We all struggle with our emotions from time to time. Some days our energy is low, our mood feels off, and we can’t seem to escape the negative feelings that are affecting us. Some of us may also struggle with more serious mood disorders like anxiety, depression, chronic stress, and others.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), nearly 10% of all adults will experience a mood disorder in a given year.
Our mental and emotional health depends on many factors—our mindset and attitude, our way of thinking, our self-talk, our social relationships, our level of exercise, our quality of sleep, as well as our diet and nutrition.
Addressing all of these factors together provides a holistic way to approach improving your mental health, and can help you find out where you may need to focus more of your attention on.
Have you been getting enough sleep or has your sleeping schedule been erratic? Have you been eating nutritious meals or lots of snacks and junk food? Have you been exercising regularly or not at all? Do you have healthy social relationships? Do you take time to do things that you enjoy? Have you spent much time outside in nature?
All of these are important things to consider if you are struggling with mental and emotional health. Another helpful tool can be to utilize certain supplements known to support mental health.
Different supplements work in different ways, but many mood-enhancing supplements work by supporting the production of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical in your brain that plays a role in the regulation of cognition, memory, motivation, mood, attention and learning. It also aids in decision making and sleep regulation.
Under normal circumstances, dopamine production is managed effectively by your body’s nervous system. However, various lifestyle factors and medical conditions can cause dopamine levels to plummet, which can create mood imbalances and lead to loss of pleasure in things that you once found enjoyable, lack of motivation and apathy.
In this article, we’ll discuss the best supplements for mood.
Gut health is at the root of your health—both physical and mental. Within the gut, numerous hormones are produced. About 50% of dopamine is produced in gastrointestinal tract by enteric neurons and intestinal epithelial cells. While gut bacteria manufacture about 95 percent of the body's supply of serotonin—which is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness.
This is why having a healthy gut is key to having a healthy mind and a stable mood.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that live inside your digestive tract and help your body function properly. Also known as “good bacteria,” probiotics not only benefit gut health but may also prevent or treat various health problems, including mood disorders.
Poor gut health, harmful bacteria, and a lack of beneficial bacteria have been shown to decrease dopamine production. Probiotics, however, have the ability to increase it dopamine production, as well as serotonin production, which may have a powerful effect on your mood.
Many people have poor gut health due to dietary and lifestyle factors like eating junk food, processed foods, foods grown with pesticides, foods containing added chemicals, alcohol, cigarette smoke, high stress levels, and more.
Rebalancing your gut starts with recolonizing your gut microbiome with beneficial bacteria. Once your gut is balanced, it will have a huge effect on your mood. This is why a good quality multi-strain probiotic complex is one of the best supplements for mood and anxiety.
Mucuna pruriens is a type of tropical bean native to parts of Africa, India and Southern China. These beans are also commonly referred to as monkey tamarind, velvet bean, Bengal velvet bean, and Florida velvet bean. They are often processed into a dried powder and sold as dietary supplements.
The most notable compound found in Mucuna pruriens is an amino acid called levodopa (L-dopa). L-dopa is needed for your brain to produce dopamine. Research on Mucuna pruriens has shown that it helps to boost dopamine levels in humans.
One study found that taking 5 grams of Mucuna pruriens powder for three months increased dopamine levels in infertile men. Another study found that Mucuna pruriens had an antidepressant effect in mice due to an increase in dopamine production.
The unique ability that Mucuna has to enhance dopamine production makes it one of the best supplements for mood support.
L-theanine is a unique amino acid found in the green tea plant. Just as adrenaline causes the release of cortisol, L-theanine acts as the precursor to dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is the second largest brain chemical, and plays a key role by preventing your brain from accessing adrenaline. Since the brain is unable to access adrenaline, cortisol release is restricted.
Not only does L-theanine prevent the body from elevating cortisol, but it rewards you by stimulating relaxing alpha waves in your brain. This allows your brain to focus, prioritize thoughts, improve concentration, and increase learning ability while you’re awake.
At night, L-theanine helps your brain shut down, and allows you to get a better night’s sleep instead of racking your brain with a slew of problems. Although L-theanine can’t repair its effects, the amino acid can also help alleviate anxiety and stress from adrenal exhaust.
Our Zuma Nutrition Brain Flow Tonic is a unique herbal nootropic supplement that may provide many benefits to cognitive health—including mood. Ginkgo biloba, one of the primary herbs in this formula, is a plant native to China that has been used for hundreds of years as a remedy for various health conditions—including improving focus, memory, mental clarity, and mood.
