13 Powerful Ways to Support Your Thyroid for Better Mental Health

When you know better, you do better.
— Maya Angelou
Ways-support-increase-improve-your-thyroid-hormone-for-better-mental-health-brain-hashimotos-t3-t4-thyroxine-triiodothyronine-iodine-fluoride-depression-anxiety-hypothyroidism-mycotoxins-mold-underactive-low-lllt-laser-therapy-ray-peat-gluten-pufas-oil-coconut-iodine-selenium-herbs-collagen-gelatin-glutathione-bipolar-function-naturally-hyperthyroidism-supplements-low-underactive-gland-illness-light-therapy-autoimmune-fog-deficiency-stress-mood-disorders-schizophrenia-anger-psychosis-insomnia-dementia-social-borderline-personality-ocd-adhd-gluten-inflammation-celiac-omega-BPA-PFOA-pesticides

Sometimes it may feel as if we have no control over our thoughts and emotions. Our minds can take on a life of their own, with no rhyme or reason as to why we're suddenly sad and anxious.

But there are always underlying causes of these mood swings, and with a better understanding of them, you can learn to manage and overcome them. 

Like I have, you can connect the dots, determine your underlying triggers, learn to control them and even completely eliminate them over time. 

So today I want to talk about thyroid dysfunction. It was one of the underlying issues of my chronic mental illness. 

Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck below your Adam’s apple.

It’s one of your most important glands, producing hormones – thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) – which impact the health and functioning of your entire body.

In fact, normal metabolism and energy levels depend on these hormones. 

Your thyroid also plays a key role in the optimal health and functioning of your brain. It can impact your cognition, concentration, mood, memory and emotions. 

So when your thyroid hormones are out of balance, you can be too, and brain and mental problems can arise.

Your thyroid can either be overactive and produce too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), or underactive and produce too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism).

Hypothyroidism (low thyroid) is much more common, and since I personally struggled with symptoms of hypothyroidism, this post will mostly focus on that.

Ways-support-increase-improve-your-thyroid-hormone-for-better-mental-health-brain-hashimotos-t3-t4-thyroxine-triiodothyronine-iodine-fluoride-depression-anxiety-hypothyroidism-mycotoxins-mold-underactive-low-lllt-laser-therapy-ray-peat-gluten-pufas-oil-coconut-iodine-selenium-herbs-collagen-gelatin-glutathione-bipolar-function-naturally-hyperthyroidism-supplements-low-underactive-gland-illness-light-therapy-autoimmune-fog-deficiency-stress-mood-disorders-schizophrenia-anger-psychosis-insomnia-dementia-social-borderline-personality-ocd-adhd-gluten-inflammation-celiac-omega- BPA-PFOA-pesticides

Hypothyroidism can also be caused by an autoimmune conditions called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in which the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid tissue.

According to Dr. Datis Kharrazian, author of Why Isn’t My Brain Working? and Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?, 90% of people with hypothyroidism have Hashimoto’s. 

Here are some of the common brain and mental health symptoms of low thyroid that I experienced:

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Brain fog

  • Low mood

  • Forgetfulness

  • Weakness

  • Sluggishness

Sounds just like depression, doesn’t it?

You Don't Have Mental Illness, You Have Thyroid Problems

Many studies show that people with cognitive, emotional and behavioural disturbances have lower levels of thyroid hormone than the general population, and their psychiatric symptoms improve when they take thyroid hormone.

The following symptoms and disorders have been linked to thyroid problems (69-86): 

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Bipolar disorder, mania and mood swings

  • Irritability and rage

  • Insomnia

  • Paranoid schizophrenia and psychosis

  • Dementia and confusion

  • Social anxiety disorder

  • Generalized anxiety disorder

  • Borderline personality disorder

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

In fact, many people struggling with these conditions see better improvements when they are treated with thyroid hormone than when they are treated with psychiatric medication (and experience fewer side effects). 

Psychiatric patients with subclinical hypothyroidism - especially those with incomplete responses to psychotropic therapy - should usually be treated with thyroid hormone. In some patients with no clear evidence of a biochemical or clinical thyroid disorder, mood symptoms nevertheless respond to thyroid hormone.
— Thomas D. Geracioti Jr, MD

A number of different medical practitioners and researchers have written books about how thyroid problems can negatively affect brain and contribute to mental illness:

So if you struggle with brain or mental illness, you likely do not need a prescription for antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety medication. What you really need is to support your thyroid. Treating the underlying thyroid problem is critical to alleviating the associated psychiatric symptoms.

Luckily, there are easy, natural ways for you to do just that.

Below are 13 main strategies I’ve used to balance my thyroid hormones and improve thyroid function. 

Before implementing all of them, I highly recommend getting a full thyroid panel (like this one) so that you know your starting point. True Health Labs allows you to order their Complete Thyroid Panel even without a doctor. 

Click here to subscribe

1. Cut Out Gluten

Certain foods can disrupt proper thyroid function and you should avoid them to optimize brain and mental health. 

Gluten-containing grains (barley, wheat, rye, spelt) are the worst offenders.  

Ways-support-increase-improve-your-thyroid-hormone-for-better-mental-health-brain-hashimotos-t3-t4-thyroxine-triiodothyronine-iodine-fluoride-depression-anxiety-hypothyroidism-mycotoxins-mold-underactive-low-lllt-laser-therapy-ray-peat-gluten-pufas-oil-coconut-iodine-selenium-herbs-collagen-gelatin-glutathione-bipolar-function-naturally-hyperthyroidism-supplements-low-underactive-gland-illness-light-therapy-autoimmune-fog-deficiency-stress-mood-disorders-schizophrenia-anger-psychosis-insomnia-dementia-social-borderline-personality-ocd-adhd-gluten-inflammation-celiac-omega- BPA-PFOA-pesticides

The problem with gluten is that it can increase intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome). When this happens, small particles of food can leak into your bloodstream. Your immune system sees these food particles as foreign entities and attacks them, increasing inflammation throughout your body. 

On top of this, the molecular structure of gliadin (the protein found in gluten) resembles that of the thyroid gland. So when gliadin enters your bloodstream, your immune system not only attacks the gliadin, but also your thyroid tissue because of its close resemblance. And this can cause many brain and mental health problems (11-13). 

Research shows that people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance are more likely to have thyroid diseases and mental illnesses, and vice versa (1-10). 

Many people that have hypothyroidism really have gluten sensitivity. Over time, they actually have significant brain degeneration. When people degenerate their brain, one of the first things they get is depression.
— Dr. Datis Kharrazian

Thyroid function, and therefore brain and mental health, will often improve after the elimination of gluten-containing grains. 

2. Eat Enough Calories and Carbohydrates

Making sure you eat enough calories and carbohydrates on a daily basis is critical for optimal thyroid and brain function.  

A landmark paper, known as the Vermont Study, found that thyroid hormone drops when you don’t eat enough calories and carbohydrates (14). 

Ways-support-increase-improve-your-thyroid-hormone-for-better-mental-health-brain-hashimotos-t3-t4-thyroxine-triiodothyronine-iodine-fluoride-depression-anxiety-hypothyroidism-mycotoxins-mold-underactive-low-lllt-laser-therapy-ray-peat-gluten-pufas-oil-coconut-iodine-selenium-herbs-collagen-gelatin-glutathione-bipolar-function-naturally-hyperthyroidism-supplements-low-underactive-gland-illness-light-therapy-autoimmune-fog-deficiency-stress-mood-disorders-schizophrenia-anger-psychosis-insomnia-dementia-social-borderline-personality-ocd-adhd-gluten-inflammation-celiac-omega- BPA-PFOA-pesticides-potatoes

Several other studies also show that ketogenic low-carb diets can suppress thyroid function and reduce thyroid hormone. This is because carbohydrates play a key role on the production of thyroid hormone (15-18). 

In previous posts, I have mentioned that fasting and ketogenic dieting can have beneficial effects on your brain. This is still true. However, it's important to note fasting and low-carb diets should be followed intermittently and not consistently over long stretches of time, mainly because of their detrimental effects on the thyroid. I prefer to take Optimal Ketones instead. They immediately increase my mental clarity without having to restrict carbohydrates. 

My Free Grocery Shopping Guide for Optimal Brain Health contains plenty of healthy, nutrient-dense sources of carbohydrate, including:

  • Yams

  • Squash

  • Potatoes

  • Carrots

  • Other root vegetables

  • Berries

  • Apples

  • Bananas

  • Raw honey

3. Avoid Vegetable Oils

You should also significantly limit all refined vegetable oils, including soybean, corn, safflower, sunflower, and canola. 

These oils are predominantly made up of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are highly unstable and oxidize very easily within your body. 

Unfortunately, like gluten, rancid PUFAs are everywhere and hard to avoid. Most commercially-prepared processed foods include them. 

And your thyroid is particularly vulnerable to their effects.

Dr. Raymond Peat, PhD, says that the sudden increase of fragile and rancid polyunsaturated oils into our food supply after World War II has caused many changes in human health, particularly thyroid function and hormones: 

Their [polyunsaturated oils] best understood effect is their interference with the function of the thyroid gland. Unsaturated oils block thyroid hormone secretion, its movement in the circulatory system, and the response of tissues to the hormone. By 1950, then, it was established that unsaturated fats suppress the metabolic rate, apparently creating hypothyroidism. The more unsaturated the oils are, the more specifically they suppress tissue response to thyroid hormone, and transport of the hormone on the thyroid transport protein. And in 1980, experimenters demonstrated that young rats fed milk containing soy oil incorporated the oil directly into their brain cells, and had structurally abnormal brain cells as a result.
Click here to subscribe

4. Eat coconut oil

I’ve discussed the brain and mental health benefits of coconut oil before here

It can help reduce brain fog and enhance your cognitive performance. And it may be accomplishing this by supporting your thyroid. 

According to Dr. Raymond Peat, coconut oil is very beneficial to the brain and thyroid:

Coconut oil has a general pro-thyroid action by diluting and displacing anti-thyroid unsaturated oils. And brain tissue is very rich in complex forms of fats. An experiment in which pregnant mice were given diets containing either coconut oil or unsaturated oil showed that brain development was superior in the young mice whose mothers ate coconut oil. Because coconut oil supports thyroid function, and thyroid governs brain development, including myelination, the result might simply reflect the difference between normal and hypothyroid individuals.

I recommend this coconut oil

And you don’t need to stick with coconut oil. Coconut milk, water and meat are other ways to get the benefits of coconut. 

5. Try Low-level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is probably the best cutting-edge way to support your thyroid. I wrote about it previously here.  

Using it on my thyroid has made a remarkable difference in my energy levels and mental clarity. And this is likely because of an increase in my thyroid hormones. 

Multiple studies show that LLLT can improve the production of thyroid hormones and improve thyroid function in patients with chronic autoimmune thyroid disease. Study participants were able to reduce the dosage of their thyroid medication (36, 37).  

A study from Brazil showed that LLLT not only reduced the need for thyroid medication in all patients, but 9 months later after the study concluded, it also showed that 47% of patients no longer required any thyroid medication at all.  Participants with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis also saw a reduction in their anti-thyroid antibodies by more than 39% (40). 

A Russian study also demonstrated a 97% success rate when treating women with subclinical hypothyroidism. Researchers concluded LLLT should be the “method of choice in the treatment of [subclinical hypothyroidism], especially in the elderly” (40). 

Animal research has found similar results in rats and rabbits (38, 39). 

I shine the Platinum Therapy Lights Bio-450 (Combo Red/NIR) device on my thyroid. It includes both red and infrared light. I’m convinced most people would benefit from it. If you decide to get it, you can use the coupon code OPTIMAL for a 5% discount.

Infrared saunas are another excellent way to expose yourself to infrared light and support thyroid function. Check out my post about the benefits here

6. Get Enough Vitamin A and D

Fat soluble vitamins A and D are also critical for optimal thyroid and brain function.

Vitamin D is necessary to help transport thyroid hormone into your cells and deficiency is quite common in people with thyroid problems. Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with thyroid disease and supplementation has been shown to benefit the thyroid. (22-24). 

I previously discussed the brain health benefits of vitamin D here. I now use this Vitamin D lamp to make sure my levels are optimal. 

Vitamin A helps your body produce thyroid hormone and protects the thyroid gland from oxidative stress (which is higher in people with thyroid issues). Research also shows that vitamin A can reduce your risk of hypothyroidism (19-21). 

However, I personally don’t recommend you supplement with vitamin A. It’s better to get it from food. Pastured eggs, grass-fed liver and butter (or ghee if you can't tolerate butter) are ideal sources. 

Cod liver oil is another great option as it contains both vitamin A, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids all together. I take this one every so often.

7. Get Enough Minerals

Your thyroid gland needs specific trace minerals to do its job properly. 

I take and recommend this multi-mineral supplement so that you have all the minerals you need to support brain and thyroid health. It includes a small amount of iodine, selenium, magnesium and zinc.

Iodine is the most important, as it’s one of the building blocks used by your thyroid to create hormones. 

