We live in a topsy-turvy world where circumstances can change on a dime. For example, in the past year, more than two million U.S. jobs have been lost, unprecedented numbers of homes are in foreclosure, the economy has taken continued assaults, and many people have found themselves in situations they never dreamed they would have to endure.
Human nature being what it is, many folks have sought inexpensive ways to help lift their moods during these dismal times. Some have turned to eating more fast food (yuck), while others have turned to pocketbook-friendly entertainment such as renting a movie and staying home instead of going out to the theaters.
Even the supplement industry has observed interesting trends in the mood supplement category. According to The Natural Marketing Institute’s (NMI) “2008 Health and Wellness Trends Survey,” the number of consumers taking supplements for mood has increased significantly from 2007. In 2008, almost 7 percent of those surveyed used mood supplements compared with only 4 percent in 2007.
Interestingly enough, the age groups who used them were higher in two categories: 30-39 year olds (nearly 8 percent) and 50-64 year olds (7 percent), compared with those in the 18-29, 40-49, and 65+ age groups.
These tumultuous times may have something to do with it, but the mood health dietary supplement sales are strong—$280 million for 2007, a growth of 6 percent compared to 2006, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. And that could be a good thing for those seeking a better mood, too, because reports indicate that between 31 to 68 percent of people who struggle on the mood front may have a nutritional deficiency.
As far as mood nutrients, there are several making the headlines, including:
5-HTP—This nutrient is a serotonin supporter.† Serotonin is a major player in neurotransmitters, which are responsible for communicating the various needs of the body between brain cells and peripheral cells of the nervous system. In short, serotonin is a “feel good” chemical that keeps your focus sharp and your concentration keen, enabling you to get a good night’s sleep and to awake happy and energized.†
Vinpocetine and gingko biloba—These nutrients have a history of supporting memory, optimizing function, improving mood, and focus.†
Folate, vitamin B12, thiamine, and iron—These nutrients can be key for positive effects in mood balance.†
Choline—This essential nutrient readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and is said to support a positive mood.†
Omega-3s—Omega-3 deficiency can have an adverse effect on the mood. The body inefficiently synthesizes DHA, so we need dietary DHA from sources like oily fish. It offers a rich source of omega-3s—especially preformed EPA and DHA, the most neurologically active forms of omega-3s. Awareness of omega-3 benefits is growing; there was a 5 percent increase in awareness of the importance of omega-3s in brain health (from 17 percent to 22 percent) between 2006 and 2007. Omega 3s have been shown to improve the mood of menopausal and perimenopausal women, too, according to a February 2009 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.†
Probiotics—Even probiotics are on the scene when it comes to a positive mood. Probiotics may give added support for gastrointestinal health during these stressful times.†
The bottom line? Things seem to be looking up for mood health, despite uncertain times.
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.