Feeling sad, depressed or anxious? I have some welcome relief for you.
Depression is a common illness. It affects 10.3 million people in the United States every year. People who have depression are more likely to have a secondary mental health issue particularly anxiety. In fact, 50% of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with anxiety. Depression can be caused by a variety of reasons such as;
- Loss of a loved one
- Job loss
- Poor finances
- Other mental health issues
- Chronic pain
- Vitamin deficiency
Depression can cause; anxiety, apathy, feelings of discontent, excessive sleepiness, insomnia, fatigue, loss of hunger, a lack of concentration and weight gain or loss.
Activities that were once pleasurable for a person don’t seem as appealing anymore. Feelings of sadness may take over. Depression may cause the person to seek out drugs or alcohol to self-medicate.
If this is you or someone you love, there is something you can do about it….
Supplements can be used in conjunction with other traditional medications. Or, if you want to go completely natural and not take meds, supplements will definitely be your go-to. However, I do not recommend going off your meds if you’re prescribed them. Consult your healthcare provider first before adjusting any of your medication. You could be at risk of an episode.
1/ Fish Oil
Fish Oil contains DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosatetraenoic acid). In research from 2009, EPA was shown to improve symptoms in major depressive disorder, depression in children and bipolar depression. A study in 2004 found an increase in both DHA and EPA was beneficial for those suffering from; minor depression, postpartum depression and suicide ideation. The benefits of fish oil are obvious. Consider eating more fresh fish and salmon to supplement your diet.
Personally, I take Fish Oil to help my bipolar and it is working wonders.
The yellow flower is known to help those suffering from mild depression. Millions of people around the world swear by St John’s Wort. However, when it comes to a major depressive disorder of a moderate level the jury is still out. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider taking it, because it can help with mild depression. Taken in liquid or capsule form the supplement can be added to your health regime. You may prefer to drink it as a tea, it’s up to you. St John’s Wort can interact with other pharmaceutical drugs including; birth control, some drugs that prevent organ rejection and some heart disease medications.
Known as an adaptogen, it is an ancient herb that is known for reducing stress. It is native to North Africa and India. The plant is called ‘Indian ginseng’ and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine in India for centuries. Ashwagandha helps to lower blood sugar levels, reduces cortisol, boosts brain function and is known to fight anxiety and depression.
Studies have shown that it effectively eliminates stress and improves anxiety. In a study on rats Ashwagandha blocked the stress pathway in the brain, reducing stress levels. In another study lasting 60-days, 64 participants where surveyed. Participants had an average 69% reduction in anxiety and insomnia symptoms. There are limited studies on depression using Ashwagandha but there is some proof it helps.
I take this herb for anxiety and depression and I swear by it. I feel better when I take it.
Low levels of Vitamin B-12, B-6 and folate have been linked to depression. B-vitamins have an effect on mood and other brain functions. B-12 can be found in animal products such as fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs and low-fat milk. If you are vitamin B-12 deficient taking a supplement might be your best answer.
Folic acid (B-9) and it’s effect on the body has been studied and studies show that low levels could lead to depression. In one study 95% of women responded to folic acid compared with 60% of the placebo. In the early 90s a study on elderly depressed patients found that treatment with folic acid is just as beneficial as taking the anti-depressant trazadone. Folic acid can be found in dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts and spinach. Also, it can be found in lentils, dried beans, peas and nuts.
GABA A2 and A3 receptor modulators are known to have an antidepressant effect. They are especially beneficial when it comes to eliminating fear in the body. To aid your symptoms you can choose to eat more GABA producing foods such as; almonds, tree nuts, bananas, beef liver, broccoli, brown rice, halibut and mackerel. Or you might like to take a GABA supplement. GABA supplements combined with melatonin also may help insomnia sufferers.
A study from the University of Vermont of 126 adults with depression was conducted. One group took magnesium supplements straight away and the other group took them after 6 weeks. The study showed that depression symptoms shifted 6 points on a scale of 0 to 27 to improve overall depression compared with the 6 weeks when magnesium supplements weren’t taken.
Increasing your magnesium intake is beneficial for depression. Consider eating more magnesium in your diet. Magnesium is found in; green leafy vegetables (spinach and kale), fruit such as avocado and raspberries, nuts and seeds, legumes and vegetables such as peas, broccoli and cabbage.
Or you may prefer a supplement. I take magnesium as a supplement alongside other vitamins and herbs to aid my depression.
7/ Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin)
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increase in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, cancer and depression. The reason for this has been the decline in people going outside in the sun. UVB rays are effective in producing Vitamin D in the body. With the use of technology, television and computers many people find themselves stuck indoors these days. To check if you are vitamin D deficient a simple blood test from your Doctor will suffice. If do find that you are deficient, spend more time outdoors, gardening, reading, exercising or even meditating for an improvement in symptoms.
I meditate outside regularly to make sure I get a good dose of Vitamin D.
SAM-e (S-adenosy-L-methionine) is a naturally occurring molecule found in the body. Found in the adrenal glands, liver and brain it is known to help aid depression. Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital researched SAM-e and its affects on the body. They found that after 6 weeks of treatment 36% of respondents noticed an improvement in their depression symptoms compared with 18% in the placebo group. Further, 26% of those in the SAM-e group had complete remission of symptoms. SAM-e supplements are more effective than other supplements because they work on the brain within days and not weeks. However, it is not advised for Bipolar Depression as it can cause mania in some individuals.
So, there you have it, those are some supplements that you can use to improve your mood. But I have another awesome tip for you, exercise. Exercise is known to fight depression. As many depression sufferers are Vitamin D deficient, getting outside and jogging or walking is highly beneficial. Make sure you go somewhere where there is nature so you can get fresh air. For even better results, combine regular exercise with some herbal supplements.
Make sure you conduct your research on these supplements and factor in your existing conditions and blood results.