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Can taking supplements improve your mental health?

Lisa Tamati

Posted on September 11 2022

Can taking supplements improve your mental health?

Traditionally research has focused on the effects of diet on physical health, but nutrient intake also affects mental health. Complementing your diet with supplements like NMN, Berberine, and Quercetin can tremendously benefit your mental well-being. 

Mental health, diet and supplements 

Mental health affects everything. According to the WHO mental health statistics, 1 in 5 adults lives with a mental health illness. In the last decade, there has been a rise in mental health illnesses by 13 % (till 2017), predicted to have increased further during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Having struggled with anxiety myself, I appreciate the importance of why mental health is essential and finding simple ways to improve it. More researchers have been invested in mental health. One of the research fields is how diet can affect moods, depression, and other mental health issues. Diet does not only affect physical health but mental health as well. 

Supplements are not taken to replace a healthy diet, but common supplements like omega 3, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D. Berberine, Quercetin, and NMN  have shown evidence of improving mood disorders. These can be highly beneficial since antidepressants are only effective in around ⅓ of people after initial treatments. 

There are various theories and mechanisms of what causes mood disorders, and supplements can target some of these irregularities. Each of the supplements mentioned targets different aspects of causes of mental health struggles. These include reduction in the energy provider of the cells (ATP), dysregulation in neurotransmitters and chronic stress. 

The anti-ageing supplement NMN 

NMN (Nicotinamide mononucleotide) is a B3 vitamin known for its anti-ageing properties. A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders by Xiaoxian Xiew et al. showed the effects of NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) on depression in mice. NMN injections increased NAD+, improving sirtuin activity needed for energy production, which improved the metabolism of energy in their liver and brain. NAD+ is a coenzyme required for energy production and proper cell function. Studies have indicated that patients with depressive disorders have a reduced ATP generation resulting from a dysfunction in the mitochondria, which is the cell's powerhouse. NMN helps in mitochondrial function, and it also helps in DNA repair and inflammation control.  

The sugar balancing Berberine

Berberine is a sugar balancing alkaloid, and it is naturally found in beetroot and helps regulate cholesterol. Together with these properties, Berberine has modulated neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. The mechanism here is still being researched, but the evidence suggests that Berberine, as well as all its other benefits, can be used to treat mood disorders. 

The dysregulation of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine has been theorized to be a factor in depression. Berberine has been found to regulate neurotransmitters, particularly biogenic amines, helping in depression and anxiety.  This is because Berberine inhibits monoamine oxidase, which would otherwise break down the crucial neurotransmitters serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine. These molecules all play a role in mood regulation. 

The antioxidant Quercetin

Different factors can trigger mood disorders, and an activator is stress. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid and one of the most well-known antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It is found in many plants such as green tea, apples, berries and onions. Additional compounds like Vitamin C help in the absorption of Quercetin. The main benefits of Quercetin on mental wellbeing are related to its antioxidant properties by regulating oxidative and inflammatory stress. These antioxidant activities effects glutathione, enzymatic activities, reactive oxygen species and signal transduction pathways.  Quercetin helps in the regulation of glutathione, which protects against cellular damage. It also regulates the stress marker, including TBARS, nitric oxide, and the antioxidants of thiol and catalase. 

Studies on mice have shown that Quercetin can help against stress-induced anxiety and depression while enhancing memory performance and learning ability. This bioflavonoid stops the increase of lipid peroxidation, which occurs during stress, protecting cells from damage. Read more about what Quercetin is and how it works here. 

Summary and Main takeaways 

Together with a healthy, balanced diet, Berberine, Quercetin, and NMN can be taken to improve mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Even if you do not struggle with mental health issues, these supplements can help maintain your mental well-being.

  • NMN helps mitochondrial function, increasing ATP generation, which is reduced in patients suffering from depressive disorders. 
  • Berberine helps regulate neurotransmitters that can affect depression and anxiety. 
  • Last but not least, Quercetin is believed to help reduce the effects of releasing the stress hormone cortisol. 

Here you can read more about when to take Quercetin, Berberine and TMG. Our next article will be about all the benefits of Quercetin in improving athletic performance. 


Nothing mentioned in this article is considered medical advice. Always consult with your doctor first before taking any supplements. 

This article discusses the topic of mental health and outlines the benefits of health supplements. It is not considered to be medical advice. Mental health conditions are complex and vary from one individual to the next, requiring physical examination. If you need support, please contact your medical health provider. 

Resources and Further reading 

Mental Health Statistics 2021 - Mental Health Foundation 

Depression Symptoms Treated via NMN in Mice

Nicotinamide mononucleotide ameliorates the depression-like behaviours and is associated with attenuating the disruption of mitochondrial bioenergetics in depressed mice - PubMed (

Pharmacological effects of berberine on mood disorders - PMC ( 

Effect of berberine on depression- and anxiety-like behaviours and activation of the noradrenergic system induced by development of morphine dependence in rats - PubMed (

Emerging Research on Berberine and Depression Treatment Shows Promising Results - Alternative Medicine Review 

Reversal by quercetin of corticotropin-releasing factor-induced anxiety- and depression-like effect in mice - PubMed ( 

Quercetin Protects Against Stress-Induced Anxiety and Depression Like Behavior and Improves Memory in Male Mice

Molecules | Free Full-Text | Antioxidant Activities of Quercetin and Its Complexes for Medicinal Application | HTML (


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