Depression is a serious issue, and should be treated seriously. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, it's important to seek help as soon as possible with a psychologist or counselor. Treatment for depression, including counseling and medication therapy, are critical in helping an individual overcome depression and lead a healthy, satisfying life. However, there are many natural herbs and supplements that have been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression and can be used in conjunction with medical treatment. Here are 5 supplements that you may want to try if you are feeling the blues.
1. Fish Oil
Not only is fish oil, which is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, good for your heart, it's also good for your mind. In a Norwegian study assessing the affects of Omega-3 fatty acids and the reduction of depression symptoms, researchers found that 22,000 participants were 30% less likely to feel depressed, sad or upset. Additionally, studies suggest that more improvement can be seen in the patient when antidepressant medications are used in conjunction with Omega-3 fatty acids.
SAM-e, or S-adenosyl-methionine, has been used successfully to reduce the symptoms of depression in many clinical studies, including over 400 patients of Dr. Richard P. Brown, an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. According to the Psychiatric Times, Dr. Brown suggests that the efficacy of SAM-e when being used for depression may be able to be attributed to its function in the transmethylation pathway, which is a pathway of the metabolism that boosts levels of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, dopamine and.serotonin. These neurotransmitters have been found to be directly in correlation with symptoms of depression. The therapeutic dose of SAM-e ranges from 800-1600 mg daily.
3. Folic Acid
Folic acid is an essential nutrient for pregnant women, in order to reduce the risk of complications such as spina bifida. However, new studies are showing that folic acid may also be a critical component of reducing symptoms of depression. In a study conducted by Tufts University in Boston, Massachussets, it was revealed that the levels of folic acid in the blood of individuals experiencing depression were much lower than that of the general population. While no real causal relationship has been identified between depression and the lack of folic acid, treating symptoms of depression with the supplement has proven to be successful. A study where 500 mcg of folic acid was given to 127 severely depressed individuals, the women reported a significant improvement in their symptoms.
While these supplements are available over the counter and are generally safe to take as directed, it is important to discuss any supplementation with your doctor or psychologist before proceeding. Some supplements, including the popular St. John's Wort, can be contraindicated with certain antidepression medications, such as SSRI's (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Your doctor can discuss the potential benefits vs. the risks of supplements along with your current therapy, and can determine what the best solution for your unique situation would be.
Any treatment for depression should also include a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and should focus on daily lifestyle changes such as getting more sunlight and being physically active for at least 30 minutes every day. The overall health of the body plays a significant role in depression symptoms, and exercise itself is one of the most underutilized natural treatments for depression. Discuss your lifestyle, your goals and your depression symptoms with your psychologist and remember that it is never shameful or wrong to seek treatment for depression -- in fact, getting help is the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones.