How to Treat Depression With Supplements

Four Methods:Researching SupplementsPicking the Right SupplementSupplementing Depression SupplementsUnderstanding More About Depression

Most people feel sad or down sometimes. Depression is a very common mental disorder. Globally, 350 million people suffer from some form of depression. It is the leading ailment in the world, affecting more women than men. [1] Luckily, there are many treatments for depression both doctor prescribed and natural. There are many ways to treat depression, including the use of supplements.

Method 1
Researching Supplements

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    Understand your own body chemistry. Before you start taking medication, you need to know how taking medication or supplements may affect your body. Review any allergies you have before taking anything. If you are allergic to peanuts, for example, taking Tryptophan make cause a reaction.
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    Read warning labels. Always read the warning labels before you take a supplement. Taking non-prescription medication may affect pre-existing conditions. Vitamin D, for example, may cause kidney stones in patients who cannot absorb calcium. [2]
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    Do not mix medications! Mixing medicines can be very dangerous. Make sure you talk to a pharmacist or a doctor before you take more than one medication. You do not want to make yourself more sick by taking a dangerous cocktail. Taking fish oil with blood pressure drugs, for example, can be very, very dangerous. Research your medication carefully. [3]
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    Avoid scams. Unfortunately, the world is not a completely honest place. There are products that promote amazing results. If it seems to be good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you do your research and consult with others before you take anything.[4]

Method 2
Picking the Right Supplement

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    Get your vitamins. Before trying herbs and amino acids you should investigate a possible vitamin or mineral deficiency. This is because a poor diet (malnutrition) can lower mood by depriving the brain of important nutrients needed to function properly.[5]
    • B Vitamins. These include Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 as well as folic acid and other associated names for them. B Vitamins are often sold separately or in a B-Complex, which combine the vitamins to support the nervous system and relieve stress, helping mild depression.
    • Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a health all-rounder and is most commonly referred to as reducing the severity of colds and the flu. Vitamin C is very cheap in its chewable form and is an essential addition to the formation of a depression diet.
    • Vitamin D. Many people get all the Vitamin D they need from sunlight, which helps the body to synthesize this vitamin. However for people with limited sun exposure particularly during the winter months, depressed mood can take its toll. Supplementing with Vitamin D3 has been proven to elevate mood where a deficiency exists and even for those who already get adequate levels from the sun. As well as being found in foods in small amounts, Vitamin D3 can be readily bought in differing strengths such as 4000IU.
    • Multivitamins. Take a multivitamin for a general overlay of important nutrients you may not be getting from your diet.
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    Take fish oil daily. The omega-3 in fish oil helps regulate not only healthy hearts but also healthy brains. Look for fish oil brands with a higher ratio of DHA (mental health) to EPA (heart health) - fatty acids found in fish oil. For example, 1g capsules of fish oil with 300mg DHA and 200mg EPA.
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    Consider herbal supplements, with caution. Some such as St John's wort have been clinically proven to treat depression. However, St. John's wort can interact with popular prescription antidepressants such as Zoloft and Celexa. [6]. Some supplements can be bought over the counter in pharmacies and health food stores, but your country's physician may also prescribe it. Other herbs like kava root may be an effective option, but take care to ask a shop assistant what their suggestion is for depression. Herbs can be a win-or-miss affair when treating depression, as unlike vitamins, minerals and fatty acids (omega-3s) no deficiencies exist in the human diet.
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    Take L-Tryptophan for sleep and anxiety. Tryptophan is an important amino acid found naturally in the body and in a variety of food sources, include poultry, nuts and seeds. Tryptophan helps induce sleep and is also made into niacin (Vitamin B3) and serotonin inside the body. These products can reduce anxiety and elevate mood. If you don't want to take the tablet or capsule form of tryptophan, a great source of it is from lecithin granules found at a health food store. Sprinkle some in your smoothie or over your breakfast cereal for a daily supplement of this amino acid.
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    Treat your depression with SAM-e. [7]Many studies have looked at SAM-e (pronounced "Sammy"), and the results have showed it is quick in elevating mood. This important biological agent increases serotonin levels and performs other actions similar to conventional anti-depressants. However it comes at a high price (about $50-70 USD for 60 capsules). Try SAM-e for depression if you can afford it. It can be found in most health food stores.

Method 3
Supplementing Depression Supplements

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    Consult your diet. What you eat can have a big impact on how you feel. Depression may be a symptom of not getting enough of the essential nutrients. Take a look at what you are eating.
    • Keep a food journal. Sometimes life gets hectic and you can forget what you ate, or even to eat. Keeping a food journal allows you to track important dietary information like calories, vitamins, and nutrients.
    • Avoid processed foods. A good way to eat healthier is avoiding processed or fake food. Fill your plate with fresh produce like vegetables and fruits. [8]
    • Foods high in Tryptophan have been proven to help depression. Foods high in Tryptophan include proteins like beans, fish, eggs, and nuts.[9]
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    Release good hormones by exercising. Studies prove that exercise can help ease the symptoms of depression.[10] Exercising can help to regulate and release “feel good” hormones in the brain to help you feel better.
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    Write out your feelings with journaling or blogging. Writing your feelings in a journal or on an online forum can help you express your feelings. You can use this outlet to ask others questions about the disease, or even research supplements. There are a number of great resources available for you to reach out to others that suffer from this disease.

Method 4
Understanding More About Depression

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    Reflect and diagnose yourself. There are a number of great resources to help you better understand depression. These resources can often self-diagnose. You can use a variety of tools you can use to understand more about this disorder.
    • Online surveys can help identify if you are depressed. They ask questions about your lifestyle, and often include multiple-choice questions to determine how you are feeling. [11] Some surveys include a scale survey that allows you to place yourself on a scale of feelings.
    • Brochures or pamphlets can provide statistics, references, and resources. Many public places like libraries, clinics, and universities have brochures and pamphlets on common illnesses. They often include short informational material like brochures that can give you a quick look at the disease.
    • Non-profits or other recognized organization sometimes specialize in health disorders. Their websites will often provide helpful frequently asked questions. Organization like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) provide information on their websites about depression and other mental disorders. These websites can provide research and scholarly information.
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    See your doctor. If you think you may be depressed, you may want to visit your doctor. Even specialty doctors such as OBGYNs, Endocrinologists, and Pediatricians have the resources and know-how to diagnose mental disorders like depression.
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    Research the signs and symptoms. In the end, you can be your own best research advocate. Take the time to research depression on your own using reliable materials. You can visit a library or an online research database to help you in your search.
    • You can review the Diagnostic Statistic Manual (DSM), which is the leading book on mental health. It is the standard on classifying mental disorders and can be accessed by the public. [12]
    • is an open database that allows you to review journals, newspapers, and books. This is a great scholarly resource that you can use to research depression symptoms and treatments. [13]


  • As always, if symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. Depression is not a tolerable illness and you should seek help when you need it.
  • Disclose use of supplements to your healthcare professional. Some supplements can interact with medications or decrease the efficacy of medications.


  • When buying fish oil, avoid cod liver oil supplements. Cod liver oil supplements rarely contain effective omega-3 levels and are more oriented to supplying the body with vitamin A.
  • There is no sure-fire cure to depression. Natural therapies and supplements can relieve and cure depression, but finding the right one for you may be a long process. When in doubt, explain your feelings to your GP, remembering to take a list of any supplements and medicines you currently take.

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Categories: Alternative Health