However, I don’t recommend supplementing with large doses of iodine separately. Many functional medicine practitioners that I’ve interviewed over the years have told me that high iodine intake through supplements can often do more harm than good. Too much supplemental iodine has been shown to cause further thyroid problems (66-68). 

brazil-nuts-Ways-support-increase-improve-your-thyroid-hormone-for-better-mental-health-brain-hashimotos-t3-t4-thyroxine-triiodothyronine-iodine-fluoride-depression-anxiety-hypothyroidism-mycotoxins-mold-underactive-low-lllt-laser-therapy-ray-peat-gluten-pufas-oil-coconut-iodine-selenium-herbs-collagen-gelatin-glutathione-bipolar-function-naturally-hyperthyroidism-supplements-low-underactive-gland-illness-light-therapy-autoimmune-fog-deficiency-stress-mood-disorders-schizophrenia-anger-psychosis-insomnia-dementia-social-borderline-personality-ocd-adhd-gluten-inflammation-celiac-omega- BPA-PFOA-pesticides

So I think the small amount in a multi-mineral is enough.

And getting some more iodine from whole foods, including seafood and sea vegetables, can also benefit you since they contain other nutrients that can support your thyroid.  

Selenium is another indispensable mineral for your thyroid and brain health.

It helps regulate and recycle your iodine stores, and selenium-based proteins help regulate thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism.

Without it, you’ll likely experience low-thyroid symptoms.

Brazil nuts are the richest dietary source of selenium. 

Low levels of zinc can also lead to depleted thyroid hormones, and vice versa (34). This is just another reason to supplement with zinc.

As I’ve discussed before, a zinc deficiency can also contribute to stress and anxiety.

And although it isn't mentioned very often, magnesium is also critical for optimal thyroid function. The thyroid gland can't function properly without it (89).

I previously discussed how it can help a lot of people with depression and anxiety here

Click here to subscribe

8. Reduce Stress and Cortisol

High levels of physical and mental stress can be detrimental to your thyroid function. 

Your adrenal glands –  two walnut-shaped glands that sit atop the kidneys – secrete your stress stress hormones, such as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. 

Research shows that cortisol inhibits thyroid hormones from getting into your cells, and weakened adrenal glands can lead to hypothyroid symptoms over time (35).

That’s why it’s critical that you manage stress.

I highly recommend you try to do something every day to manage it. 

The most effective way to significantly and permanently reduce your stress and anxiety is neurofeedback. It’s advanced, guided meditation and I previously wrote about my experience with it here

Ways-support-increase-improve-your-thyroid-hormone-for-better-mental-health-brain-hashimotos-t3-t4-thyroxine-triiodothyronine-iodine-fluoride-depression-anxiety-hypothyroidism-mycotoxins-mold-underactive-low-lllt-laser-therapy-ray-peat-gluten-pufas-oil-coconut-iodine-selenium-herbs-collagen-gelatin-glutathione-bipolar-function-naturally-hyperthyroidism-supplements-low-underactive-gland-illness-light-therapy-autoimmune-fog-deficiency-stress-mood-disorders-schizophrenia-anger-psychosis-insomnia-dementia-social-borderline-personality-ocd-adhd-gluten-inflammation-celiac-omega- BPA-PFOA-pesticides

If you can’t access neurofeedback, taking up a daily meditation practice is an excellent idea. 

I’m a big fan of the Muse headband . It can guide your meditation. Similar to neurofeedback, it gives you real-time feedback while you meditate. I wrote an entire review about it here, and you can get it through Amazon or the Muse website

I also find massage, acupuncture, heart-rate variability (HRV) training and this acupressure mat very helpful as well.

Lying on the acupressure mat while using my EmWave2 for just 10 minutes relaxes my entire body and mind. I do this at night before bed. 

Supplements that can help with stress include zinc, ashwagandha and phosphatidylserine, which have been shown to lower cortisol levels (87, 88). 

This anti-anxiety supplement also includes a number of natural compounds that have helped me manage my stress over the years (Use the the coupon code FIVE$45496275 for a 5% discount).

Lastly, you should get enough sleep and don’t exercise too much. The stress caused by excessive exercise can wear you’re your body and contribute to thyroid problems. So make sure you get plenty of rest and recover between workout sessions.

9. Take Thyroid-Supporting Herbs

A number of different herbs can assist your thyroid gland. 

Ashwagandha is one of my favourites. Not only can it reduce stress and anxiety, but a number of studies show that it can boost thyroid hormones (25-29).

Bacopa is another adaptogen that has been shown to increase thyroid (T4) hormone levels by 42% (30). 

Forskolin stimulates the release of thyroid hormones (31). 

And one study found that ginseng increases and normalizes thyroid hormone levels (32). 

And last but not least, researchers say that rhodiola can “improve the quality of life of patients with short-term hypothyroidism” (33). 

Rhodiola also has a number of brain and mental health benefits. I explored them previously here

I’ve experimented with all of these herbs and they have improved my brain and mental health.

But it’s good to know they have some beneficial effects on my thyroid as well.

This mental health supplement includes bacopa, forskolin and rhodiola all in one supplement. 

10. Eat “Head to Tail”

Whole plant foods tend to be much healthier when they’re left whole, as they tend to have various nutrients that work together synergistically. 

The same can be said about animal food. 

Muscle meats contain so much tryptophan and cysteine that a pure meat diet can suppress the thyroid. In poor countries, people have generally eaten all parts of the animal, rather than just the muscles – bones, cartilage, skin, organs, and other odd bits. About half of the protein in an animal is collagen, and collagen is deficient in tryptophan and cysteine. This means that, in the whole animal, the amino acid balance is similar to the adult’s requirements.
— Dr. Raymond Peat

In other words, muscle meat (chicken breasts, lean beef) shouldn’t be your only source of animal protein. Our ancestors didn’t eat this way, so neither should we.  

Your body and thyroid prefer and expect to receive a balance of amino acids from different parts of whole animals.

That’s why I recommend “head-to-tail eating” – consuming a wide variety of proteins from the entire animal. 

Along with muscle meat, you should regularly cook and eat organ meats such as liver and bone broth.

bone-broth-collagen-gelatin-Ways-support-increase-improve-your-thyroid-hormone-for-better-mental-health-brain-hashimotos-t3-t4-thyroxine-triiodothyronine-iodine-fluoride-depression-anxiety-hypothyroidism-mycotoxins-mold-underactive-low-lllt-laser-therapy-ray-peat-gluten-pufas-oil-coconut-iodine-selenium-herbs-collagen-gelatin-glutathione-bipolar-function-naturally-hyperthyroidism-supplements-low-underactive-gland-illness-light-therapy-autoimmune-fog-deficiency-stress-mood-disorders-schizophrenia-anger-psychosis-insomnia-dementia-social-borderline-personality-ocd-adhd-gluten-inflammation-celiac-omega- BPA-PFOA-pesticides

Bone broth contains collagen, gelatin and amino acids such as glycine and proline that help the body better metabolize muscle meat.

Organ meats such as liver have an abundance of beneficial nutrients that aren’t found in muscle meat alone. For example, it’s much higher in vitamin A, which is important for optimal thyroid health (19, 20). 

I previously discussed the benefits of liver in more depth here.

I personally don’t like the taste of liver and bone broth can be inconvenient to make all the time, so I often supplement with these grass-fed beef liver capsules and drink this high-quality pre-made bone broth.

I also take this Multi-Glandular For Men, which contains a number of different organ tissues. There is also one for women

But if you’re actually interested in learning about how to cook and incorporate more whole animal proteins into your diet, I recommend checking out the book “Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal” by Jennifer McLagan.

11. Limit Halogens

Your thyroid doesn’t know the difference between iodine, and other halogens such as bromine, fluorine, chlorine, and perchlorate, which are often found in tap water. 

So your thyroid soaks them up and uses them like iodine.

By occupying iodine receptors, they worsen iodine deficiency, inhibit the production of your thyroid hormones and contribute to thyroid dysfunction.

Studies show that chlorine interferes with proper conversion of thyroid hormone (50, 58-61). 

That’s why I recommend filtering your drinking and shower water. Brita filters aren't enough because they don’t remove fluoride. I use this Berkey water filter to make sure I’m drinking the purest water available. It filters everything out of the water. I also use this filter to remove chlorine from my shower water. 

The research shows that bromide in particular can cause a lot of problems. Bromide is found in pesticides, prescription medication, plastic products and personal care products. PBDE (bromide) fire retardants have been added to mattresses, carpeting, electronics, furniture and car interiors since the 1970s. 

Even small amounts of bromide can be problematic, depleting iodine and weakening the thyroid gland. Bromide levels are 50 times higher in thyroid cancer than normal thyroid tissue, and elevated levels of bromide have been linked to mental illness, including depression and schizophrenia (50-57). 

12. Avoid Environmental and Dietary Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins – toxic metabolites produced by mold – can also disrupt normal thyroid function.

Mycotoxins are released into the air in water-damaged buildings, and you may not realize it’s affecting your brain and thyroid health until you develop certain symptoms. And even then, people frequently won’t make the connection between the mold and their health. 

That’s what happened to me, and my hormonal health went downhill, along with my brain and mental health. Luckily I’ve recovered since then

Mycotoxins are known hormone disruptors that cause inflammation, and a couple of studies mention that there is an increased frequency of “thyroid, immune dysfunction and autoimmune conditions” in people exposed to water-damaged building (41, 42). 

Ways-support-increase-improve-your-thyroid-hormone-for-better-mental-health-brain-hashimotos-t3-t4-thyroxine-triiodothyronine-iodine-fluoride-depression-anxiety-hypothyroidism-mycotoxins-mold-underactive-low-lllt-laser-therapy-ray-peat-gluten-pufas-oil-coconut-iodine-selenium-herbs-collagen-gelatin-glutathione-bipolar-function-naturally-hyperthyroidism-supplements-low-underactive-gland-illness-light-therapy-autoimmune-fog-deficiency-stress-mood-disorders-schizophrenia-anger-psychosis-insomnia-dementia-social-borderline-personality-ocd-adhd-gluten-inflammation-celiac-omega- BPA-PFOA-pesticides

And one study shows that mold exposure is correlated with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (43). 

Kurt and Lee Ann Billings wrote the book Mold: The War Within after extensive personal bouts with toxic mold exposure. They write extensively about their experience and recovery and describe ongoing problems with thyroid dysfunction. 

After I moved out of the moldy home, I became extremely sensitive to any environmental mold and mycotoxins. 

I now use this air filter in my apartment. It removes any mold spores and smoke that may be in the air.

Low amounts of mycotoxins are often found in some seemingly healthy foods, such as tea, nuts, grains, coffee and chocolate. I recommend finding the freshest, highest-quality, organic versions of these foods.

Lastly, if exposed to mold or their toxins, you should supplement with activated charcoal or bentonite clay.

Activated charcoal and bentonite clay are potent natural treatments that can trap toxins and chemicals, allowing them to be flushed out of your body.

13. Avoid and Remove Other Environmental Toxins

Mold and other halogens aren’t the only endocrine disruptors in your environment that can affect your thyroid metabolism and function.

In the book Thyroid Mind Power, Dr. Karilee Shames reports that “the last 40 years have witnessed a massive increase in the amount of hormone-disrupting synthetic chemicals, finding their way into our air, food and water. The most sensitive and highly susceptible of human tissues turned out to be the thyroid gland.”

Here are some common ones:

Ways-support-increase-improve-your-thyroid-hormone-for-better-mental-health-brain-hashimotos-t3-t4-thyroxine-triiodothyronine-iodine-fluoride-depression-anxiety-hypothyroidism-mycotoxins-mold-underactive-low-lllt-laser-therapy-ray-peat-gluten-pufas-oil-coconut-iodine-selenium-herbs-collagen-gelatin-glutathione-bipolar-function-naturally-hyperthyroidism-supplements-low-underactive-gland-illness-light-therapy-autoimmune-fog-deficiency-stress-mood-disorders-schizophrenia-anger-psychosis-insomnia-dementia-social-borderline-personality-ocd-adhd-gluten-inflammation-celiac-omega- BPA-PFOA-pesticides
  • Bisphenol A – found in plastic bottles and containers. I recommend you only eat and drink out of glass, ceramic and stainless steel. Avoid storing any of your food in plastic too. BPA-free plastic isn’t much better for you and can still disrupt hormonal health.

  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) – found in common household products including non-stick cookware and waterproof fabrics. Researchers have found that people with higher levels of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) have a higher incidence of thyroid disease (44, 45).

  • Other pesticides and chemical additives – You should avoid processed food and eat organic as often as possible, wash all produce thoroughly to minimize your pesticide exposure, and find personal care products that don’t include toxic chemicals.

I also recommend increasing your levels of glutathione – your body’s main antioxidant and master detoxifier – to help your body combat the above substances from your body. I do this by supplementing with this liposomal glutathione on regular basis. 

Or you could take NAC and Vitamin C to help your body produce more of its own glutathione. 

Researchers have found that a decrease in thyroid function could be reversed by NAC supplementation, which increased glutathione. This is because glutathione plays a key role in the production and conversion of your thyroid hormones (46-49). 

Epsom salt baths, infrared saunas, and turmeric can also help your body release and remove environmental toxins. 

Summary and Conclusion

With the right information, you can make simple choices to improve thyroid health.

