Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth A. Swick, MS, RDN
EXERCISE AND SUPPLEMENTS TO IMPROVE MOOD
Stress and anxiety can have a profound impact on your mood. Not only can anxiety and stress leave you feeling irritable, but they can also rob you of sleep, further diminishing your emotional well-being. While there is no magic one-step solution for those searching for answers on how to get in a better mood, exercise, and the right mood-boosting supplements may help over time. Read on for more information about the connection between supplements, exercise, and mood.
HOW DOES EXERCISE IMPROVE MOOD?
Numerous studies have confirmed exercise's benefits for supporting a good mood. During workouts, your heart and respiration rates rise, and your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals are credited for causing a "runner's high," a feeling of euphoria or happiness that occurs during high-intensity exercise. You don't have to run a marathon to improve your mood. Low-intensity workouts have been shown to support the activities of growth factor proteins that help the nervous system make new connections. For people who are suffering from stress and anxiety, this may lead to an improvement in symptoms.
OTHER BENEFITS OF EXERCISE
In addition to helping support a better mood, exercise also:
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Improves blood sugar level control
- Promotes better sleep
- Strengthens the muscles and bones
- Supports weight control
By improving your overall health and well-being, exercise can help you feel better every day, leading to improvements in your mood.
MOOD-BOOSTING SUPPLEMENTS-GABA AND ASHWAGANDHA
Mood support supplements can also play a role in your plan to reduce stress and enhance your mental well-being. Although research into the use of supplements to improve mood is ongoing, the results of early studies involving GABA and ashwagandha have yielded promising results. These mood supplements can be taken together or separately. Combination products can make it easy to reap the benefits of both GABA and Ashwagandha.
There are credible brands like Body Kitchen that have produced top-quality formulas that include patented and clinically-researched forms of these two miracle ingredients. Body Kitchen Stress Release offers 600mg of Ashwagandha and 200mg of GABA in a formula that is designed to help suppress high levels of stress and also support a prolonged state of relaxation without feeling drowsy.
Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used medicinally as part of Ayurvedic healing since ancient times. Modern-day doctors and scientists now believe that the herb may benefit individuals dealing with stress and anxiety. The mechanism of action for ashwagandha stress relief activity is likely due to its ability to decrease cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a hormone released in response to stress to help protect the body from perceived threats. One study found that people who took ashwagandha reported a 69 percent reduction in stress. In addition, early studies indicate the potential benefits of ashwagandha for mood. One showed that individuals who took 600 milligrams of the herb per day saw a 79 percent reduction in depression symptoms.
GABA or gamma-Aminobutyric acid is an amino acid that your brain naturally produces. It acts as a stop sign for your nervous system, sending signals that decrease activity in the central nervous system. Many prescription drugs for depression, insomnia, and anxiety work by boosting GABA levels in the brain. The goal of taking a GABA supplement is to produce these effects more naturally. Based on early research, experts believe that GABA may:
- Improve sleep. Natural GABA is needed to relax the mind and body when you settle into bed at night. Studies have found that people with chronic insomnia may have GABA levels up to 30 percent lower than others. One research project revealed that GABA supplements made from fermented food helped people fall asleep faster and for extended periods.
- Reduce stress. Stressful situations energize the nervous system, putting the body in a flight or fight response pattern. GABA supplements may counteract this by reducing nerve signaling. One study confirmed this belief. Participants were given 100 milligrams of GABA after completing a stressful task and then monitored their brain waves. Those who took the supplement showed less stress-related brain activity than those who didn't.
- Ease anxiety symptoms. Because of its potential to calm the mind, GABA may have anti-anxiety benefits. A very small study into the benefits of GABA for anxiety showed that brain activity slowed within one hour of taking the supplement and that participants reported feeling less anxious.
- Lower blood pressure levels. People who suffer from high levels of stress and anxiety disorders often have high blood pressure. There is some evidence suggesting that GABA may help the body properly regulate blood pressure levels to reduce the risk of hypertension and lower readings in people with borderline hypertension.
USING MOOD ENHANCING SUPPLEMENTS SAFELY
Before taking GABA or ashwagandha for anxiety, be sure to talk to your doctor. While the supplements are natural, they can still interact with prescription medications and cause side effects in some individuals. Always use supplements as directed by the instructions on the packaging unless your medical provider gives you different advice regarding being in a better mood with GABA and ashwagandha supportb