There are many things you should turn to before supplementation to improve your mood, but if you are looking for the icing on the cake then this could be it – we asked our nootropic expert James Dixon to give us his take on the best mood boosting supplements on the market right now – and he duly obliged…
A good mood can be fleeting. It can be ephemeral, hard to pin down, hard to sustain. Depression, anxiety, fatigue, or simply the blues, can take all of us – even at the best of times. However, there are things we can do about them all. There are things we can do to boost our moods.
Lifestyle factors play a large part, of course – live healthily, stay active, eat well, don’t take on too much, try to socialize where and when you can. Mood boosting supplementation can also work incredibly well. There is a whole range of supplements dedicated to improving your cognitive and mental wellbeing, boosting your mood and keeping it elevated.
I want to take the opportunity to explore some of the best mood boosting supplements that I have tested and deliver my verdict on what should work best for you…
TLDR: The No.1 Mood Boosting Supplement
I would always go with NooCube. It’s natural, potent, and incredibly well thought out and put together.
There is plenty in its formula to improve your cognitive wellbeing. There is also plenty in there, like bacopa monnieri, that should keep stress and fatigue at bay.
It’s a perfect, all-round mood booster that I cannot recommend enough.
Mood Boosting Supplements
If all your ducks are in a row and you are living a healthy, active life with appropriate medical and self- care, you’re onto a winner. However, we don’t need to stop there. We can take it further. This is where supplementation comes into play. Luckily for us, the modern market is crammed with supplements designed to improve your mood and cognitive and mental wellbeing.
The following six mood boosting supplements are fantastic examples of how the modern supplement industry can help you to improve your mood and truly make the most out of your life as a whole.
NooCube is one of my all-time favorite supplements. It’s one of the best supplements for boosting your mood and maintaining cognitive health and wellbeing.
It’s a nootropic supplement. This means that it is designed primarily to support brain health and cognitive function. However, it also supports your mood in a couple of very clever ways.
Of course, supporting brain health and cognitive function will by themselves lead to an improved mood – or, rather, improved overall mental wellbeing. This list isn’t short on nootropics for this very reason. However, there are also a couple of elements to NooCube that really do make it stand out as a mood booster in its own right.
The benefits it gives you come from a long list of top-tier ingredients all designed to improve executive function and working memory whilst also lending you mental energy and clarity. And, of course, all designed to elevate your mood.
For me, the list’s star player has to be Alpha GPC, an incredibly worthwhile ingredient that is often strangely underutilised in the modern nootropic marketplace. It delivers choline to your brain, which is crucial in maintaining healthy neurons, and in protecting against cognitive decline whilst also acutely improving cognitive functionality.
It will help you to keep on top of your short- and long- term cognitive wellbeing, allowing for an elevated mood – both immediately and over time.
Then there is bacopa monnieri, which is seen a lot more often than Alpha GPC. It’s no wonder – it’s a fantastic ingredient. It is one of the best compounds going for relieving the effects of stress and anxiety. In a nootropic context, this allows for improved clarity, especially under stressful conditions. For the purposes of today’s list, it helps to keep stress and anxiety at bay, two of the lead causes of low mood and depression.
Bacopa monnieri is a potent antioxidant, too. This means that it helps to ward against oxidative stress in your brain.
Oxidative stress is a lead cause of depression and stress, and of age-related cognitive decline. Loading your diet and supplement regime with antioxidants can therefore help to fight against low mood now whilst also ring-fencing your lasting, long term brain health.
There is a lot more to NooCube’s formula than these two. You get a couple of amino acids known for elevated your mood and warding against stress, for example. In fact, everything in there should play a crucial role in keeping your brain young and healthy, your cognition firing as you want it, and your mood boosted. It’s one of the highest-quality, most intelligent supplements around which is why I take it on a regular basis as part of my usual supplement regime.
To enjoy the full benefits I would recommend trialling it for at least three months – some of the ingredients you will feel the impact of immediately, whilst others will take a few months to compound – at which point you will be able to decide whether or not this is the supplement for you – it likely will be.
VyvaMind is a real contender with NooCube for the top spot. Its formula isn’t quite as well-rounded as NooCube’s, but it’s still incredibly high-quality. If you’re looking for something that gives you a bit of low stimulant dosing, a large bit of cognitive support, and a decent mood boost, it’s a solid, safe bet.
