3 Natural Mood Enhancers


Giving your mood a boost can be as simple as getting a good night’s sleep or spending the day in the sunshine. But for people who have more severe symptoms of feeling down, such as seasonal affective disorder or depression, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals or a combination of both may be able to improve their sense of well-being.

As part of National Mental Health Month, we spoke with Joel, one of our nutraceutical specialists, to learn more about natural ways to enhance your mood. Here are a few herbs and supplements he recommends.

Fish Oil

We know how frequently in prior newsletters we have touted the good qualities of fish oil, but there is little denying its many health benefits. Fish oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have shown can improve heart health, relieve rheumatoid arthritis and improve mood. Taking a supplement with EPA, which is a specific fatty acid from fish oil, has shown good results for people with seasonal affective disorder and depression. Joel recommends a product called Omega-3 Mood because its dosage is based on studies that have been done on season affective disorder. It contains EPA, as well as DHA, another beneficial fatty acid.


Tryptophan is well known as the substance in turkey that makes you sleepy, but tryptophan is also a precursor to serotonin and melatonin, which improve mood and help regulate sleep. Joel recommends a product called 5-HTP, which is a form of tryptophan specifically targeted at naturally raising serotonin and melatonin levels.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid used by the body for a number of purposes. Taking straight tryptophan will feed the amino acid to various body functions, leaving only some of the supplement left for producing melatonin and serotonin. But 5-HTP is formulated to avoid being diverted to other functions and is more effective at naturally producing these mood-elevating hormones than a straight tryptophan supplement.

Joel said 5-HTP can be useful for those with depression, but cautioned it could be contraindicated for some anti-depressant pharmaceuticals, meaning there could be a negative interaction when taken together. He recommends talking to a doctor before taking 5-HTP. It is an alternative, not a supplement to, pharmaceutical anti-depressants, he said.

Lemon Balm

The two most common reasons for taking mood enhancing supplements and herbs are depression and anxiety. While we’ve covered supplements that target depression, Joel said lemon balm can be especially effective for people with anxiety.

Lemon balm is a traditional herb used for stress relief that has shown to have a calming effect. Because it targets the nervous system and is not a sedative, lemon balm can be taken at any time of the day. Coastal Pharmacy and Wellness carries two forms of lemon balm, soft gels and a liquid tincture. Joel recommends taking a combination of lemon balm and theanine called Natural Stress Relief.

Our recommendations are intended for a general audience. Natural alternatives to enhancing your mood may not be right for everyone. We always recommend consulting with your health care professional about mental health conditions.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

About the Author

Coastal Pharmacy & Wellness Staff

Coastal Pharmacy & Wellness Staff

Our staff specialties range from pharmaceuticals to nutritional health and wellness, to sports nutrition. We are here to share that knowledge. If we don't know immediately, we'll find out. Stop into the pharmacy or nutritional health and wellness department to ask questions relating to your specific needs, or send us an email.