Here's a summary of everything we've gone over:

Ways-support-increase-improve-your-thyroid-hormone-for-better-mental-health-brain-hashimotos-t3-t4-thyroxine-triiodothyronine-iodine-fluoride-depression-anxiety-hypothyroidism-mycotoxins-mold-underactive-low-lllt-laser-therapy-ray-peat-gluten-pufas-oil-coconut-iodine-selenium-herbs-collagen-gelatin-glutathione-bipolar-function-naturally-hyperthyroidism-supplements-low-underactive-gland-illness-light-therapy-autoimmune-fog-deficiency-stress-mood-disorders-schizophrenia-anger-psychosis-insomnia-dementia-social-borderline-personality-ocd-adhd-gluten-inflammation-celiac-omega- BPA-PFOA-pesticides

So with that, I want to leave you with a quote from a book I read recently by Sam Harris, called Free Will. It's an excellent book and you can get it through Amazon if you're interested.

I think this quote is appropriate considering the wide variety of factors that underlie brain and mental health problems:

Becoming sensitive to the background causes of one’s thoughts and feelings can - paradoxically - allow for greater creative control over one’s life. It is one thing to bicker with your wife because you are in a bad mood; it is another to realize that your mood and behaviour have been caused by low blood sugar. This understanding reveals you to be a biochemical puppet, of course, but it also allows you to grab hold of one of your strings: A bite of food may be all your personality requires. Getting behind our conscious thoughts and feelings can allow us to steer a more intelligent course through our lives (while knowing, of course, that we are ultimately being steered).

So even though it seems like there are an overwhelming amount of “strings” to pull, realize that you don’t have to pull them all at once.

You just have to start with one, and go from there.

And then over time, you'll start to get a handle on all of them, and you'll heal.

Enjoy This Article? You Might Also Like My FREE Food Guide for Optimal Brain and Mental Health!

Click here to subscribe

Live Optimally,

Jordan Fallis

Connect with me

(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11280546

(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12217453

(3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11123714

(4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10529537

(5) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2111403/

(6) http://www.eje-online.org/content/130/2/137.abstract

(7) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15244201

(8) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9872614

(9) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12919165

(10) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11768252

(11) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12366374

(12) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19014325

(13) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1808742/

(14) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC371281/

(15) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6761185

(16) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3740086

(17) http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/35/1/24.full.pdf

(18) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1249190

(19) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6470830

(20) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23378454

(21) http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/34/8/1489.abstract

(22) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3921055/

(23) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12919165

(24) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10750047

(25) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19789214

(26) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21432907

(27) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1211/146080800128735782/abstract

(28) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9811169

(29) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10619390

(30) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037887410200048X

(31) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6327383

(32) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6327383

(33) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20946017

(34) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746228/

(35) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17002934

(36) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20662037

(37) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22718472

(38) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25265487

(39) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25975382

(40) http://valtsus.blogspot.ca/2015/09/hypothyroidism-could-it-be-treated-with.html

(41) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3654247/

(42) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15143854

(43) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/430949

(44) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24407430

(45) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2866686/

(46) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21540553?dopt=Abstract

(47)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/12044880_Effect_of_Glutathione_GSH_Depletion_on_the_Serum_Levels_of_Triiodothyronine_T_3_Thyroxine_T_4_and_T_3_T_4_Ratio_in_Allyl_AlcoholTreated_Male_Rats_and_Possible_Protection_With_Zinc

(48) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7408784

(49) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7052928

(50) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8909694

(51) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15255296

(52) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10999431

(53) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9542578

(54) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9341949

(55) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8909694

(56) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6548284

(57) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8909694

(58) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3890436/

(59) http://www .ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1087230

(60) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19318504

(61) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3956646/

(62) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9140329

(63) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21001996

(64) www.gulflink.osd.mil/library/randrep/pb_paper/mr1018.2chap10.html

(65) http://www.optimox.com/iodine-study-18

(66) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7477223

(67) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20517655?dopt=AbstractPlus

(68) http://www.eymj.org/Synapse/Data/PDFData/0069YMJ/ymj-44-227.pdf

(69) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15213796

(70) http://www.drrichardhall.com/Articles/hashimoto.pdf

(71) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11958781

(72) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17141745

(73) http://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-244X-4-25

(74) http://cpementalhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1745-0179-1-23

(75) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19215985

(76) http://www.ccjm.org/index.php?id=107937&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=359985&cHash=260c2e3470893b3cb8daee104f8cdf36

(77) http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/thyroid-deficiency-and-mental-health

(78) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20404728

(79) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27268005

(80) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24480318

(81) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24480318

(82) http://www.eje-online.org/content/138/1/1.full.pdf

(83) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24443228

(84) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24345793

(85) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3013313/

(86) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23380316

(87) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439798

(88) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1325348

(89) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6747732

Medically reviewed by Dr. Robert Blake Gibb, MD

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

Affiliate Disclosure

Disclaimer

14 Powerful Ways to Form New Synapses in the Brain

Over the years, I’ve taken several psychiatric drugs, drank too much alcohol, and had numerous concussions – sometimes, all at once. 

In other words, my brain has taken quite the beating. 

Researchers used to think that if you damaged your brain like I did, you simply had to live with it.

But that’s no longer true. 

They now know the brain is plastic and flexible, and it can heal and recover.

You’re not stuck with the brain you have. 

You can actually change and improve it.

One way your brain repairs itself is through a process called synaptogenesis.

Synaptogenesis is the formation of new synapses in the brain.

Synapses are the connecting points between your 100 billion brain cells. You have trillions of synapses in your brain, and your brain cells communicate with one another across them (79). 

The deterioration and loss of synapses is linked to a number of neurodegenerative diseases and mental health disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, depression, poor learning and memory, intellectual impairment and other cognitive deficits (83-87). 

The good news is that researchers now know that synaptogenesis occurs in the brain throughout our entire lives (81-82). 

And there are a number of ways you can support synaptogenesis, promote the formation of new brain synapses and increase brain synapses. 

Below are 15 ways to do that.

Following these strategies can improve your mood, learning, memory and cognition.

synaptogenesis-between-neurons-formation-how-to-create-build-increase-stimulate-improve-neural-connections-in-brain-strengthening-intelligence-cognitive-skills-adults

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Uridine and Choline

The formation of synapses depends on sufficient brain levels of three key nutrients – uridine, omega-3 fatty acids, and choline. These nutrients are synergistic, and if you take them taken together, they accelerate the formation of new synapses in the brain (66-67, 75-78). 

Unfortunately, most people nowadays don’t get enough of these essential nutrients through their diet because very few foods in the Western diet actually contain them.

In fact, the uridine in food is not bioavailable, and no food has been shown to increase plasma levels of uridine (1).

synaptogenesis-between-neurons-formation-how-to-create-build-increase-stimulate-improve-neural-connections-in-brain-strengthening-intelligence-cognitive-skills-adults

That’s why I now take this uridine monophosphate supplement sublingually to support the long-term health of my brain. 

At the same time, I take this krill oil supplement and the Optimal Brain supplement, which includes CDP-Choline and Alpha GPC (two high-quality sources of choline). This ensures my brain is getting enough of omega-3 fatty acids and choline.

Several researchers have concluded that supplementing with all three nutrients can increase synaptic formation, increase brain synapses, and improve cognition, learning and memory, particularly in people with Alzheimer's disease (68-74). 

Besides supplementation, I still encourage people to eat foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids and choline. 

The best way to get omega-3 fatty acids from food is by eating more cold-water fish such as salmon, black cod, sablefish, sardines and herring. And the best food sources of choline include grass-fed beef liver and egg yolks. These foods are included in my Free Grocery Shopping Guide for Optimal Brain Health.

Taking uridine, choline and omega-3 fatty acids together can also promote the regeneration of myelin.

2. Low Level Laser Therapy

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT), or photobiomodulation, is a treatment that uses low-level (low-power) lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to stimulate brain cells, helping them function better.

Most doctors don't know about LLLT; but not every doctor.

21-proven-ways-to-increase-blood-flow-to-the-brain-get-more-circulation-problems-poor-symptoms-foods-head-supply-cerebral-in-frontal-lobe-low-head-diseases-exercise-disorders-through-improve-treatment-home-remedi.jpg

Dr. Norman Doidge, a physician who teaches at the University of Toronto here in Canada, discusses the amazing effects of LLLT in his book The Brain’s Way of Healing.

One way that LLLT may help the brain is by encouraging synaptogenesis (12-15). 

Researchers have found that LLLT treatment significantly stimulates the synthesis of synapsin-1 (a marker for synaptogenesis) and increases synaptogenesis in the cortex (16-17). 

I previously wrote about my experience with low-level laser therapy here.

I use this device and shine the red and infrared light directly on my forehead. 

I also use the Vielight 810, which is an intranasal device with 810 nm of near infrared light (If you decide to try the Vielight, you can use the coupon code JORDANFALLIS for a 10% discount).

LLLT can also support mitochondria function, reduce brain fog, and increase blood flow to the brain

3. Bacopa

Bacopa monniera is an adaptogenic herb with cognitive-enhancing effects.

Several studies show that it improves cognition, learning and memory by strengthening communications between brain cells. Both healthy and elderly people who take the herb experience improved attention, learning and memory (2-5). 

Researchers believe these improvements are because bacopa increases brain synapses and increases specific neuromolecular mechanisms that encourage and enhance synaptogenesis (18). 

You can get bacopa through Amazon.

Click here to subscribe

4. Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to promote the formation of new synapses.

Researchers have found repeatedly that physical activity encourages synaptogenesis and increases brain synapses (32-33). 

Exercise also increases blood flow to the brain, promotes the regeneration of myelin, and can help reverse brain damage and cognitive decline

So not surprisingly, many brain health experts recommend exercise as their number one piece of advice for optimal brain health.

My usual advice is to find a sport or exercise routine that you enjoy, so that you’ll stick with it consistently.

5. Magnesium Threonate

Magnesium is a vital mineral that participates in more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body, including neurotransmitter and hormonal activity, which can have a huge effect on your brain function.

Researchers have found that increasing magnesium levels in the brain improves learning and memory by promoting synaptogenesis and increasing brain synapses (25-26). 

One study concluded that magnesium threonate increases the number of synaptic connections between brain cells and boosts the density of synapses (27). 

synaptogenesis-between-neurons-formation-how-to-create-build-increase-stimulate-improve-neural-connections-in-brain-strengthening-intelligence-cognitive-skills-adults

Unfortunately, lot of people are deficient in magnesium today (6-8).

But there are a number of ways you can make sure you’re consuming enough. 

First, make sure you’re eating magnesium-rich foods on a regular basis, including spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocado, dark chocolate and bananas. These foods are included in my Free Grocery Shopping Guide for Optimal Brain Health.

Epsom salt baths are another great way to increase your body’s intake of magnesium. 

But I also recommend a high-quality magnesium supplement. 

Magnesium threonate is the best form of magnesium for increasing brain magnesium levels and forming new synapses. 

I currently take this magnesium threonate supplement before bed.

Since most people are deficient, magnesium is one of the three supplements that I think everyone should be taking.

Magnesium can also help repair a leaky blood-brain barrier.

6. Intermittent Fasting

Fasting allows your digestive system to take a break and triggers a number of hormones that boost your body’s ability to repair itself.

On most days, I don’t eat breakfast at all, and then "break my fast" by eating my first meal of the day around 2 or 3 p.m. That means I eat all my food for the day within an 8-hour window.

There are many health benefits to doing this.

It can improve mitochondrial function, reduce brain fog, and help protect you from dementia

And researchers have also found that fasting can trigger and enhance synaptogenesis (28-31). 

The best way to start fasting is simply by eating dinner around 6, not eating anything after that before bed, and then eating a regular breakfast the next day. That should give you about 12-14 hours of fasting time. 

7. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is a plant that has been used in China for thousands of years to treat a number of health problems. It’s one of the top-selling herbal supplements in the world, and it’s even a prescription herb in Germany.

It’s most commonly used to improve brain health because it’s been shown to increase brain blood flow and improve memory and attention in both healthy and unhealthy individuals. It even reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and may also improve mood and mental energy (34).

Researchers have also discovered that it stimulates synaptogenesis and increases brain synapses (35). 

Ginkgo Biloba is included in the Optimal Brain supplement.

Click here to subscribe

8. Motor Learning

Motor learning is essentially when you learn something new that involves movement.

Complex processes occur in the brain in response to practicing or experiencing the new motor skill.

This results in changes to the central nervous system, which allows you to produce the movement again in the future.

Researchers have found that motor learning triggers synaptogenesis and generates new synapses in the cerebellar cortex of the brain (36-39). 

Some activities that involve motor learning include learning how to play the piano, climbing trees, juggling, and playing table tennis. 

When you engage in these activities, motor learning occurs, and you form new synapses in order to learn and solidify the new skill. 

9. Resveratrol

synaptogenesis-between-neurons-formation-how-to-create-build-increase-stimulate-improve-neural-connections-in-brain-strengthening-intelligence-cognitive-skills-adults

Resveratrol is a beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound found in grapes, red wine, raspberries and dark chocolate.

Resveratrol is known to help prevent the development of neurodegenerative diseases.

And researchers are starting to understand why.

Resveratrol can help restore the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, support your mitochondria, and increase blood flow to the brain. But it can also increase synaptogenesis.

Research shows the resveratrol promotes and enhances synaptogenesis (23-24). 

I take this resveratrol supplement to support the long-term health of my brain. I don't take it every day, just every so often. You can get it here or here.

