Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Supplements that Keep My Brain Happy

(A few of my personal favorite products and I don't have any vested or financial interest in any of them. Use any & all supplements recommended here only after checking with your doctor. Supplements can interact with medication you are taking so this is really important.)

Several of you who read This is Your Brain on Joy or this blog have asked, "What supplements do you take?"

Great question; because supplements have been a huge boon to my well-being, focus, restful sleep and general joy.

Let me start with my personal routine and then I'll also give you Greg's supplement routine-- as I add a couple of supplements recommended to men to keep them feeling as frisky as an 18 year old at age 53. Okay, maybe a 35 year old.

My brain scan and brain test showed what I already suspected: I have a combination of too much anxiety (basal ganglia) and too little focus (prefrontal cortex; inattentive ADD) issues. So at night I need to calm anxiety and in the morning I need to wake up my PFC!

I keep 3 supplements in my nightstand and take them every evening before bed. I have had a problem with post-traumatic stres nightmares and with dreams of endless frustration. (Can't find a phone to call for help; find one and can't find quarter, find quarter and my fingers fall off and I can't dial.. that sort never-ending drama.) Now I not only drop off to sleep but my dreams are peaceful.

True Calm (By NOW Products. Contains GABA and other calming amino acids, etc You can order on line; I get mine at Vitamin Cottage.)
Melatonin 3 mg.
Magnesium Citrate 500 mg. -- calming & also great for headache prevention

When I wake up, I take two more supplements to help perk up my PFC before I even get out of bed.

Energize by ISatori, a company in Golden, Co. (It gives energy without jitters and I just take one tablet. Love this product. )
L-Phenylalanine, 500 mg. It supports a positive mood and is also energizing without causing jitters

(Both of the above supplements can be taken with water on an empty stomach and don't cause tummy upset.)

After breakfast, I take the following. (I put our daytime supplements in one of those "old people pill containers" once a week so I don't have to think about it daily. I put Greg's on his desk where he keeps a bottle of water handy. He will bring me his empty container because he feels SO much more energetic when he has his pills.)

1000 mg. fish oil
(lemon flavored are the only kind that don't result in fish burps for me! Natrol makes a good product, available at Walgreens and online.) Excellent for heart and also mood/brain health. If I'm stressed, I'll take more during the day.

CoQ 10 100 mg. for heart heath and energy

B vitamins -- 50 mg of each B in one tab. -- for headache & PMS issues

B2- I take extra for headache prevention

L-Carnitine 500 - 1000 mg. -- I've found a liquid version that tastes fabulous (pictured above) and is much more economical. I usually put a squirt in iced tea or just swallow straight. It is great for heart health and sustained energy.

Greg takes

Fish Oil
Co Q 10
L-Arginine -- 500 mg.
Gingko -- 500 mg.
L-Carnitine 500 - 1000 mg.

During cold & flu season I add one tablet of odorless garlic to our daily routine to help ward off illness.

Melatonin can negatively affect testosterone balance in men and so Greg takes a product called Revitalizing Sleep Formula by Enzymatic Therapy. It has Valerian in it, which smells like month old dirty gym socks. He loves to catch me off guard and give me a whiff of the bottle and watch me gag. (Men are such BOYS.) Thankfully, it doesn't affect his breath...

Everybody has to find what works best for themselves. I always recommend to only add one supplement (under a doctor's care) at a time, and wait at least a week to monitor symptoms before adding another. Our hormones, blood pressure, etc. can all be affected by supplements. Men can notice a drop in libido; women may notice breast tenderness ... if a supplement is affecting your hormone balance. With each supplment you add, check to make sure it isn't affecting your blood pressure negatively and you sure don't want it messing with your libido negatively!

For aromatherapy support: I'm a bath gal, so I usually bathe each night with a natural lavender oil or bubble bath and a cup of Epsom salts. This relaxes muscles and the magnesium in the salts keep leg cramps at bay. I love C. O. Bigelow's lemon balm and it is the only lotion that prevents cracked heels for me in this dry Colorado weather. So I lather it on at night and when I wake up. Plus it smells like real lemon pie -- not like some lemon stuff that smells like furniture polish!

I like Whole Food's 360 brand of shower gels and use them for bubble bath instead. The fragrances are from natural sources and it is minimally processed. Plus a huge bottle is only $5.00. Love the lavendar scent for night time and the herbal-mint scent for mornings.


For a more detailed list of supplements and ideas to help other brain-mood issues (along with medications if needed) This is Your Brain on Joy is full of helpful, practical lists and information.


  1. I should mention that the C.O. Bigelow balms is expensive so I buy it in a huge quart jar! (Bath & Body has the bigger jars). I only have to purchase two times a year and that makes it in the affordable range!

  2. Becky, thank you, this is SOOOOO helpful. I guess I'm going to have to become a pill popper. I need to sleep better and I need to get my focus back! I really appreciate you posting this!

  3. Thanks a lot becky. I am going to add your blog to my RSS Feed reader