Monday, July 9, 2012
Guest Post: Natural Mood Enhancers
Today I am pleased to have Nick here with a guest post on natural mood enhancers. Feeling stressed out, anxious, grumpy or lethargic? Check out Nick's natural remedies to help yourself feel good again!
Natural Mood Enhancers
Today's 24/7 high pace culture has left a lot of us feeling stressed and exhausted. The solution of course is better time management, a well balance diet and plenty of exercise. But ironically, finding the time for all of these seems to get harder every day.
Most people shy away from pharmaceutical anti-depressants, but there are natural, over the counter alternatives that may help de-stress, boost mood and generally feel better able to cope.
St John's Wort
Probably the best known is St. John's Wort. About as natural as you can get, St. John's Wort generally refers to any plant species of the genus Hypericum.
Hypericum has been used since Ancient Greek times as a treatment for depression, a tradition that is still carried on today. It is thought to be similar to mainstream anti-depressants but without the associated side effects. Some studies have shown St. John's Wort to be more effective than placebo in treating depression.
Small numbers of patients find that it increases anxiety, but this is very rare.
Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in the body. It is also found in tea, particularly green tea. Working synergistically with caffeine it may reduce mental and physical stress and improve cognition.
Rather than a quick fix for anxiety, some studies have suggested that Theanine helps to make unstressed people feel more tranquil rather than for reducing already present anxiety. As such it is more a general well-being supplement.
Theanine is thought to be beneficial to the production of the neurotransmitter GABA as well as alpha waves. Healthy production of both may help produce feelings if calm.
If you're not a fan of green tea, Theanine is available over the counter as a supplement.
5HTP is short for 5-Hydroxytryptophan, a naturally occurring amino acid. It's chemically halfway between tryptophan and serotonin – well known for regulating mood (particularly good ones!)
The idea is that in ingesting 5HTP as a supplement you aid the production of serotonin, thereby increasing overall levels and compensating for any serotonin deficiency. Sadly serotonin deficiency is becoming more widespread as a result of high stress, poor diet and lack of exercise.
Low levels of serotonin are also related in some people to health issues other than depression including migraines, obesity and insomnia. 5HTP may also help to combat these, although the evidence is less strong than for its mood enhancing capabilities.
Some people find these natural mood enhancers of real benefit to their mood and help them cope with all too common high stress lifestyles, without resorting to pharmaceutical solutions that can carry more side-effects. The test as ever, is to try them for yourself.
Nick Lewis is a writer specialising in natural health issues, including supplements such as 5HTP. For more natural supplements, visit Higher Nature.
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