Supplements for depression
Depression and anxiety are complex conditions. The treatment options for depression are numerous and will often vary, depending upon the severity of the illness and the symptoms. This posts briefly looks at dietary supplements for depression.
Some of the most popular treatments for depression include therapy, medications, exercise, and support groups in addition to natural supplements.
Many people seek natural supplements for depression in order to avoid the side effects of medication. (Be aware some supplements, such as St John’s Wort and SAMe, cannot be mixed with prescription medication)
Group B Vitamins
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) converts glucose into energy. Deficiency of this natural supplement can cause depression, anxiety and fatigue.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Deficiency in niacin produces anxiety along with fatigue and overall slowness.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) is considered a good supplement for depression. Deficiency in pantothenic acid may cause fatigue and depression.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is a source of serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine. Its deficiency can cause mental confusion. Many dieticians believe that most diets do not provide sufficient amount of this vitamin
Vitamin B9 (Folic acid / Folate) Most people with depression have low folate levels in their bodies which is why folate is one of the best supplements for depression and anxiety. People with low folate levels respond poorly to antidepressants.
You can get your daily folate requirements by consuming foods high in folate, including dark leafy greens, beans and legumes, and citrus fruits and juices.
Group B vitamins are water soluble which means they are not stored in the body and daily intake is necessary.
I personally find it easiest to take a MEGA B vitamin supplement to ensure I get all the “B’s”. My GP also recommends staggering the dose. Rather than just take a morning dose, to split the dose and take it twice a day. This will ensure an afternoon boost rather than a lag. I keep a bottle in my desk at work.
Magnesium is essential in regulating central nervous system excitability. Magnesium-deficiency may cause aggressive behaviour, depression, or suicide. Magnesium calms the brain and people do not need to become severely deficient in magnesium for the brain to become hyperactive. Even a mild deficiency of magnesium can cause increased sensitivity to noise, nervousness, irritability, mental depression, confusion, twitching, trembling, apprehension, and insomnia.
Magnesium levels can become depleted by too much caffeine (Rats!)intake, soda, salt alcohol or diuretics. It can also be lowered by excessive sweating, heavy menstrual periods and long term stress.
The good news here is that one square of dark chocolate contains 95milligrams of magnesium which is 24% of our daily recommended allowance. Adding dark chocolate to shopping list!
Omega-3 fatty acids
Essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 (found in fish such as salmon and tuna) play a crucial role in the function of serotonin and dopamine.
Although some of the research on omega-3s and mood disorders is encouraging, it remains unclear just how effective they are, and what formulation and combination of treatments are most beneficial. Omega-3s have few side effects and have cardiovascular and other health benefits, so they may be worth a try. The body cannot make Omega 3 fatty acids so you need to either eat them or take supplements.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort has consistently shown to be a good herbal supplement for depression. However, St. John’s Wort is not appropriate for severe depression or bipolar disorder, furthermore it should also be avoided if you are already on antidepressants.
Some studies suggest that the dietary supplement SAMe may be effective as a supplement for depression as it appears to boost serotonin levels in the brain. Although research studies appear promising, it is best to avoid using SAMe in conjunction with other antidepressants. More research is needed on this supplement.
Saffron is a spice used in cooking and in in traditional Persian medicine to treat symptoms of depression.
Although they can be found online, saffron supplements are not widely available. Although more research is needed, saffron appears to be a promising treatment for milder cases of depression. However, using the world’s most expensive spice as a dietary supplement seems impractical and pricey.
In humans, zinc has been found to be low in the blood of those suffering from depression. In fact, the more depressed someone is, the lower the zinc level. About 10-30% of people with depression have been found to have low zinc levels and their response to antidepressants is weak. Some studies have shown zinc supplements in combination with antidepressant therapy may be effective but more research is needed.
I would love top hear your feedback on this post. Do you use supplements to treat or manage health issues?
Have I missed a supplement in the management of mental health issues you think I should include?
The information provided on the Femidist website is intended for educational and/or entertainment purposes only. While the information published on this site is believed to be accurate at the time of writing, it is not intended in any way as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the physical or mental health of yourself or your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified healthcare provider.
References and Links
Investigating SAMe for depression. Psychiatric Times