The Good News:


Depression and Anxiety can be managed just as well – if not better with nutrition. For example – did you know that brown rice can help heal depression? There are also a whole host of supplements that can help!

Eicosapentaenoic acid (ethyl ester [E-EPA])
These oils are very high in omega-6 fatty acids, but the recommended diets otherwise lack important omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). A high intake of omega-6 fatty acids relative to omega-3 fatty acids and an inadequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., from fish and fish oils) have been associated with increased levels of depression.12 People who eat diets high in omega-3 fatty acids from fish have a lower incidence of depression and suicide

Folic acid (for folate deficiency) 
A deficiency of the B vitamin folic acid can also disturb mood. A large percentage of depressed people have low folic acid levels.24 Folic acid supplements appear to improve the effects of lithium treating manic-depressives.25 depressed alcoholics report feeling better with large amounts of a modified form of folic acid.26 Anyone suffering from chronic depression should be evaluated for possible folic acid deficiency by a doctor. Those with abnormally low levels of folic acid are sometimes given short-term, high amounts of folic acid (10 mg per day).

Iron (for iron deficiency) 
Iron deficiency is known to affect mood and can exacerbate depression, but it can only be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. While iron deficiency is easy to fix with iron supplements, people who have not been diagnosed with iron deficiency should not supplement iron.

Vitamin B12 (for B12 deficiency)
Deficiency can create disturbances in mood that respond to B12 supplementation.20 Significant vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with a doubled risk of severe depression, according to a study of physically disabled older women.21 Depression caused by vitamin B12 deficiency can occur even if there is no B12 deficiency-related anemia.22

Vitamin B6 (with oral contraceptives)
Oral contraceptives can deplete the body of vitamin B6, a nutrient needed for maintenance of normal mental functioning. Double-blind research shows that women who are depressed and who have become depleted of vitamin B6 while taking oral contraceptives typically respond to vitamin B6 supplementation.31 In one trial, 20 mg of vitamin B6 were taken twice per day. Some evidence suggests that people who are depressed—even when not taking the oral contraceptive—are still more likely to be B6 deficient than people who are not depressed.32

Disruptions in emotional well-being, including depression, have been linked to serotonin imbalances in the brain.78 Supplementation with 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) may increase serotonin synthesis. Researchers are studying the possibility that 5-HTP might help people with depression. Some trials using 5-HTP with people suffering from depression have shown sign of efficacy.79 80 81 82 83

Fish oil (EPA/DHA)
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, particularly DHA, are needed for normal nervous system function. Depressed people have been reported to have lower omega-3 fatty acid levels (for example, DHA) than people who are not depressed. Low levels of the other omega-3 fatty acid from fish, EPA, have correlated with increased severity of depression.44 In some double-blind trials, supplementation with various amounts of fish oil was beneficial for the treatment of depression

The amino acid L-tyrosine can be converted into norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that affects mood. Women taking oral contraceptives have lower levels of tyrosine, and some researchers think this might be related to depression caused by birth control pills.51 L-tyrosine metabolism may also be abnormal in other depressed people52 and preliminary research suggests supplementation might help.53 54 Several doctors recommend a 12-week trial of L-tyrosine supplementation for people who are depressed. Published research has used a very high amount—100 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight (or about 7 grams per day for an average adult). It is not known whether such high amounts are necessary to produce an antidepressant effect.

This supplement might help some people suffering from depression. Preliminary double-blind research suggests that supplementation with small amounts of melatonin (0.125 mg taken twice per day) may reduce winter depression.70 People with major depressive disorders sometimes have sleep disturbances. A timed-release preparation of melatonin (5–10 mg per day for four weeks) was shown to be effective at improving the quality of sleep in people with major depression who were taking fluoxetine (Prozac), but melatonin did not enhance its antidepressant effect.71 There is a possibility that melatonin could exacerbate depression, so it should only be used for this purpose under a doctor’s supervision.

S-adenosyl methionine is a substance synthesized in the body that has recently been made available as a supplement. SAMe appears to raise levels of dopamine, an important neurotransmitter in mood regulation. Higher SAMe levels in the brain are associated with successful drug treatment of depression, and oral SAMe has been demonstrated to be an effective treatment for depression in most,72 73 74 but not all,75 clinical trials. Most trials used 1,600 mg of SAMe per day. While it does not seem to be as powerful as full applications of antidepressant medications76 or St. John’s wort, SAMe’s effects are felt more rapidly, often within one week.77

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