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Happy Habits: Mood Boosting Vitamins

Now, more than ever, I need to stay positive.

Over the years, I’ve taken herbal supplements to help me with PMS mood swings.

These past couple of weeks, I’ve made sure to take them daily — positivity is helping me get by, helping me stay creative, and see the bright side of things.

It could be a placebo effect, the act of physically swallowing down a “happy pill”, but placebo or not, these supplements below can only help you in the long run.

*Disclaimer: I am NOT suggesting you take all of these at once. Choose one that works best for you. As always, ask a doctor first.


Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Flaxseed or Fish Oil Supplements

Photocred: @kiraschwarz on IG

Many studies have found that countries reporting the highest level of happiness are from cultures that practice the Mediterranean diet. Scientists and nutritionists believe this is due to high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, and olives.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in flaxseed, chia seeds, and other healthy fatty foods such as avocados, walnuts, and soybeans. Many studies have tested omega-3 as an additional treatment for mood disorders and have found significant results.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization, the daily suggested amount is 250 – 500 mg in healthy adults; more if needed for diagnosed disorders.

“Omega -3 fatty acids can easily travel through the brain cell membrane and interact with mood-related molecules. They also have anti-inflammatory actions that may help relieve depression.”

Summarized by the Harvard Health Blog,

St. John’s Wort

Photocred: Wikipedia

St. John’s Wort got the name from St. John the Baptist because the flowers bloom in season with his birthday.

This herb can be taken in supplement, topical, or tea form. It is commonly used as a prescription for depression in Europe, and is known as the mood booster and anxiety relief supplement because of it’s active ingredient hyperforin.

Hyperforin explained on the National Center for Biotechnology Information exhibits antidepressant activity by a novel mechanism of action, antibiotic activity against gram-positive bacteria, and antitumoral activity in vivo.

This herb is also being explored for the following health concerns:

Caution for Women on Birth Control:

Most studies have found that the active ingredient in this flower – hyperforin – is known to interfere with other medications, such as birth control. In certain studies, it was found to break down estrogen levels making birth control less effective. Because of this, I only drink it as tea every once in a while.

Caution for those properly diagnosed with a mood disorder:

Other studies have found that St. John’s Wort should not be combined with prescribed medication for those formerly diagnosed with a mood disorder. This would cause an excessive amount of serotonin to the brain that could be dangerous.

Cautions aside…

I took this daily for about 3 – 4 months and did not have any dangerous side effects from it. I did notice leveled out mood swings and overall relief from menstrual symptoms like cramping and irritability.

I stopped taking this when I found out it could interfere with my birth control.

I don’t want any surprises!

As always, consult your physician first.

Here’s a great article that talks about dosage, and also explains more about it’s possible drug interactions and side effects.

Gingko Biloba

Photocred: @haugenzhays on IG

Gingko Biloba (Gb) aka the maidenhair tree, is found in China and has been used for it’s health related benefits for thousands of years.

Gb is known to enhance mental function and brain plasticity in healthy individuals. This plant is packed with potent antioxidants that benefit the body in so many ways. When your brain has the proper blood flow, and ability to function at it’s best, you are able to perform at your best, in turn boosting your overall mood.

If powering through your 2020 reading list while in quarantine is your goal, then this supplement is definitely for you.

I love the way Ansley Hill from broke down the 12 benefits based off recent empirical studies.

The 12 benefits of Gingko Biloba are:

  1. Contains Powerful Antioxidants
  2. Can help fight inflammation
  3. Improves circulation and heart health
  4. Reduces symptoms of psychiatric disorders & dementia
  5. Improves brain function and well-being
  6. Can reduce anxiety
  7. Can treat depression
  8. Can support vision and eye health
  9. Can treat headaches and migraines
  10. Can improve asthma and COPD symptoms
  11. Reduces PMS symptoms
  12. Treats sexual dysfunction

You can read about these 12 benefits and other side effects here.

All of these can be found at Walgreens, Wholefoods, Rainbow Grocery, or your local drugstore. It is highly recommended to consult a doctor first before taking these, I did not.

At one point or another I have taken one of these pills daily for a span of 3 months at the most, longer for St. John’s Wort. I’ve never had any of the cautioned side effects.

I’ve taken them for a number of reasons such as mood swings and depression associated with PMS, memory and brain function enhancement while studying for finals or learning a new technical role as a database manager; and most recently — the flaxseed oil extract for overall well-being.

As always, the key to health and happiness is — drink lots of water, sleep well, eat well, and keep moving.

Stay healthy my friends!

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