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Mood Support

There’s arguably nothing more important than how you feel! When you feel good, everything feels possible and life is great, but when your mood is low, everything is difficult and life can feel barely worth living.

So what is it that causes low mood and unhappiness? Why do we get anxious and stressed and depressed? Why is it that some people are dealt terrible life circumstances but they’re still able to find joy, love and happiness in their lives (see the work of Victor Frankl, for example)… yet some people who seemingly have it all are capable of spiralling down into depression, to the point of suicide (Robin Williams, for example)?

Of course, external circumstances play a part in how we feel, but in our experience - what’s going on inside us is far more important than most of us recognise and accept.

There are many types of Low Mood - but typically, a person either has chronically Low Mood, or has Mood Swings, where they swing between feeling great one moment (or a few days/weeks), to being depressed and down the next. Whether you’re prone to one of these, or both - it’s important to understand that Genetic factors play a significant role and we highly recommend checking the relevant Genetic Insights to discover your genetic risk scores for the different factors influencing mood.

The Key to Happiness?

What is happiness? We would define being happy as spending most of your time experiencing feelings like: joy, motivation, peace, relaxation, gratitude, love, compassion, confidence, and being full of energy.

What exactly is it that can make some of us feel good no matter how bad our life might be, or conversely, what makes some people feel bad no matter how good their life is?

As any personal development teacher will tell you, attitude is an important factor. By adopting a positive mindset and focusing on what you want, and the things you are able to control, (instead of on your problems and things you can’t do anything about), you are able to feel better to some degree.

But in our experience there are often very significant body, brain and nervous system factors that are largely ignored, but are absolutely key to being happy.

So how can you prime your brain and body to feel more of the enjoyable emotions listed above… and more importantly, feel them more often?

Factors that can Cause Low Mood

In order to understand Happiness, we have to understand what stops us feeling happy! There are a variety of things that can lead us to having a Low Mood, most of which have some degree of a Genetic Component. We’ve identified the main factors that impact mood to be:

  1. Our tendency towards Stress and Anxiety

  2. The health of our Hormones, especially Testosterone, Thyroxine and Oxytocin.

  3. Our tendency towards Inflammation… specifically in the brain

  4. Our levels of the key ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters Serotonin and Dopamine, as well as Melatonin, which affects:

  5. The quality of our Sleep

  6. Having stable Blood Sugar

  7. How we deal with Psychological Trauma

1. The Connection between Chronic Stress and Low Mood?

When Stress and Anxiety is chronically high, it is impossible to feel truly happy. This is because, once the stress response is activated, the body automatically enters into 1 of 2 different states:

The first is a Sympathetic State. This is commonly known as our Fight or Flight response, which is an automatic program our body runs when we are stressed. In a Sympathetic state, our heart rate increases (so more oxygen can circulate), adrenaline floods our body (for more energy which makes our muscles tremble and we feel less pain), our pupils dilate (to take in more of the surroundings) and the majority of blood flow is directed to our muscles, brains, legs and arms (for more efficient use). All of this is in preparation to fight or flee danger.

The Sympathetic state makes us feel angry, anxious or fearful (or all of these things at the same time). On a subconscious and body level, we feel like our survival is in jeopardy and so, it’s impossible to feel happy.

When Stress is very frequent, rather than occasional, the body slowly spirals into a Dorsal Vagal state (freeze-or-faint). This happens when the nervous system decides that fighting or running is no longer possible, and so it goes into freeze-or-faint mode. This had utility as prey animals that were frozen still, or seemed like they were already dead, had a greater chance of surviving a predator attack, if running or fighting wasn’t possible.

Where the Sympathetic Stress state makes you feel more energized and motivated, the Dorsal Vagal state is the complete opposite. Your energy and motivation is lower than usual, and it can even cause dissociation or immobility. This state is often referred to as depression, or low mood.

Whether you are suffering from an excess of Stress chemicals (Sympathetic state) or a lack of energizing Stress chemicals (Dorsal Vagal), both of these states will cause Low Mood and unhappiness if they persist, for the reasons explained.

