As the seasons change, most of us experience a change in mood, energy and sleep patterns, and although our bodies naturally want to hibernate, we need to continue to keep up with the somewhat crazy pace of life. Since we can't slow down, sometimes we need that extra boost, so here are my top 5 mood boosting supplements that may help us stay happy, positive and energised throughout the winter months.
Rhodiola is a herbal medicine that is known as an adaptogen, which helps the body's resilience to physical and psychological stress. They are robust herbs that act across multiple systems - immune, neurological, endocrine - you name it, adaptogens will generally support it. Rhodiola is my favourite winter adaptogen because of its effect on immunity, energy and its ability to lift your mood. In clinical trials, it's been shown to not only boost mood but also positively affect sleep quality, help regulate cortisol and even help reduce our pain response & perception.
B Vitamins. The B's are crucial for regulating mood and energy. Ensure you have a good quality B Complex and if you struggle with mood, add a separate B6 on top of it. Keeping up with your B's will have the added effect of helping to regulate your metabolism, so, it's a great winter staple.
Magnesium is an abundant mineral in the body and is involved in everything from muscle contraction to brain function. It's one of the most important minerals for optimal brain function and stress regulation - which is no surprise when you look at the symptoms of magnesium deficiency: agitation, insomnia, irritability, confusion, muscle spasm, restless leg syndrome, and poor concentration are all among the undesirable central nervous system effects. Magnesium is a great supplement to boost mood throughout the winter, especially for avid exercisers. (Children benefit from magnesium supplementation but the dosage should be prescribed by a professional. Adults taking blood pressure medications should be cautious as magnesium lowers blood pressure so could have a compounding effect).
5 HTP is an amino acid complex that is the precursor to serotonin production. 5 HTP is commonly used for anxiety, depression, PMS and is one of the most effective supplement for Seasonal Affective Disorder. Naturopaths use 5 HTP for individuals with IBS as well - since over 85% of serotonin is produced in the gut it may help restore the body's ability to produce it and calm the nervous system at the same time.
(If you're on the pill, pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking an SSRI' anti-depressant 5 HTP should be avoided).
A Multi Mineral Complex. Minerals are the unsung heroes of nutrition and are involved in all aspects of brain function and metabolism. While all of the minerals are important, some are more involved with mood regulation than others. Zinc and lithium join magnesium in their influence over mood, and are involved in several enzymatic reactions that produce our neurotransmitters. Zinc and lithium have been shown to significantly improve mood disorders, help with mental clarity and combat fatigue (lithium has even been used to treat clinical depression), so these are a must-have for the winter months.
If you would like more information or help on choosing supplements, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.