Mental health is an important aspect of health that is all too often placed on the back burner. People will frequently choose to prioritize other aspects of their life such as school and work over mental health.
By making this decision, your mental well-being can be left malnourished, leaving you feeling drained and disconnected. Choosing to take charge of your mental wellbeing is an important first step to trying to regain your mental clarity, focus, and overall wellbeing. Making yourself a priority and making time for things that improve your overall mental health can lead to positive implications for your mental state. Supplements for mental health are a great starting point on your journey to supporting your mental health. With a nutritionally supported mind, you can ensure it is supported on a cellular level which will pay dividends throughout your mental wellbeing journey.
What supplements can help support mental wellbeing?
The world of supplements seems to be as vast as the stars in the sky. It can seem like every day there is some new supplement that is on the rage and from a consumer point of view, it can be difficult to sift through which supplements are worth the time and monetary investment.
This task can become even more daunting when you are trying to support a specific body system like the brain and nervous system. Not only are you looking for effective supplements, but also you need to assess how and where they impact the body.
Below is a breakdown of a few of the most effective supplements that can help support your brain and overall well-being.
B vitamins are a group of molecules that are incredibly important to the optimal functioning of the human body. Two of the most well-known B vitamins include B-6 and B-12. While both are under the category of B vitamins they carry out unique and equally important supporting roles within the body.
Vitamin B-6 can be found naturally in meat, nuts, and bananas. B-6 acts by supporting the immune system and also acts to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. In terms of mental health, B-6 deficiency can cause symptoms of irritability and decreased cognitive performance. Taking B-6 in the form of a supplement can ensure you have a physiologically necessary level of B-6 to avoid these potential symptoms.
Unlike B-6, B-12 is only found naturally in animal products. Those who are vegan, vegetarian, or eat a vegetable-based diet are at a higher risk of developing a B-12 deficiency since they are less likely to get enough through diet alone.
B-12 deficiency can cause a decline in energy level, anemia, and other symptoms like a decline in mental wellbeing. If you are B-12 deficient, taking B-12 can effectively help your energy levels, support your brain, and ensure your red blood cell production is in good shape.
The cells within the human body are incredibly complex and contain many microscopic structures to help them perform their specific function. The mitochondria are one of those structures and it is responsible for converting glucose into the energy-rich molecule ATP.
The process of ATP production is a necessary component to allowing the cell to live and function. ATP is paired with energetically unfavorable reactions to allow them to occur. ATP is utilized in the copying of DNA, the formation of proteins, and even the ability to send nerve impulses.
An unfortunate downfall of the mitochondria is that over time they can decline in ATP production efficiency. A common reason for this decline is that over time the mitochondrial membrane can slowly decline in its level of a molecule known as CoQ10. CoQ10 is an antioxidant that helps to protect the mitochondrial membrane from free radicals produced during ATP synthesis.
There are many CoQ10 supplements available that aim to support the mitochondria, but many fall short in their ability to be properly absorbed and implemented into the highly selective mitochondrial membrane. Mitoquinol is a chemically modified form of CoQ10 that is able to readily penetrate the mitochondrial membrane and support efficient ATP production.
In terms of how it affects mental health, MitoQ can support the mitochondria found within the neurons of your brain. Neurons need ATP to function and fire impulses, and by having supported mitochondria you can help ensure those neurons have all the ATP they need. This is a proposed mechanism as to how MitoQ can help to support mental wellbeing.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are frequently the topic of supplementation and for good reason. Omega-3 has far-reaching benefits and one of those includes proper brain health. Omega-3 is commonly sold under the name of fish oil as that is the typical source of the molecule.
Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that needs to be consumed on a regular basis. There are numerous forms of omega-3. The three most important for brain health are Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
A great source of Omega-3s is green-lipped mussel extract. Green-lipped mussel extract (GLME) comes from green-lipped mussels that are native to New Zealand. The supplement is extracted from the mussels and provides an excellent source of EPA, DHA, and many other healthful molecules.
Additionally, the production of GLME is far less impactful than the production of fish oil that utilizes fish farming. This allows you peace of mind knowing that you are supporting your mind but also doing your part to support sustainability.
Curcumin is an antioxidant molecule found within turmeric that has a wide range of benefits within the body, including the support of neurological functioning. Isolated curcumin is an orange powder that is extracted and purified from turmeric. Within the body, curcumin acts by supporting digestive, immune, and brain health.
While curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, it can have difficulty being absorbed and implemented throughout the body. Longvida® Curcumin is a supplement of curcumin that is more bioavailable than a standard curcumin supplement. With a 65-100 times better bioavailability, Longvida® Curcumin is the best way to get curcumin’s desired antioxidant properties in your system to reap the benefits.
Ways to support mental wellbeing
While supplements are a great starting point, it is important to keep the train moving and continue to strive for better mental wellbeing. One of the best ways to think about well-being is to imagine it is like your physical well-being.
To get physically in shape you need to first and foremost take charge of your nutrition, then you need to incorporate exercise to get physically in shape. Simply getting your nutrition down will only yield so much benefit. The key is to approach wellness from many angles to get the most reward.
The same can be said for your mental wellbeing. While you won’t be doing bench presses with your mind, you should make an effort to promote mental wellbeing through activities in addition to nutrition. Below is a look at some other things you can do to support your mental well-being.
The outdoors is a tremendously underutilized resource that people have at their disposal. From utilizing it to help get in shape, to simply enjoying the awe and beauty of nature, there are a large number of benefits from spending more time outside.
Meditation is a great way to make time to cultivate better mental wellbeing and a sense of presence. Meditation consists of taking time away from tasks and the business of life and focusing on the present moment, taking in the sensations around you, focusing on the breath, or even feeling the points of contact with the floor divert your attention away from the things that keep your mind busy and force you to take notice and appreciate the present moment.
All too often life gets in the way and we can get lost in a constant struggle with the future and what may happen. Meditation and mindfulness are activities that forces you to refocus on the present which can be liberating and positive for your mental wellbeing.
Talk with a health care team
Mental health is slowly becoming a more acceptable topic of conversation, but at one time it was a taboo topic. Everyone has their own circumstance and unique set of problems and it is important to know that it is okay to bring up your mental wellbeing with your physician.
There is an immense number of factors that contribute to healthy mental wellbeing and sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. An example would be with a vegan that feels fatigued all the time. For a physician, this is easily identified as a potential B-12 deficiency but the everyday person is unlikely to recognize that as the cause. Physicians are there to help you live the healthiest life possible and mental health is a vital component of the equation.
In summary, B vitamins, CoQ10, Omega-3 fatty acids, and curcumin represent some of the many supplements that can help bolster your mental wellbeing.
While supplements can help to support your brain and nervous system, it is important to note that the best method for improving mental wellbeing is to take a multi-faceted approach. Taking supplements for mental health in addition to partaking in activities aimed to improve mental wellbeing can best set you up for a happy and mentally sound life.
Reviewed by: Kai Man Yuen/ BSc., PGDipSci., MSc.