What Are The Best Vitamins For Depression
A growing body of research shows how our diet and nutrition influences our depression risks and depression symptoms.
Right now, an estimated 1 in 6 people in the UK are experiencing depression, anxiety, and other common mental health concerns. And while counselling, therapy, and antidepressant medications remain the most effective treatments of depression, your diet and nutrition play a role, too. In this article, well look at the best vitamins for depression.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with depression, talk to a medical professional about how the following nutrients may help you to feel better, balance your mood, and restore your sense of optimism, hope, and wellbeing.
Eat A Balanced Varied Diet
Vitamin and mineral supplements can help fill any gaps in your diet, but its critical that you start with a wholefood, healthy diet to lay a strong foundation for your mental health.
Unfortunately, researchers say that the standard Western dietfilled with sugar, processed foods, and saturated fatsmay actually be a factor in rising rates of depression.
In a meta-analysis of 21 different studies from 10 countries around the world, scientists found a clear pattern for what to eat if you want improved mental health and a lower risk of depression:
Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables
Focus on whole grains
Avoid meat, with the exception of fish
Cook with olive oil
Avoid high-fat dairy
In contrast, the meta-analysis found higher risks of depression if you eat the standard North American and Western European diet of:
Refined and processed grains
So if youre looking to adjust your diet, these are the best vitamins and nutrients for depression.
Best Natural Supplements For Depression
One of the biggest realizations many people make along their recovery from depression is that people are treating their depression without medication. We are born into a world that says if we are depressed we have a Paxil deficiency. We dont stop and really ask, Is depression a disease?
We arent ever told that there is a diet for depression, natural antidepressant foods, and natural antidepressants out there. Once I realized that Celexa didnt work long term for me and the experience of getting off it was horrific, I started researching ways to overcome depression and how to beat depression naturally.
The average person is deficient in Vitamins B1, B2, B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, E, and iron. When you are depressed or have been under prolonged stress, your chances of being deficient in vitamins is highly likely.
Other than really nailing down your nutrition for depression, its important to utilize the best supplements for depression so that you can recover quicker and stay depression free longer. I have tried almost every single supplement listed below.
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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
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.
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Vitamins For Depression And Fatigue
Im unsure why more psychiatrists dont first test for nutritional deficiencies before dispensing Zoloft or Prozac, and specifically antipsychotics like Seroquel and Zyprexa. The great ones will send you to obtain lab work done prior to upping your medications or changing anything. Sometimes we do need antidepressants. However other times we need spinach.
If you have not ever evaluated your nutrition levels, you might ask with either your psychiatrist or primary-care doctor. The supplements can be costly, however you can make it back two- or threefold by not needing to see your psychiatrist as typically. You ought to talk to your doctor prior to taking any supplements, particularly if youre on prescription drugs.
Supplements For Depression And Sleep
Many supplements that also help with sleep have already been mentioned above. If you want a more in depth look at which supplements help sleep, check out one of the most popular articles on this site My Secret Combination of Supplements That Knock You Out.
Holy basil can help with irritability and depression if stress is what is keeping you awake. L-Tryptophan works wonders if you are a Xanax addict. Valerian root is a good short term option. But check out the article above for a more in depth look on what works and what doesnt.
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How Should We Treat Depression In Children
Based on the available research, we can conclude with reasonable certainty that there is a definitive link between nutrition and depression in children. Incorporating certain nutrients into a childs diet, specifically folate and B-vitamins, could help to reduce the effects of adolescent depression.
While it can take a lot of time and effort to get kids to eat healthier food, and while it is by no means a quick fix, it may be an option worth exploring with a healthcare provider if your child is experiencing the effects of adolescent depression.
While incorporating more nutrients into a childs diet can be useful in the treatment and prevention of adolescent depression, this is not to say that it should be used as a standalone treatment. It is perhaps more accurate to think of nutrient treatments as a component of a comprehensive and integrative treatment plan that also addresses sleep, exercise, and stress levels and that may also include the use of medications, particularly for moderate and severe depression.
Vitamin D Supplements For Depression
Test your Vitamin D levels to see if they are in optimal range
Vitamin D is actually a hormone. It wasnt until recently that the research on Vitamin D and depression started to explode. It is one of the best supplements for winter depression and optimal levels will keep you feeling good year round.
