What supplements do I take to support mental health, brain health, and to increase energy??
Good question! What I take and daily dosages listed below. My dose may not be for you. Do your own research and talk to a medical professional. You can even have your levels of things like vitamin D and iron tested without a doctor's appointment at places like Quest Diagnostics or Any Lab Now.
D3 (4000 IUs)- The Happy Hormone
An estimated 77% of Americans don't get enough vitamin D. I am one of them. I tested low for vitamin D in AUGUST when our bodies should be converting sunshine into vitamin D. Some of us (lucky me) have genetics that get in the way of that happening. Vitamin D is a hormone that is a part of many bodily processes. D deficiency can cause low testosterone and low estrogen; these hormones don't just impact sex drive, they also impact mood! Low testosterone can cause depression, anxiety, and irritability. Similarly, estrogen helps boost serotonin and GABA, critical neurotransmitters, which help keep you calm and happy.
Omega 3s (2000 mg)
Some studies have found omega 3s to be as effective as antidepressants. Research also suggests that they may make the anti-depressant you're already taking MORE effective. Omega 3s are also anti-inflammatory. 'Nuf said.
Iron & Vitamin C
What did being low on iron feel like? I was ridiculously exhausted no matter how much I slept. If I did hard cardio in the AM I would be nearly comatose by afternoon with a pounding headache accompanied by nausea. Also, my ferritin levels were so low, I wasn't making new hair! I could have sworn I had a thyroid issue, but alas...just needed some high doses of iron to get my levels back up. If you've had blood loss (childbirth for me) or regularly heavy periods (me, too) iron might be the culprit of your low energy, crappy mood, and thinning hair. Vitamin C increases your body's ability to absorb iron. Important to take iron WITH FOOD as it has a tendency to cause an upset stomach.
Before bed I take the following:
Probiotics (60 Billion CFU)- A REALLY GOOD, high quality (probably expensive) one (50/50 blend of lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis)
Research shows that unhealthy guts with an imbalance of good/bad bacteria can impact the parts of the brain responsible for stress and anxiety. In short, the lack of good bugs in your system can increase anxiety. But not all probiotics are equally efficacious for increasing mental health. Research suggests that the 2 listed above can have a major positive effect on the mental health of humans and reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone).
Magnesium Glycinate (200 mg)
Recent research on the relationship between magnesium and depression is astounding. A meta-analysis of 11 studies on magnesium and depression found that people with the lowest intake of magnesium were 81% more likely to be depressed than those with the highest intake. There are also recent studies suggesting a link between deficiency and ADHD. It also helps you POOP!! ;-)
But wait, have you visited your physician and keep getting told, "everything came back normal", but you have a nagging feeling something's not right? Been there, done that...a few times. It might be time to seek out a Functional Medicine Doctor, like Dr. Olivia Joseph (<-lots of helpful videos live here), whose focus and training is less on treating symptoms and more on discovering and treating the root cause of your issue.
Hope this helps! Sometimes small tweaks can make a big difference.