The mode we want to be, unless there is a real and present danger, is called the Ventral Vagal mode where we feel relaxed but motivated, social, confident and happy. A Ventral Vagal state means we do feel motivation but without a compulsive need to keep busy - we can be as happy doing nothing, or just relaxing, playing or having fun, as we are actively doing something. This is the mode we’re meant to live in most of the time, but unfortunately most of us don't.

A crucial piece of the puzzle in understanding why some of us find it harder than others to get out of a state of stress, once we’re in it, is the COMT gene, which controls how quickly your body breaks down stress chemicals. This is explained fully in our Stress section. The way you approach life if you are someone who breaks down stress chemicals slowly needs to be significantly different than if you're someone who breaks them down quickly… as each have different strengths, and drawbacks.

This is one example of why it’s particularly important to find out Your Genetic Predispositions, because it can have a major impact on your approach to feeling happier. Because, if you are Genetically predisposed to being slower at clearing Stress chemicals, and try to live life like someone who clears stress chemicals quickly, you’ll end up feeling worse. From our perspective, this lack of knowledge about a person's Genes is why different Stress relieving strategies work so well for some people, but not at all for others.

So, to sum up - when it comes to mood and happiness, a key question is: what can we do to stay in the Ventral Vagal Mode most of the time, and ultimately, keep ourselves happy?

2. Hormones that can Influence Your Mood

Hormones are also very important for our capacity to feel happiness. For men, Testosterone is especially important because it gives them energy, motivation, drive and confidence - all of which are crucial for anyone to feel good about themselves.

Low Testosterone leads to a lack of all of the qualities we just mentioned, and we don’t think it’s possible for a man to be genuinely happy if their Testosterone is sub-optimal. If you have test results that confirm your Testosterone is low, and also that your Estrogen is high, we highly recommend our Natural PCT Formula to balance these hormones, but, it’s essential to take a test before using our Natural PCT Formula to make sure you only use it if your Estrogen is actually too high.

Another hormone that’s extremely important, and which is more commonly an issue for women, is Thyroxine, produced by your Thyroid gland. Thyroxine moderates your metabolic rate which means it controls the rate at which your body creates and burns energy (ATP).

We’ve found that a significant amount of people we talk to with Low Mood low in cellular energy, are simply just low in cellular energy. A common reason for this is that they are lacking optimal levels of Thyroxine. If you suspect this is the case for you, always see a qualified Practitioner first.

If you have a thyroid deficiency that’s subclinical, and you want to try natural alternatives, Ashwanagandha can help to optimize your Thyroid hormones [1], as can the minerals Iodine (as found in Sea Moss Formula), and Selenium (which is featured in our All in One Multivitamin Formula. Both Iodine and Selenium are essential for optimal Thyroid function [2,3], and there’s also a lot of evidence that Vitamin D3 can also help your Thyroid by supporting the immune system [4]. It’s essential to take Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K2, which you can read more about here.

If you think low energy might be the key cause of your Low Mood, be sure to check out our Energy Category.

Another crucial hormone, that’s commonly overlooked, is Oxytocin, which is extremely important for happiness - it's the neurochemical that makes us feel content and connected to other people. Some people have a Genetic Tendency towards lower levels of Oxytocin, which can lead to the person never being satisfied or content. We suggest you check your DNA to see if you have a Genetic tendency towards low Oxytocin levels.

3. Inflammation and Mood

Many Nutrients and Herbs can help to improve your Mood, such as Omega-3 fatty acids [5]. There are numerous ways in which Omega-3s have been shown to reduce depression [6], but we consider the primary function to be their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities, which help to protect the brain from Inflammation. Though maybe not mainstream knowledge yet - high levels of Inflammation (especially in the brain) are considered by many researchers to be at the core of depression and other mood disorders [7].

Given the massively detrimental effect of Inflammation on all areas of the body, it’s not unreasonable to think that it also has a negative impact on the brain. We suggest that anyone suffering from Low Mood takes steps to reduce Inflammation, such as Turmeric and Ginger [8,9], as well as Omega-3 fatty acids [10] and Vitamin K2 alongside Vitamin D3 [11].

