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7 Natural Alternatives to Replace Prescription Meds

April 15, 2020

7 Natural Alternatives to Replace Prescription Meds

Mood, stress and energy are things we must deal with on a daily basis. They vary due to environmental, physiological and psychological factors. Many of these factors we aren’t even in control of, but must cope with as they arise. Our mood and stress levels can be affected by minor daily changes or events, or due to mood and anxiety disorders. Our mood and energy levels can also fluctuate with personal problems like a financial crisis or health crisis. Sometimes we can get through these tough times with sheer will power. But other times, especially just before important events like job interviews, we need the aid of natural supplements to get us through the day.

 

Natural Remedies for Mood, Stress, and Energy

Many natural remedies for energy, mood, and stress are available online and over-the-counter. Some can be very expensive, while others are more affordable for the average person. With so many long-term side effects attributed to prescription meds, turning to natural solutions may provide us with the best cure.

Many of these natural remedies have been used for thousands of years and have always left positive impacts on our bodies. Here’s a list of 7 natural alternatives for mood, stress and energy:

1. Kratom

Kratom is a naturally stimulating plant known to have a variety of effects depending on the individual, dosage, and other factors. Some of the behavioral and mental effects of kratom include increased focus, reduced anxiety and stress, enhanced mood, and increased sociability. In a 2018 public survey of 8,049 kratom users, 66.5% of respondents used for an emotional or mental condition such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. In that same study, the most self-reported effects of Kratom were relief (85%), energy elevation (83%), and mood enhancement (80%).  These aforementioned effects are a direct result of the active alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine. These alkaloids work by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain to trigger an adrenaline rush which then triggers the kratom effects.

2. SAMe

S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) is a naturally producing chemical compound found inside our body. Although we naturally create this chemical compound, consuming SAMe supplements has been shown to enhance our mood and overall health. Also, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, SAMe can potentially alleviate joint pain. In the brain, it supports the production of various neurotransmitters like dopamine and melatonin. These neurotransmitters are essential for the proper coordination of our bodies and regulation of energy levels. SAMe is known to have many other positive effects such as improving coronary health, preventing seizures and suppressing osteoarthritis.

3. 5-Hydroxytryptophan

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a chemical by-product that is generated when tryptophan (an essential amino acid) is converted into the chemical serotonin. When we consume 5-HTP supplements, we are intentionally increasing the production of serotonin—a key neurotransmitter used to ease the symptoms of mood swings and depression. It does so by boosting your energy levels. Furthermore, it helps regulate mood and social behavior, digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire. 5-HTP can be found in local foods like milk, seaweed, pumpkin and chicken. We can regulate mood swings, reduce stress and prevent depression by supplementing our diets with any of these ingredients.

4. Saffron

Saffron is a spice used commonly as a seasoning and coloring agent in food. It is the most expensive spice in the world due to its lengthy and labor-intensive harvesting method. One pound of saffron costs between $500 and $5,000 US. In a review of 5 studies, researchers found that saffron supplements significantly reduced mild-to-moderate depression symptoms compared to placebos. Research also found that women taking 30 mg of saffron daily can effectively treat PMS symptoms such as headaches, pain, irritability, and cravings. Due to its subtle taste and aroma, saffron is easy to add to any diet. It combines well with savory foods and can be soaked in hot water for a deeper flavor. You can also consume saffron in supplement form.

5. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our bodies’ natural function and deliver major health benefits as well. The main omega-3 fatty acids affecting human physiology are ALA (found in plant oils), EPA (found in marine oils), and DHA (also found in marine oils). Researchers have found that the dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms. Despite these touted benefits, consumption of omega-3 fatty acids should be moderated carefully. Excessive consumption of fatty acids can lead to the blockage of major blood vessels and adversely impact heart health.

6. St. John’s wort

St. John’s wort is a plant that grows in many parts of the world including the Americas and Europe. It is commonly used for depression symptoms but can also be used for nervousness, tiredness, poor appetite, and insomnia. Studies show that several of its active ingredients, including hyperforin, hypericin and adhyperforin, are responsible for these benefits. These active ingredients work by increasing serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline levels within our bodies to regulate mood. In 2016, a study found that St. John’s wort may be as effect as anti-depressants for managing depression symptoms. The study found that it reduced symptoms to a similar extent as prescription antidepressants while having fewer side effects such as reduced sex drive (a common side effect of antidepressants). While it is usually taken orally in the form of capsules, tea or liquid extract, it can also be applied directly to the skin as an oil.

7. Vitamin B

Vitamin B is crucial for maintaining good health and well-being. As an essential part of a healthy body, B vitamins have a direct impact on energy levels, cell metabolism and brain function. The 8 essential B vitamins are: B-1 (thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3 (niacin), B-5 (pantothenic acid), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-7 (biotin), B-9 (folic acid), and B-12 (cobalamin). Each of these essential vitamins contributes to a certain part of your body’s overall health. For example, folic acid and Vitamin B12 are important to the brain. Furthermore, deficiency in just one of these vitamins can lead to health problems such as skin rashes, confusion, irritability, depression and nausea. The consumption of vitamin B complex has shown positive affects to our nervous systems as it stimulates the production of brain chemicals that increase our energy, enhance our mood and relieve our stress.

 

Conclusion

Mood swings and stress can be very troublesome, and can wreak havoc in our lives if left unresolved. It can lead to sleep problems, daytime fatigue, destruction of social life and even suicide. Proper treatment is therefore necessary if you or someone you love are showing any signs of depression.

Prescription medications might give you temporary relief from mood swings and depression, but natural remedies are preferred to avoid long-term side effects. We included a list of 7 natural remedies above, but there are many other natural supplements available like cannabis, chamomile and ginseng. Make sure you do your research for the least expensive and most suitable natural herbal supplement for you. And, as always, speak to a health professional for confirmation. 




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