10. Piracetam

Piracetam is a nootropic (cognitive-enhancing) supplement. It provides a mild boost to brain function and has a long history of being used to treat cognitive impairment in Europe, Asia and South America. 

According to researchers, one way it improves cognition is by enhancing synaptogenesis and increasing brain synapses (9-10). 

One study found that rats treated with piracetam had a higher number of synapses than rats not treated with piracetam (11). 

Here is a good piracetam supplement from a reliable brand. I used to take it regularly but not anymore.

Phenylpiracetam is an advanced version of piracetam and I found it to be more effective. It also has impressive anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. You can get it here.

Both piracetam and phenylpiracetam work best if you take them with a source of choline, either CDP-Choline or Alpha GPC.

Both CDP-Choline and Alpha GPC are included in the Optimal Brain supplement

11. Quercetin

Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in fruits and vegetables. It is one of the most widely consumed flavonoids in the human diet. 

Quercetin has potent antioxidant action and is “neuroactive”, meaning it can affect brain function. 

As a result, it can protect brain cells from oxidative stress and inhibit the pro-inflammatory molecules that are associated with many progressive brain disorders (45-46). 

Researchers have also found that it stimulates synaptogenesis (48). 

Red apples, onions and tomatoes have the high levels of quercetin. But you can also supplement with it if you want. 

It’s interesting to note that quercetin increases the absorption of resveratrol, so it’s a good idea to take them both together if you want to increase synaptogenesis and form new brain synapses (47). 

Click here to subscribe

12. Intranasal Insulin

Insulin is one of the hormones that significantly affects brain function.

It has a number of important functions in the central nervous system, and researchers have found that it passes the blood-brain barrier and acts on insulin receptors directly within the brain.

In a new therapeutic approach, commercially-available insulin (Novalin R) is prepared and added to nasal spray bottles - like these ones - and sprayed and inhaled through the nose to support brain and mental health.

Intranasal insulin has been reported to significantly enhance learning and memory, increase mental energy, reduce brain fog, improve mood, and lower anxiety and stress levels.

One possible mechanism is by increasing synaptogenesis.

Brain insulin receptors are found primarily in synapses, and insulin signaling contributes to synaptogenesis (19-21). 

And the disruption of insulin action in the brain leads to impairment of synaptogenesis (22). 

If you’re interested in learning more about intranasal insulin, I previously wrote a full article about it here.

13. Progesterone

Progesterone is a natural steroid and sex hormone involved in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

It has a variety of important functions in the body, and even plays an important role in brain function. 

Research shows that progesterone supports the normal development of brain cells and protects them from damage (40).

But many researchers have also found that progesterone promotes synaptogenesis (41-43). 

In addition to its role as a natural hormone, progesterone can be taken as a medication, usually by women during menopause as part of their hormone replacement therapy. 

14. Antioxidant Nutrients

Some nutrients have antioxidant effects in the body, and not consuming enough of them can reduce your rate of synaptogenesis. 

Research shows that “synaptic membrane synthesis” depends on sufficient dietary intake of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and the mineral selenium (64). 

synaptogenesis-between-neurons-formation-how-to-create-build-increase-stimulate-improve-neural-connections-in-brain-strengthening-intelligence-cognitive-skills-adults

One study found that synaptogenesis was significantly enhanced by supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids, uridine, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and selenium. But it wasn’t enhanced as much with omega-3 fatty acids and uridine alone, suggesting that Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and selenium play a key role in synaptogenesis (65). 

I get these antioxidant nutrients from a number of sources. 

In addition to getting Vitamin C from fruits and vegetables, I take at least 500 mg of supplemental Vitamin C every day. At one point, I was actually taking up to 10 grams of Vitamin C every day as an experiment, but that’s not necessary unless you find it really helps you.

For selenium, I make sure I eat brazil nuts regularly, as they are the richest source. But I also take some extra selenomethionine, which is the most absorbable form of selenium. 

For Vitamin E, good food sources include almonds, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocados, olive oil, sunflower seeds and butternut squash. It’s also included in the Optimal Antiox supplement.

Besides increasing synaptogenesis, antioxidants can also protect your brain from alcohol and help reverse brain damage

15. BONUS: 4 Things to Avoid

It’s not just what you do, but also what you avoid that can impact your rate of synaptogenesis. 

Researchers have found that certain compounds can impair synaptogenesis and inhibit the formation of new synapses in the brain. 

So besides trying to implement the 14 steps above, you should also try to avoid:

  • Bisphenol A – This compound is found in plastic bottles and containers, food and beverage cans, and other common consumer products, such as CDs, DVDs and sales receipts. Researchers have found that it impairs synaptogenesis in the brain (49). That’s why I recommend you only eat and drink out of glass, ceramic and stainless steel. Avoid all canned food and plastic containers. BPA-free plastic isn’t much better for you and can still disrupt hormonal health.

  • Lead – Lead is a heavy metal that can accumulate in the body and negatively affect brain function. Research shows that lead exposure can interfere with the formation of brain synapses (55-59). So it’s definitely a good idea to reduce your exposure to sources of lead. One way is by using an infrared sauna regularly.

  • Gabapentin – Gabapentin is a medication used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain, hot flashes, and restless legs syndrome. Researchers have found that it halts the formation of new synapses (80).

  • Stress – Chronic stress decreases synaptogenesis and decreases the number of synapse connections (88-89). Here are 20 ways to lower cortisol, your body’s main stress hormone. These two biofeedback devices are my favourite ways to reduce stress.

Enjoy This Article? You Might Also Like My FREE Food Guide for Optimal Brain and Mental Health!

Click here to subscribe

Live Optimally,

Jordan Fallis

Connect with me

References:

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4011061/

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20590480

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18611150

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12093601

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18683852

(6) http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00048670802534408

(7) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10746516

(8) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9861593

(9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17710536/

(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2944646/

(11) https://goo.gl/cq2MxB

(12) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5066074/

(13) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29131369

(14) http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2040-8986/19/1/013003/meta

(15) https://goo.gl/i6XxYc

(16) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25196192

(17) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5379854/

(18) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27692172

(19) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3260944/

(20) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18549783/

(21) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19026743/

(22) http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/63/7/2232

(23) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28957797

(24) https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/481611

(25) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4172865/

(26) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20152124/

(27) https://goo.gl/FE9Gsh

(28) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22325203

(29) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3278709/

(30) http://www.intermittentfaster.com/intermittent-fasting-science/

(31) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2622429/

(32) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3865437/

(33) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23973748

(34) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3679686/

(35) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661619

(36) http://www.pnas.org/content/87/14/5568

(37) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC54366/

(38) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11749086

(39) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24304717

(40) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10833057

(41) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21308798

(42) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11487645

(43) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18308850

(44) http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/rej.2011.1170

(45) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15319809

(46) https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/72357

(47) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25669932

(48) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661619

(49) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18048497

(50) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synaptogenesis

(51) https://goo.gl/a9KtYe

(52) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005273603000245

(53) http://www2.cnrs.fr/en/201.htm

(54) https://goo.gl/m9eqHg

(55) https://goo.gl/BnJM77

(56) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4084981/

(57) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21192972/

(58) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3049857/

(59) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3076195/

(60) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synaptogenesis

(61) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005273603000245

(62) https://goo.gl/rzjaXo

(63) https://goo.gl/NRCtsz

(64) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28598848

(65) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5502840/

(66) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4011061/

(67) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16055952

(68) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19400698

(69) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16631143

(70) http://wurtmanlab.mit.edu/static/pdf/1051.pdf

(71) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4011061/

(72) https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2017.00440/full

(73) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12399581

(74) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16880353

(75) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27597963

(76) https://goo.gl/7cH9oD

(77) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19262950

(78) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19262950

(79) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0024276/

(80) https://goo.gl/EmQRxy

(81) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131010205325.htm

(82) https://goo.gl/UoYf2D

(83) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3059649/

(84) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3405673/

(85) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5405628/

(86) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491115/

(87) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4424898/

(88) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4432471/

(89) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3984887/

Medically reviewed by Dr. Robert Blake Gibb, MD

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

Affiliate Disclosure

Disclaimer

21 Proven Ways to Increase Brain Blood Flow

Without a doubt, healthy blood flow is absolutely essential for optimal brain function and mental health.

Brain blood flow, or cerebral blood flow, refers to the blood supply that reaches your brain during a given period of time. 

Your brain needs almost 20% of the blood supply provided by each heartbeat.

A steady flow of blood brings oxygen, glucose and nutrients to the brain, and carries carbon dioxide, lactic acid, and other metabolic waste products away from the brain.

But when blood flow to the brain is hindered, cognitive problems can arise.

Poor brain blood flow and circulation are linked to a number of brain and mental illnesses, including:

Increasing blood flow to the brain might be an effective therapeutic approach to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s.
— Dr. Robert Vassar

Some of the major causes of poor brain blood flow include abnormal blood pressure, poor circulation, low thyroid, infections, and stress (126-130). 

Besides addressing these major causes, there are a number of ways to directly increase the amount of oxygen-rich blood that flows to your brain.

Researchers use neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) to measure cerebral blood flow.

And they have found that the following 21 methods increase brain blood flow and circulation in humans. 

After suffering multiple concussions, I had severe depression and brain fog, and had no choice but to focus on optimizing brain blood flow and circulation.

A lot of these methods have been significantly helpful to me.

If you want to naturally increase blood flow to your brain, continue reading to learn more.

21-proven-ways-to-increase-blood-flow-to-the-brain-get-more-circulation-problems-poor-symptoms-foods-head-supply-cerebral-in-frontal-lobe-low-head-diseases-exercise-disorders-through-improve-treatment-home-remedies-how-best-function-herbs-naturally-study-help-oxygen

1. Exercise

Exercise is one of the best and most accessible ways to increase brain blood flow and circulation. 

Research shows that moderate exercise increases blood flow to the brain by as much as 15% (1). 

And you don’t even need to work out intensely to increase blood flow to your brain.

Simply walking for 30 minutes at a brisk pace, three or four times each week, is good enough to get more blood and oxygen to your brain and reap the benefits (2). 

In fact, the foot’s impact on the ground while walking sends pressure waves through the arteries, which sends more blood and oxygen to the brain (3). 

There are many studies that suggest that exercise improves brain function in older adults, but we don’t know exactly why the brain improves. Our study indicates it might be tied to an improvement in the supply of blood flow to the brain.
— Dr. Rong Zhang

Exercise has also been shown to protect against cognitive decline and dementia, promote neurogenesis, help reverse brain damage, and promote the regeneration of myelin.

So not surprisingly, exercise is recommended by many brain health experts and it’s often their number one piece of advice for optimal brain health.

My usual advice is to find a sport or exercise routine that you enjoy, so that you’ll stick with it consistently.

2. Cold Exposure

Exposing yourself to cold can also help you get more blood flowing to your brain. 

Research shows that putting your hand in ice water for one minute can significantly increase the speed of blood flow to the brain (6-8). 

21-proven-ways-to-increase-blood-flow-to-the-brain-get-more-circulation-problems-poor-symptoms-foods-head-supply-cerebral-in-frontal-lobe-low-head-diseases-exercise-disorders-through-improve-treatment-home-remedies-how-best-function-herbs-naturally-study-help-oxygen

Researchers have also found that cooling the skin during upright tilting maintains the speed of blood flow to the brain (5). 

Animal studies also show that cold exposure significantly increases cerebral blood flow (4). 

I take a cold shower every day, and often go outside with minimal clothing in the winter to increase my brain blood flow and circulation. 

You don’t have to do that right away though.

You can start out by finishing your next shower with at least 30 seconds of cold water.

See how you feel, and then work your way up to longer.

It can be a bit painful, but you get used to it and the beneficial effects are worth it.

Another way to ease yourself into it is by sticking your face, hand or foot in ice cold water.

Cold exposure also stimulates the vagus nerve and supports the endocannabinoid system

3. Sunlight

21-proven-ways-to-increase-blood-flow-to-the-brain-get-more-circulation-problems-poor-symptoms-foods-head-supply-cerebral-in-frontal-lobe-low-head-diseases-exercise-disorders-through-improve-treatment-home-remedies-how-best-function-herbs-naturally-study-help-oxygen

Research also shows that light stimulates brain blood flow and circulation.

Positron emission technology (PET) measures blood flow to specific areas of the brain.

In one study, researchers used PET scans to monitor cerebral blood flow in patients with season affective disorder (SAD) – before and after light therapy

Before light therapy, the scans show that patients had reduced blood flow to the cerebral cortex, the “executive” part of the brain.

But after just a few days of light therapy, this part of the brain started to light up, indicating greater activity and increased blood flow (9).

And this doesn’t just happen in depressed individuals.

Another study found that 10 minutes of light exposure can increase brain blood flow in healthy people (10). 

Light therapy even increases brain blood flow in pre-term infants (11). 

I personally get sunlight every day during the spring and summer months to support my brain health. It’s a simple way for me to increase blood flow to the brain every day.

Researchers have also found a positive correlation between Vitamin D levels and brain blood flow (94).

So I use this Vitamin D lamp during the winter months when there isn't enough sun.

4. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is a plant that has been used for thousands of years to treat a number of health problems.

Today, it’s one of the most popular herbal supplements in the world.

Doctors even prescribe it in Germany!

