10 Best Supplements for Depression

Tuesday, 08 Mar 2011 02:30 PM

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The treatment options for depression are numerous and will often vary, depending upon the severity of the illness and the symptoms. Some of the most popular treatments for depression include therapy, medications, exercise, and support groups in addition to natural supplements. Many people seek natural supplements for depression in order to avoid the side effects of medication. The following are the ten best supplements for depression:
 
1. Folic acid / Folate (vitamin B9)
The synthetic form of folate, vitamin B9, is found in fruits, asparagus, leafy vegetables, and other foods, that affect neurotransmitters. Most people with depression have low folate levels in their bodies which is why folate is one of the best supplements for depression and anxiety.
 
2. Omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids
Essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 (found in fish such as salmon and tuna), and omega-6 fatty acids (found in corn and soybean oils) play a crucial role in the function of serotonin and dopamine. Eating foods rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids regularly are two of the best supplements for depression.
 
3. Vitamin B1
Vitamin B1, otherwise known as thiamine, converts glucose into energy. Deficiency of this natural supplement can cause depression, anxiety and fatigue.
 
4. Vitamin B3
Vitamin B3, otherwise known as niacin, is another good natural supplement  for depression. Deficiency in niacin produces anxiety along with fatigue and overall slowness.
 
5.  Vitamin B5
Vitamin B5, otherwise known as pantothenic acid, is considered a good supplement for depression. Deficiency in pantothenic acid may cause fatigue and depression.
 
6. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6, otherwise known as pyridoxine, is a source of serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine. Its deficiency can cause mental confusion. Many dieticians believe that most diets do not provide sufficient amount of this vitamin.
 
7. St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort has consistently shown to be a good herbal supplement for depression. However, St. John's Wort is not appropriate for severe depression or bipolar disorder. It should also be avoided if you are already on antidepressants.
 
8. Saffron
Saffron is a spice that is used in cooking and also in traditional Persian medicine as a natural supplement for depression. However, it has shown to be effective only in mild cases of depression.
 
9. S-Adenosinemethionine (SAMe)
Some studies suggest that the dietary supplement SAMe may be effective as a supplement for depression as it appears to boost serotonin levels in the brain. Although research studies appear promising, it is best to avoid using SAMe in conjunction with other antidepressants.
 
10. Inositol
Inositol can be used as a natural supplement for depression. People consume around one gram of inositol a day by eating fruits, vegetables, meat, whole grains, and other foods. However, currently medical experts are against using this as a supplement for severe depression.
 
Magnesium, Clacium, Zinc, Iron, Manganese, and Potassium are also natural supplements effective against depression. Any diet that is considerably short of these minerals can lead to anxiety, nervousness, paranoia, apprehension, or general fatigue.

Patients suffering from severe manic depression are particularly advised to talk with their doctor before starting any of the above supplements.

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