Alternatives to the Mainstream
**Having around 16 years of experience trying different supplements for both mental health and fatigue, this author has personal experience to draw on. However, supplements should not be taken lightly and reactions to them can vary hugely from one person to another, depending on the person's physical health and/or deficiencies. They should not be considered medical treatment or used as replacement for medical treatment, and you must always consult your doctor before taking something new. Certain supplements can interact with medications or impact of pre-existing health conditions.
There are a number of supplements which have the potential to improve our overall health and therefore, impact our mood and energy levels. This ties into diet and nutrition, because if we are deficient in something, our bodies are not able to work in an optimal way. By supplementing that which is lacking, it is possible to bring the body back to a good baseline, which will have a positive overall effect.
Plus, there are a number of other supplements which can aid in the detoxification of the liver and kidneys, help with energy production and support brain health and impact the neurotransmitters in the brain.
This topic is not something which can be summed up in one post. Each and every supplement out there has a wealth of information available, including people's lived experiences, articles from reputable sources and clinical trial data for varying ailments. Supplements should always be purchased from a reliable source to avoid unnecessary fillers, additives or contaminants, so do your research before buying anything and check reviews too. There is such a thing as vitamin toxicity, and taking too much of one thing or taking too many things daily can cause this. Not all supplements can be taken together, not all are required daily and not all need to or should be taken for long periods of time. For the benefit of those reading this who are new to supplements, the list below provides a basis for further research with a link to some further information, but please do further reading if you are considering taking anything.
Vitamin D - most of us living in the UK will be deficient because we simply do not get enough sun light. This can affect calcium absorption, bone health and mood. Vitamin D: Benefits, Sources, Deficiencies (healthline.com)
B12 - Especially if you are vegetarian or vegan, this is something you could be deficient in which can cause low energy. 9 Health Benefits of Vitamin B12, Based on Science (healthline.com)
N-Acetylecysteine (NAC) - a good liver and kidney detoxifier and has also shown great promise in helping alleviate symptoms of various psychiatric conditions, including:
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) - a compound that helps generate energy in your cells. CoQ10 has been shown to protect brain cells from oxidative damage and reduce the action of harmful compounds that can lead to brain disease. 9 Benefits of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) (healthline.com)
Probiotics - when we take anti-biotics, they can wipe out all of the good bacteria in your body. Poor diets short in pre and probiotics can affect the gut microbiome and after anti-biotics, it takes longer to recover. There is a proven link between gut health and brain health. The Brain-Gut Connection | Johns Hopkins Medicine
B - complex - may boost mood, reduce fatigue and improve energy.
Omega 3 - a handful of small studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids can help smooth out the mood swings of bipolar disorder. Omega 3 supplements are available as a fish oil and vegan alternatives are also available.
Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy can improve mitochondrial function and help with mood. More on this coming soon! But if you are desperate to find out more, check out the following book by Mark Sloan.
This theory is based around trauma and how this is held in our brains and bodies. More in this coming soon! But if you are desperate to find out more, check out the Polyvagal Institute here Wellness | Polyvagal Institute, the theory of which comes from Stephen Porges. And the following book by Stanley Rosenberg is a great read.
If books are not your thing, there is plenty of content on Youtube, including this video here:
More are listed on our 'Video Resources' page.
Fasting and intermittent fasting have numerous health benefits, from increased weight loss to better brain function. More on this soon!