Mood: Vitamin D and omega-3 increase serotonin
Millions of adults are estimated to have a mental illness in Europe (and in the USA), and the numbers seem to be increasing. (1) Read on how omega-3 and vitamin D can be useful in treatment and find other mood-boosting supplements.
While omega-3 and vitamin D have been previously suggested to help treat mental illnesses, the exact mechanisms by which they work are not clearly understood.
Fortunately, a study provides insight into their mood-boosting effects. The results were published in the journal FASEB.
Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids regulate serotonin
Low serotonin levels are implicated in different mental illnesses including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, ADHD, autism, and schizophrenia. (2)
Even various aspects of behavior such as decision making and impulsivity are linked to this vital neurotransmitter.
In this two-part study, scientists from California sought to determine the role of omega-3 and vitamin D on serotonin synthesis. Here is a summary of their results:
EPA helps the release of serotonin from neurons by decreasing inflammatory compounds called E2 prostaglandins. Inflammation blocks the release of serotonin.
DHA increases the fluidity of brain cell membranes, allowing serotonin to reach receptors more easily.
Vitamin D regulates the conversion of tryptophan (an amino acid) into serotonin. The combination protects against mental illnesses by boosting serotonin levels. (2)
The bottom line
Europeans are increasing a lot their psychiatric medications consumption, whose side effects range from dry mouth, insomnia, weight gain, and blurry vision. Vitamin D and omega-3, on the other hand, support mental health without causing serious side effects.
For mental health, therapeutic doses for fish oil range between 2–4 grams with higher doses (10 grams) benefiting conditions such as bipolar disorder.
To maintain optimal vitamin D blood levels, between 5000 to 7000 IU should be taken daily and followed up with blood testing.
More mood-boosting supplements
Mood-boosting hemp oil formula without THC: Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract
Enhanced support for healthy sleep, mood, response to stress, and satiety: Optimized Tryptophan Plus
Can helps maintain stable mood: SAMe, 400 mg
A combination of probiotics and saffron extract for positive mood and relaxation: FLORASSIST® Mood Improve
1. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-mental-illness-ami-among-adults.shtml. Accessed May 15, 2015.
2. FASEB J. 2015 Feb 24. pii: fj.14-268342. 3. Curr Opin Pediatr. 1996 Aug;8(4):348-54.
Other blog topics
- Vitamin D’s winter immune benefits
- NAD+: Stem cell renewal & mitochondria regeneration
- Fight your fatigue with french oak wood
- Boost your immune system for the cold season
- Brain: Support your memory and ability to concentrate
- Health basic — start your journey here
- Pink ribbon — how to boost breast health
- How to lower your cholesterol
- Why vitamin C is good for you
- Improve endurance exercise performance and recovery
- A healthy prostate
- Could you use a little more energy?
- Zinc — boost your immune health