Studies have found that supplementing with Ginkgo biloba in the long term increased dopamine levels in rats, which helped improve cognitive function, memory and motivation. A test-tube study also showed that Ginkgo biloba extract increased dopamine secretion by reducing oxidative stress.
Neurotransmitters are often referred to as the body's chemical messengers. They are the molecules used by the nervous system to transmit messages between neurons, or from neurons to muscles. A neurotransmitter imbalance may play a role in mood disorders. Our Brain Flow formula helps to balance neurotransmitters in the brain, resulting in more efficient transmission between neurons, and more mental clarity and focus as well.
Hormonal imbalances also play a significant role in mood disorders. Ashwagandha, another key ingredient in this formula, has a long history of use for balancing the endocrine glands and the health of the body’s hormones.
Hormonal imbalances are increasingly common among women today, as exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals increases. Chemicals in plastic, pesticides in food, heavy metals, environmental pollutants and other toxins—all of these affect hormones and have a detrimental impact on the endocrine system.
Hormones are the chemical messengers of the body. They travel through your bloodstream to different tissues and organs, delivering messages that tell the organs what to do and when to do it.
A hormonal imbalance occurs when you have too much or too little of a certain hormone in the bloodstream. Even small changes in hormones can have serious effects throughout your entire body.
Hormones play an essential role in your mood and feelings of well-being. A hormonal imbalance can cause you to feel more easily irritated and subject to unstable mood swings.
Our Zuma Nutrition Happy Hormones Tonic contains a synergistic blend of medicinal herbs designed to support women’s hormonal health and to help restore balance to the endocrine system. This is why we recommend this as one of the best supplements for mood swings.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. While it is commonly associated with its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, it also increases the release of dopamine.
Curcumin is one of the most researched herbal compounds, and numerous studies have demonstrated that it has the ability to enhance mood by increasing dopamine release.
Magnesium plays an essential role in keeping your body and mind healthy. Research on magnesium suggests that magnesium deficiency may contribute to decreased dopamine levels and an increased risk of depression.
Furthermore, one study showed that supplementing with magnesium boosted dopamine levels and produced antidepressant effects in mice.
Many people struggle with magnesium deficiency, so supplementing with a good quality magnesium supplement is often recommended, not just for boosting mood, but more many other essential roles that magnesium plays in the body.
Shilajit is a rare mineral-rich mixture of organic compounds found primarily in the Himalayan mountains. This compound has developed over centuries from the slow decomposition of plants. Shilajit is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine where it is considered a heal-all and is known as “the destroyer of weakness.”
The 84 organic minerals in shilajit are carbon-bonded, making them extremely bioavailable and easily absorbed by the body. Because of this, shilajit is one of the best ways to naturally boost mineral levels and replenish mineral deficiencies.
Shilajit is also rich in fulvic and humic acids, substances produced by microorganisms in soil that chemically bind to toxins in the body, and help to enhance immune system health. Additionally, shilajit is high in dibenzo-a-pyrones, which have strong antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
Research on shilajit shows that it may also help to enhance testosterone production in men. Shilajit is a nutritional powerhouse, and the many nutrients that shilajit offers can reverse mineral and nutrient deficiencies, making it one of the best supplements for energy and mood.
Zinc is an essential mineral that is vital for immune system function. It helps your body fight off invading bacteria and viruses and also plays an important role in making proteins and DNA, the genetic material inside all your cells. As an antioxidant, zinc is important for healthy aging and supports the body's ability to repair everyday "wear and tear" on DNA caused by environmental factors such as harmful toxins, free radicals, poor diet, alcohol, and stress.
Interestingly, zinc has been shown to be useful for certain mood disorders, especially for people struggling with mood disorders. Many Americans suffer from low zinc levels. One of the signs of zinc deficiency is mood swings (mental lethargy), therefore, new research has hypothesized that low zinc levels can be linked to a decreased mood.
A recent study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition supplemented 30 young women with multivitamins, multivitamins with 7 mg of zinc, or a placebo for 10 weeks.
Mental and emotional health is important, and we all need to take proactive measures to protect ourselves and keep ourselves feeling well. We all struggle with our emotions from time to time, but knowing what influences your mood—what negatively impacts it and what positively impacts it—can empower you to make confident decisions that are in your best interest.
Our mental and emotional health depends on many factors—our mindset and attitude, our way of thinking, our self-talk, our social relationships, our level of exercise, our quality of sleep, as well as our diet and nutrition. It is important to address all of these factors when struggling with your mood.
Supplements may also offer great mood support due to the unique properties they provide. Just be sure that you don’t neglect the other basics of self-care. When approached holistically in this way, a good self-care routine with additional supplements can be the perfect combo for stabilizing your mood and optimizing your well-being.