10 supplements to help get rid of the Holiday Blues
The holidays bring joy, happiness and fond memories for many people but for others, the holidays can bring the blues. The underlying psychological causes for the sadness may be different for each person but the physiological cause is low serotonin levels.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences or mood, emotions, memory, pain tolerance, sleep, appetite and regulation of our body temperature. When serotonin level are normal, we feel good and have a healthy outlook on life. In addition, recent studies show that positive emotions can help us live longer.
When our serotonin levels are low, we can experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Overall negative outlook on life
- Feeling angry
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Increase carbohydrate cravings
- Digestive disorders
- Feeling sad
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Increased anxiety or hypervigilance
- Sleep disturbances
- Poor cognitive function
The good news is that there are natural supplements available to boost your serotonin levels and therefore your mood, without many of the side effects of a prescription medication. In fact, recent studies show that only about 20% -50% of antidepressants work effectively so it’s good to have other options to consider.
Recent studies show that only about 20% -50% of antidepressants work effectively so it’s good to have other options to consider.
Here are 10 supplements to consider discussing with your physician:
- 5-HTP - is a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan which is naturally present in high protein foods. It can not only help elevate mood but it is also associated with weight loss because it helps to reduce carbohydrate cravings.
- Inositol – is a natural substance in plants and animals. It helps to balance neurotransmitters and improves serotonin activity in the brain. It also helps to reduce anxiety, reduce nerve pain and aids in focus as well as sleep.
- L-Theanine – is an amino acid typically found in green tea and is known for its calming effects and anxiety-reducing benefits. As an added benefit, when combined with caffeine, l-Theanine can aid in cognitive function and brain performance.
- Vitamin D – helps to encourage serotonin production but too much Vitamin D can be dangerous, so be sure to get your levels checked before starting supplementation.
- SAM-e - SAM-e naturally present in every cell of the body and helps to build serotonin levels and helps to make the neurons more responsive.
- St Johns Wort – helps to activate serotonin by enhancing 5-HTP production
- B- Vitamins and injections – B- Vitamins help convert tryptophan gained from the protein in your diet or supplements into serotonin.
- Magnesium – some studies indicate that Magnesium levels have a direct link to serotonin levels and that in some cases, a magnesium supplement can be as effective as a
- Vitamin C – sufficient levels of vitamin C are needed to convert tryptophan into serotonin
- Probiotics – since the greatest concentration of serotonin is in the gut, probiotics help to balanced gut bacteria which in turn helps to produce serotonin.
Although these are natural supplements they can also cause serious problems if used incorrectly or mixed with other medications. It’s also important to recognize the temporary “blues” versus clinical depression so please speak to your physician if you have any of the symptoms listed above so that they can recommend the best course of treatment for you.
National Institute of Health
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