Bliss Psychiatry: Mental Health Solutions in Louisville

Why these Supplements?

  1. I only recommend supplements (vitamins, herbs, minerals, fish oils, amino acids, adaptogens) that have been rigorously studied and have strong evidence of having benefit for clients with particular diagnoses, symptoms, and histories similar to your own. I’m an avid reader, podcast listener, and ‘down the rabbit hole’ investigator of where my curiosity leads – if you want the evidence I’m basing my particular recommendations upon, I’m happy to share it. 
  2. Supplements in the U.S. are completely unregulated. After finding a supplement with good evidence for its use, I look for a brand that is certified to follow GMP (Good Manufacturing Processes), participates in third party quality testing, and has full transparency about their product. Does this mean that sometimes what I recommend is more expensive than what you’ll find on the shelf at Walgreens? Yes. Does it also mean I feel confident I can trust you’re spending your money in the most efficient way possible on a product that is as safe as possible? Also, yes. 
  3. I also take into consideration things like the smell, taste, and size of a supplement. If it smells like rotten eggs (which some of them do, even if they’re manufactured beautifully and have abundant evidence for their use), you’re unlikely to take it for more than a day or two. If you have a hard time swallowing large pills, I’m not going to recommend a fish oil capsule the size of your thumb. Also, if you’re like me and have a mental block against taking “too many pills,” I’m not going to recommend a supplement that involves taking two capsules three times per day. 
  4. In summary, I only recommend products I would feel safe taking myself or would feel safe giving to my family members. 

Ubiquinol and its oxidized form, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), have been the subject of a significant amount of scientific research due to their role in cellular energy production and their potential as antioxidants. They are commonly investigated for their potential to improve cardiovascular health, enhance energy levels, and reduce symptoms of various diseases. I often recommend ubiquinol for clients with migraines, with commonly-experience side effects of statins (brain fog and muscle/joint pain), and for post-COVID brain fog. 

Citations:

  • Cellular Consequences of Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency in Neurodegeneration of the Retina and Brain
  • Manzar H, Abdulhussein D, Yap TE, Cordeiro MF. Cellular Consequences of Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency in Neurodegeneration of the Retina and Brain. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(23):9299. Published 2020 Dec 6. doi:10.3390/ijms21239299

N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is a supplement and medication derived from the amino acid L-cysteine. NAC helps replenish the antioxidant glutathione, a potent anti-oxidant. Oxidative stress is implicated in various psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, OCD, and schizophrenia. NAC has been suggested to regulate levels of glutamate, an important neurotransmitter in the brain. Dysregulated glutamate signaling is implicated in conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Although the mechanisms are not fully understood, some evidence suggests that NAC might influence dopamine systems in the brain, which could be beneficial in conditions like addiction or ADHD. Additionally, NAC can be helpful with the brain fog that accompanies certain psychiatric medications, and can also be helpful with the bladder irritation (cystitis) that can be a side effect of ketamine use in some individuals

Citations:

  • N-Acetylcysteine for Nonsuicidal Self-Injurious Behavior in Adolescents: An Open-Label Pilot Study
  • Bhaskara S. N-Acetylcysteine augmentation in refractory obsessive–compulsive disorder. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2019;44(3):215-216. doi:10.1503/jpn.180179
  • Raghu G, Berk M, Campochiaro PA, et al. The Multifaceted Therapeutic Role of N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) in Disorders Characterized by Oxidative Stress. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2021;19(8):1202-1224. doi:10.2174/1570159X1966620123014410

Magnesium glycinate is a form of magnesium, an essential mineral, bound to glycine, an amino acid. This particular form of magnesium is well-absorbed by the body and is less likely to cause digestive issues like diarrhea, which can be common with other forms of magnesium (such as magnesium oxide or magnesium citrate). Magnesium is involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body and is essential for a variety of physiological functions like nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and bone development. I commonly recommend it for sleep and anxiety. 

