Today I want to talk about supplements for depression and the impact that some of these supplements can have on lifting our mood. Knowing the right vitamins and supplements to take is a huge part of taking care of yourself and learning about your body.
I’ve divided these lists of supplements for depression into two primary categories:
- General Supplements
- Anxiety & Depression
As always, please familiarize yourself with the WGOWJ Disclaimer and consult your physician before making any changes to your treatment plan.
What are supplements?
When we talk about supplements for depression, we’re referring to dietary supplements that can be consumed for the benefit of specific nutrients. Supplements can be an individual nutrient or a blend of nutrients, and are typically consumed in a pill or capsule form.
A great example of this would be taking a probiotic for stomach and gut health. If you’re unaware, probiotics are what’s known as “good bacteria” for your stomach – but we’ll get into this shortly.
What are some basic supplements that one might take?
Before we dive too deep into using supplements for depression, let’s first consider some of the basic supplements that people take for their general health and well-being. Several of these even have additional benefits with regard to mental health.
General Supplements –
- Multi-Vitamins – These supplements tend to promote overall health. Your typical multi-vitamin works to improve heart health, eye health, boost the immune system, and promote healthy aging. Depending on the kind of multi-vitamin you choose, you can also find one that helps support healthy hair, skin, and nails as well.
- Fish Oils (Omegas 3 / 6 / 7 / 9) – Fish Oils have been shown to improve cardiovascular health. These are quite commonly recommended for someone who might be more susceptible to heart disease. Fish Oils have been shown improve cholesterol levels, improve blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and can even prevent plaques from forming in the arteries. See this article 13 Benefits Of Fish Oil.
With regard to mental health and depression, researchers have determined that increasing Omega-3 fatty acids has a direct impact on improving serotonin levels.
- Probiotics – These “good” bacteria are commonly found in yogurts. Probiotics are a great way to prevent or even treat digestive issues, which makes them a great option for those with digestive disorders. Probiotics are also a great supplement to be utilizing to boost your immune system and even regulate weight and stubborn belly fat.
Probiotics are also great supplements for depression, as taking a probiotic supplement for a minimum of 8 weeks has been shown to decrease varying levels of depression. See this article 8 Health Benefits Of Probiotics.
- Vitamin C – I think we all know about Vitamin C and it’s role in fighting a cold and helping boost the immune system. But Vitamin C can also play a role in both anxiety and depression.
In considering supplements for depression, Vitamin C can actually reduce and treat symptoms of anxiety and depression. See this article The Uncommon Power Of Vitamin C.
- Vitamin D – This vitamin falls under supplements for depression that are simple but still very important. According to Reader’s Digest, 75% of American teens and adults are deficient in Vitamin D, which is commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”.
In our topic of supplements for depression, Naturopathic Doctor Amanda Frick of Harvey Health explains that the brain is outfitted with many receptors for Vitamin D. This means that this vitamin plays an important role in cognitive function and could help mood.
How do I use supplements for depression and anxiety?
There are some additional vitamins & minerals that can be used specifically as supplements for depression. Each one of these plays a slightly different role in managing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Supplements for Depression & Anxiety –
- B-Complex (Vitamin B3, B6, B9, B12) – B Vitamins are a very important vitamin to consider in the topic of supplements for depression. You can typically find a B-Complex vitamin with a blend of some of the different B vitamins.
- Vitamin B3 – Also known as Niacin – Though this vitamin has no scientific evidence with regard to its ability to treat depression, many people have said that they’ve experienced reduced feelings of sadness and hopelessness, as outlined in this article Niacin For Depression.
- Vitamin B6 – Also known as Pyridoxine – Can help the body in processing amino acids, proteins, and hormones. This vitamin is essential in the production of serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine.
- Vitamin B9 – Also known as Folate or Folic Acid – This vitamin is associated with the amino acid homocysteine, which is closely related to Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Here’s a great read on Vitamin B9 from Harvard Health entitled Folate For Depression.
- Vitamin B12 – This is a vitamin whose role isn’t completely understood in depression, though research has shown that patients who took a Vitamin B12 supplement during depression treatment – on average – had a better outcome from their treatment. Here’s a great read on some of the benefits of vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 Benefits.
- Magnesium – If you’re looking at supplements for depression, magnesium is definitely a big player. Magnesium is a very important mineral for the body, especially when you consider that as stress levels go up, magnesium levels go down. Magnesium plays an important role in the brain function such as our response to stress. Though there aren’t a ton of studies that have done for magnesium and its role as a supplement for depression, the studies that have been conducted show promising results for those with fibromyalgia, depression, and even type 2 diabetes.
- L-Theanine – This is an amino acid which has been shown to promote a feeling of relaxation in the body, promote mental calm, and has even had an antidepressant effect on lab mice. Theanine impacts GABA, which stimulates some of the neurotransmitters with relaxing properties in the brain.
- 5-HTP – The amino acid 5 – hydroxytryptophan is essential in the production of both serotonin and melatonin. 5-HTP is a form of tryptophan that doesn’t need to be altered any further to be of use to the brain. 5-HTP is ready to be converted into serotonin. Here’s a great article on 5-HTP called 5-HTP For Depression.
This is really your basics of using supplements for depression. Proper use of vitamins, minerals, and supplements for depression helps you achieve an overall “balanced” feeling that just may be the bump in the right direction that you’ve been looking for.
Next time we discuss supplements, I’ll be introducing fitness and exercise supplements and my personal favorite – CBD.
Thanks for reading!