You only get six ingredients where plenty of the leading nootropics give you anything from 11-20 (some go even higher, but at that point it begins to get a little bit silly and ineffective). However, this lean formula actually lacks very little. It gives you everything you should expect of a good nootropic – a boost in energy, improved clarity, focus, working memory, executive function, and so on, as well as a decent sense of calm.
In short, these six ingredients are well-combined for mood support.
VyvaMind is amongst the most well-researched nootropics on the market. It’s been through several iterations as the company behind it seeks to tweak and fine tune it (to masterful effect, I have to say). This level of R&D is rare, welcome, and shows itself fully in the results.
I mentioned amino acids for combatting stress and anxiety in NooCube’s formula. Specifically, these are l-theanine and l-tyrosine, and you get healthy doses of them with VyvaMind. This means no more tension. You also get a good dose of citicoline, which works in a similar way to Alpha-GPC, vitamins B12 and B6, and 75 mg of caffeine for a quick pick me up (it’s about the same as you would get in a single shot of espresso).
The formula is short and to the point. It seems under-engineered, but it’s not.
It’s elegantly simple and the manufacturer have taken their time getting there, perfecting their recipe. Your brain should be clearer and more focussed even as your energy levels jump and your stress levels plummet.
There is nothing more I would want to see from a good mood boosting supplement.
We’re moving away from the traditional nootropic template that has so far occupied this list. Our next product, New Mood, offers something a little different. Rather than enabling improved cognition, elevating mood and diminishing stress and anxiety across multiple pathways, it goes straight for the source – it boosts your mood by manipulating serotonin output.
This is quite a good idea in principle. Serotonin is a key neurotransmitter. Optimizing output can be central to maintaining feelings of wellbeing. It should boost your mood quite ably. However, our understanding of serotonin’s effect on the mood has been disrupted recently. A recent meta-study disproved the theory that depression is linked to low serotonin levels. It seems that this conventional wisdom is incorrect.
This is problematic. Most of our major forms of depression treatment revolve around SSRIs, serotonin medications thought to address a deficit we now know doesn’t really exist or do much.
This has led to a bit of an outcry as many have accused the medical profession of giving us medications that don’t work. Except that they do work – SSRIs have been shown to be very good for treating depression. They just don’t work the way we thought they did. Nor do we know quite how they work. All we know is that boosting serotonin levels is a good way of treating depression.
It is certainly a good way to boost your mood. With this in mind, I think New Mood will survive this new data and continue to deliver promising results for a long time yet.
Its formula rests on L-tryptophan and 5-HTP, serotonin’s building blocks. You also get a hit of vitamin B6, which should help to catalyse serotonin production, alongside a few other micronutrients linked with elevated serotonin output.
All told, this should boost serotonin levels which, though the why is fuzzier than it was, we know it will lead to improved mood.
Serotonin production isn’t New Mood’s only trick, however. Its formula also contains several traditional botanicals known for their ability to fight stress and anxiety. These should act in concert with that boosted serotonin output to give you a sense of calm happiness that is often all-too vanishingly rare in the modern world.
New Mood Instant
New Mood Instant is an adapted version of New Mood Original (see above). As with its older brother, it is designed to elevate serotonin levels, which, as we have seen, is a great idea for boosting your mood. Also as with its older brother, it boosts serotonin levels by delivering its two key building blocks, L-tryptophan and 5-HTP.
Again, you get a good hit of vitamin B6 to work as a catalyst in creating this extra serotonin, and again, you get a good array of traditional botanicals useful in warding off the signs and symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Thus far, its base DNA looks pretty much identical to New Mood Original. So why have I bothered including it in this list?
The delivery methods are quite a bit different. This may not sound like too big a deal, but it can actually make a massive difference.
The original product comes as a capsule. You simply take a couple of them in the morning and enjoy a slow release of ingredients, thus effects, throughout the day. New Mood Instant, however, comes in powdered form. This powder has a faster rate of absorption. As serotonin levels can fluctuate on an hourly basis, this may prove useful (though none of the ingredients are acute, so I’m not sure quite how useful this could be).
However, it’s incredibly easy to use. Throw it into your protein shake or simply drink it in water in the morning to enjoy a quick burst of positivity. It tastes nice, with a range of fruity flavors such as mango, orange guava, pineapple, and elderberry lavender (the latter of which is particularly nice).