Citations:

  • Tarleton EK, Littenberg B, MacLean CD, Kennedy AG, Daley C. Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PLoS One. 2017 Jun 27;12(6):e0180067. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180067. PMID: 28654669; PMCID: PMC5487054.
  • Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429. Published 2017 Apr 26. doi:10.3390/nu905042

Magnesium L-threonate is a form of magnesium that is chelated to threonic acid, a metabolite of vitamin C. This form of magnesium is believed to have better bioavailability and is known to cross the blood-brain barrier, making it of particular interest in the context of brain health and mental well-being. It is as well-tolerated as magnesium glycinate – some clients feel it is more efficacious in helping with anxiety and brain fog than magnesium glycinate. It’s appreciably more costly that magnesium glycinate, so for some folks the cost does not outweigh the benefit. 

Citations:

  • Abumaria N, Luo L, Ahn M, Liu G. Magnesium supplement enhances spatial-context pattern separation and prevents fear overgeneralization. Behav Pharmacol. 2013 Aug;24(4):255-63. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0b013e32836357c7. PMID: 23764903.
  • Pochwat B, Szewczyk B, Sowa-Kucma M, Siwek A, Doboszewska U, Piekoszewski W, Gruca P, Papp M, Nowak G. Antidepressant-like activity of magnesium in the chronic mild stress model in rats: alterations in the NMDA receptor subunits. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2014 Mar;17(3):393-405. doi: 10.1017/S1461145713001089. Epub 2013 Sep 26. PMID: 24067405.

Lavender oil is an essential oil obtained from the lavender plant (genus Lavandula), often through steam distillation of its flowers. Silexan is a specific, standardized preparation of lavender oil that has been approved for use in Germany for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The brand of silexan I recommend is distributed by the U.S. division of the German pharmaceutical company whose silexan was used in the two Kasper, et al, studies below. 

Citations:

  • Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, Volz HP, Möller HJ, Dienel A, Schläfke S. Silexan, an orally administered Lavandula oil preparation, is effective in the treatment of ‘subsyndromal’ anxiety disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2010 Sep;25(5):277-87. doi: 10.1097/YIC.0b013e32833b3242. PMID: 20512042.
  • Kasper S, Müller WE, Volz HP, Möller HJ, Koch E, Dienel A. Silexan in anxiety disorders: Clinical data and pharmacological background. World J Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Sep;19(6):412-420. doi: 10.1080/15622975.2017.1331046. Epub 2017 Jun 19. PMID: 28511598.
  • Moeini M, Khadibi M, Bekhradi R, Mahmoudian SA, Nazari F. Effect of aromatherapy on the quality of sleep in ischemic heart disease patients hospitalized in intensive care units of heart hospitals of the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2010;15(4):234-239.

L-Theanine is an amino acid commonly found in tea leaves and some types of mushrooms. It is similar in structure to glutamate, a naturally occurring amino acid in the body that helps transmit nerve impulses in the brain. L-Theanine is known to promote relaxation without drowsiness and, interestingly, to promote focus and concentration without causing jitters or anxiety. It is believed to interact with the brain’s neurotransmitters, such as GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), which can inhibit or reduce the activity of neurons, thereby calming the mind and reducing stress and anxiety.

Citations:

  • Kimura, K., Ozeki, M., Juneja, L. R., & Ohira, H. (2007). L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biological psychology, 74(1), 39-45.
  • Lyon, M. R., Kapoor, M. P., & Juneja, L. R. (2011). The effects of L-theanine (Suntheanine®) on objective sleep quality in boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of medicinal food, 14(12), 1573-1574.
  • Haskell-Ramsay, C. F., Kennedy, D. O., Milne, A. L., Wesnes, K. A., & Scholey, A. B. (2016). The acute effects of L-theanine in comparison with alprazolam on anticipatory anxiety in humans. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 19(7), 457-465.

Turmeric is a bright yellow spice derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, responsible for its vibrant color and many of its health benefits. Turmeric and curcumin have been studied for a variety of health benefits (which are broadly attributable to their anti-inflammatory properties), including potential applications for chronic pain, mental clarity, and in improving the mood symptoms of depression.

