Top 4 Supplements That Actually Improve Your Mood – Help You Feel Like Yourself Again

When you’re in a bad mood, it can seem like there’s nothing you can do to get out of it. Family and friends may tell you to cheer up, but no matter what you try, nothing seems to help.

If this sounds familiar to you, then you’re not alone. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), nearly one in ten US adults has experienced a mood disorder in the past year. “Some people benefit greatly from mood supplements, especially if they are low in vitamins or minerals,” Laura Purdy, MD, MBA, a board-certified family physician in Fort Benning, Georgia, tells Best life.

1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is called the “sunshine vitamin” for a reason. Based on the 2020 In a review of several studies, people with low levels of vitamin D are at increased risk of depression . How much vitamin D your skin produces depends on several factors, such as where you live, lifestyle, season, and skin pigmentation. Your brain is also rich in vitamin D receptors, suggesting that this nutrient plays an important role in cognitive function and mental health. “Low vitamin D levels are very common in people during the winter months, especially in parts of the world that don’t get a lot of sun, and in women after pregnancy and breastfeeding,” explains Purdy.

“Vitamin D supplementation is great not only for mood, but also for skin and hair, sleep and many other body functions.”

2. Probiotics

A growing body of evidence suggests that mental health is closely linked to the digestive tract, the so-called “gut-brain connection.” Probiotics —the “good” bacteria in the gut—are useful in the prevention and treatment of a variety of mental health problems, including mood disorders. For example, the probiotic Bifidobacterium infantis can help reduce symptoms of depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.”Probiotics are very safe and are actually recommended after antibiotics or viral intestinal illnesses,” says Purdy. “There are no downsides to taking probiotics, and no one I know is advised to avoid probiotics.”

Certainly, here’s a list of 20 foods that are known to contain probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that support gut and mental health:

  1. Yogurt (with live active cultures)
  2. Kefir
  3. Sauerkraut
  4. Kimchi
  5. Miso
  6. Tempeh
  7. Pickles (fermented in brine)
  8. Traditional buttermilk
  9. Natto
  10. Fermented cheese (e.g., Gouda, cheddar, Swiss)
  11. Fermented soy sauce
  12. Lassi (a traditional Indian yogurt drink)
  13. Fermented vegetables (e.g., carrots, beets, and radishes)
  14. Kvass (a fermented beverage made from rye bread)
  15. Fermented tofu
  16. Fermented coconut products (e.g., yogurt and kefir)
  17. Sourdough bread (fermented naturally)
  18. Fermented cod liver oil (as a supplement)
  19. Fermented tea (e.g., kombucha)
  20. Fermented miso soup

Including these probiotic-rich foods in your diet can help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria and support digestive and overall health.

3. Iron

Iron deficiency can cause low energy, chronic fatigue, and mood swings. If these symptoms sound familiar to you, you may be one of the 25 percent. of people in the world who are iron deficient.

Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety are among the most common symptoms of iron deficiency. According to the NIH, iron is critical for growth and development, hormone production, and stable energy levels. “Iron intake can improve mood in people with anemia,” says Purdy. “People who are deficient in iron feel sluggish, have no energy, are depressed, and sometimes even wonder if they are depressed. A simple blood test can show that they are anemic, and with iron supplementation we can address all of these symptoms.”

Certainly, here’s a list of 10 iron-rich foods:

  1. Red Meat: Beef, particularly lean cuts like sirloin or tenderloin, is an excellent source of heme iron, which is easily absorbed by the body.
  2. Liver: Liver from various animals, such as beef or chicken, is exceptionally rich in iron.
  3. Shellfish: Options like clams, oysters, and mussels are high in iron content.
  4. Beans: Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans are good sources of plant-based iron.
  5. Spinach: Leafy greens like spinach provide a good amount of non-heme iron, which is the type of iron found in plant-based foods.
  6. Tofu: Firm tofu is a decent source of iron, especially if it’s prepared with iron-rich ingredients.
  7. Nuts and Seeds: Certain nuts and seeds, such as pumpkin seeds and cashews, contain notable amounts of iron.
  8. Quinoa: This whole grain is not only high in iron but also provides essential amino acids.
  9. Fortified Cereals: Many breakfast cereals are fortified with iron and can be a convenient way to increase your iron intake.
  10. Dark Chocolate: High-quality dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or more contains iron.

Remember that the body absorbs heme iron (found in animal products) more efficiently than non-heme iron (found in plant-based foods). To enhance iron absorption from plant-based sources, you can consume them with foods rich in vitamin C, like citrus fruits, tomatoes, or bell peppers. Additionally, cooking in cast iron cookware can also increase the iron content of some foods.

4. John’s wort

St. John’s wort is a natural antidepressant that has been used in traditional European medicine for thousands of years. Today, this powerful herb is used to treat a variety of ailments, including depression, menopausal symptoms, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), psoriasis, and anxiety.

Although St. John’s wort can be a great mood enhancer, it is not without some drawbacks.

“A lot of people think it’s safe because it’s a natural herbal medicine, but this particular herb has a lot of drug interactions,” warns Purdy. “It is not considered safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women. So while it may be useful for people who want to improve their mood, it should be used only with extreme caution.” Consult a health care professional before taking St. John’s wort or any other supplement.

Photos; shutterstock

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