It’s most commonly used to improve brain health.

Researchers have found that it increases cognitive function, and improves memory and attention in both healthy and unhealthy individuals. It even reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (15). 

It has these positive effects mainly by significantly increasing blood flow to the brain and increasing blood circulation in the brain (12-14). 

Gingko biloba is included in the Optimal Brain supplement

Click here to subscribe

5. Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT), or photobiomodulation, is a treatment that uses red and infrared light to support brain function.

The treatment involved either low-power lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that emit red and infrared light.

This red and infrared light is applied to the brain, and it stimulates brain cells, helping them helping them function better.

Most doctors are clueless about LLLT; but not every doctor. 

21-proven-ways-to-increase-blood-flow-to-the-brain-get-more-circulation-problems-poor-symptoms-foods-head-supply-cerebral-in-frontal-lobe-low-head-diseases-exercise-disorders-through-improve-treatment-home-remedies-how-best-function-herbs-naturally-study-help-oxygen

Dr. Norman Doidge, a physician who teaches at the University of Toronto here in Canada, discusses the amazing effects of LLLT in his book The Brain’s Way of Healing.

One way LLLT can help the brain is by increasing brain blood flow and circulation. 

One study found that applying near infrared light to the forehead can help treat depression and anxiety without side effects by increasing frontal regional cerebral blood flow (49).

Another study showed improvement in brain blood flow in healthy elderly women (50). 

Animal research has also found that light can be used to locally increase brain blood circulation (93). 

I previously wrote about my experience with low-level laser therapy here.

I use the Platinum LED Bio-450 (Combo Red/NIR) and shine the red and infrared light directly on my forehead. It’s a simple way for me to quickly and naturally increase blood flow to the brain. If you decide to buy and try this device yourself, you can use the coupon code OPTIMAL for a 5% discount.

I also use the Vielight 810, which is an intranasal device with 810 nm of near infrared light. If you decide to buy and try this device yourself, you can use the coupon code JORDANFALLIS for a 10% discount.

LLLT can also support thyroid function and mitochondria function and help with brain fog

6. Vinpocetine

Vinpocetine is a compound from the Periwinkle plant. 

It’s commonly used in Europe to treat cognitive decline, memory impairments, stroke recovery, and epilepsy.

Researchers have found that it increases brain blood flow in both healthy people and stroke victims.

The increase in brain blood flow leads to increased brain oxygen levels and energy production, reduced brain inflammation and improved reaction time (16-25). 

I took this vinpocetine supplement after my last concussion to increase blood flow to the brain and speed up my recovery. 

7. Meditation

Meditation is my favourite relaxation technique and it's linked to increased blood flow in the brain.

In one study, 14 people with memory problems followed a simple 8-week meditation program, and researchers found a significant increase in blood flow to the prefrontal cortex (31). 

Logical memory and verbal fluency also improved after training (31). 

Another study showed that just five days of meditation (30 minutes each day) significantly enhanced brain blood flow (32). 

I use the Muse headband to meditate. It gives you real-time feedback while you meditate. That way, you know how well you are meditating. It makes meditating much more enjoyable.

I previously wrote about it here, and you can get it through Amazon or the Muse website.

8. Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound.

Many people know that it’s found in grapes, red wine, raspberries and dark chocolate.

21-proven-ways-to-increase-blood-flow-to-the-brain-get-more-circulation-problems-poor-symptoms-foods-head-supply-cerebral-in-frontal-lobe-low-head-diseases-exercise-disorders-through-improve-treatment-home-remedies-how-best-function-herbs-naturally-study-help-oxygen

Resveratrol is known to help prevent the development of neurodegenerative diseases.

And researchers are starting to understand why.

Resveratrol can increase BDNF, help restore the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, and support your mitochondria.

But it can also quickly help you get more blood and oxygen flowing to your brain. 

In one study, after taking either 250 or 500 milligrams of resveratrol, study participants experienced a dose-dependent increase in brain blood flow (26). 

Even just 75 mg has been shown to increase brain circulation and cognition (27, 29). 

And a new study published just this year found that chronic resveratrol supplementation increases brain blood circulation in post-menopausal women, improving their cognition and mood (28, 30). 

I take this resveratrol supplement to support the long-term health of my brain. It’s good to know it naturally increase blood flow in the brain as well. You can get the resveratrol I take here or here

9. Dark Chocolate

Most people love chocolate, and your brain loves it too. 

Dark chocolate contains cocoa, which is known to improve blood flow. 

It's one of my favourite foods. 

Research suggests that the flavonoids found in cocoa beans increase blood flow to key areas of the brain for two to three hours after eating them. And this leads to an improvement in cognitive performance and general alertness (33, 35). 

Certain food components like cocoa flavanols may be beneficial in increasing brain blood flow and enhancing brain function among older adults or for others in situations where they may be cognitively impaired, such as fatigue or sleep deprivation.
— Dr. Ian A. Macdonald, PhD, from the University of Nottingham Medical School in the United Kingdom

One study found that flavanol-rich cocoa significant increases the speed of brain blood flow in healthy elderly people (34). 

Another study showed that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day for 30 days was linked to improved blood flow to the brain and better memory (36). 

Dark chocolate also increases BDNF and reduces cortisol.

It’s important to choose a type of dark chocolate that is at least 70 percent cocoa.

Here is one of my favourite high-quality dark chocolates

Click here to subscribe

10. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s fatty acids are the highest quality fats for the brain.

They are essential, meaning your body cannot create them and you have to get them from food or supplements.

Making sure you get more omega-3s is one of the most important actions you can take to support your brain and nervous system.

They have been shown in many studies to significantly reduce brain inflammation; improve memory, mood and cognition; and protect against mild cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

But they also naturally increase brain blood flow and circulation. 

Research shows that higher omega-3 levels are significantly correlated with higher regional cerebral blood flow (37). 

This is very important research because it shows a correlation between lower omega-3 fatty acid levels and reduced brain blood flow to regions important for learning, memory, depression and dementia.
— Dr. Daniel G. Amen, MD, Amen Clinics

And one study found that omega-3 supplementation, in comparison with placebo, significantly increases brain blood flow (38). 

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold water fish such as salmon, black cod, sablefish, sardines and herring.

Unfortunately, most people don't consume enough of these foods.

So supplementing with krill oil should be considered. Krill oil is a special kind of fish oil that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier. I’ve tried tons of fish oil supplements, and I recommend krill oil over all the others.

I take this krill oil supplement. I feel slightly depressed when I stop taking it. I actually notice the difference.

11. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an alternative treatment that has been shown to increase brain blood flow and circulation.

In a randomized controlled trial, 17 post-stroke patients did acupuncture or sham acupuncture for 20 minutes.

The researchers found that the speed of blood flow to both hemispheres of the brain significantly increased during and after acupuncture treatment (39, 42). 

Research has also shown that acupuncture can significantly improve cerebral blood flow and circulation in animals (40-41, 43). 

I’m a really big fan of auricular acupuncture, which is when the needles are inserted into ear.

In my experience, ear acupuncture is more effective than regular acupuncture. I’m not sure why. I just personally noticed more benefits from ear acupuncture. 

I’d recommend trying to find a acupuncturist in your area who provides ear acupuncture.

Ear acupuncture really helped me the first time I weened off antidepressants. I was surprised.

At the end of each appointment, my practitioner would secure these small black seeds on my ear. 

I also use this acupuncture mat at home to relax before bed.

Acupuncture also stimulates the vagus nerve

12. Chewing Gum

Research reveals that chewing increases brain blood flow (44). 

As a result, chewing can improve cognitive performance and brain function, including working and spatial memory, and increases the level of arousal and alertness during a cognitive task (45). 

If you chew gum, make sure it’s aspartame-free, like this one.

Chewing gum also reduces cortisol

13. Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) 

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) is an acetylated form of the amino acid carnitine. 

It’s known to help reverse neurological decline by increasing levels of acetylcholine in the brain.

It’s often used as a brain booster by people of all ages because it support brain cells and increases alertness.

It’s also been shown to be very effective at alleviating chronic fatigue and improving mood by supporting mitochondrial function.

Considering it does all this, it’s not surprising that researchers found that it can enhance brain blood flow in people who have had a stroke (46-47). 

I personally find ALCAR improves my mental energy and enhances my cognitive function.

ALCAR is included in the Optimal Brain supplement

Click here to subscribe

14. Nitrates

Nitrates are both naturally-occurring compounds found in soil and plants.

High levels of nitrates are found in foods such as beets, celery, cabbage, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables.

Research shows that a nitrate-rich diet can increase blood flow to the frontal lobe of the brain, improving cognitive function and protecting against cognitive decline (51-52). 

Beet juice is a particularly rich source of nitrates, and studies have found that it can help widen blood vessels and increase oxygen and blood flow to the brain (53-54, 56). 

A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial even found that beet juice can improve cognitive performance by increasing brain blood flow (55). 

There have been several very high-profile studies showing that drinking beet juice can lower blood pressure, but we wanted to show that drinking beet juice also increases perfusion, or blood flow, to the brain. There are areas in the brain that become poorly perfused as you age, and that’s believed to be associated with dementia and poor cognition.
— Dr. Daniel Kim-Shapiro, PhD

I don’t really enjoy the taste, but every so often I do drink beet juice during cognitively-demanding tasks. 

Here is a good organic beet juice

15. Drink Less Coffee (Or Take Theanine)

Coffee is generally excellent for brain health. There is a lot of research showing it is very healthy and can be protective against dementia.

However, studies also show that if you want to get more blood flowing to your brain and within you brain, you’re better off avoiding or limiting caffeine

21-proven-ways-to-increase-blood-flow-to-the-brain-get-more-circulation-problems-poor-symptoms-foods-head-supply-cerebral-in-frontal-lobe-low-head-diseases-exercise-disorders-through-improve-treatment-home-remedies-how-best-function-herbs-naturally-study-help-oxygen

Researchers have found that caffeine significantly reduces brain blood flow by 20 to 30% depending on the study and dosage (74-77). 

The good news is that taking the amino acid theanine can reduce the negative brain blood flow effects of caffeine (78-79). 

That’s why I take this theanine supplement with my morning coffee

I also sometimes take breaks from drinking coffee to normalize brain blood flow and circulation. 

Taking the herb rhodiola can make quitting caffeine much easier because it helps reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Lastly, you could also try supplementing with the whole coffee fruit, instead of drinking coffee.

The coffee bean is usually separated from the coffee fruit for roasting. When this happens, the surrounding coffee fruit is then thrown away. 

That’s a problem because the coffee fruit contains several healthy compounds not found in coffee beans themselves.

In fact, scientists have discovered that ingesting coffee fruit concentrate significantly increases brain function. 

That’s why it’s included in Optimal Brain.

16. Piracetam

Piracetam is a “nootropic”, which means it’s a supplement that enhances cognition.

It provides a mild boost in brain function, and it’s regularly used in Europe, Asia and South America to treat cognitive impairment. 

A meta-analysis found that piracetam improves general cognition when supplemented by people in a state of cognitive decline (84). 

Research also shows that it can increase brain blood flow in humans and animals (85-91). 

Here is a good piracetam supplement. I used to take it every day but I don’t need it at all anymore.

Phenylpiracetam is an advanced version of piracetam and I found it to be even better because it improves mood and reduces anxiety. It’s also been shown to reverse the depressant effects of benzodiazepines (81-83).

You can get it here

Both piracetam and phenylpiracetam work best if you take them with a source of choline, such as CDP-Choline and Alpha GPC (80). 

17. Ketogenic Dieting

A ketogenic diet is a very low-carbohydrate diet.

To follow it correctly, you need to eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.

This means you need to avoid all carbohydrate-rich foods, including grains, sugar, and even potatoes, legumes and fruit.

When you restrict carbs this much, your body enters ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body and brain run on fatty acids and “ketones” instead of glucose.

Researchers have found that ketones are a therapeutic option in traumatic brain injury because they can increase brain blood flow by 39% (100). 

Studies have also shown that ketones increase cerebral blood flow by 65% in animals (103-104). 

And caloric restriction also increases ketones, which preserves cerebral blood flow in aging rats (102). 

I follow a ketogenic diet every so often, but not for long stretches of time due to resulting hormone problems.

I do take Optimal Ketones every day, which are exogenous ketones that get your body into a state of ketosis very quickly. They immediately increase my mental clarity, without having to restrict carbs.

Ketones can also support mitochondria health, promote the regeneration of myelin, and increase the growth of new brain cells

18. Citicoline

Citicoline (also known as CDP-Choline) is one of the most bioavailable forms of choline.

You need to get choline from food, but most people do not get enough because very few foods in the Western diet contain it.

That’s why supplementation is often necessary.

Citicoline is a supplemental form of choline that has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.

It enhances the synthesis of acetylcholine and dopamine (two neurotransmitters that are critical for optimal brain function) and increases the number of acetylcholine and dopamine receptors in your brain (105-110). 

It’s also been shown to improve cognitive function by increasing the rate of brain blood flow (114-116). 

A double-blind placebo-controlled study concluded that Citicoline improves cognitive performance in patients with Alzheimer’s disease by increasing brain blood flow (113). 

Citicoline significantly improves my focus and mental energy. It's included in the Optimal Brain supplement

You can also find some choline in foods such as beef liver and egg yolks, but the effects of Citicoline are much more noticeable and immediate because it quickly passes the blood-brain barrier and supports your brain.  