Citations:

  • Sanmukhani, J., Satodia, V., Trivedi, J., Patel, T., Tiwari, D., Panchal, B., … & Tripathi, C. B. (2014). Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Phytotherapy Research, 28(4), 579-585.
  • Ng, Q. X., Koh, S. S. H., Chan, H. W., & Ho, C. Y. X. (2017). Clinical use of curcumin in depression: A meta-analysis. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 18(6), 503-508.

Saffron is a spice derived from the stamens of the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. Saffron has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine for various ailments. Saffron has been studied for its potential antidepressant effects. It is thought to influence the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which play key roles in mood regulation. Some research suggests that saffron may have anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties, though the mechanisms are not fully understood. There is emerging evidence that it may also be beneficial in some symptoms of ADHD. 

Citations:

  • Hausenblas, H. A., Saha, D., Dubyak, P. J., & Anton, S. D. (2013). Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) and major depressive disorder: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 11(6), 377-383.
  • Agha-Hosseini, M., Kashani, L., Aleyaseen, A., Ghoreishi, A., Rahmanpour, H., Zarrinara, A. R., & Akhondzadeh, S. (2008). Crocus sativus L. (saffron) in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome: a double-blind, randomised and placebo-controlled trial. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 115(4), 515-519.

Ginger is a flowering plant whose rhizome, commonly known as ginger root, is widely used as a spice and in traditional medicine. It is native to Southeast Asia and has been used for thousands of years for various medicinal purposes, including digestive issues, nausea, and inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been implicated in a range of mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety. Ginger contains bioactive compounds like gingerol that have potent anti-inflammatory properties, which could potentially help alleviate symptoms associated with these conditions. Oxidative stress has been linked to various mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety disorders. Ginger has antioxidant properties that may help combat oxidative stress, thus supporting brain health.

Citations:

  • Reference: Bhatt, S., Maheshwari, A., & Verma, S. K. (2018). Zingiber officinale Roscoe (ginger) as an adjuvant in antidepressant therapy: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Phytotherapy Research, 32(7), 1320-1326.
  • Iwata, M., Ota, K. T., & Duman, R. S. (2016). The inflammasome: pathways linking psychological stress, depression, and systemic illnesses. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 31, 105-114.

American Ginseng

American, Korean, and Chinese ginseng are all known to help enhance memory in different groups of people. There are several studies that American Ginseng is especially good at helping with working memory, with effects being noticeable in as little as a few hours (think of ‘working memory’ as your brain’s clipboard – where you hold small bits of information for a few minutes to a few hours at a time). 

The therapeutic properties of American ginseng are thought to be attributable to their active metabolite, gensenosides. These are known to be anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects in the brain. Two studies have shown benefit in inattentiveness and hyperactivity in children with ADHD. 

Citations:

  • Lee, J., & Lee, S. I. (2021). Efficacy of Omega-3 and Korean Red Ginseng in Children with Subthreshold ADHD: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Journal of attention disorders25(14), 1977–1987. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054720951868
  • Ko, H. J., Kim, I., Kim, J. B., Moon, Y., Whang, M. C., Lee, K. M., & Jung, S. P. (2014). Effects of Korean red ginseng extract on behavior in children with symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology24(9), 501–508. https://doi.org/10.1089/cap.2014.0013
  • Ossoukhova, A., Owen, L., Savage, K., Meyer, M., Ibarra, A., Roller, M., Pipingas, A., Wesnes, K., & Scholey, A. (2015). Improved working memory performance following administration of a single dose of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) to healthy middle-age adults. Human psychopharmacology30(2), 108–122. https://doi.org/10.1002/hup.2463
  • Scholey, A., Ossoukhova, A., Owen, L. et al. Effects of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) on neurocognitive function: an acute, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Psychopharmacology 212, 345–356 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-010-1964-y

 

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