Previously by Margaret Durst: Ancient Chinese Medicine — AModernTool
Many nutritional factors affect our mood. Mood is determined not only by what we think and feel, but by physiological things such as blood sugar, food sensitivities, liver function and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Foods greatly influence the brain. Poor diets, particularly those with too much sugar, caffeine and junk food are a common cause of depression and irritability. The brain produces serotonin, which is a relaxer, when fed plenty of healthy food. However, the brain will produce stress hormones when we eat the wrong things.
Nutritional supplements can also help regulate our mood. If you are tired or stressed, try a good B complex vitamin, an omega oil supplement with omegas 3, 6, and 9, and magnesium. The first two help feed your brain and nerves so that they can function better and the magnesium helps to relax and calm you.
General irritability can be a sign of liver dysfunction. There are good liver-cleansing products that help decongest the liver. One of my favorites is a Chinese formula that helps balance the liver and really helps get rid of that irritability.
Tiredness affects our mood. Tiredness can be a symptom of iron and / or B vitamin deficiency. There are now chelated iron supplements that are not hard on the stomach and are not constipating. Also try a good sublingual B 12 supplement for an energy boost. Most people are deficient in B12 — particularly if they have stomach problems. A sublingual B vitamin is the next best thing to a shot because it goes directly into the bloodstream from the tissues in the mouth.
Tiredness can also result from adrenal fatigue or low thyroid hormone production. There are some great natural products that help balance glandular problems. These range from ginseng to royal jelly to combination products formulated specifically to address a particular gland or glands.
Poor sleep can also make us snappy and irritable. To sleep better, the same things listed above apply.
Mood swings are associated with hormone imbalances brought on by a combination of factors that can be managed with nutritional supplements. The stage of life that you are in determines the products that can be used.
Depression is a major “mood” that many deal with. There are many nutritional supplements that help with depression. The first to start with are a good natural B vitamin, magnesium, and a high-quality oil supplement that includes omega’s 3, 6, and 9.
After B vitamins, St. John’s wort is my favorite antidepressant. It increases serotonin in the brain which helps relieve stress and makes sleep more restful. SAMe works in a similar fashion.
Holy basil is another product that helps with mood. It is truly uplifting. Holy basil helps the brain cope with stress better such that a stress response is much less likely to be triggered. Holy basil reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, and also reduces blood sugar.
All of these supplements have quality parameters that make a big difference in effectiveness — in other words, if you want it to work, do not by the cheapest one you can find.
If you find yourself stressed and snappy, eliminate the junk food from your diet, cut both caffeine and sugar and try some supplements to help your brain be less stressed. When your brain is less stressed, it is much easier to be in a good mood.
Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.