Supplements For Depression: Take The Next Step
Depression is a widespread problem, but antidepressant medications dont work for many people and are not safe for large segments of the population.
But there are natural supplements that are both safe and effective for depression.
Several are proven to be as effective as prescription antidepressants.
Some supplements have antidepressant properties of their own, while others work by addressing underlying causes of depression such as nutritional deficiency, brain inflammation, or neurotransmitter imbalance.
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Mind Lab Pro is the brain supplement we recommend because, by boosting your brain health, it can help you:
- Improve your mental clarity and focus.
- Boost your memory and your ability to learn.
- Increase your capacity to think critically, solve problems, and make decisions.
Vitamins For Seasonal Depression
Seasonal depression is something many people experience. Also known as seasonal affective disorder , this mental health condition is linked to changes in seasons. Many people will start to experience symptoms of SAD in the fall, and these symptoms may continue through the winter. Someone with SAD may feel moody, fatigued or low in energy.
Some of the reasons a person may experience seasonal depression include low serotonin levels that may be related to reduced exposure to sunlight and changes in a persons biological rhythms that can occur in the fall and winter. If someone has major depression or bipolar disorder, their symptoms may become worse in the fall and winter, and people who live further from the equator may be more likely to have this disorder.
Treatments for seasonal depression can include medication, exposure to light and therapy. Vitamins for seasonal depression can also help alleviate or reduce symptoms. Vitamin D is one vitamin in particular that a doctor may recommend for someone experiencing seasonal depression. Vitamin D is produced by the body after sunlight exposure. During fall and winter months when sunlight exposure may be minimal, supplementing vitamin D can improve mood and reduce the symptoms of SAD.
Along with vitamins, other supplements could be useful to treat symptoms of SAD. These supplements include:
Holistic Mental Health Care At Sage Neuroscience Center
At Sage Neuroscience Center, we understand that mental health is different for everyone. Each individual is unique and deserves custom treatment. Having knowledge and access to a variety of treatment options is crucial, and so is educating yourself about the various lifestyle changes that might positively affect your mental health. To learn more about how vitamins and other natural supplements help improve mental health, contact the team here at Sage Neuroscience Center.
*Editors Note: This post was originally published Published on: Feb 4, 2014 and has been updated Mar 11, 2021
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What Supplements Should I Take
When you reach for that bottle of vitamins or fish oil, for example, you wonder if any of these will work and if they are safe. Well, the main thing you should be asking yourself is if you need them in the first place. And the truth is, there are tons of supplements for different needs.
Our body requires all the necessary nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fat, and fiber every day. The best source for these nutrients is real food. Nothing beats having a balanced lifestyle that includes quality whole foods. But the reality is that most people are not meeting the minimum requirements of certain nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals.
Even with fiber, people struggle to eat enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, for instance. Thats why you can see many symptoms like digestive issues and lack of energy.
Supplements come into the picture to help your body meet all the necessary nutrients. They also help avoid any deficiency. Supplements can even strengthen your body and enhance your metabolism. There are many benefits of taking supplements. The answer to whether youll need to take them depends on many other things.
Vitamins And Minerals That Can Ease Depression And Anxiety
Anxiety and depression are the leading mental illnesses in America and affect more than eighteen percent of the population. Many people turn to medication as their first line of defense to treat these conditions, but there may be a better way. Studies indicate that many people with these mental illnesses could benefit from better nutrition. With the right vitamins and minerals, your brain and body may be able to overcome anxiety and depression naturally.
According to research, nutrition is a major factor influencing the onset, severity, and duration of a depressive episode. Individuals with depression or anxiety often have a deficiency of a range of essential vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal brain function. So, exactly which vitamins and minerals are needed in your diet to treat anxiety and depression? Lets take a closer look at what your body is craving.
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Herbs And Supplements To Help Fight Depression
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Depression is a mental health condition that affects more than 17 million adults in the United States alone. However, the actual number is thought to be much higher, as many people with depression dont seek treatment for various reasons .
Below are the five classifications of depressive disorders, which share features like sadness, irritable mood, a feeling of emptiness, and cognitive changes that affect functioning (
- premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- depressive disorder due to another medical condition
Depressive disorders are treated with medication and psychotherapy. In addition, lifestyle modifications, including making dietary changes and taking certain supplements, may also help people in recovery and relapse prevention.
For example, some research shows that specific vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other compounds may provide added benefits in improving depressive symptoms.
That being said, herbs and dietary supplements are not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration in the same way as medications. So, you cant always be certain of what youre getting and whether its safe.
Additionally, more studies are needed to determine which natural supplements are more likely to help with depression, and what side effects they may cause.
