Natural Mood Lifters: Nature's Blues Busters
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Trimethylglycine (TMG): More of the SAMe
The body can also make SAMe directly from trimethylglycine (TMG), which is much less expensive. While it has not been as extensively researched as SAMe, the fact that it is a direct precursor of SAMe would predict that its effect would be similar.
TMG is also known as "glycine betaine," not to be confused with "betaine hydrochloride," which is used to help increase stomach acid. TMG turns homocysteine, a substance toxic to the heart, into SAMe and methionine. This process also yields DMG (dimethylglycine), a well-known performance and energy enhancer, which thus doubles TMG's benefits. DMG can also be used, generally in sublingual tablets that dissolve quickly under the tongue.
Extracted from sugar beets, TMG is also found in broccoli and spinach. Except for the cautions listed above, it has no reported side effects other than brief muscle-tension headaches, and only if it is taken in large quantities without food. Optimal doses needed to raise SAMe are 1,000-3,000 mg per day. In a combination formula, 250-500 mg is enough.
An important point is that, unlike many other natural and synthetic antidepressants, SAMe and TMG are safe to take during pregnancy and nursing. There are also no reported negative interactions with other medications, such as antidepressants. This makes them particularly useful for elderly people who are often on a variety of medications and are also more sensitive to side effects. SAMe can be used safely with other natural supplements, too, including St. John's wort.
SAMe (s-adenosyl-methionine) and TMG (trimethylglycine)
How they work: Naturally occurring molecules, donate methyl groups in manufacture of neurotransmitters.
Positive effects: Enhance neurotransmitter activity; act as natural mood enhancers and stimulants.
Caution: Higher doses may lead to irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and nausea. SAMe's antidepressant activity may lead to the manic phase in individuals with bipolar disorder (manic depression), so monitor carefully.
Dosage: 200 mg of SAMe once or twice daily, between meals, increasing gradually to a maximum of 1,600 mg a day if needed; or 500-3,000 mg of TMG once or twice daily.
Omega-3 Brain Fats: The Fish Connection
You've learned how important the omega-3 fatty acids are for health and, as it turns out, for happiness. The omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are found in fatty, carnivorous fish such as herring, mackerel, tuna, and salmon. In countries where there is higher fish consumption, there is a lower rate of depression. Also, diets and drugs that severely lower cholesterol tend to exacerbate omega-3 deficiency, causing depression, whereas supplementing omega-3 fish oils has proven effective in elevating mood. There is also a correlation between the incidence of depression and heart disease, and both are associated with omega-3 fat deficiency.
To ensure an optimal intake of the essential omega-3s, eat fatty fish three times a week. Otherwise, take an omega-3 fish oil supplement providing 500-1,000 mg of EPA plus DHA, daily. Most fish oil supplements provide around 400 mg of EPA plus DHA, so you'll need two a day. If you are vegan or vegetarian, eat one tablespoon of flaxseeds a day and one tablespoon of flaxseed oil.
From NATURAL HIGHS: Supplements, Nutrition, and Mind/Body Techniques to Help You Feel Good by Hyla Cass and Patrick Holford. Copyright © Hyla Cass, M.D., and Patrick Holford. Used by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.