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Natural Mood Lifters: Nature's Blues Busters

Action Plan for a Natural Mood Lift
From a biochemical perspective, here's what to do to enhance your mood, but do bear in mind that low moods can be due to psychological factors as well.
  • Start with the Natural High Basics diet and supplements, including fish or flaxseed oil or a regular dietary intake of fish and/or flaxseeds. Your basic supplement program should include a high-strength multivitamin and vitamin C, supplying optimal amounts of B vitamins.
  • Balance your blood-sugar levels by avoiding sugar and stimulants and eating slow-releasing carbohydrates such as whole grains and fruit. Remember that a high-carbohydrate meal can make you drowsy, as can low blood sugar.
Once these basics are met, and you still need a boost, there are specific supplement recommendations. Some mood-enhancing supplement formulas combine many of these nutrients. The ideal doses are less when combined than when taken in isolation. Remember, the supplements listed below should be taken one (or two) at a time to start. Give the products a few weeks to begin working and only then try to add new ones. Do not start by taking them all together.
  • 5-HTP: Daily dose is 50 mg in the morning, and 50-100 mg at bedtime to raise your serotonin levels. It is a calming, mood-enhancing amino acid. If you get drowsy from the morning dose, which is rare, take the entire dose of 50-200 mg at bedtime. If it's too activating, as happens with some people, switch to the prescription form, L-tryptophan (which may also be activating in the rare individual).
  • St. John's wort: 300 mg daily of an extract of 0.3 percent hypericin, starting with one or two capsules or tablets in the morning with breakfast. If there is no change after a week, add a third dose at lunch. You can also take it as two doses of 450 mg each, or take your entire daily dose in the morning. If combining with 5-HTP, start with one capsule and build up slowly, since there is the theoretical possibility of serotonin syndrome. This happens when you have an overload of serotonin. Its symptoms are headache, increased body temperature, and excessive perspiration. If this should occur, seek medical help immediately. Don't worry too much, though. We have not seen or heard of such a case yet.
    Taking St. John's wort too close to bedtime can interfere with sleep in some people. Others find it relaxing. Available in tinctures as well, it can be taken by dropper. Since the tinctures are not standardized, read the label for the dose. You may need a few weeks to feel the full effect, so be patient.

    Mood Enhancers Daily Dose
    L-tryptophan 500-3,000 mg
    5-HTP 50-300 mg
    St. John's wort 300-900 mg
    Tyrosine 100-2,000 mg
    DLPA 100-2,000 mg
    SAMe 200-1,600 mg
    TMG 250-500 mg
    Vitamin B3 (niacin) 40-100 mg
    Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) 100-500 mg
    Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) 20-50 mg
    Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) 10-1,000 mcg
    Folic acid 400-800 mcg

    • If you tend to be low in energy and unmotivated first thing in the morning, despite sufficient sleep, 100-1,000 mg of tyrosine or DL-phenylalanine should pick you up. You can gradually increase to 2,000 mg if necessary.
    • SAMe is next if you still need a mood boost. Take 200 mg twice daily on an empty stomach. If you haven't felt an improvement in a few days, increase gradually, up to 400 mg four times daily. Most often, 400 mg daily is sufficient. In general, the longer SAMe is used, the more beneficial the results. Once you reach an effective level, you can start cutting back to an optimum maintenance dose. Alternatively, take 250-500 mg of TMG or DMG. SAMe does not mix well with other products, so either take it separately or replace it with TMG.
    So, to sum up, you should take the following to lift your mood:
    • A good all-around multivitamin supplying optimal amounts of B vitamins .
    • Either a EPA/DHA-rich fish oil supplement or fish three times a week in a meal. The fish oils must be taken separately since they cannot be combined in a tablet.
    • A mood-booster formula providing many of the nutrients shown above.


    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.


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