Citicoline also promote the regeneration of myelin, support the blood-brain barrier, and help reverse brain damage.

19. Blueberry Juice

Drinking blueberry juice improves cognitive function in the elderly, according to research published this year (123-125). 

One way it improved brain health was by increasing oxygen levels and increasing blood flow to the brain.

The participants had improvements in working memory while doing cognitive testing.

In this study we have shown that with just 12 weeks of consuming 30ml of concentrated blueberry juice every day, brain blood flow, brain activation and some aspects of working memory were improved in this group of healthy older adults.
— Dr. Joanna Bowtell

The amount of juice in the study was equivalent to 230g of blueberries.

The researchers believe that the flavonoids in blueberries were responsible for the positive effects.  

 

20. Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ)

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is a vitamin-like enzyme and potent antioxidant found in plant foods that can improve cognitive function.

Researchers have found that supplementing with PQQ can increase blood flow to the prefrontal cortex (117-118). 

One study found that PQQ can prevent the reduction of brain function in elderly people, especially in attention and working memory, by increasing brain blood flow (119). 

I cycle this BioPQQ supplement with my other mitochondrial-support supplements

21. Intranasal Insulin

Insulin is one of the hormones that significantly affects brain function.

It's been shown to pass the blood-brain barrier and act on insulin receptors directly within the brain.

21-proven-ways-to-increase-blood-flow-to-the-brain-get-more-circulation-problems-poor-symptoms-foods-head-supply-cerebral-in-frontal-lobe-low-head-diseases-exercise-disorders-through-improve-treatment-home-remedies-how-best-function-herbs-naturally-study-help-oxygen

In a new therapeutic approach, commercially-available insulin (Novalin R) is prepared and added to nasal spray bottles - like these ones - and sprayed and inhaled through the nose to support brain and mental health.

Intranasal insulin has been reported to significantly enhance memory, increase mental energy, reduce brain fog, improve mood, and lower anxiety and stress levels.

One possible mechanism is by increasing brain blood flow and circulation.

Research shows that intranasal insulin increases regional cerebral blood flow in the insular cortex (120, 122). 

And in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, intranasal insulin improved brain blood flow in older adults (121).  

If you’re interested in learning more, I previously wrote a full article about intranasal insulin.

22. BONUS: Other Promising Nutrients and Herbs

Researchers have found that the following compounds can increase cerebral blood flow in animals, but I couldn’t find any research showing that it will do the same in humans. However, they are worth experimenting with as many of them have supported my brain and mental health over the years.

21-proven-ways-to-increase-blood-flow-to-the-brain-get-more-circulation-problems-poor-symptoms-foods-head-supply-cerebral-in-frontal-lobe-low-head-diseases-exercise-disorders-through-improve-treatment-home-remedies-how-best-function-herbs-naturally-study-help-oxygen
 

Enjoy This Article? You Might Also Like My FREE Food Guide for Optimal Brain and Mental Health!

Click here to subscribe

Live Optimally,

Jordan Fallis

Connect with me

References:

(1) http://www.the-aps.org/mm/hp/Audiences/Public-Press/Archive/2011/9.html

(2) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412131921.htm

(3) http://www.nmhu.edu/research-shows-walking-increases-blood-flow-brain/

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/754495

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12070190

(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8706113

(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22104537

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27206903

(9) https://goo.gl/NKCSF1

(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3819153/

(11) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-8749.2004.tb00460.x/abstract

(12) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12905098

(13) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25966264

(14) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3163160/

(15) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3679686/

(16) https://examine.com/supplements/vinpocetine/

(17) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15760651

(18) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12498034

(19) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12460136

(20) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1429914/

(21) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12044859

(22) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4274818/

(23) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23289173

(24) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25548768

(25) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19135345

(26) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20357044

(27) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27105868

(28) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28054939

(29) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27420093

(30) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27005658

(31) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20164557

(32) http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00212/full

(33) http://www.medsci.org/press/cocoa.html

(34) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2518374/

(35) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16794461

(36) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-08/aaon-cmh073113.php

(37) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28527220

(38) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301051111002584

(39) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26569545

(40) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19358505

(41) http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0056736

(42) https://goo.gl/XZqLQd

(43) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24006668

(44) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9134116

(45) http://www.medsci.org/v11p0209.htm

(46) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2068049

(47) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2387659

(48) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1673537407600383

(49) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19995444

(50) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25277249

(51) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3575935/

(52) http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20101103/beet-juice-good-for-brain#1

(53) https://goo.gl/oeTwfb

(54) http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20101103/beet-juice-good-for-brain#1

(55) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26037632

(56) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27630836

(57) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16912655

(58) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17459424

(59) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12614590

(60) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0026286207000258

(61) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ana.410150507/abstract

(62) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140429085116.htm

(63) https://goo.gl/x39wBK

(64) http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1038/jcbfm.2011.85

(65) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746283/

(66) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22447676

(67) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0024320509004627

(68) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19925811

(69) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12466053

(70) https://goo.gl/JLo2KP

(71) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23685189

(72) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28325558

(73) https://goo.gl/ffuYWA

(74) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2748160/

(75) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15132312/

(76) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2122148/

(77) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3677118/

(78) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4480845/

(79) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25761837

(80) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7301036

(81) https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/11319230-000000000-00000

(82) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21689376

(83) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6403074

(84) https://examine.com/supplements/piracetam/

(85) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3556550

(86) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21183904

(87) https://goo.gl/Uf4XQU

(88) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4026900

(89) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8876930

(90) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10978039

(91) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17523446

(92) https://goo.gl/JYEMNd

(93) https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14191

(94) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22773150

(95) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3810733

(96) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3446252

(97) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20096732

(98) https://goo.gl/rHW2KD

(99) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27156064

(100) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8967461

(101) https://ccforum.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/cc10020

(102) https://goo.gl/KRZ9oy

(103) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16001018

(104) http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1038/sj.jcbfm.9600177

(105) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2695184/

(106) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11796739

(107) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1430829/

(108) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1839138

(109) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1098982

(110) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19351232

(111) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4011061/

(112) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16055952

(113) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10669911

(114) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1098982

(115) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7820960

(116) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7913981/

(117) https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-38810-6_29

(118) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27526146

(119) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26782228

(120) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23907764

(121) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5391232/

(122) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hbm.22304/abstract

(123) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28249119

(124) http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_572581_en.html

(125) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170307100356.htm

(126) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20453669

(127) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3539653/

(128) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3246784/

(129) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15118175

(130) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14757593

(131) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28155036

(132) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28506213

(133) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15929050

(134) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17088679

(135) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10867218

(136) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9682941

(137) http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/481961

(138) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12742675

(139) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9373423

(140) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21167506

(141) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7496746

(142) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1919689

(143) http://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/jnp.15.3.326

(144) http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/783869

Medically reviewed by Dr. Robert Blake Gibb, MD

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

Affiliate Disclosure

Disclaimer

The 25 Best Natural Supplements Proven to Reduce Depression

Eight years ago, I was prescribed an antidepressant and started taking it every day. 

Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have done it. 

It helped a little bit. 

But then some serious side effects kicked in over time... 

Weight gain, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, emotional numbness, drowsiness, personality changes, and even cognitive decline

So if I could go back in time, I would rely on natural supplements first before jumping on pharmaceuticals.  

That’s not to say prescription antidepressants don’t help people.  

They do. 

They can save lives. 

But for some people (like me), they can end up doing more harm than good.  

So in this post, I want to share with you my favourite natural supplements for relieving depression.  

Research shows that there are many natural antidepressants that are just as effective as prescription antidepressants, but without adverse effects. 

After I came off medication, I relied on many of them to reduce depression and improve my mood and energy.  

Depression is complex, and there are often numerous underlying root causes.  

But these natural options will support you and prop you up while you seek and resolve the root causes of your depression.  

I’ve tried hundreds of natural supplements over the years, and these are the most effective ones for depression.  

They’ve really helped me, and I’ve seen other people get better with them as well. 

Read on to discover the best evidence-based supplements for treating depression. 

best-natural-supplements-proven-reduce-depression-in-2019-good-for-help-vitamins-fatigue-top-mood-enhancing-herbs-herbal-antidepressant-foods-boosters-quick-enhancers-list-happiness-that-work-against-ways-to-fight-anti-treat-research-ncbi-study-pubmed-stack-buy-deal-with-treatment-long-term-support-prevent-overcome-naturally-nutritional-neurotransmitters-improve-remedies-health-essential-diet-dietary-decrease-counter-battle-against-improve-stop.jpg
 

1. Probiotics

As you probably already know, the health of your gut (and the bacteria within it) significantly influence your brain and mental health.  

In fact, people who have been diagnosed with gut diseases are more likely to be diagnosed with depression (1).  

But luckily, there’s a solution. 

High-quality research shows that probiotic supplements can significantly reduce depressive symptoms in both healthy and depressed individuals (2-4).  

Studies also show that the neurotransmitter serotonin is produced in the gut.  

By taking a probiotic supplement, you can enhance the diversity of the bacteria in your gut, create a better environment for the synthesis of serotonin, and therefore increase serotonin levels and activity in your brain (5).  

Probiotics also reduce inflammation, which tends to be elevated in people with depression (6).  

The best probiotics for depression are Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus casei. 

All five of them are included in the Optimal Biotics supplement.  

Check out this post for five other ways to increase the good bacteria in your gut.  

And if you struggle with anxiety, here are 9 probiotic strains that can help. 

 

2. Rhodiola

Rhodiola, also known as golden root or arctic root, is a Traditional Chinese and Scandinavian herb.  

It’s one of the most popular adaptogens used to increase physical and mental stamina. 

It can also reduce depression (9).  

In one study, rhodiola significantly reduced symptoms of depression and emotional instability in people with mild and moderate depression (7).  

Another study found that it was almost as effective as Zoloft, a commonly prescribed antidepressant, but it was better tolerated and it didn’t cause nearly as many side effects (8).  

Plenty of animal research also shows that rhodiola has antidepressant effects by lowering cortisol, and restoring serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine (10-16).  

I personally take this rhodiola supplement. I don't take it every day, only when I need a boost in mood and energy.  You can get it here or here.  

Be sure to check out this post to learn more about the benefits of rhodiola, above and beyond just reducing depression. 

 

3. Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR)

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) is an acetylated form of the amino acid carnitine. It’s been shown to have neuroprotective and cognitive-enhancing effects. 

It’s often used as a natural brain booster because it increases alertness and supports brain cells.  

Researchers have found that ALCAR is quite effective at alleviating chronic fatigue, improving mood and treating depression (17-18).  

In one study, supplementing with ALCAR for 1 to 2 months reduced depression in elderly individuals (19). 

And another study showed that ALCAR can reduce depression in people with chronic depression. Twelve weeks of supplementation reduced their depressive symptoms just as effectively as an antidepressant (20).  

It works because it supports mitochondrial function, and increases BDNF levels and serotonin levels in the brain (21-22).  

I find that ALCAR personally gives me a big boost in mood, motivation, mental energy and resilience. 

That’s why I included it in the Optimal Brain supplement

 

4. Theanine

green-tea-best-natural-supplements-proven-reduce-depression-in-2019-good-for-help-vitamins-fatigue-top-mood-enhancing-herbs-herbal-antidepressant-foods-boosters-quick-enhancers-list-happiness-that-work-against-ways-to-fight-anti-treat-research-ncbi-study-pubmed-stack-buy-deal-with-treatment-long-term-support-prevent-overcome-naturally-nutritional-neurotransmitters-improve-remedies-health-essential-diet-dietary-decrease-counter-battle-against-improve-stop.jpg

Theanine is a unique amino acid found in tea. It has a number of mental health benefits. 

I take theanine alongside my morning coffee. It definitely improves my mood. It also helps me focus and cancels out the jitters of caffeine. 

In one study, theanine supplementation reduced depressive symptoms and anxiety, and improved sleep and cognitive function in patients with major depression (23).  

Animal research also shows that theanine can alleviate depression in mice that are exposed to chronic stress (24).  

This mental health supplement contains theanine, along with several natural compounds that have helped me manage depression and anxiety over the years. 

Theanine can also be found in green tea, which has also been shown to help reduce depression (25). 

 

5. Magnesium

Magnesium is a vital mineral that participates in more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body.  

Unfortunately, a lot of people are deficient in magnesium.  

This is a shame because magnesium is absolutely essential for the proper functioning of your nervous system and optimal neurotransmitter activity

Research clearly shows there are links between low magnesium intake, magnesium deficiency, and depression and suicide (26-28, 34-35).  

Several studies also show that magnesium supplementation improves depressive symptoms in people with depression, including people with postpartum depression, premenstrual syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome (29-32).  

Sometimes even just one week of supplementing with magnesium can improve mood and reverse symptoms of depression (33).  

Since most people are deficient, magnesium is one of the three supplements that I think everyone should be taking every day. 

Epsom salt baths are another great way to increase your body’s intake of magnesium.  

You should also make sure you’re eating enough magnesium-rich foods on a regular basis, including: 

These foods are included in my Free Grocery Shopping Guide for Optimal Mental Health.  

Click here to subscribe

6. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your skin synthesizes when exposed to the sun.  