Try Heating And Cooling To See What Helps
Temperature sensitivity is another common symptom of ME/CFS. Its sometimes easy to overheat and difficult to cool back down. You can mitigate this symptom by using heating or cooling products. Try taking a warm or cool bath with Epsom salts before bed to optimize your temperature.
If your muscles are uncomfortably tight, you can use heat to soothe them. You can try using a heating pad, hot water bottle, or heated slippers. This will warm you up and relax your muscles at the same time.
Dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome can be frustrating, but there are many approaches you can take. Using supplements for CFS is another approach that has been shown to potentially improve your quality of life.
In addition to medication, you can also mitigate your symptoms by making healthy lifestyle changes.
Finding the right balance to ensure that your symptoms are under control is tricky. But its also essential to living a fulfilling life! You can do this.
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Actions And Benefits Of Adaptogenic Herbs
For centuries, adaptogenic herbs have been growing in popularity in natural medicine. They really shined around the time of World War II when scientists began looking for booster supplements to increase the efficiency and ability of pilots.
According to a study published in 2008, Russian scientists have been at the forefront in carrying out pharmacological research on adaptogenic herbs since the 1960s.
Studies on animals have shown that adaptogenic herbs can increase the working capacity of an individual, giving them the ability to better manage stress.
Just as their names suggest, adaptogens are those ingredients that support the bodys ability to accommodate and cope with various physical, emotional, and lifestyle stress factors.
The actions and benefits of adaptogens can be summarized based on the findings of this study that was published on Chinese Medicine:
According to the study, a substance is only considered an adaptogen if it meets the following three criteria:
- It must be nonspecific and able to assist the body in resisting a wide range of adverse stresses.
- It must help maintain homeostasis in the body. This means that they should be able to resist or offset changes in physiological processes due to external stress factors.
- It must not affect, alter, or harm the normal functions of the human body.
Now lets look at some of the best of the best to help you enjoy more energy and better manage the stress of life.
Effective Herbs For Fatigue
Its happened to all of us – working overtime, stress in the family, saying yes to one too many functions. Whatever the case may be, we stretched ourselves too thin and now were exhausted.
But when does fatigue go from normal to a sign of something else?
And can we use herbs for fatigue to help pull us through?
Lets take a look.
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Should I Invest In Supplements
Before I suggest a list of the types of supplements you should take, this is what you should bear in mind. Supplements are just an aid to a healthy eating lifestyle. In other words, you should always aim to eat healthier, vary your plate, and have enough whole foods in your diet. That is crucial to ensure that you are meeting at least the minimum nutrient requirements.
You shouldnt invest in supplements to get your main nutrition. Always focus on quality foods before you supplement your diet. Now, supplements can reinforce what youre lacking in your eating lifestyle. Because of that, I love to always have some sort of multivitamin complex.
In general, if you have a proper eating lifestyle, its not mandatory to invest in supplements. However, there are specific cases, for example, pregnant women, in which we recommend taking supplements. Always make sure that you check with your doctor or nutritionist before taking any form of supplement.
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Calming Anxiety Depression & Insomnia: An Integrative Medicine Approach
On a daily basis in my medical practice I have patients approach me with terrible stomach issues, sleeping problems, heart palpitations, headaches, attention difficulty, and other issues frequently linked to the effects of stress hormones. In chronic stress and anxiety, the hormone cortisol drips through the body like a leaky fight-or-flight faucet. We need cortisol to survive, but too much for too long has toxic ramificationsthe body and mind can compensate for a time, but, eventually, other health issues will manifest from cortisols unmitigated release, such as thyroid problems, chronic pain, eating disorders, adrenal fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, hair loss, weight issues, hormonal imbalance, insomnia, immunosuppression, ulcers, heartburn, and much, much more.
Below, I list several herbs, foods, vitamins, amino acids, and more that have shown benefit in lowering anxiety, aiding sleep, and relieving depression.
1.Lavender and Lavender Oil:
Taken on a regular basis about an hour before sleep, the European lavender extract product Lavela has demonstrated efficacy favorable to that of benzodiazapines in reducing anxiety, with none of the side effects or addictive potential.
Findings of two studies suggest that standardized extracts of lavender may have anti-anxiety effects similar to paroxetine and lorazepam .
The dose of lavender oil, as you find in the above product, is 80 mg/day.
Lavender relaxation tea: here is a nice recipe from Aviva Romm, MD:
Should I Take Magnesium Supplements For Anxiety Or Depression
Many of our patients ask, Can I just get enough magnesium from my food? While diet is the starting point for increasing mineral intake in general, it may not be enough for some people with mental health conditions, because of:
Modern day food cultivation. Farming processes have depleted magnesium and other minerals from the soil, and the techniques used in food processing can deplete magnesium levels by up to 80%.
