The use of Nootropics for enhancing cognitive function and brain health is very common but they may also be very powerful tools for boosting mood, fighting against mild temporary depression, encouraging feelings of well being and promoting productivity.
Sadly, the World Health Organization states that depression is the leading cause of disability and it is estimated that more than 300 million people globally suffer from depression.
Mood plays an obvious role in our motivation or a lack thereof but it is also an important aspect of cognitive function and our ability to mentally perform.
Depression, anxiety and other mood disorders can bring about a slew of cognitive impairments some of which include difficulty concentrating, a lesser ability to focus, problems with memory, and a lowered ability to absorb information and learn.
Although Nootropics or supplements may not be the answer for everyone, they may be very beneficial for temporary mild issues with mood. By assisting in factors going on in and around neurons that are thought to contribute to problems with mood, there are a number of Nootropics that can help encourage more motivational states, feelings of well being, boost energy and clear brain fog.
Which Nootropics for depression and mood are considered the best and safest to use? While the effects may differ from person to person, here is a list of some Nootropics that are considered to be the best at promoting a boost in overall mood and their brief summaries with links to more extensive information, safety profiles and dosage guidelines.
Top Nootropics For Depression and Mood
Type: Nootropic Supplement/Vitamin B Derivative
Used For: Energy, Mood Enhancement, Memory, Cognitive Function, Mental Stamina, Focus, Depression, Anxiety, Motivation and more.
Sulbutiamine is a synthesized version of vitamin B1 (thiamine) that is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier easily. It is supplemented for its Nootropic effects and used to promote mental energy, enhanced cognitive function, boost mood and increase motivation.
This highly fat-soluble Nootropic quickly and broadly circulates in both the body and brain, positively influencing dopamine receptors and the cholinergic and glutamatergic systems that are involved in memory, focus and mood. It is also thought to help carbohydrates convert into energy with more ease.
Feelings of depression, poor cognition, problems paying attention and low mood have all been linked as plausible results associated with a lack of Vitamin b1 but if you are not deficient, this supplement may still be beneficial since it seems to demonstrate profound positive effects, even in those that are healthy.
Type: Herbal Supplement
Used For: Mood Enhancement, Energy, Focus, Libido Booster, Athletic Performance, Depression and more.
Mucuna Pruriens Summary
Mucuna Pruriens (also known as velvet bean) is a natural brain supplement derived from a legume plant that is most commonly used to boost mood, motivation, fight feelings of depression and increase libido.
It naturally contains Levodopa (L-DOPA) in high concentrations, an amino acid and precursor to Dopamine that is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier to boost levels of this important neurotransmitter in the brain associated with positive mood, mental drive, pleasure and cognition.
Mucuna Pruriens is also thought to contain flavonoids, alkaloids and other ingredients that may act as potent antioxidants, scavenging free radicals in the brain and promoting brain health.
Type: Racetam Nootropic
Used For: Concentration, Cognitive Function, Memory Enhancement, Learning Capacity, Anxiety, Depression, Cognitive Decline and more.
Aniracetam is a popular Nootropic agent belonging to the Racetam family that is well known for its mood-boosting properties. The most significant reported effects from users are that it greatly helps to boost mental energy, enhance focus and concentration while promoting anxiolytic (reducing anxiety) and anti-depression effects.
This powerful Nootropic seems to influence “feel good” neurotransmitters Dopamine and Serotonin that are highly related to mood, attention and feelings of well being. It is also thought to modulate other neurochemicals including Acetylcholine and Glutamate that are involved in memory and learning.
There is also some speculation suggesting that Aniracetam may help increase communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, described by many users as experiencing a heightened sense of creativity.
Type: Cholinergic Supplement
Used For: Memory, Learning, Focus, Mood Enhancement, Brain Anti-Aging, Brain Health, Cognitive Decline and more.
Uridine is one of the basic components of RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) which translates instructions from DNA for protein synthesis throughout the body. It also assists in forming and strengthening connections in the brain which play a major role in the creation and storage of memories and is strongly associated with continued optimal cognitive abilities.
In addition, this supplement is considered by many users to be an effective mood lifter, especially when taken in combination with Omega 3. It is known to help upregulate the production and release of Dopamine, a key neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness, emotional control and motivation as well as transforming into a phospholipid in the brain which are generally known to reduce the adverse effects of the stress hormone cortisol.
These combined actions have shown to help fight against depression and may help to better manage the negative effects of stress.
Type: Amino Acid/Mood Supplement
Used For: Mood Enhancement, Anxiety, Insomnia, Depression, Focus, Sleep Disorders, PMDD, PMS, Sleep Apnea and more.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid we get from food sources or dietary supplements. The body uses it to process various proteins and to synthesize Serotonin, a neurotransmitter thought to be involved in sleep/wake patterns and the regulation of mood that is associated with positive emotions like happiness and calmness.
It is broken down in the liver and makes 5 HTP which then enters the brain and converts in Serotonin. While the effects of Tryptophan may be less observable than taking 5 HTP, it is considered to potentially have fewer side effects.
Low levels or deficiencies of Serotonin have been consistently linked to depression, anxiety, low libido, irritability and correlates with insomnia. Serotonin itself cannot be supplemented which is why Tryptophan is used as a mild remedy for depression, social mood imbalances and for anxiety, however, neither Tryptophan nor 5 HTP should ever be taken in combination with anti-depressants, including SSRIs.
