Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Natural Mood Improvement

Sometimes I just don’t feel like myself. I’m not as cheerful as I want to be. I feel melancholy and lethargic. I just have the blahs. A lot of it results from circumstances that are beyond my control; in the last two years, I’ve lost both a parent and a grandparent and have been dealing with chronic unemployment.

How I deal with these feelings is within my control though. The following three homeopathic remedies for non-clinical depression have worked for me and the results are supported by emerging science.

Vitamin D: According to Michael F. Holick, M.D., Ph.D., vitamin D is essential to the brain. "The new research is confirming previous observations that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of depression." (source) Vitamin D is particularly helpful for people suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Vitamin D increases levels of serotonin, a hormone in the brain that alters mood. (source) According to Dr. Marcelle Pick, most medical practitioners agree that normal neurotransmitter function depends in part on adequate vitamin D synthesis. (source)

You can get vitamin D from the sun, but if you work inside or live where there isn’t much sun during the winter months, you may not be getting enough. I take a supplement of 400 IU of vitamin D each day, though the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Food and the US Food and Nutrition Board both say that one can safely have up to 2000 IU per day. (source) I’ve noticed a change in my mood even with this relatively small dose.

B Vitamins: According to Dr. Hall-Flavin, B vitamins play a role in the production of certain brain chemicals that are important in regulating mood and other brain functions. (source) The first clinical effects of insufficient vitamin B complex are mood changes, insomnia, and changes in appetite. B vitamins play an important role both in alleviating depression and in relieving the anxiety and restlessness which often accompanies it. (source)

B vitamins are a group of compounds that are similar in structure but chemically distinct. I take a supplement of vitamin B complex, which includes each of these eight different compounds in amounts very close to the recommended daily allowance.

Exercise: Exercise releases neurotransmitters and endorphins in the brain, which may relieve depression symptoms. (source) One study showed that after sixteen weeks, patients who exercised reduced their depression symptoms as much as those taking antidepressants. (source) “Another study examined how much cardiovascular exercise was needed to see changes in mood among those with mild to moderate major depressive disorder. Those in the group that exercised at moderate intensity three to five days a week for about 40 minutes showed the biggest decrease in depressive symptoms compared with those who exercised less, or just did stretching.” (source)

I don’t get nearly the exercise I should because I’m one of those people who hates exercise. I have recently recommitted to resuming walking for at least thirty minutes a day, five days a week. It’s free and should help me boost my vitamin D levels too.

I am not a doctor; I’m just telling you what has worked for me. Depression is a serious medical condition and if you suspect you have it, you should talk to your doctor about it. However, what I describe falls within medically accepted parameters for health and nutrition with few side effects for an otherwise healthy person. It has improved my mood and may help you too.


  1. I've been through postpartum depression twice with antidepressants twice. You are so right on. My midwife, who is also my friend, told me to focus on these things to fight depression without meds: sunshine, exercise, sex, prayer/meditation, chocolate, sleep.

    I'm not fond of exercise either, and with the snow and ice, I couldn't even really walk downtown (I like walking with a purpose). I've been doing Pilates DVDs from the library on and off and I'm surprised how much I like it.

    Best wishes as you deal with the difficult things in your life. I admire your proactivity.

  2. Great information!


    barbara jean

  3. B Complex works for me, too! Inositol (part of the B complex) is my PMS lifesaver! I get really exhausted and yet it's hard to sleep. I'm no expert, but B vitamins solved this for me!

  4. I believe that I will try your suggestions. I am a person who lives in a world that I call overwhelmed. I was on medicine, but am not a pill taker and 20 lbs later I decided enough was enough.

    Thanks for the advice!


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