca, St.Johns Wort, multivitamins, Omega-3, Vitamin D, sleep, emotions, SAMe