Just as keeping our body systems in check is important, paying attention to our brain and mental health is equally imperative for health and longevity. Overall, eating well, exercising, and warding off stress will help you to maintain good health, there are some specific brain and mental health supplements that can boost your function in these areas. Here are a few I find to assist in keeping my brain and mental health in order.
Brain and Mental Health Supplements #1: Algae-Derived Omega 3 Fatty Acids
In the 1990s, dietary researchers discovered that western diets were relatively deficient in omega 3 fatty acids compared to omega 6. From this insight, they theorized that the lack of omega 3s might be what was driving the abundance of mental health issues in our society. Lack of understanding in the general public as to what types of fats were beneficial led to overeating the wrong kinds. To this day, the confusion remains as to which fats are the most helpful.
I recommend to not load up on fish oil. Sure, it’s high in omega 3s, but it can also contain high levels of mercury and lead which can wreak havoc on your long-term brain health and capacity. The good news is that you can get all the short chain omega 3s you need from plant sources like ground flax seed, and long chains from algae-based supplements.
Brain and Mental Health Supplements #2: Hemp Seeds
The hemp seeds that you see in stores (Cannabis sativa) are from the same species of the cannabis or marijuana plant but is actually a variety that does not contain anywhere near its cousin’s THC levels. Consuming hemp seeds is an efficient way to get in quality protein, essential fatty acids, vitamin E, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and even magnesium. This is especially helpful for women who have trouble getting enough of these vital nutrients in their diet.
Research shows adding more EFAs to your diet, as found in these nutty seeds, just might help with some of the emotional symptoms that come along with PMS and menopause. The high content of essential fatty acids and Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) helps us to reduce some of the common symptoms like depression, anxiety, mood swings, and brain fog.
Brain and Mental Health Supplements #3: CBD Oil/Edibles
Researchers believe that CBD flower – the part of the cannabis plant which contains cannabidiol – could have powerful neuromodulatory effects. CBD oil may have the ability to interact with a person’s hypothalamus favorably, bringing it back into chemical balance, alleviating feelings of isolation, dread, panic, and generalized anxiety. If it is legal where you are and it’s available, consider trying some marijuana edibles or products that contain a broad spectrum mix. For example, those over 21 can get edibles in Seattle at reputable shops for private consumption. However, this might not be the case where you live. Just make sure you check all of the laws in your area because they can widely vary from state to state.
Brain and Mental Health Supplements #4: Cyanocobalamin
Cyanocobalamin is a form of vitamin B12, an essential nutrient required for proper brain function and feelings of energy and happiness. Although B12 deficiency is traditionally associated with veganism, most people are deficient in the vitamin. B12 isn’t made in either plants or animals, but rather bacteria which live in the soil. Our bodies can only uptake a limited amount at any given time, meaning that it’s vital to supplement regularly.
Inadequate levels of B12 can lead to an elevation of a dangerous blood factor called homocysteine which can induce feelings of depression and listlessness. Long-term B12 deficiency can cause the spine to crumble and result in severe neurological disorders and death. Evidence suggests that cyanocobalamin is better absorbed by the much-touted and more expensive methylcobalamin found in some “sublingual” B12 tinctures.
Brain and Mental Health Supplements #5: Magnesium
Maintaining proper magnesium levels in the body has multiple benefits that promote health. In addition to sugar conversion, absorption of calcium, and nervous system regulation, magnesium is imperative for optimal brain function. It is crucial in brain plasticity, which we need for memory, learning, cognitive function, and overall health.
**** This post is strictly informational and is not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Women’s lifelink, it’s owners, administrators, contributors, affiliates, vendors, authors and editors do not claim that this information will diagnose, treat, or improve any condition or disease.