Step-by-step outline of supplements to research & try
1. Multi-vitamin pictured above is one favorite brand but others can be used — critical to ensure all minimum levels are met – All Pure encapsulations products are sold on amazon
2. Omega 3’s
Few nutrients have been studied as thoroughly as omega-3 fatty acids.
Here are 17 health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids that are supported by science. Just a few of them are: fight depression and anxiety, improve brain health including attention and ability to complete tasks, decrease inflammation, support joints, improve mood and sleep.
Dose: 2 Soft gels per day (in the morning)
*Note: Because a balance of omegas is important and our diets generally contain too much omega-6, and omega-9 is naturally produced, it’s best to take only omega-3, not a blend with 6 and 9. [R]
3. Lithium Orotate
Lithium is an essential micronutrient that plays a significant role in healthy mental function, including support for healthy mood, emotional wellness, behavior and memory.
It’s present in all organs and tissues in the body and has a long history of supporting healthy mood and behavior by affecting dopamine and serotonin and increasing our natural detoxification enzymes in the brain.
Supplementing with low dose lithium orotate (not to be confused with any other forms) can very positively impact your well-being. Read much more about it in: Lithium Orotate: A Powerful Neuroprotective Supplement
Dose: One 5mg cap per day – in morning
*Supplements #1-3 are basic foundational pieces and along with a healthy, organic diet, exercise and avoiding toxins, good for everyone!
4. Saw Palmetto
See this post for info about how amazing it can be if elevated androgens are the cause of low serotonin: rkvillage.com/sawpalmetto
1 cap twice a day (morning / afternoon) try for 2 days, if no noticeable difference, discontinue.
Can help with obsessing thoughts, inability to let things go, anxiety and mood.
Dose: 3-4x daily with meals
From this post rkvillage.com/cravings, see the myo-inositol section specifically and these research links:
“A few of the most notable other benefits of myo-inosotol are it’s ability to reduce OCD, anxiety and panic attacks and decrease depression / increase serotonin. [R]”
- Controlled trials of inositol in psychiatry
- Double-blind, controlled, crossover trial of inositol versus fluvoxamine for the treatment of panic disorder
6. Spatone Iron
Low iron can greatly affect energy levels and mood. One packet per day, in afternoon if energy is low. Spatone is the most absorbable iron available, very well tolerated, no side effects. Sold on amazon.
S-adenosyl methionine (SAM-e—pronounced Sammy), is produced from the amino acid methionine, is present in all the body’s cells and is required for hundreds of reactions, including the synthesis of serotonin.
As a supplement, SAM-e has been used extensively for treating depression in Europe for over 30 years, and a review of SAM-e studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that SAM-e supplementation was a safe and effective treatment for depression.
Role of S-adenosyl-L-methionine in the treatment of depression: a review of the evidence
SAMe Dose – start with 100 mg twice a day and go up if needed. Can work more effectively when combined with Niacinamide (see below).
8. CBD oil
A few drops prior to a suspected anxiety / panic situation can help tremendously. Use as needed. Effects are felt within 10 minutes and last 3-4 hours. Can go up to 20 drops or more, but start with just a few, taking more at 10 minute intervals until correct dose is determined.
See this post recoveringkids.com/cbd and/or search “cbd + any keyword” for many research articles and more.
Effective Alternatives to SSRI’s for boosting Serotonin:
9. St. John’s Wort
Extracts of the flowering St. John’s wort plant exert their antidepressant actions similar to SSRI’s by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin as well as norepinephrine and dopamine, making more of these neurotransmitters available to the brain.
For people suffering from mild to moderate depression, studies show that St. John’s wort extracts are significantly effective. It has been found to be better tolerated but to work just as well or better than standard antidepressant drugs.
St John’s wort superior to placebo and similar to antidepressants for major depression but with fewer side effects
Use a quality brand, like the one pictured above and go slow. Adults: 100 – 300 mg, 3x per day, increase as needed.
10. Niacinamide (B3)
Take this B vitamin with SAMe, St John’s wort, and/or 5-HTP to further increase serotonin.
See this article for more on why it helps them work better: Niacin Adventures: Part 1 – Nature’s Prozac. “Simply put, if you’re not getting enough Niacin in your diet, you will end up being deficient in Serotonin. And Melatonin. So you’ll be depressed, and will have trouble sleeping.”
Dose: 250 to 500 mg, twice a day – sold on amazon. If you have low blood pressure, be careful with this one.
Our body makes 5-hydroxy tryptophan, or 5-HTP, from tryptophan, and then converts it into serotonin. When taken as a supplement, 5-HTP is well-absorbed and crosses the blood-brain barrier where it gets converted to serotonin.
5-HTP is believed to offer stronger serotonin support than L-tryptophan. Clinical trials have confirmed the efficacy of 5-HTP supplements for depression, sleep disorders, binge eating and panic disorders.
5-Hydroxytryptophan: A Clinically-Effective Serotonin Precursor
Adults begin with 25 mg (1/2 cap) 3x per day and increase as needed. Often people find they may need less of both 5-HTP & St Johns Wort if used together. If 5-HTP is not tolerated, L-tryptophan is an alternative to consider.
If more help is needed:
• Test Thyroid and know that most clinicians under treat. This can make a big difference. A TSH of over 1.5 should be treated.
• Thyroid gland tests – TSH, free T4, free T3, total T3, thyroid antibodies
• Consider adding Dimethylglycine (DMG)
A lesser known supplement is the amino acid, DMG. This adaptogen works to counteract the negative effects of physical, emotional, and metabolic stress and to help prevent and overcome degenerative diseases.
It positively influences mood, energy, well-being, alertness, concentration, and visual clarity. You can read more in, DMG: An All-Natural Wellness Builder
Dose: approx 250 mg once per day – Kirkman brand or similar, sold on amazon
• Look onto other calming supplements and herbs such as: Ashwaghanda, GABA, Holy Basil, Kava Kava, L-Theanine, Magnesium, Taurine, Valerian and more.
• Remember that sometimes supplements work best in combination. For example, Niacinamide and other B vitamins, especially B6, can increase the effectiveness of other supplements.
• Try a low histamine diet. This can be incredibly successful for reducing anxiety. Article here.
• Work with an integrative medicine practitioner to do additional testing if still struggling. Examples: Adrenal gland tests – cortisol, DHEA-S, pregnenolone. Hormone tests – estradiol, progesterone, free and total testosterone.
The dosages given above are common starting points — often people will need more — increase slowly and use lowest effective dose.