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A researcher who studies supplements takes these 3 to boost mood, reduce stress, and improve athletic performance

Kate Hull   

A researcher who studies supplements takes these 3 to boost mood, reduce stress, and improve athletic performance
  • Dr. Adrian Lopresti is a clinical psychologist who studies how supplements can impact mental health.
  • In his own life, Lopresti uses a handful of supplements depending on his mood and stress.

Dr. Adrian Lopresti has dedicated his career to understanding how nutritional supplements can boost mental health.

"I'm a clinical psychologist, so my interest is in the area of mental well being," Lopresti told Insider.

Lopresti serves as the managing director of Clinical Research Australia, a company that does clinical research on behalf of sponsors, including supplement companies.

Insider asked Lopresti what supplements he takes, based on his own research and other research in the field. Insider excluded supplements that Lopresti is currently researching in sponsored trials.

Here are three of the supplements Lopresti takes in his own life for mental and physical wellbeing.

Fish Oil

Like longevity doctor Peter Attia, Lopresti takes a fish oil supplement every day.

Experts generally recommend having two servings of fish each week — like salmon, herring, or sardines — for their beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA.

But supplements, like fish oil, can be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids as well.

A 2022 study found that taking just 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids every day, either through food or through supplements, can help lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.

Fish oil's anti-inflammatory properties may also be beneficial for people who have depression.

A 2016 review of 13 studies found that omega-3 supplements helped reduce some symptoms of depression in those with major depressive disorder. It appeared particularly helpful in those already taking antidepressants, but the authors said that more research is needed.

Magnesium

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, and is "necessary for healthy bones, heart, muscles, and nerves," Allie Gregg, a registered dietician, previously told Insider. But less than half of Americans get enough magnesium through their diet.

Lopresti takes magnesium because he believes it can help with athletic performance.

A 2019 review found that magnesium may have a positive influence on muscle performance in some athletes, though the research is inconsistent and limited.

Lopresti opts for 300-600 mg of elemental magnesium glycinate, bisglycinate, or citrate. But he avoids magnesium oxide, because it's a laxative.

While some added magnesium might have benefits, too much magnesium can be harmful, and lead to stomach upset or even be dangerous.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha has become a popular supplement on social media, with creators claiming that it can help with reducing stress and anxiety, even boost testosterone levels.

Lopresti will periodically take ashwagandha to manage stress. "The biggest body of evidence is probably for stress," Lopresti said. "It seems to have a positive effect."

However, Lopresti said that taking ashwagandha for stress "doesn't work overnight." It typically takes a couple weeks for people to notice the effects of ashwagandha, and people will reap the maximum benefit after taking it for two to eight weeks.


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