We lean on nutritional supplements to help us support our hearts, digestion, joints, bones, immune systems, eyes and skin without hesitation, but what about that other part of wellness that’s a bit more complicated but just as important?*
C’mon, get happy! Here are the top 5 mood support supplements that made our list.
You’re probably familiar with serotonin – a neurotransmitter that contributes to a person’s mood and well-being – but where does it come from? The amino acid L-tryptophan, found naturally in animal and plant proteins that we consume, is converted into serotonin by an intermediary called 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan). By serving as a precursor to serotonin, 5-HTP helps promote a relaxed mood and a positive outlook.* Several factors, such as occasional stress, can reduce L-tryptophan conversion into serotonin in the body, but 5-HTP can bypass several of these factors. 5-HTP is not found in a typical diet; in fact, supplemental 5-HTP is often derived from an exotic West African plant, Griffonia simplicifolia.
From an ancient herb we move on to a modern discovery with benefits that go well beyond mood support.* SAM-e, the term used to describe the compound S-Adenosylmethionine, is a vital substance found in most cells that’s essential to many biochemical reactions in the body. It was discovered in Italy in 1952, and has been used successfully and extensively in Europe for over 20 years. SAM-e may enhance the sensitivity of specific nerve receptors in the brain, thereby supporting mood and emotional well-being.* Seniors in particular should consider supplementing with SAM-e; levels of SAM-e in the body may decline with age, and it also supports senior health concerns including joint function, mobility, and liver health.*
Tea lovers, rejoice! Green tea lovers, that is. L-Theanine, a non-essential amino acid that supports mood centers in the brain, was discovered to be a constituent of green tea leaves in 1949.* L-Theanine influences alpha brain wave activity and interacts with the neurotransmitter GABA, which is believed to provide the beneficial effect of supporting a calm, relaxed mood.* If you don’t have a taste for a soothing cup of green tea, L-Theanine can be consumed as a nutritional supplement on its own or in combination with other mood supporting supplements like this one.*
If you’re picturing a lemony ointment generously applied to thirsty lips on a dry winter day, think again – Lemon Balm is neither lemon nor balm. It’s actually a perennial herbaceous plant from the mint family with small white flowers that bloom in the summer throughout southern Europe and even as far away as central Asia. The leaves, whose mild scent can be described as a cross between lemon and mint, are used as an herb that helps promote relaxation and mood.* Lemon Balm is also used in teas, as a culinary flavoring, an essential oil, and especially to attract bees for honey production.
St. John’s Wort
Here’s one weed that gardeners will love. Probably the most well-known supplement on our list, St. John’s Wort has been used for centuries as an herbal tonic. This flowering plant is native to Europe, but also grows wild in the meadows and woods of California and Southern Oregon, where it’s actually considered an invasive weed. Its yellow flowers bloom right around the time of St. John’s Day – June 24th – when Christians honor the birth of St. John the Baptist. In ancient times, St. John’s Wort was smoked in fires and hung in houses to purify the air of evil spirits. Today, it’s used to nutritionally support a healthy emotional balance.*