People use diverse strategies for improving their moods and boosting their energy levels. A study by Robert Thayer and colleagues at California State University found that exercise, music and social interaction are among the most effective approaches, while TV watching, eating and coffee drinking are relatively less successful strategies. Certain supplements may also help. Consult a qualified medical professional if bad moods and lack of energy are negatively impacting your daily life.
A study published in the journal Neuro Endocrinology Letters reported that patients with depression and patients with chronic fatigue syndrome appeared to have lower levels of coenzyme Q10 in their bloodstreams. The authors suggest that coenzyme Q10 supplementation may help. Coenzyme Q10, a key player in energy production, is found in all of the cells of the body. It is also a powerful antioxidant that helps to prevent cells from being damaged by harmful free radicals. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, preliminary studies indicate that this supplement may strengthen the immune system and enhance athletic performance. Like any supplement, coenzyme Q10 may interact with medications and other supplements. Consult a qualified health care provider before adding it to your regimen.
Known also as winter cherry, ashwagandha is an herb native to the dry regions of India. Results from a preliminary study headed by Dr. Kieren Cooley of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine indicated that a naturopathic regimen that included ashwagandha supplements was more effective than psychotherapy at alleviating anxiety and reducing fatigue. According to Cooley, ashwagandha has been used for more than 3,000 years in Ayurvedic and other traditional systems. Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, a rejuvenating herb that increases resistance to stress, anxiety, fatigue and trauma. More study is necessary to determine ashwagandha's long-term safety and efficacy. Use ashwagandha only under the supervision of a physician.
Nutritional psychotherapist Julia Ross calls tyrosine "nature's energizer" in her book "The Mood Cure." Tyrosine is an amino acid that is naturally present in animal protein foods including fish, eggs and beef. It is converted in the body to dopamine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters involved in mood, attention and motivation. Ross recommends this supplement for apathy, depression and problems with concentration. However, she cautions that taking too much tyrosine can result in nervousness, so don't exceed the recommendations on the label. Because of its energizing nature, tyrosine should be taken early in the day so that it will not interfere with sleep. Tyrosine may interfere with medications and other supplements. Do not use it as a substitute for conventional medical care.
- Neuro Endocrinology Letters; Lower plasma Coenzyme Q10 in Depression: a Marker for Treatment Resistance and Chronic Fatigue in Depression and a Risk Factor to Cardiovascular Disorder in that Illness; M. Maes et al; 2009
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Coenzyme Q10
- PubMed Central: Naturopathic Care for Anxiety: A Randomized Controlled Trial ISRCTN78958974
- The Mood Cure: The 4-Step Program to Rebalance Your Emotional Chemistry and Rediscover Your Natural Sense of Well-Being; Julia Ross; 2002
- PsyBlog: How to Improve Mood, Raise Energy and Reduce Tension