Five Natural Supplements That May Help Depression

Depression is a common mood disorder that negatively affects the way you feel. The symptoms of depression can range from mild to severe, such as a feeling of sadness, trouble sleeping, difficulty thinking, and a loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed. And depression changes the way you think, function, and feel. Although there are numerous medications that can be prescribed to treat depression, natural ones can also help enhance and boost your overall mood.

Vitamins, Herbs, and Supplements for Depression

1. Vitamin D levels tend to be lower in people with depression; therefore, getting adequate vitamin D via supplementation or sun exposure is essential. Research suggests that maintaining adequate vitamin D levels can help reduce depression. For some people, supplementation is preferable because continuous sun exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer. There are also certain foods that contain vitamin D such as eggs, sardines, cod liver oil, and milk.

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids has been shown to treat depression because it plays an important role in brain function. Some of the brain chemicals that are low in depressed people can be found in omega-3s. There are several ways to get your daily dose of omega-3s; fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon, sardines), nuts and seeds (walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds), and in supplement form.

3. Zinc supplementation has been shown to have an antidepressant effect. It is a key nutrient linked with mental functions like behavior; therefore, a deficiency in this mineral has been tied to depression. A Japanese study found that women who took zinc daily had improved moods and reduced anger. Zinc supplementation should be taken under the advisement and guidance of a medical professional.

4. SAM-e is a compound that has been proven to treat depression because it increases the brain’s levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. Norepinephrine plays a role in the body’s stress response and dopamine can play a role in how we feel pleasure. This compound is commonly used as an anti-depressant in Europe though it is only available to patients by prescription, whereas in the U.S. it is available over-the-counter.

5. St. John’s Wort is an herb that has been taken for centuries and today it is a common way to treat depression naturally. The way that it works to treat depression is by increasing the levels of serotonin, which is a feel-good chemical in the brain. People with depression tend to have low levels of serotonin. Research studies have shown St. John’s Wort as an effective way to treat depression.

Precautions

It is important to consult with a medical professional before embarking on any new natural treatments. Your doctor will advise you on the best course of action. As well, there are medical conditions that can mimic the signs of depression, such as thyroid disorders and vitamin deficiencies, so it is essential to rule out any underlying medical conditions first.

Sources: Very Well Mind, Psychology Today
Photo: Pexels

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