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  • Liz Kahn, MA, MBC

Can Vitamins and Supplements Change Mood for the Worse?!




(Subtitle: I Went Super Sad)


I am typically all for supplements that I know can help. Take 5HTP for example: this supplement tells your brain to produce more seratonin. Hooray! It isn’t a seratonin supplement, it is a catalyst. Cool. But recently, I have had some very strange reactions to meds and supplements and I want to share a few of my experiences with you...

When I was 27, I won’t say how long ago that was, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, a gut problem with yucky presentation. My docs had me on many things including probiotics. Probiotics are thought to be like gold when it comes to gut concerns as they support balanced flora in the intestines. HOWEVER. Every individual has unique chemistry, and therefore unique needs when it comes to supplements.

Every so often, when I feel that my gut is acting up, I go back to the probiotics, and for the most part, it’s been fine. A few months ago, though, my father sent me a SUPER probiotic, and he was sure that it would be awesome for me. I began to take it and I didn’t notice that much of a change in my gut, but what I DID notice was that I was incredibly sad.

Nothing had changed in my life other than the day, and yet, I was overwhelmingly sad. My tears flowed without reserve and the things that made me sad seemed so reasonable that I thought that I simply needed to adjust my SR questions or images, but when that didn’t work, I was at a loss.

I called Dr. Burris, I asked him to help me refocus my questions and explained a little about what had been happening. He asked me what had changed and I said, “nothing, unless you include taking probiotics as a change”. He laughed. Yup, it is a change to the internal environment. But it wasn’t the probiotic. It was a particular yeast in it that is a stabilizer and thought to be generally harmless -- unless your chemistry reacts poorly to it, which mine did.

It wasn’t hives, swelling, or other allergic reactions, it was sadness.

But wait. There’s more.

Of course, I stopped taking that particular probiotic and felt better immediately. The first day off of it, I was back to handling life well. After a few days, being the scientist that I am, I took another one just to see if it changed my mood. And it did. Now I Know that that particular brand of probiotic doesn’t work for me. Yay!

Next was the multivitamin. I needed a new one and wanted to try something new. But again, the emotional state was effected more so than any other area of my body/life. This time it was short tempered frustration, and being offended really easily. I lost my patience with my kid (who in turn lost his patience with me (read this); I lost my patience with my friends who needed support and I was too angry to give it to them. I lost my patience with my clients.... not a good thing. This one took a little longer to recognize - actually, it all seemed like such a smooth, natural and reasonable transition that I might not have ever known what had changed until the day that I forgot to take my vitamins, and wouldn’t you know it, I felt normal again.

We don’t often think of things like vitamins or probiotics as catalysts for hurting our lives, but for somepeople, it is precisely efforts like these that dis-regulate our emotional states. There are a few ways you can check to see if you are having similar reactions, though.

Notice:

1 - Do you feel extreme emotions?

2 - Have you changed ANYthing in your daily consumption?

3 - Is this a sudden/drastic change from 1-2 days prior? (Regardless of the other events in life)

We don’t talk a lot about the side effects of supplements. Maybe it is due to the fact that most supplements aren’t regulated, which would make putting these types of warnings not only unnecessary, but also a big downer from a marketing perspective. Imagine actually purchasing a probiotic that states on the bottle “*may cause extreme emotional outbursts, hysteria in the face of minor BS, and could potentially destroy your marriage!” I don’t think I’d buy that. HOWEVER, in good faith, you can make a purchase and do your own science.

Step one - purchase.

Step two - notice your emotional state trend (been handling my stuff pretty well, right?)

Step three - notice your emotional state trend once you’ve started taking new item.

Step four - acknowledge changes - if they don’t feel good or if they make you feel better

Step five - if they DON’T feel good; stop taking them for 2 days; note the changes.

Step six - if you’ve done step five, take another dose and see if you go back to feeling rotten. If so, you know that the supplement you are taking isn’t right for you.

For me, that particular probiotic isn’t good for me, but other brands are fine. Same is true for the multivitamin. Don’t give up on good health, but also be wary of accepting that everything on the shelf is good for you.

Look for drastic and noticeable changes in yourself or loved ones. Ask yourself/them if there have been ANY changes, even those that seem insignificant, like a silly vitamin... Do the quick test and see if that makes a difference.

Be Well y’all!

As always, consults and sessions are available online or in person!

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