Mind Lab Pro
Now we’re back to a hardcore, no fuss nootropic, with Mind Lab Pro. It shares the same basic DNA as most nootropic supplements, so will perform very similarly to something like NooCube. It’s also just about the only nootropic on today’s market that can give NooCube a run for its money – it boasts incredibly high quality across a very well-informed, intelligently blended formula.
It aims to benefit the brain across a few different pathways. In doing so, it bills itself as something of a whole-brain supplement, which most of its competition in today’s market cannot compete against.
Mind Lab Pro optimizes and improves your brain’s generation and maintenance of waves and chemicals whilst also optimizing regeneration within the brain and keeping it relatively safe from the effects of aging.
You will see a good deal of short-term benefits to your mental wellbeing and cognitive health with Mind Lab Pro alongside these longer-term effects. These benefits are quite varied, though they all combine nicely to give you the nootropic kick you should expect from this kind of high-level supplement.
Working memory and executive function should both improve, as should clarity and focus. There is also an energy component to Mind Lab Pro as it improves blood flow to your brain, thus delivering more oxygen and nutrients to where they are most sorely needed.
In the longer-term, you should see improved neural plasticity and less degeneration from oxidation and stress. In the short-term, you can expect greater cognitive function, greater clarity, and a heightened, more energetic mood.
Finally, I want to talk about Genius Joy, a great little natural mood booster from The Genius Brand that plays a little differently to the nootropics that make up much of this list. It is designed almost solely to mitigate the effects of low mood and even depression.
The Genius Brand are always good to look into – they produce some outstanding, innovative products, all focussed on improving brain health and cognitive function, or in other words biohacking your way into improved health and wellbeing. Their flagship nootropic, Genius Consciousness, is similar to NooCube and Mind Lab Pro (if not quite in the same league as these two stalwarts).
You should see some kind of advancement to your cognitive health and wellbeing from Genius Joy. However, that’s very much a secondary concern. Mostly, it is focussed on serotonin levels, similarly to New Mood’s offerings. We have already seen the benefits on offer by optimizing serotonin output, even if the mechanics aren’t as well understood as we previously thought.
Genius Joy should, in short, lead to a greater amount of joy in your life, if such things can be quantified. It should enable lower stress and anxiety levels, smooth out mood swings, give you lasting, level headed energy levels, keep you focussed and alert, all whilst allaying the effects of depression.
It’s not your normal nootropic, but it should do the job anyway.
It achieves all of this using a genuinely brilliant list of high-quality ingredients. You get the amino acids we have talked about above, specifically tyrosine, to keep your anxiety levels in check and grant you improved focus and motivation. You also get a good dose of rhodiola rosea, a favorite ingredient of mine. It should help a great deal in fighting anxiety and stress.
There are some odd choices, however. It relies almost entirely on oral 5-HTP consumption for its serotonin effects. This isn’t all-too effective – the delivery mechanism would be better off using New Mood’s for greater effects. It also relies on SAMe, which enjoys no clinical support at all – it doesn’t really work as a serotonin booster.
You will get some benefits from Genius Joy, especially if you are after something to bring your stress and anxiety levels down. The formula could just do with being a little better thought out.
My final verdict
I would always recommend something of a two-pronged assault if you’re looking to boost your mood. Firstly, you fight the depression and/or anxiety that is underpinning your low mood. Secondly, you elevate your brain health and cognitive function to allow for a clearer outlook working at the top of your game.
Everything in this list should do this. Of course, as I mention below, if we’re talking about clinical depression or chronic anxiety, you may want to look into a medical intervention. Speak to your healthcare provider. If you’re simply looking for a mood boost, however – making you happier, more energetic, and less stressed – the items in this list will give you this superbly.
A good nootropic will be a lifesaver. It will go together with everything else you do in your life (again, see below) to boost your mood to really ramp your brain into gear. You should find your short term mental wellbeing improved even as you enable longer-term brain health.
There are plenty of good options out there. We’ve seen six strong contenders today. However, if you want to boost your mood, you need a good nootropic. And if you want the best nootropic, you should go with NooCube.
Verdict: Best Mood Boosting Supplement
Mind Lab Pro and VyvaMind will also work wonders, but if you want the best, you can’t beat NooCube.
The range of high-quality ingredients, the mix of convention and left-field, the breadth of what it manages… it’s top in its field.
