Natural Mood Enhancers: Foods, Vitamins, & Supplements
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
Depression is a common condition affecting millions of people across the globe.
Healthcare providers may treat depression with drugs called SSRIs and complementary therapy or psychiatry evaluations.
Natural remedies for mood enhancement, like fatty15, can help support a balanced mood by binding with receptors in the brain called PPARs.
Mood disorders are a category of mental illnesses that can make a person emotionally unbalanced. People who suffer from mood disorders may feel stressed, sad, lonely, manic, or a combination of these feelings at different times.
How Common Are Mood Disorders?
Mood disorders are very common. The most common disorder, depression, affects nearly 21 million adults in the U.S. alone. Globally, it is estimated that about five percent of the population have depression or have at least experienced a depressive episode.
There are different types of depression, including major depressive disorder (clinical depression) and moderate depression. Only a healthcare professional can determine whether or not you have one of these conditions.
What Are the Symptoms of Depression?
Symptoms of depression can include feeling sad, lonely, hopeless, or tired. Someone experiencing depression may also find they are sleeping more, avoiding social situations, losing interest in things they once enjoyed, and losing or gaining weight unexpectedly.
You may have one or some of these symptoms, and you may not always have them. These feelings and symptoms may come and go on the same day, last for months, or only happen seasonally.
What’s Happening In the Brain
While the causes of depression may be situational (like the loss of a loved one or a financial crisis) and may act as a stimulus for depression, the actual cause of sad feelings happens because of chemical changes in the brain.
Neurotransmitters are special chemicals that hop from nerve to nerve in the brain through synapses. These synapses transmit messages that develop our moods.
Common neurotransmitters are serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and endorphins. When someone is depressed, their brain function may be suffering, causing fewer synapses to fire or causing fewer neurotransmitters to be released.
In addition, new technology shows us that our brain health may depend on the size of certain parts of our brain. The hippocampus, for instance, has been observed to be smaller in a person who is depressed than in a person who does not suffer from depression.
What Are Solutions for Mood Disorders?
The current solutions for mood disorders like depression usually include the following:
- CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) involves talk therapy with a counselor or therapist
- Medications like SSRIs balance serotonin levels in the brain.
This list isn’t exhaustive but contains the two most common solutions for mood disorder treatment.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of medications that help prevent the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain by nerve cells. When a nerve cell sends a message to another nerve cell, the serotonin that carries the message is usually reabsorbed by another nerve cell.
SSRI medications prevent that reabsorption so that the serotonin remains available for other nerve cells to carry additional messages to nearby cells.
These medications take a long time to work properly, and usually work best when a person has been taking them long enough for a cumulative effect to occur in the brain.
Another class of drugs called Norepinephrine Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors blocks the reabsorption of two neurotransmitters: norepinephrine and dopamine, helping balance the chemical levels in the brain and support a better mood.
Side Effects of Medication Therapy
For some, taking SSRIs or NDRIs isn’t an option. Although the FDA considers these medications the best medicinal solutions for some mood disorders, the side effects of the drugs may be intolerable for some people.
Natural Mood Enhancers
For people seeking natural remedies for mood-related issues, natural mood enhancers found in dietary supplements and food may help them achieve a positive mood and feel better.
Here, we’ll cover nine of the most popular natural mood enhancement remedies and discuss any known side effects they may have.
1. St. John’s Wort
This yellow flowering plant can be a natural way to increase the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, like serotonin. Of any herbal remedy, St. John’s Wort has shown the most potential for helping support feelings of well-being.
Side effects of St. John’s Wort include gastrointestinal discomfort, dizziness, low energy levels, and headaches. These side effects may dissipate after continued use.
5-hydroxytryptophan is a chemical the body can use to synthesize serotonin. As such, it’s been suggested that it might support a good mood. It works similarly to a previously banned supplement called l-tryptophan, an amino acid briefly removed from the market because of a rare but serious side effect.
One of the most common side effects of 5-HTP is gas, so take it with caution.
3. Vitamin D
The evidence is mostly anecdotal, but some natural healthcare providers believe that vitamin D supplementation is naturally mood-supporting and can even be used to help soothe seasonal sadness.
Taking too much vitamin D can lead to dry mouth and nausea.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are frequently found in fish oil supplements. While there is some evidence that they could help improve mood, the recommended dose (between 2,000 to 4,000 mg per day) is extremely high and comes with some important side effects.
For a complete rundown on the risks of taking omega-3, click here.
Important for hormone regulation and a known contributor to a good night of sleep, low magnesium has also been associated with unbalanced moods.
Taking magnesium can lead to gastrointestinal issues, the most notable side effect of its use.
6. Rhodiola Rosea
A Chinese herb used as one of the most popular natural remedies in Traditional Chinese Medicine, this plant may help protect neural pathways and help encourage better cognition.
A known side effect of Rhodiola Rosea is sleeplessness, which could exacerbate feelings of sadness and worry. If you can’t sleep, try taking this supplement in the morning or switching to something else.
This herbal supplement is often thought to help improve mood, but its calming effects are best for feelings of stress and worry. Because it has a calming effect, it could magnify the feelings of lethargy in a person who is sad or feeling hopeless.
A simple blood test can determine whether you are deficient in any of the B vitamins. Most notably, vitamin B12 and Vitamin B6 both play a role in helping support nerve cells, which could help enhance your mood if you are deficient.
If you aren’t deficient, you likely won’t notice a change in your mood, and you may end up with side effects like itchiness, tingling sensations in your skin, redness, and restlessness.
This odd-chain saturated fatty acid is a natural nutrient with activities that mimic NDRIs, which are used to stabilize mood and soothe feelings of tension and worry.
The best part? It’s even more beneficial to your body than just providing a balanced mood, and has been shown to be safe for your cells.
Fatty15: Your C15:0 Solution
C15:0 is primarily found in trace levels in whole-fat dairy products and some types of fish and plants. However, increasing your intake of whole-fat dairy products to increase your C15:0 levels comes with extra calories, sugars, and high levels of the "bad" even-chain saturated fats.
A solution? Fatty15.
Fatty15 is a breakthrough supplement borne from scientific discovery, containing one pure ingredient, FA15™. The sustainable, vegan version of C15:0 does more than help your mood:
- It supports and strengthens your cell membranes to keep them strong and protected.
- It binds with receptors called PPARs in the brain and body to help regulate other functions like sleep and appetite.
- It improves mitochondrial function by up to 45 percent, so your cells can carry out cellular processes that you need to survive.
- Two out of three people taking fatty15 report feeling benefits including improved mood, decreased snacking and improved sleep within 6 weeks
Further, higher levels of C15:0 have been repeatedly associated with healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels and improved heart health. That’s a lot of health benefits in one tiny, once-a-day capsule.
A Better Mood, The Fatty Way
Mood issues can make you feel down or stressed, and finding balance can be hard. Natural remedies may help restore your positive vibe and help you feel better.
Fatty15, a natural, sustainable supplement that science supports, is essential for our bodies to thrive. By supporting a balanced mood, fatty15 can help you regain your ability to enjoy life on life’s terms.
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.