The ‘golden spice’ Saffron can also help raise your mood via Inflammation reduction, and by supporting the balance of the key feel good neurotransmitters Serotonin and Dopamine [12] (more on this shortly too).

4. Neurochemicals are Crucial for Happiness

Dopamine and Serotonin are two very important neurochemicals for happiness. Dopamine is a good Stress chemical that is made from the amino acid L-Tyrosine. It makes us feel energized, motivated and improves mental clarity. If these are things you lack, we recommend trying our Brain Boost Plus Formula for its L-Tyrosine content [13].

Our Brain Boost Plus Formula also contains Choline, the precursor to Acetylcholine that can help with Dopamine production [14].

Where Dopamine is an energizing, feel good, neurochemical - Serotonin is a relaxingv, feel good neurochemical. Serotonin is often described as an antidepressant, but we think of it as a chemical that enables us to feel relaxed and confident at the same time.

Serotonin is key when it comes to being in the Ventral Vagal state. In order to increase Serotonin, we recommend 5 HTP. It improves Mood by raising your levels of Serotonin [15], as it’s a direct precursor. Because Serotonin is so relaxing, it’s best to take 5 HTP not long before you want to go to bed.

Although your Dopamine and Serotonin levels will vary throughout the day, and depending on your lifestyle and circumstances, people do have a significant Genetic tendency towards higher or lower levels of each. Of course, what’s going on in your life will also impact levels of these neurochemicals, but we think it’s incredibly important to see which way you are Genetically predisposed so you can determine the best course of action.

It’s important to note that: while raising your levels of neurochemicals can make you feel better in the moment, it’s important not to think that’s all there is to it, as Low Mood may be a symptom of some of the other issues we talk about here, which also need to be addressed for a sustainable, long term solution.

5. The Sleep and Mood Link

As I’m sure you've experienced at some point in your life - it's very difficult to feel happy when you haven't had a good night's sleep. If this is something you struggle with, you can read more about how to optimize your sleep here, but a simple recommendation is to try 5 HTP.

This is because as we just mentioned, your body converts this into Serotonin, which relaxes you, but 5 HTP is also converted into Melatonin when it’s dark… and Melatonin is the neurochemical that makes you feel tired and lets you know it’s time to sleep. So if you’re low on Serotonin, you’ll also be low on Melatonin and will struggle to fall asleep easily. Again, it’s a good idea to check your Genetic tendencies.

For some people, just increasing Serotonin using 5 HTP is enough for a great night’s sleep, but for others they may need further support, as found in our Sleep Aid Ultra Formula with Melatonin.

There are also other Genetic factors at play when it comes to sleep… Some people have a Genetic susceptibility to Insomnia (difficulty getting to sleep because of low levels of Melatonin), while others may struggle with Sleep Quality because they can't stay deeply asleep.

Whichever way you’re Genetically wired, it’s important to optimize your sleep as a foundation for your journey to finding happiness.

6. How Blood Sugar Affects Your Mood

When your blood sugar is low (Hypoglycemia) it's almost impossible to be in a good mood! And while high blood sugar is more of a medical concern, because it’s dangerous and life threatening, it’s actually low blood sugar that more commonly makes you feel bad. Low Blood Sugar can make people feel anxious, jittery, irritable, depressed or tired.

Whatever effect it has on you, it's really important to understand how to manage your blood sugar levels, which we talk about in more detail here. Our number 1 recommendation is Berberine, which has lots of evidence in being able to help regulate and balance blood sugar levels [12,13].

7. Is Psychological Trauma Impacting Your Mood?

Unfortunately, resolving deep rooted Psychological Trauma is beyond the scope of this page, but it is important to recognize that it may play a significant role in how you feel! If you feel like Psychological Trauma is playing a part in your health and happiness, we strongly recommend looking into different forms of therapy, as well as our Genetic Insights report on the subject, because not everyone is impacted by trauma the same way...

Some people can go through the worst, most disturbing experiences and feel fine, whereas others can be traumatized by relatively mild experiences. Therefore, it’s very important to understand how Psychological Trauma can impact your health and wellbeing. If this is you, you may need more help in overcoming this…even if you don’t feel you’ve had a particularly traumatic life.
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