Supplements for Depression and Anxiety
Depression is a complicated disease. Supplements or Lifestyle changes can help with depression. Taking Supplements for depression and anxiety can help alleviate symptoms. Check out this post where I discuss lifestyle changes that can affect depression. In this post, we will be discussing some common supplements that can also be taken when treating depression. It is always best to consult a health care provider when taking supplements.
- St. Johns Wort: this has been found two be most effective in those with moderate or severe depression. This can cause negative side-effects when taken with major antidepressant medication.
- Saffron: In an 8-week double-blind study Saffron was found to be just as effective as Prozac in treating depression and anxiety.
- Ginseng: Ginseng creates a relaxed but alert state that can help with mood without overstimulating you. It has been shown to help with anxiety and depression. (1)
- Chamomile: Studies have also seen the positive effect that chamomile can have for those with depression. (2)
- Lavender: Lavender is amazing for a lot of ailments. It can improve memory as well as help treat depression and anxiety. (3)
Vitamins and Minerals:
Vitamins and Minerals are helpful when treating depression. Consider changing your diet to include more of these vitamins and minerals. There are many foods that contain these vitamins and minerals in abundance.
- Folate and vitamin B12: Studies have shown that low levels of folate and Vitamin B12 correlate with depression. They also decrease the effectiveness of antidepressant medication. (4) When choosing a folate supplement, be sure to choose L-Methylfolate as it is the only kind that crosses the blood-brain barrier.
- Zinc: The zinc levels in the blood of many people with depression have been shown to be low. In some studies, zinc supplementation has shown helpful in easing depression. (5)
- Omega 3 Fatty acids: Supplementing with omega 3 fatty acids can be helpful in treating depression. Over that last 150 years, the American diet has changed to a drastic decrease in omega 3’s and an increase in omega6’s. (6) When these two fats are out of proportion, they can increase many diseases including depression. So supplementing with omega 3’s can help but looking at omega 6’s and omega 3’s in our diet is also important. Many of the fats Americans consume are very high in omega 6 fats and low in omega 3. Read more about fat choices in your diet here.
- Vitamin D: Research has shown that vitamin D levels are low in those with depression. It has not yet shown that vitamin D supplements are effective in treating depression. It is not known whether Low vitamin D causes depression or depression causes low vitamin D levels. Some studies show that supplementing with vitamin D can be helpful if the depressed person has extremely low levels of vitamin d. (7) Taking a daily walk in the sun can be helpful in getting your vitamin D.
- 5 HTP: This supplement increases serotonin in the brain. Don’t take when using anti-depressant medication as it can cause problems with too much serotonin. This supplement should only be used for short-term use as it’s side effects most often occur after long-term use. I would recommend only taking this under the supervision of a healthcare provider. (8)
- SAM-E: SAM-E has been found to be effective in treating depression in males but not females. (9)
Many of these supplements have been found to be effective in easing depressive symptoms alone but in many cases when paired with other supplements. There are also a few as mentions above that should not be taken in conjunction with other supplements.