Depression is a mental illness that is becoming more and more pervasive in our societies. Most medications prescribed to treat the illness are not cures but simply ways to manage the symptoms. Not to mention that these drugs could have serious side effects in the long run. Depending on the underlying cause behind the depression, these natural supplements could reduce symptoms effectively without costing too much.
Supplements That May Help Treat Depression
1. Fish Oil
It’s common knowledge that omega 3s are great for your brain. They’re associated with better cognitive functioning. It is said that omega 3 fatty acids are needed for your neurotransmitters to work properly.1 If you have a deficiency of omega 3, it’s possible that your neurotransmitters not functioning effectively. Some studies have noticed a moderate effect of omega 3 supplementation on mood.2
2. St. John’s Wort
In the United States, St. John’s Wort is not approved as an official drug by the FDA but it is much more common in Europe to treat depressive symptoms with St. John’s Wort. St. John’s Wort is seen to increase serotonin levels which may help those who have a chemical imbalance in their brain.3
S-adenosyl methionine or SAMe for short is a compound that is produced in the body. SAMe is not naturally available in food. The version made as a supplement is a synthetic version of this compound. A deficiency can occur with different types of health conditions. Initial studies suggest that SAMe is a promising treatment for depression. It seemed as effective if not more effective than prescribed antidepressants.4
4. Vitamin C
Those with a Vitamin C deficiency are often seen to be fatigued and depressed. So it makes sense that supplementing with Vitamin C may have an effect on mood.5 Try to eat lots of vegetables and fruits with vitamin C in them. Those with the highest content include red bell peppers and oranges. If you choose to supplement, make sure not to exceed the daily limit of 2000 mg.
5. Vitamin B
Researchers have noticed that cultures whose diets contain a lot of folic acid and Vitamin B12 show lower rates of major depression in their lifetimes. Researchers also noticed that lower levels of folate and B12 in the blood were associated with increased levels of depression.6 These studies suggest that it is worth trying out oral supplements of B12 and folic acid.
6. Vitamin D
Researchers have noticed that those who are normally seen to have a deficiency include the elderly, adolescents, obese individuals, and those with chronic illnesses. These are also groups that most commonly show symptoms of depression so a correlation between vitamin D and mood is not far fetched.7 Studies show that Vitamin D supplementation could have a considerable effect on depression levels. It’s seen to be almost as effective as anti-depression medication.8
- Do not replace or mix prescribed medication with natural supplements. Some of these supplements will have harmful interactions with anti-depressants.
- Always talk to your healthcare professional about using supplements.
- Approach a mental health professional if you think you may be suffering from depression. If left untreated, depression can become worse, do not try to self-treat.
These supplements could be an easy and cost-effective way to treat depression in the near future.
|↑1||Grosso, Giuseppe, Fabio Galvano, Stefano Marventano, Michele Malaguarnera, Claudio Bucolo, Filippo Drago, and Filippo Caraci. “Omega-3 fatty acids and depression: scientific evidence and biological mechanisms.” Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity 2014 (2014).|
|↑2||Bastiaansen, J. A., M. R. Munafò, K. M. Appleton, and A. J. Oldehinkel. “The efficacy of fish oil supplements in the treatment of depression: food for thought.” Translational psychiatry 6, no. 12 (2016): e975.|
|↑3||St. John’s Wort and Depression: In Depth. National Center For Complementary And Integrative Health|
|↑4||Sarris, Jerome, George I. Papakostas, Ottavio Vitolo, Maurizio Fava, and David Mischoulon. “S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) versus escitalopram and placebo in major depression RCT: efficacy and effects of histamine and carnitine as moderators of response.” Journal of affective disorders 164 (2014): 76-81.|
|↑5||Zhang, Michelle, Line Robitaille, Shaun Eintracht, and L. John Hoffer. “Vitamin C provision improves mood in acutely hospitalized patients.” Nutrition 27, no. 5 (2011): 530-533.p|
|↑6||Coppen, Alec, and Christina Bolander-Gouaille. “Treatment of depression: time to consider folic acid and vitamin B12.” Journal of Psychopharmacology 19, no. 1 (2005): 59-65.|
|↑7||Penckofer, Sue, Joanne Kouba, Mary Byrn, and Carol Estwing Ferrans. “Vitamin D and depression: where is all the sunshine?.” Issues in mental health nursing 31, no. 6 (2010): 385-393.|
|↑8||Spedding, Simon. “Vitamin D and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis comparing studies with and without biological flaws.” Nutrients 6, no. 4 (2014): 1501-1518.|