Unfortunately, Vitamin D deficiency is widespread and has become a major global health problem. Researchers estimate that 50% of people are at risk of Vitamin D deficiency

This is a huge concern because every tissue in your body has Vitamin D receptors, including the brain, so a deficiency can lead to costly physiological and psychological consequences, including depression. 

Research shows that there is a strong link between Vitamin D deficiency and depression and suicide (36-37).  

Thankfully, several studies shown that Vitamin D3 supplementation reduces depressive symptoms, treats seasonal affective disorder, and lowers suicide risk (38-40).  

Vitamin D helps fight depression because it plays a key role in the production of dopamine and norepinephrine, and protects against the depletion of dopamine and serotonin in the brain (41).  

Ideally, you should get your Vitamin D by going outside and getting sun.  

I try to get sunlight every day during the spring and summer months.  

But most people still don’t get enough Vitamin D from the sun, especially during the winter.  

During the winter months, when there isn't enough sun, I use this Vitamin D sunlamp.

I also take this Vitamin D supplement as needed, depending on my blood test levels.  

Vitamin D is so critical for optimal brain health, so make sure to check your levels regularly. You can order a test here.  

If you decide to take a Vitamin D3 supplement, it’s a good idea to take it along with Vitamin K2. They are synergistic and mix well together. 

 

7. Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral for mental health, as it plays a key role in neurotransmission and nervous system functioning. 

Unfortunately, it’s estimated that 2 billion people in the world are deficient in zinc, and several studies show that even subclinical zinc deficiency impairs brain function (42-44). 

Researchers have also found that a zinc deficiency increases the likelihood of developing depression, as well as increasing the severity of depression (45).  

But zinc supplementation can definitely help.  

A meta-analysis concluded that taking a zinc supplement is an effective treatment for depression (46).  

In one study, 50 people took 30 mg of zinc for 12 weeks, and their mood significantly improved, and their BDNF levels increased as well (47-49).  

So if you struggle with depression, it’s quite possible you’re deficient, and you’ll want to consider taking a zinc supplement to optimize your levels. 

I created and take the Optimal Zinc supplement to make sure my zinc levels are optimal. I created it because I want to give my clients and readers the very best zinc supplement so that they can experience superior results. I have found that many zinc supplements on the market fall short. Optimal Zinc includes several other nutrients (co-factors) that increase the absorption of zinc. 

Some of the best foods you should eat to optimize your zinc levels include: 

These foods are included in my Free Grocery Shopping Guide for Optimal Brain and Mental Health

Check out my previous post all about zinc for more steps you can take to increase your zinc levels. 

 

8. DL-Phenylalanine

Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid, meaning that your body cannot create it, and you must obtain it from your diet. 

It plays a key role in the production of dopamine, a critical neurotransmitter that can improve your mood (50).  

People struggling with depression have been shown to have low levels of phenylalanine in their blood and urine (55).  

You can find phenylalanine in from protein-rich foods, such as: 

These foods are included in my Free Grocery Shopping Guide for Optimal Brain and Mental Health

But I find that supplementing with DL-Phenylalanine (DLPA), a special supplemental form of phenylalanine, is much more effective than simply eating foods with phenylalanine. 

In one study, 23 depressed patients took DLPA every day for 15 days. At the end of the 15 days, 17 of them had completely overcame their depression, and they didn't experience adverse side effects (51).  

Another 3-week study found very similar results (52).  

Researchers have even concluded that DLPA is just as effective as prescription antidepressants. And people who don’t respond to pharmaceutical antidepressants often get significantly better when they take DLPA (53-54).  

Even if you take medication, research shows that combining DLPA with antidepressants leads to greater increases in mood than simply taking an antidepressant alone (56).  

Yet unlike antidepressants, you can feel the effects of DLPA quickly (within a few hours) and in some cases, it can “terminate depression within 2 to 3 days” (57). 

Not surprisingly, I absolutely love DL-Phenylalanine. It was probably the most important supplement that I took while I transitioned off of antidepressants

If you’d like to learn more about DLPA, read this post

 

9. N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC)

N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) is a modified form of the amino acid cysteine.  

It’s also the precursor to glutathione, your body’s master antioxidant

Nowadays, we’re exposed to so many environmental toxins, which cause oxidative stress in the body and deplete our reserves of cysteine and glutathione.  

But supplementing with NAC can increase and normalize your cysteine and glutathione levels. 

This can combat and reduce oxidative stress in your brain, which can then help treat several mental illnesses, including depression.  

In one study, 149 people with moderate depression were given NAC or placebo for eight weeks. The individuals who received NAC experienced a significant reduction in their depression, as well as improvements in their overall functioning and quality of life (58).  

In another six-month study, NAC significantly reduced symptoms of depression in patients with bipolar disorder. It also significantly improved their social and occupational functioning. The researchers concluded that NAC is a safe and effective strategy for depressive symptoms (59).  

Several other studies have examined the effects of NAC on bipolar disorder and found that taking NAC daily can significantly improve and even cause a full remission of depressive symptoms (60-62).  

 

10. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s fatty acids are the highest quality fats for the brain and increasing your intake of them is one of the most impactful actions you can take to promote the normal functioning of your brain and nervous system. 

They have been shown in many studies to significantly reduce brain inflammation; improve memory, mood and cognition; and protect against mild cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer's disease

Researchers have also found that levels of omega-3 fatty acids are significantly lower in individuals with depression (63-64).  

It’s important to consume enough omega-3 fatty acids because they are essential fats that your body cannot produce itself. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are found primarily in cold water fish, including: 

  • Salmon  

  • Black cod  

  • Sablefish  

  • Sardines  

  • Herring 

These foods are included in my Free Grocery Shopping Guide for Optimal Mental Health.  

Unfortunately, most people don't consume enough omega-3 fatty acids through their diet. 

That’s why I recommend supplementing with krill oil, a special kind of fish oil that contains the essential omega-3 fatty acids.  

I take this krill oil supplement.  

I feel more depressed when I stop taking it. I actually notice the difference. 

Studies show that omega-3 fatty acid supplements are effective at treating clinical depression. They also improve mood in people who haven’t been diagnosed with depression, but have depressive symptoms (65-66. 68-69).  

One way they work is by reducing inflammation in the brain, which is strongly linked to depression (67).

Click here to subscribe

11. Ginseng

Ginseng is known for its anti-stress effects. 

But it also has antidepressant effects (70).  

More than one study has shown that ginseng reduces depression and increases quality of life (71-72).  

Ginseng has been shown to work because it reduces inflammation and increases dopamine, serotonin and BDNF in the brain (73-76).  

Ginseng is one of my favourite herbal supplements for brain function and depression.

 

12. S-adenosyl-L-methionine

S-Adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM-e) is a compound that naturally occurs in the body.  

It’s also available as a supplement.  

It’s most commonly used for treating depression because lowered SAM-e levels are associated with depression. 

Researchers have concluded that SAM-e is an effective and safe option for the treatment of depression. It has beneficial effects similar to conventional antidepressants (77-78, 82-83).  

In one study, people who hadn't responded to SSRI antidepressants took SAM-e for six weeks, and it significantly reduced their symptoms of depression (79).  

In another study, 20 healthy individuals received infusions of SAM-e or a placebo for seven days. The researchers scanned and studied the brains of the participants during the study. And it was confirmed that SAM-e is an antidepressant because it targets and supports brain regions involved in depression (81).  

It has also been shown to increase serotonin and dopamine activity in the brain, and inhibit the reuptake of norepinephrine (80).  

The great thing about SAM-e is that it works fairly quickly, as people usually notice benefits within the first few days of taking it, and it doesn’t cause severe side effects like pharmaceutical antidepressants (83).  

I took this SAM-e supplement after coming off psychiatric medication and it significantly helped me by improving my mood and energy.

 

13. Curcumin

best-natural-supplements-proven-reduce-depression-in-2019-good-for-help-vitamins-fatigue-top-mood-enhancing-herbs-herbal-antidepressant-foods-boosters-quick-enhancers-list-happiness-that-work-against-ways-to-fight-anti-treat-research-ncbi-study-pubmed-stack-buy-deal-with-treatment-long-term-support-prevent-overcome-naturally-nutritional-neurotransmitters-improve-remedies-health-essential-diet-dietary-decrease-counter-battle-against-improve-stop.jpg

Curcumin is the most heavily researched compound within turmeric, the spice that gives curry its yellow colour.  

It’s one of my favourite natural compounds for the brain

Researchers have repeatedly found that curcumin reduces depressive symptoms in patients with major depression (84-86). 

In one study, curcumin reduced depression in more than 100 people after six weeks of supplementation (87).   

It also reduces inflammatory markers and cortisol levels, and increases BDNF levels, all of which are involved in depression (87). 

 

14. Methylfolate

Folate (Vitamin B9) is an essential B vitamin that plays a key role in methylation, one of the most important processes in your body and brain for optimal energy and nervous system function.  

Researchers have found that if you are depressed, you likely have lower levels of folate circulating in your blood, and people with low blood folate are at greater risk for developing depression (88).  

Good dietary sources of natural folate include: 

  • Leafy greens  

  • Asparagus  

  • Broccoli  

  • Cauliflower  

  • Strawberries  

  • Avocado  

  • Beef liver  

  • Poultry

These foods are included in my Free Grocery Shopping Guide for Optimal Brain and Mental Health

However, eating folate-rich foods sometimes isn’t enough. In fact, many people don't get enough folate from food because cooking and food processing destroy natural folates (103). 

People with depression often need to supplement with methylfolate to get the full benefits.  

In one study, six months of methylfolate supplementation reduced symptoms of depression in patients with clinical depression and schizophrenia (92).  

Research also shows that taking methylfolate alongside an antidepressant makes the antidepressant more effective (93).  

Researchers have even suggested that folate supplementation should be a first-line treatment for depression (104). 

Methylfolate works because it lowers homocysteine levels, stimulates serotonin receptors in the brain, and plays a key role in the production of dopamine (94-102).  

Whatever you do, avoid synthetic folic acid, which is commonly found in standard multivitamins. Instead, you need to take the biologically active form of folate (methylfolate or 5-MTHF). 

Methylfolate supplements are almost seven times more effective than synthetic folic acid at increasing folate levels. Regular synthetic folic acid has been shown to be quickly cleared from the central nervous system and poorly transported into the brain (89-91).  

On top of this, many people have genetic mutations in the enzyme that converts folic acid into methylfolate in the body. Therefore, folic acid is a waste and can actually cause harm if you have this genetic mutation.  

I take this B vitamin complex, and it includes methylfolate. Or you can take methylfolate separately at a higher dose.  

 

15. Vitamin B12

Lack of understanding of B12 is one of the greatest tragedies of modern medicine.
— Dr. James Greenblatt, Integrative Psychiatrist

Having sufficient levels of Vitamin B12 is necessary for optimal brain and mental health.  

Unfortunately, a deficiency is very common, especially in older individuals and vegetarians and vegans.  

Even if you eat meat and you’re young, you may still have a deficiency.  

Poor gut health and even psychiatric medications can cause a deficiency

In fact, it’s estimated that almost 40% of Americans are deficient today. 

Numerous studies have shown that having a deficiency in Vitamin B12 leads to symptoms of depression (136-142). 

But supplementation can help. 

Research shows that supplementing with Vitamin B12 for six weeks can reduce depressive symptoms in depressed patients (143).  

In one study, Vitamin B12 supplementation lowered homocysteine levels and reduced depression in more than 200 people (144).  

If you decide to supplement, avoid the semisynthetic version of B12 (cyanocobalamin) and instead take the methylated form (methylcobalamin or methyl-B12).  

Methyl-B12 is better absorbed and more biologically active. 

Besides methyl-B12 and methylfolate, you should also consider supplementing with the rest of the B vitamins. 

There is evidence to suggest that many people with depression are also deficient in Vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6, and supplementing with them can help reduce, prevent and lower the risk of depression (145-151).  

I take this B complex supplement, which includes all the bioactive forms of the B vitamins, including B9, B12, B2 and B6.  

Vitamin B12 is also found in animal foods, and beef liver is a really good source. I take these beef liver capsules because I don’t like the taste of liver. 

Click here to subscribe

16. St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum) is a natural medicinal herb with antidepressant effects. It's often prescribed for depression in European countries.  

Researchers have concluded that it’s as effective as pharmaceutical antidepressants for treating depression but has fewer adverse effects (105-107). 

A double-blind, randomized control trial showed that St John’s Wort can prevent depression from developing, and delay relapses in depression (108).  

It's been found to work by increasing dopamine signaling and increasing serotonin receptors (109-111). 

I took this St. John’s Wort supplement years ago for my depression. It helped me, but I eventually stopped taking it and working on fixing the true, underlying causes of my depression instead. 

In my experience, it’s best for people who are struggling with mild or moderate depression.  

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t take St. John’s Wort if you’re already taking antidepressant medication. They don’t mix well.  

 

17. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone released by your pineal gland, a small gland in your brain. You can also take it as a supplement.  

It helps control your circadian rhythm, and adequate levels of melatonin are necessary to fall asleep quickly and sleep deeply throughout the night. 

Researchers have found that people with depression often have low levels of melatonin and a compromised circadian rhythm (257-259). 

Studies also show that supplementing with melatonin at bedtime can lower symptoms of depression. It can also improve the circadian rhythm of various neurotransmitters that are disturbed in people with depression (260-261).  

