While many have focused on immune health during the pandemic, mental health and wellness have been overlooked. Post-pandemic mental health and wellness concerns will have a crushing impact on more than those who suffered from the virus. An article published on the World Health Organization's website in October 2020 spelled out how much the pandemic has "disrupted" or "halted" mental health services worldwide. As if things weren't bad enough pre-Covid-19, the added stressors such as loss of a loved one, social isolation, financial loss, quarantining, misinformation, and fear of the unknown contributed to increased sadness, fear, frustration, helplessness, loneliness, stress, posttraumatic stress,  

While modern medicine often focuses on mental illness, we should investigate improving our mental wellness. With other conditions we face, taking an active role in supporting and enhancing our mental health will make us respond better when "times are challenging."  When we talk about mental wellness, we are focusing on our mental or cognitive function and our emotions. These all boil down to three interconnected areas; stress, sleep, and cognitive function. Interconnection can be seen in these brief examples:

  • People may have issues with sleep, yet stress is the underlying reason they are having trouble sleeping.   

  • A person may have stress due to a lack of sleep.  

  • A person may trouble cognitive function, not realizing that it is worry (stress) or sleep problems causing them not to remember something.   

As if this wasn't bad enough, poor mental wellness can impact all aspects of our lives, including cardiovascular health, immune health, weight control, elevated blood sugar, pain management, our relationships, difficulties at work, home, and school, and many other areas. 


Regarding supporting the three mental wellness areas, i.e., stress, sleep, and cognitive function, there are an abundance of nutritional ingredients with scientifically proven benefits. The following will take a closer look at each area and a few top ingredients to be considered when creating a supplement or functional food to help either get our mental wellness back in balance or keep us balanced.



There are three unique, patented, and clinically proven ingredients to address stress daily. The three are Saffron (Crocus sativus), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), and kanna (Sceletium tortuosum). Saffron studies show it significantly improves mood and stress in otherwise healthy people. Research with ashwagandha shows it not only decreased daily stress but had a significant impact on decreasing serum cortisol (also known as the stress hormone). A study with sceletium tortuosum study showed its direct effect on the amygdala (the brain's stress center) within 2-hours post-consumption, which provides benefits of decreasing stress and increasing calmness.


With regards to sleep, clinically proven ingredients such as chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile L.), saffron and chamomile and lactium (Alpha-s1 Casein Hydrolysate) should be considered. Roman chamomile (not German) that has shown to significantly improved sleep quality among older adults. Studies with saffron showed improvements in insomnia, sleep quality, and restorative sleep. Studies with lactium show an impact on improved sleep quality and duration.



Cognitive health usually revolves around being able to concentrate and focus better. It is advisable to avoid stimulant-type supplements since stimulating ingredients such as caffeine can increase stress and sleep issues. Three excellent clinically proven ingredients are Sage (Salvia officinalis L.), Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri), and green oat (Avena sativa). Studies with sage has shown improvements in short-term memory, secondary memory, recognition, recall, accuracy, speed of retention, and focus. Studies with bacopa show improvement in speed of visual information processing, learning rate, memory consolidation, retention of new information, and improvements in working memory. Lastly, green oat showed cognitive improvements and multitasking.

As we can see, there is an abundance of clinically proven, safe, and effective ingredients to support mental wellness needs. It may be necessary to combine at least one ingredient from each category during challenging times to ensure a complete mental wellness approach is being taken.