Natural Ways to Boost Your Mood
As I mentioned in the introduction to this mood boosting guide, there are plenty of ways in which you can naturally improve your mood. Lifestyle factors, habits, nutrition, and even a few handy little mental hacks can all work together to elevate your mood, keep you calm and happy, keep your energy levels where you want them, and keep your head clear.
Any or all of these will pair incredibly well with some of the mood boosting supplements I’ve looked at above.
Maintain an active lifestyle
Keeping active is central to remaining healthy. However, it isn’t only our physical health we’re improving when we get moving. Exercise is fundamental to keeping your mental health as you want it, not least by naturally boosting your mood.
Exercise can boost your mood in both the short- and long- term.
In the short term, you will get a massive endorphin rush. This will lead to an elevated mood, decrease symptoms of stress and anxiety, improved sleep quality, and improved energy levels. You should gain confidence, learn how to better tap into your potential, and develop new skills, all of which will come together to boost your mood in the long run.
As little as half an hour per day can do it. Intense forms of exercise like HIIT, circuit training, sprinting, and so on, can lead to a big adrenaline rush that should give you these short term benefits in an even greater form.
But it needn’t be ferocious exercise. It can be low to moderate exercise – going for a walk, cycling, yoga, all will do it.
In fact, gentler forms of exercise are perfect for overcoming stress, tension, and anxiety. You can learn active and passive meditation through forms like yoga and tai chi, whilst also improving your mobility, flexibility, and joint health, or find a little headspace in which to destress as you go for an evening stroll around the park.
Keep a gratitude journal
Gratitude journals can be fantastic for your long-term mood. It’s an easy, simple process that doesn’t take up too much time, especially once the habit has become ingrained in your daily routine.
Simply keep a journal next to your bed. Once daily, write a few sentences in it. This may work best in the evening, when you can reflect on the day that has just been.
Go over what you are grateful for. You could write about one thing in a bit of detail. You could simply list a few things. They can be large (your home, your life, your family) or small (bumping into a friend, having a nice dinner). I prefer the latter for daily use.
Frivolous as it may sound, these little things really do add up, especially when you stay mindful of them.
Live more mindfully
This leads on from the idea of keeping a gratitude journal. Living more mindfully has been linked with lower stress levels and a boosted mood. Plenty has been said about mindful living. I’ve certainly written a lot on the subject. Some like to dismiss it as a modern fad whilst others see it as the next best thing. The truth is that it’s neither. It’s old as time and simply represents a good way of grounding yourself.
To quote Hemingway in For Whom the Bell Tolls:
Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.Hemingway in ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’
Take care of your nutritional intake
You are what you eat, and all that. Less tritely – specific foods and drinks can help you to boost your mood and keep your overall mental wellbeing in fine fettle.
In particular, capsicum has been linked with an improved mood (as well as a heightened metabolic rate as a bit of a side benefit). Anything with capsicum in it should be good for your mood. This includes anything like cayenne pepper, chillies, and paprika.
Caffeine is in a similar boat to this. It can elevate both your mood and your metabolism. However, don’t overdo it. Too much can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Moderate amounts, however – three cups of coffee per day, for example – can have quite a profoundly positive effect on your mood.
Omega-3 is also always a good shout. It has been shown to help mitigate depressive symptoms. You will get it most abundantly in fatty fish like tuna and salmon, so including these in your diet is always a good idea. You can also get it in supplement form, some even suitable for vegetarians.
Then there is cocoa, one of the best ingredients out there for improving your mood, and the reason why many people feel borderline addicted to chocolate.
The sugar you get in chocolate will give you a mild, temporary high, but this crashes, so I don’t recommend relying on it too much. However, cocoa products also give you mild doses of caffeine, theobromine, and N-acylethanolamine.
These have all been linked with an improvement to your mood. You also get tons of flavonoids in chocolate. These will increase blood flow to the brain, leading to more energy and further consolidating these benefits.
Seek out professional help
These are all great tips if you feel a bit blue, or if you feel like you could make more of your innate happiness and sense of wellbeing. The supplements above are similar – they are great for augmenting already quite robust mental health.
However, your mood may of course be a much graver problem. If you find yourself going beyond being a little blue, you may be suffering from clinical depression or something similar.
If you feel you need help, you should absolutely bear the advice in this article in mind. It will all help. You should also consider talking with your healthcare provider. They may deem it necessary to put you in touch with a counsellor or therapist, or even to prescribe mood altering treatments like antidepressants.