For years, psychiatrists have been looking for alternative treatment methods for major depressive disorder. The disease is quite common with a wide range of symptoms from low moods to reduced interest in normal and once pleasurable activities. Conventional depression treatment is usually aimed at therapy or counseling combined with prescription medications that often have side effects. As a result, scientists have looked to identify vitamins, supplements, and herbs to see if they can help with depression.
Depression is a serious topic, but if you feel that you suffer from the signs of depression there is hope. Before you turn to prescription remedies, talk to you doctor and see if some over the counter vitamins and supplements may help with the problem. That may mean you need to get some blood work to determine if dietary deficiencies are the culprit. If your doctor clears you to take a hands on approach to tackle your depression, I have put together a list of easy to find and inexpensive supplements that may help with the signs of depression.
Saint John’s Wort or Hypericum perforatum
This is a popular natural anti-depressant with a mechanism similar to that of the pharmaceutical antidepressants such as SSRIs (Paxil and Prozac). Some evidence indicates that it is effective while some studies show otherwise. St John’s Wort can prove effective in some people and it can have the same side effects as traditional drug therapy. Speak to your physician before taking it to learn about the risks and benefits of taking this herb supplement before you consume it.
This beneficial amino acid is found in green tea and can boost the brain’s alpha waves while increasing serotonin levels. You can get a healthy dose of L-theanine by drinking matcha, the purest type of green tea with high antioxidant levels and additional health benefits.
We need a very small amount of chromium but a significant number of adults are slightly deficient in the metallic element. Chromium is beneficial for regulating blood sugar levels and stabilizing your mood. It also helps to control brain chemical levels such as melatonin and serotonin. When taking chromium as a supplement the recommended amount is 200 mcg but you can also find it in potatoes and animal protein.
Common signs of an iron deficiency include mood changes, chronic fatigue, and low energy. the daily recommended amount of iron for pregnant women is 25 mg while 18 mg is recommended for women of childbearing years. You can split your iron doses to reduce chances of constipation and to encourage smooth bowel movements.
Studies have found a connection between cognitive functioning, mood changes, and vitamin C levels particularly in the elderly. According to t research, there can be a significant reduction in depression and anxiety with intake of adequate levels of vitamin C through supplements or diet. Since vitamin C is water-soluble and cannot be stored by your body, you must take it regularly to maintain healthy levels.
Magnesium is beneficial for constipation, muscle tension, relaxation etc. and it also has a role in brain hormone production. You can take magnesium through foods such as dark and leafy greens, nuts, dried beans, and whole grains but you can also take it in supplement form.
There is upcoming research supporting that omega-3 fatty acids play a beneficial role in brain health particularly in relation to helping with overall mood changes, cognitive functioning, and depression symptoms. You can increase omega-3s in your diet by eating fatty fish such as herring, salmon, and mackerel in addition to nuts and seeds such as walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, and chia seeds. Supplementing with fish oil can also give you the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids.
If you know someone who suffers from serious depression, help them get help before it's too late.
Brooke Bailey is a personal trainer, masseuse, and student in health and wellness.
She currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Follow her on Facebook.