Biochemical individuality. Factors such as genetics, metabolism, health conditions, and more can influence how much magnesium an individual person needs for healthy functioning. Those with anxiety, depression and insomnia may need more magnesium than they can feasibly get from their food.
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Nutrients That Can Lift Your Spirits
Correction: An earlier version of the story misstated the recommended daily allowance of folate for adults. The amount is 400 micrograms, not 400 milligrams. This version has been corrected.
If you want some pep in your step or a dash of good cheer, look no further than the grocery stores shelves. Not only are foods rich in vitamins, minerals and fatty acids healthful, but studies show they can also increase happiness, lessen symptoms of depression and quell anxiety.
How can foods improve our moods? It all comes down to the brain. A healthy cognitive system is essential to regulating mood, and certain nutrients have a profound impact on maintaining normal brain function. Researchers have studied the association between foods and the brain and identified 10 nutrients that can combat depression and boost mood: calcium, chromium, folate, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and zinc. Try foods containing these nutrients for a midday pick-me-up, to promote long-term happiness or to ward off the nagging worry that you forgot to lock the front door.
The most abundant mineral in the body, calcium plays an important role in maintaining strong bones and healthy blood vessels, and in reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Low levels of calcium may play a role in premenstrual-syndrome-related depression in particular. Calcium deficiency affects more women than men, so women should take special care to meet the daily requirements.
Broccoli : 11 mcg
Supplements For Depression: 12 Top Herbal & Vitamin Remedies
These proven supplements have a history of effectiveness and safety for depression vs prescription drugs. Learn how they work and get recommended dosages.
In the past few decades, the use of prescription antidepressants has increased dramatically.
But these drugs are not right for everyone.
Children, teens, pregnant women, and the elderly are not good candidates.
Prescription antidepressants work only about half the time, can have unacceptable side effects, and do not mix safely with many medications.
While the safety and effectiveness of antidepressant drugs are in question, there is an array of supplements that are both safe and effective for treating depression.
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Try Exercising When You Can
As a person with ME/CFS, youve also probably experienced post-exertional malaise. This can be triggered by even small amounts of exercise.
But if youre able to, safely incorporating small amounts of exercise into your life can help reduce symptoms.
This can be something low-impact and simple, like walking, tai chi, and yoga. Just remember to start small and increase the length and intensity of your workouts slowly over time.
Talk With Your Doctor First
If you think you may have depression, you should first consult with a mental health professional, like a psychiatrist, or reach out to your primary care provider. A doctor can evaluate your symptoms and discuss treatment options, ranging from supplements that may help manage your mood to lifestyle changes or medication.
In some cases, supplements can interfere with other medications, or even worsen symptoms in some people, so you should always consult with a doctor, and never attempt to treat your depression entirely on your own.
In most cases, alternative treatment options like herbs and supplements are best suited for those with mild depressive symptoms, characterized by short periods of low moods. While they may be enough to help someone with mild depression manage their mood, these options may not be effective for those with more severe depressive symptoms.
“The challenge is figuring out what works for you and when, if necessary, to switch to the more traditional treatments because the symptoms are interfering with your life,” says Kevin Gilliland, Psy. D, a licensed clinical psychologist and executive director of Innovation360, an outpatient counseling service that serves people with mental health and substance abuse issues.
While supplements are not regulated by the FDA, third-party laboratories, like Consumer Lab, do test supplements for potency and accuracy, so you can check to see if a supplement has been tested before you buy one.
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The Top Herbal Supplements For Depression
Herbs have been used traditionally to treat depression in every culture.
Apparently, depression is not just a modern problem.
Heres a look at some of the best herbal supplements those with a long history of safe use that have also been scientifically proven to be effective.
Caution:If you currently take a prescription antidepressant, talk to your doctor before making any changes to your medication.
1. Arctic Root
Arctic root is found mainly in cold Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America.
Its been used since the time of the ancient Greeks to boost overall physical and mental vitality.
This herb is a top-rated adaptogen, a natural substance that increases your resilience to physical and emotional stress.
It works by increasing the activity of brain chemicals that impact your mood such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
Arctic root has been shown to reduce depression symptomsfaster than antidepressant medications.
Its particularly useful for depression accompanied by anxiety and fatigue, depression caused by seasonal affective disorder , or when you need results quickly.
NEED A MENTAL PERFORMANCE LIFT?
Does this sound like you?
Fuzzy thinking, foggy focus, forgetfulness?
Lack of energy and drive?
Struggle to learn and make decisions?
A quality brain supplement can make a big difference.
What makes ashwagandha a standout is its ability to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.