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Child Psychiatrist /Adult Psychiatrist

What are Nutraceuticals? Mood boosters?

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

Nutraceuticals are a special class of supplements that have been found by the FDA to be safe enough for sale over the counter in the US without a prescription. However it is an unregulated industry, where consumers are pretty unaware of what they are buying as the industry is filled with false advertisements. It is estimated that US citizens spend millions of dollars on supplements that they commonly find at local drug stores, which are commonly have addictive, fillers, etc.

S A M e 400mg

The bio-availability is limited for consumers may find limited or no benefits. It is important to find quality products that consumers have found beneficial. I will provide a list of various products that could be potentially beneficial based on bio-availability, quality of ingredients, source of product, and positive feedback by consumers. Remember, costs does not necessarily make it a better quality of product.

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SAM-E (S-adenosylmethionine) has been the first line, mainstream antidepressants mostly used in Europe over the past 20 years. SAMe is the essentially the same molecule that participates in hundreds of biochemical reactions. It donates molecules for the production of DNA, phosholipids, three key neurotransmitters (Serotonin, Norephriphrine, and Dopamine). In approximately 50 clinical trials it was found to be safe and effective. It has a very low side profile and has a rapid onset of action (compared to antidepressants which take 4-6 weeks, minimum). No adverse reactions have been reported with other medications. Bonus, it protects the liver from the toxic effects of other medications. It is a great augmenting agent, for antidepressant or when the medication seems to wear off.

SAMe can be activating and can worsening underlying anxiety so should be closely monitored under the care of a licensed physician. This supplement has a low side effect profile compared to other antidepressants. One of the benefits is it causes no weight gain or sexual side effects (which are frequently caused by an SSRI or SNRI). Avoid taking this supplement without the guidance of physician as it could potentially (in rare cases) induce Bipolar Disorder (which can be caused by any antidepressant, if there is any genetic predisposition). Many physicians believe that depression and bipolar disorder lie on a spectrum and are not individual diagnosis, contrary to common belief. This symptoms should be taken on a empty stomach before breakfast. If experience anxiety or agitation, it would be transient, however mild anxiety medications used temporarily can help the transition.

Like any medication, the start dose is between 200mg to 400mg, as tolerated. Based on level of depression, you should consult with your dose to see how much supplement you may need which is strongly correlated with the severity of underlying depression. You may augment this medication with a B-complex. B-vitamins tend to be deficit in patients struggling with depression, which can helpful reduce mental fatigue, improve levels of energy, and improve overall well-being as these molecules are used in a majority of metabolic process, particular to induce natural body energy.


One of the fascinating aspects of SAMe, based on various double-blind studies is that it can help conditions arthritis, fibromyalgia, reduce the effect of cirrhosis (chronic liver disease), mood improvements in patients struggling with HIV/AIDS, and Parkinson's Disorder (one commonly used medication Levodopa reduces the natural SAMe produced in the body). There is ongoing research of its children (which are not responding to medication, or refuse to take medication). Given their age, they would need much smaller doses with a faster response. SAMe is minimal reactive with other medications, in fact can protect the liver, can be combined or augment typical antidepressants to reduce typical side effects issues.

Source: How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, & Yoga in Mental Health

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