Type: Peptide/Cognitive Enhancer
Used For: Memory Enhancement, Focus, Cognitive Performance, Mental Energy, Brain Fog, Mood, Anxiety, Depression, Brain Health
Noopept is considered to be one of the most effective and fastest acting Nootropics available on the market. The effects of this compound can typically be noticed within 15 minutes and it is most commonly used to enhance mental performance and boost cognition.
While a number of studies indicate that it can increase memory and learning abilities, users suggest that it also has positive mood-related effects, helping symptoms that are often associated with depression such as an anxiolytic effect (reducing anxiousness or anxiety), clearing brain fog and greatly boosting motivation.
This Nootropic is thought to stimulate receptors in the brain involved in several mental processes and mood. It also acts as a neuroprotectant, meaning it helps keep neurons in the brain healthy and may even contribute to increases connections within the brain that may encourage the experienced benefits to be more sustainable long-term.
Type: Amino Acid/Natural
Used For: Focus, Motivation, Mental Clarity, Mood, Stress, Energy, Alertness, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Physical Performance and more.
L-Tyrosine (also known as Tyrosine) is one of many standard amino acids that are used by the cells in our body to build proteins and influence the production of neurotransmitters that are involved in cognition and mood.
Synthesized from another amino acid, Phenylalanine, it is a building block to several important brain chemicals such as Dopamine, Epinephrine and Norepinephrine, catecholamines that are highly related to mood, the brains ability to focus, resilience to stress and associated with mental drive and motivation.
Increasing levels of these neurotransmitters may influence a wide range of enhanced mental processes and aspects of mood, especially when under conditions such as lack of sleep, high stress and prolonged working schedules, where supplementing Tyrosine may be very helpful.
Type: Adaptogen/Natural Nootropic
Used For: Mood Enhancement, Stress Relief, Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia, Cognitive Function, Focus, Anti-Aging, Arthritis and more.
Ashwagandha is one of the oldest known medicinal herbs. It was used traditionally for centuries in folk and Ayurvedic medicine to treat a broad number of conditions. Today there are many benefits associated with this adaptogen, meaning that it can help improve the body’s reaction to stress.
As a Nootropic, its popularity continues to grow where it has shown to enhance several aspects of mental performance by reducing stress levels and boosting energy. It is also a highly regarded natural supplement to help fight against symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Ashwagandha is thought to help balance cortisol in the body (the stress hormone), stimulate important neurotransmitter receptors in the brain highly related to mood and the ability to relax and act as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Type: Racetam Nootropic
Used For: Mood Enhancement, Focus, Depression, Anxiety, Enhancing Cognition, Memory, Improving Vision
Coluracetam is a newer and lesser-known member of the Racetam family but just may be the next best selling Nootropic on the market. While it has similar characteristics to its class of Nootropics, its uniqueness lays in its structure and method of action. The most promising benefits of Coluracetam are related to enhancing memory, boosting cognition and relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety.
This Nootropic is thought to increase choline uptake in the neurons even if they are impaired, influencing the HACU process which helps boost the efficiency and use of choline in the body and the brain, a nutrient associated with mood and a precursor to the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine involved in memory and attention.
While all the associated benefits of this Nootropic are still not fully understood, which may be due to how new it is, thousands of user reviews online attest to its positive effects.
10. Bacopa Monnieri
Type: Adaptogen/Natural Nootropic
Used For: Mood Enhancement, Stress Relief, Anxiety, Relaxation, Depression, Memory, Learning, Focus, ADHD, Sexual Function and more.
Bacopa Monnieri Summary
Bacopa Monnieri extract is a natural Nootropic supplement derived from an ancient herb with a long history of traditional use as a powerful cognitive enhancer, stress and anxiety reliever and brain protectant.
Today, it is a highly regarded and popular Nootropic supplement used to enhance memory, recall, facilitate learning, boost mental clarity and as a general relaxant where it has shown to help fight the effects of anxiety and stress.
The herb contains bacosides and hersaponins which are believed to improve the electrical signaling between neurons, a key to cognitive enhancement and to promote relaxation and mood-boosting effects by modulating the activity of neurotransmitter receptor sites highly involved in the regulation of mood and anxiety. Bacopa has also shown to have antioxidant and neuroprotective properties that may have anti-aging potential, helping to protect neurons from accumulated damage.
11. Rhodiola Rosea
Type: Adaptogen/Natural Supplement
Used For: Energy, Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Mood Enhancement, Cognitive Function, Stamina, Athletic Performance, Strength, Sexual Function
Rhodiola Rosea Summary
Rhodiola Rosea is an herbal Nootropic supplement that battles fatigue, boosts mental capacity and helps the body fight against the adverse effects of stress.
It is considered to be one of the most widely known adaptogens which are defined as non-toxic (in proper doses), natural substances found in a unique class of healing plants that are associated with helping the body cope, adapt and maintain balance (homeostasis) during prolonged periods of stress.
The root of this plant is believed to contain over 140 chemical compounds including groups of flavonoids, monoterpenes, triterpenes, phenolic acids, phenylpropanoids and phenylethanol. Rosavins (which is unique to Rhodiola Rosea) and salidroside are considered to be the two most potent among them and thought to play the largest role in the physical and mental benefits of this supplement.
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