If you are deficient in Vitamin D you will have mental problems, brain fog, and wont be able to metabolize calcium properly. However, Vitamin D is one of the vitamins you can go overboard with. High levels of Vitamin D are toxic and will have similar effects to being deficient in Vitamin D. You should test your Vitamin D levels and then get them in the optimal range!
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Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
Seasonal discouragement, or occasional emotional issue, can be seen in such people. It generally takes months to end ultimately. Strangely, it begins in pre-winter and ends up in spring or summer.
These types of depression exhibit different reactions to the behavior. However, they are caused due to similar symptoms and causes. So, without delay, lets know the various causes and symptoms of depression.
Three Key B Vitamins To Fight Depression
B6, folate, and B12 are three more effective depression fighters. B6 turns food into energy and helps hormone creation Serotonin, responsible for good moods. Folate or B9 impacts almost every cell in the body. B9 has been known to help reduce depression in pregnant women. Finally, B12 creates and improves energy. Additionally, the vitamin treats major depressive disorders. A study shows a reduction of approximately 20% in depressive behaviors after taking B12. Adding a B complex is key in the fight against depression.
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Whats The Difference Between Supplements For Depression And Vitamins For Depression
Vitamins for depression? Supplements? Whats the difference? The answer is there is no difference. Dietary supplements are vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbal compounds, enzymes, and more that can improve health.
So, vitamins are supplements but supplements arent always vitamins. There are vitamins and supplements for depression but theres also a spectrum of them to help people get the right amount of nutrients every day.
Vitamin Deficiencies And Developing Depression
If you are hesitant to try anti-depressants or are looking for a possible alternative, there are certain nutritional deficiencies that may cause depression symptoms. If you are interested in testing your nutrition levels to see where you may be lacking, ask your doctor or general practitioner how to get tested.
There are 10 nutritional deficiencies in particular that may lead to depression:
- 1. Amino Acids
- 9. Vitamin D
- 10. Zinc
In most cases, your body does not produce enough of these nutrients on its own and therefore, we are dependent on the foods that we eat to provide these vitamins and minerals. However, for most people, the required daily intake for the average adult is too high to be able to get these nutrients from our diet alone.
Testing your nutrition levels is a great way to start on your supplement journey you can pinpoint exactly where you may be lacking.
Is Your Depression Really Being Caused by Nutritional Deficiencies?
Be sure to consult with your doctor to determine if your symptoms of depression may be linked to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Taking supplements is not guaranteed to alleviate your symptoms, and for some people, other treatment may be required.
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Try Vitamin C For Antioxidant Power
Can eating more oranges help with depression? Vitamin C or ascorbic acid treats the common cold and depression. Studies support using vitamin C for the treatment of depression. For instance, students taking Vitamin C versus a placebo revealed an increased mood. Vitamin C students also reduced anxiety and blood pressure. Vitamin C also improves the effectiveness of Prozac. Doctors can help determine if a vitamin C deficiency is causing depression.
Herbal Supplements For Depression
St. Johns Wort is one of the best herbs for depression. It is an herbal antidepressant that is prescribed in Germany more commonly than traditional antidepressants. It is an MAOI and helps increase all neurotransmitters in the brain. I took it for a year and it helped me a great deal, although it could sometimes give me anxiety. Quality is important with St. Johns Wort.
- Gaia Herbs St. Johns Wort Liquid Phyto-Capsules Gaia Herbs is known for high quality. These come from a Certified Organic agricultural center.
- NOW Foods Mood Support This combines St. Johns Wort with B Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs in an antidepressant formula.
- Click here to see my review on NOW Foods Mood Support
Supplements for Depression
Holy basil is an adaptogen that lowers stress. Several studies have shown certain extractions reduce corticosterone. A few readers of this site have noticed a difference in their irritability and depression when taking holy basil and it is one of the supplements I recommend in my sleep post.
- Organic India Tulsi Holy Basil Good brand, comes in a glass bottle, and helps fight stress and promote relaxation.
Rhodiola Rosea is another adaptogen that has a reputation for stimulating the nervous system, decreasing depression, and increasing energy. Some people have used it to be able to exercise for longer periods of time and increase sexual function.
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Can Supplements Really Help With Depression Or Anxiety
Heres what the evidence says about what works .