You can get melatonin here.  

Or you can take this sleep supplement. It contains magnesium and other natural compounds that I’ve used over the years to promote the production of melatonin. You can use the coupon code FIVE$45496275 for a 5% discount. 

 

18. Uridine

beer-uridine-best-natural-supplements-proven-reduce-depression-in-2019-good-for-help-vitamins-fatigue-top-mood-enhancing-herbs-herbal-antidepressant-foods-boosters-quick-enhancers-list-happiness-that-work-against-ways-to-fight-anti-treat-research-ncbi-study-pubmed-stack-buy-deal-with-treatment-long-term-support-prevent-overcome-naturally-nutritional-neurotransmitters-improve-remedies-health-essential-diet-dietary-decrease-counter-battle-against-improve-stop.jpg

Uridine is a natural compound commonly found in beer.  

I definitely don’t recommend drinking beer, but supplementing with pure uridine can protect the brain, enhance cognition, and increase mood and motivation. 

Uridine supplementation has been shown to reduce depression in young people with bipolar disorder (113).  

Animal studies also show that uridine supplements alleviate depression and increases dopamine in the brains of rats (114-115).  

It’s important to note that uridine in food is not bioavailable, and no food has been shown to increase blood levels of uridine (112). 

So you’ll need to supplement with it.

 

19. Sarcosine

Sarcosine is an amino acid derivative that is naturally found in egg yolks, turkey, ham, vegetables and legumes. 

Supplementing with sarcosine has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of depression without side effects (116, 119).  

In one study, sarcosine was found to be significantly more effective at treating major depression than citalopram (a common SSRI antidepressant). 

Patients who received sarcosine were much more likely to improve, improved much more quickly, and were less likely to drop out of the study than patients that received citalopram (117).  

Animal research also shows that sarcosine has antidepressant effects (118).  

You’ll have to supplement with sarcosine for it to improve your mood. The amount of sarcosine in food is too small to have a beneficial effect. 

I take this sarcosine powder.  

It has impressive antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects, but without any of the nasty side effects that are common with pharmaceutical antidepressants and benzodiazepines.  

 

20. Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine is a fat-soluble amino acid that is known to support cognitive function.  

High amounts of phosphatidylserine are in the brain, and supplementation has been shown to improve attention, learning and memory

But researchers have also found that phosphatidylserine can also reduce depression. 

In one study, supplementing with phosphatidylserine induced consistent improvement of depressive symptoms, memory and behaviour in elderly individuals with depression (121).  

Animal research also shows that phosphatidylserine has antidepressant effects. In fact, the antidepressant effects are more prominent in rats than the cognitive-enhancing effects (122).  

I personally take phosphatidylserine every day. It's included in the Optimal Brain supplement

Click here to subscribe

21. Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Hericium Erinaceus – better known as lion’s mane mushroom – is an edible mushroom with numerous health benefits.  

It’s another one of my favourite supplements for brain health because it reduces inflammation and has antioxidant effects

One study found that it reduced depression in 30 women after 4 weeks of supplementation (120).  

This lion’s mane mushroom supplement is the highest-quality that I could find. I spent a lot of time researching and looking into different sources because not all lion's mane supplements are high-quality and effective, and I settled on this one.  

You can get it here or here

 

22. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is a plant that has been used in China for thousands of years to treat a number of health problems. 

It’s one of the top-selling natural supplements in the world, and it’s even a prescription herb in Germany. 

It’s most commonly used to improve brain health because it increases brain blood flow and improves memory, mental energy and attention in both healthy and unhealthy individuals. It even reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

But researchers have also found that Ginkgo Biloba reduces depression in elderly individuals (123-127).  

Ginkgo Biloba is included in the Optimal Brain supplement.

 

23. Saffron

saffron-best-natural-supplements-proven-reduce-depression-in-2019-good-for-help-vitamins-fatigue-top-mood-enhancing-herbs-herbal-antidepressant-foods-boosters-quick-enhancers-list-happiness-that-work-against-ways-to-fight-anti-treat-research-ncbi-study-pubmed-stack-buy-deal-with-treatment-long-term-support-prevent-overcome-naturally-nutritional-neurotransmitters-improve-remedies-health-essential-diet-dietary-decrease-counter-battle-against-improve-stop.jpg

Saffron is a spice derived from the Crocus sativus plant.  

It has a number of health benefits due to the medicinal compounds within it. 

Researchers have found that saffron is effective at reducing depression in people with mild to moderate depression (127-128).  

More than one study shows that saffron works just as well as SSRI antidepressants, reducing depression without side effects (129-131).  

Saffron has also been shown to inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, similar to pharmaceutical antidepressants (132). 

 

24. Pregnenolone

Pregnenolone is a steroidal hormone naturally manufactured by the body, but it can also be taken as a supplement.  

It’s the precursor to almost all other steroid hormones, including DHEA, progesterone, testosterone, estrogens, and cortisol.  

It’s been shown to enhance memory and reduce fatigue. 

But researchers have found that it can also reduce depression.  

Depressed patients often have low pregnenolone levels, but replenishing pregnenolone levels with supplementation significantly reduces symptoms of depression (133-135).  

Whenever I take pregnenolone, it gives me a big boost in brain function and mental energy. It definitely has an effect. But it doesn’t really improve my mood. In fact, if I take it every day, it starts to make me irritable. So I save it and only take it when I need it.   

Plenty of other people have excellent, consistent results with it though. 

If you want to try it, you can get it here

 

25. Dehydroepiandrosterone

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is one of the most abundant circulating steroid hormones in humans. It’s produced in the adrenal glands, the gonads, and the brain, and it’s a precursor to other hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. 

It's also available as a supplement

Research shows that low DHEA levels are significantly associated with increased depressive symptoms, and low DHEA levels are often found in depressed patients (270-271).  

And in multiple studies, supplementing with DHEA has been shown to improve mood and reduce depression (272-273).  

Researchers have found that it works because it impacts the activity of several neurotransmitters involved in depression, including dopamine, serotonin and GABA (274).  

 

26. BONUS: Other Natural Supplements That Can Reduce Depression

Natural_Supplements_For_Depression.jpg

Here are numerous other natural supplements that have also been shown to reduce depression and improve mood in humans.

I didn’t include them in the main list because they aren’t my favourite “go-to” solutions for depression.

Plus, they can be “hit-and-miss” and don’t always work for everyone in every situation.

But research still shows they can be quite effective, so they’re worth considering and giving a shot.  

 

Enjoy This Article? You Might Also Like My FREE Food Guide for Optimal Brain and Mental Health!

Click here to subscribe

Live Optimally,

Jordan Fallis

Connect with me


References:

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=18819774

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4997396/

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5319175/

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3904694/

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5319175/

(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5319175/

(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17990195

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25837277

(9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19016404

(10) ttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17072830

(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18515456

(12) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21901061

(13) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19168123

(14) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19403286

(15) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4790408/

(16) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4297663/

(17) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24607292

(18) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18491985

(19) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18491985

(20) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16316746

(21) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24607292

(22) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23382250

(23) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27396868

(24) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21425911

(25) https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/90/6/1615/4598112

(26) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23950577

(27) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25748766

(28) https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00048670802534408

(29) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16542786

(30) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2067759

(31) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19271419

(32) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1672392

(33) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16542786

(34) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19944540

(35) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23950577

(36) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27750060

(37) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23377209

(38) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22191178

(39) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10888476

(40) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4011048/

(41) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9011759

(42) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22664333

(43) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21939673

(44) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22673824

(45) ttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20689416

(46) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21798601

(47) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18191237

(48) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3022308/

(49) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24621065

(50) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209061/

(51) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1173765

(52) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/335027

(53) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/387000

(54) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1173765

(55) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3944066

(56) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6425455

(57)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/21254821_Rapid_treatment_of_depression_with_selegiline-phenylalanine_combination_1

(58) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21719110

(59) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18534556

(60) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22189927

(61) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20800897

(62) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23493756

(63) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20452573

(64) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20586692

(65) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24805797

(66) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20586692

(67) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3976923/

(68) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19499625

(69) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20099994

(70) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4503934/

(71) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10761538

(72) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24088416/

(73) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19632285

(74) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20647027/

(75) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8886498

(76) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15931589

(77) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27113121

(78) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12420702

(79) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20595412

(80) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19909689

(81) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12418497

(82) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7941964

(83) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2183633

(84) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26610378

(85) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25046624

(86) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28236605

(87) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26066335

(88) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10967371?dopt=Abstract

(89) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5314166

(90) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14769778

(91) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17522618

(92) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1974941

(93) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10967371

(94) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18950248

(95) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19796883

(96) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23212058

(97) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15671130

(98) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24372461

(99) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24392264

(100) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15671130

(101) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19388520

(102) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23507369

(103) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12493090

(104) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1810582/

(105) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypericum_perforatum

(106) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18843608

(107) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19028540

(108) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18694635

(109) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12775192

(110) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20193678

(111) http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/St_John's_Wort_Vs_Drugs.shtml

(112) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4011061/

(113) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3080753/

(114) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15705349

(115) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3020593/

(116) https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00977353

(117) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23562005

(118) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27555541

(119) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5331637/

(120) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20834180

(121) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1693032

(122) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15276700

(123) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26092515

(124) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21672588

(125) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17356006

(126) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6181482/

(127) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16979327

(128) ttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15852492

(129) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15707766

(130) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17174460

(131) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24289892

(132) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17704979

(133) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573983/

(134) ttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20493557

(135) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4200497/

(136) https://examine.com/supplements/vitamin-b12/

(137) https://wellnessmama.com/36091/vitamin-b12-deficiency/

(138) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22276208

(139) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781043/

(140) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10784463

(141) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3262813/

(142) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24339839

(143) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24339839

(144) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21771745

(145) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22081620

(146) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15479988

(147) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16815556

(148) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1578091

(149) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20716710

(150) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26648330

(151) ttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15671130

(152) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12807339

(153) ttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17593676

(154) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3983753/

(155) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18334150

(156) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29908682

(157) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26408043

(158) http://journal.icns.org.ir/browse.php?a_id=327&sid=1&slc_lang=en

(159) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14692723

(160) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15181652

(161) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9065962

(162) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15181652

(163)https://journals.lww.com/psychopharmacology/Abstract/2000/02000/Efficacy_of_Kava_Extract_for_Treating_Anxiety_.14.aspx

(164) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12807341

(165) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10186945

(166) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15953489

(167) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9247405

(168) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0062698/

(169) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22031267

(170) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21352883

(171) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24424706

(172) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7726322

(173) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15106232

(174) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684979/

(175) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21831448

(176) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17988366

(177) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22864465

(178) ttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11595668

(179) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19079843

(180) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15168891

(181) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18981340

(182) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12796225

(183) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22864465

(184) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23466591

(185) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22789792

(186) ttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24578844

(187) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12551734

(188) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4363653/

(189) ttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/

(190) ttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3600408/

(191) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3600416/

(192) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26826594

(193) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25800110

(194) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22894890

(195) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3600408/

(196) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26483209

(197) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18611150

(198) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21046986

(199) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12957224

(200) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17321089

(201) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22160863

(202) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26400188

(203) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18585703

(204) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17585901

(205) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11270727

(206) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19253862

(207) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4296439/

(208) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20471444

(209) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22467846

(210) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22796912

(211) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/syn.890010302

(212) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/

(213) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439798

(214) https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/acta-neuropsychiatrica/article/clinical-antidepressant-effect-of-exogenous-agmatine-is-not-reversed-by-parachlorophenylalanine-a-pilot-study/62BA83527CFA2D1F283A4899307103DE

(215) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27836390

(216) https://examine.com/supplements/agmatine/

(217) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25287313

(218) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25966970

(219)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259432742_The_clinical_antidepressant_effect_of_exogenous_agmatine_is_not_reversed_by_parachlorophenylalanine_A_pilot_study

(220) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28742505

(221) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16309809

(222) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29468978

(223) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20688474

(224) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23106783

(225) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23510529

(226) ttps://examine.com/supplements/vitamin-c/

(227) https://examine.com/supplements/maca/

(228) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15671224/

(229) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18463429

(230) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1873372

(231) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8289407

(232) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1020692

(233) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4303396/

(234) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3762304/

(235) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25678811

(236) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26984349

(237) https://goo.gl/7xi241

(238) https://goo.gl/7xi241

(239) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21771745

(240) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1578091

(241) ttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21771745

(242) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25596911

(243) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13031399

(244) http://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/675234/nicotinic-acid-treatment-depression

(255) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13099638

(256) ttps://ionhealth.ca/wp-content/uploads/resources/PDFs/Vitamin-B3-for-Depression-Case-Report-and-Review-of-the-Literature-25.3.pdf

(257) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6494381

(258) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/articles/3026303/

(259) ttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2762432

(260) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11226744

(261) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11226744

(262) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21071157

(263) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28118532

(264) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23380314

(265) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16378695

(266) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22888252

(267) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23380314

(268) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908021/

(269) https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-10006312

(270) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11082473

(271) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165178104001325

(272) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15699292

(273) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10200751

(274) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18280022

Medically reviewed by Dr. Fred Hui, MD, CCFP, CAFC

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

Affiliate Disclosure

Disclaimer