So much can be done using the amazing healing power of foods and nutrients when it comes to brain health and mood. I truly believe this holistic health approach is the way to go because it gets back to basics and addresses the root causes of issues instead of the using the band-aid approach. The added bonus is that this approach also improves focus, skin health, digestion, heart health and more.
Here are just some of my top nutrients for a healthy brain and great mood!
Zinc is one of the top nutrient deficiencies I see with my clients.
Zinc is a key nutrient for the prevention of anxiety and depression, especially the type of social anxiety called pyroluria. Here is the pyroluria questionnaire: https://www.everywomanover29.com/blog/pyroluria-questionnaire-from-the-antianxiety-food-solution/ It’s also been shown to be beneficial for sleep, cognitive function and for healing from traumatic brain injury. Zinc is also an important co-factor in making the neurotransmitters GABA and serotonin.
Turmeric is an uncommon yet powerful supplement
Research shows that turmeric has “promising cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory properties”. We often see inflammation and brain/mood problems go hand in hand. Inflammation produces cytokines which activate the IDO enzyme, degrading tryptophan and leading to less serotonin and less melatonin. This can result in increased depression and anxiety, poor sleep and poor focus. A new randomized, controlled clinical trial published in the journal Phytotherapy Research has confirmed that the primary polyphenol in turmeric known as curcumin is both safe and effective in treating serious states of depression. One study even found that turmeric benefited 3 patients with Alzheimer’s disease and reduced symptoms of irritability, agitation, anxiety, and apathy.
Tryptophan is an amazing amino acid
It promotes sleep and improves depression, anxiety, panic, worry and OCD /obsessive compulsive symptoms in people who have low serotonin. I have my clients do this questionnaire so we can figure out which deficiency they have https://www.everywomanover29.com/blog/amino-acids-mood-questionnaire-from-the-antianxiety-food-solution/ Although there isn’t a great deal of research on this amino acid and “the evidence base is significantly larger for depression than for anxiety disorder”, tryptophan is recognized as an add-on for when someone is on medications. I see so much success using tryptophan with my clients that I wish it was the first choice before anti-depressants!
I’d like to share some recent success I’ve seen with tryptophan. I’ve been having the most amazingly rewarding sessions with a young man (and his mom). During our first session, an in-office trial of 100mg of chewable tryptophan reduced his worry, sadness and very busy thoughts from a 7/8/9 out of 10, to a 3 out of 10 within 5-10 minutes. He said “my head feels different…good different…I’m thinking happy things”. He started to smile a lot. He also has a repetitive behavior which went from 7/8 out of 10, to a 5 out of 10. Tryptophan is known for reducing OCD but it wasn’t quite enough and we have had to add inositol too. I know the amazing amino acids work wonders but I’m always thrilled when I see them in action changing lives. And most of all, I’m so pleased his mom decided to go this route first instead of having him take medications. We are simply addressing nutritional deficiencies like low serotonin and low zinc [he did also need zinc].
What supplements have you found to be beneficial for your brain health, anxiety or depression?