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Mood Support

 – Our minds have an amazing capacity to retain data and record events. Memory is our ability to recall the knowledge that we've learned and to relive the experiences that we've had. The human brain develops until a person's mid-20s, and after that time, growth and development largely ceases. Some people find that as they age, their memory becomes fuzzy, leading to absentmindedness, forgetfulness and difficulty learning new facts. When this occurs, improved nutrition can sometimes lead to an improvement in the ability to recall and retain.
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Forgetfulness can greatly impact a person's daily life, causing them to misplace objects, fail to arrive for events and appointments and can impair their ability to recall faces. Studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other institutions and foundations have found that, often, nutritional deficiencies play a role in memory loss. Specifically, a lack of vitamin B12 or iron is known to contribute to forgetfulness. As a result, many supplement products contain one or both of these vital nutrients for brain health.

SAM-e or S-Adenosyl-L-methionine is becoming a more frequently used ingredient in mood support products. This natural chemical is produced in the body from the amino acid methionine. More than 40 clinical trials studied SAM-e and depression. Even though many of these studies demonstrated improvement, many of the studies were only for a few weeks, had a limited number of participants, and used IV or injected SAM-e, rather than an oral form. Therefore, the evidence supporting the benefits of SAM-e is not conclusive.

5-HTP or 5-Hydroxytryptophan is another supplement for mood. The body produces this chemical when the amino acid tryptophan is broken down into its components. In the body, 5-HTP is a required material for the manufacturing of serotonin, the brain chemical that is most responsible for promoting good moods and positive feelings. Some scientists believe that increasing 5-HTP levels in the body can accelerate the rate of serotonin manufacturing, leading to an improvement of mood. One small study published in the peer-reviewed journal Alternative Medicine Review in 1998 demonstrated that 5-HTP was successful on individuals with depression. In 2009, an independent scientific review concluded that compared to a placebo, 5-HTP and tryptophan reduced symptoms associated with depression, but that since side effects including dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and death also occurred, more evidence was still needed. It recommended that it was safer to use antidepressants with less potentially serious side effects.

Keep in mind that mood support supplements are definitely not treatments for moderate to severe depression and other mental health disorders. While they may help those suffering from such problems, clinical interventions may also be necessary. Talk to your doctor about your mood problems if they persist, and due to the interactions with many medications, if you are taking other medications or have any medical conditions, check with your healthcare provider and/or pharmacist before starting a mood support supplement.

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