Tags: Health Topics | Natural Health Supplements | Mood | Depression | Boost

Which Natural Health Supplements to Boost Your Mood Do Doctors Say to Avoid?

By    |   Thursday, 19 March 2015 02:32 PM

It is estimated that depression costs $52 million every year in lost wages and treatment, according to WebMD. It is no surprise some people turn to natural health supplements in an effort to boost their moods.

Although there is some evidence to suggest supplements can change mood, here are six natural health aids that doctors advise their patients to use with caution:

1. St. John's Wort: This is one of the most studied herbal supplements that has shown to help in treating depression, PMS, sleep disorders and anxiety. However, according to WebMD, this herb can have negative effects when mixed with other medications. Calling the potential interactions "serious," the medical site said St. John's Wort may cause problems with prescription drugs like birth control, antidepressants, HIV medications, and blood thinners.

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2. SAMe: Another well-studied supplement derived from amino acids to treat depression, researchers have found SAMe to be as effective as prescribed antidepressants, in some cases. "Although SAMe usually causes few problems, you should use caution if you have diabetes, low blood sugar, or an anxiety or other type of psychiatric disorder," reports WebMD. "Gastrointestinal problems, headaches, fatigue, and skin rashes are the most common side effects."

3. Kava kava:
Although touted as a herbal remedy for anxiety, this herb is not recommended for any use as it has been linked to a "rare risk of significant liver problems," according to WebMD.

4. 5-HTP: Although this supplement and its relationship to serotonin levels are promoted as helpful for mood problems, the National Institute of Health said research on its effectiveness is still inconclusive. In addition, there has been some indication that using 5-HTP, particularly over a period of time, can deplete catacholamines, which include dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, and that can cause problems for patients. In some people with depression, that depletion actually worsens their depressive state, according to the NIH.

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5. GABA: Levels of this neurotransmitter, aminobutyric acid, have been shown to be lower in some people with mood disorders like depression or bipolar disorder, according to the Denver Naturopathic Clinic. However, taking GABA as a supplement, as is sometimes recommended for mood issues, has not been studied. "Today's view is that things which increase GABA in these people may trigger a depressive episode," says the Denver Naturopathic Clinic. "It isn't until time or treatment restores GABA to its former low level that these people feel better. This information suggests a situation that is far more complex than what was once thought and certainly argues for caution in using GABA in patients with depressive or bipolar disorders. Until proven safe, GABA should be used with caution in this population." 

6. Ashwagandha Root (also called Winter Cherry): This herbal root is frequently used in Ayurveda medicine. According to PreventDisease.com, it is a "safe, natural sedative." However, WebMD noted that there is another compound called Winter Cherry so patients should be careful not to confuse the two. Ashwagandha Root has not been well studied.  "Ashwagandha could cause more serious side effects in some people, including abnormal heart rhythm, breathing problems, sedation, low blood pressure, and kidney damage," reports WebMD. The University of Michigan reported on initial animal and human studies that found use of the herb lowered stress.

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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It is estimated that depression costs $52 million every year in lost wages and treatment, according to WebMD. It is no surprise some people turn to natural health supplements in an effort to boost their moods.
Natural Health Supplements, Mood, Depression, Boost
Thursday, 19 March 2015 02:32 PM
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