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St. Johns wort promotes a positive mood. Valerian root reduces levels of anxiety and stress. Lavender oil is calming for body and mind.
If you are among the tens of millions of people in the United States who suffer from depression or anxiety, it is easy to be captivated by the promise of mood-boosting supplements. Take these pills daily, their marketing suggests, and soon youll be happily bouncing through verdant, sun-soaked fields, no prescription required.
But, while experts say that some mood-lifting supplements are better studied than others, the wider evidence on their effectiveness is shaky at best. Im not saying that theres evidence that these things arent useful, said Dr. Gerard Sanacora, a professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and the director of the Yale Depression Research Program. Its more that the quality of the evidence isnt to the level that we can really have much confidence in.
And when compared with other treatments such as traditional medications or psychotherapy, the experts said, supplements fall short. Here is what we know about some of the most common supplements that are marketed for mental health.
Best Supplements To Help Depression Conclusion
Depression is, no doubt, quite a pain to deal with. It comes up randomly, drains you of all energy and motivation, and even leaves you feeling alone and unwanted. It is a serious disorder and should be treated so.
The first thing to know is to realize that you are not alone. There are so many hotlines, online communities, and medical help available for you. You can always ask for help and create your own safe space.
There is nothing wrong with having depression, neither is there anything wrong with asking for help. As soon as a doctor gives you a diagnosis, you can start your medications which will help you feel a lot better.
You need your newfound energy to turn your life back around one step at a time. Best supplements to help depression are one of those steps. Heres to a healthier and happier you!
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The Best Vitamins For Mental Health
Depression is a mood disorder affecting over 17 million people in the U.S. today, and that number only reflects the reported cases. There are far more people experiencing depression who dont seek treatment. Depression is typically treated with medications and psychotherapy. However, some lifestyle changes can help treat and prevent depression as well, including the regular consumption of certain vitamins, minerals, and herbs. Some common vitamins known for improving mental health and supporting brain function are:
The Top Vitamin Supplements For Depression
Vitamin deficiency is not the first thing you think of when considering the underlying causes of depression.
Doctors and psychiatrists rarely recommend vitamins for depression either.
But clearly, your brain cant operate at its peak when essential nutrients are missing.
A healthy brain is the first line of defense against depression and other mood disorders.
Some vitamins are necessary for the formation of mood-boosting neurotransmitters, while others provide energy to brain cells or protect them from damage.
Heres a look at the most important vitamins for depression and their recommended dosages.
1. Vitamin B6 : A Serotonin Cofactor
Serotonin is the main brain chemical responsible for making you feel happy, relaxed, and confident.
It also plays an important role in sleep, sex drive, and digestive health.
The most prevalent theory of depression is that its caused by a lack of serotonin.
This is why the most commonly prescribed antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors which work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.
Normally, serotonin is created in the brain and body from tryptophan, an amino acid commonly found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products.
You can see that vitamin B6 is used twice in this two-step process, which helps explain the correlation between low blood levels of vitamin B6 and depression.
WHAT’S THE BEST BRAIN SUPPLEMENT?
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Amino Acid Supplements For Depression
Amino acids are effective supplements for depression. They are the natural building blocks for the creation of neurotransmitters. Instead of taking antidepressant drugs, you can take amino acids and get the same results. What causes depression in a lot of cases can just be a lack of neurotransmitters in the brain. Taking amino acids restores them naturally.
Serotonin Supplements for Depression and Anxiety
5-HTP Capsules in my Hand
5-HTP is made from an African bean and works for most people who take it. Your body makes 5-HT by converting tryptophan into 5-HTP and then into 5-HT. If you have enough tryptophan and B Vitamins for the conversion to take place, you should have enough serotonin. However, if you are depressed, you can take 5-HTP and skip the first half of the serotonin production process and often feel better within minutes.
- Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP High quality 5-HTP that will work.
- Click here to see my review of Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP and its comparison to Natrol 5-HTP and NOW Foods 5-HTP
For some people, 5-HTP doesnt work very well and L-Tryptophan works better. I am one of those people. Make sure you have enough B Vitamins in your system because your body uses tryptophan for other things and will convert tryptophan into niacin if you need more niacin.
Tyrosine and Phenylalanine Natural Supplements for Depression and Fatigue