Supplements and tools for depression
I admit I was on and off antidepressant medications a number of times. I initially expected they would make me feel happy; It was disappointing when I realized it doesn’t work that way. What the medication does is level you off so you can cope better with your life and with its challenges. Each time I was on the medication, I became dissatisfied with how I felt and opted to get off the medication. I did it with a doctor’s supervision as should anyone who decides to stop taking this type of drug. I decided to look into supplements and tools for depression.
After doing some research, I ultimately decided to try alternative supplements and tools for depression. What you’ll find here is a list of some of them as well as information on supplements I was not aware may have helped me at the time. Perhaps they will help you now…
One of the most effective alternatives I used was SAM-e. I found it really elevated and stabilized my mood. SAMe “is a synthetic form of a compound formed naturally in the body from the essential amino acid methionine and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy-producing compound found in all cells in the body”. (Cathy Wong, ND). An additional benefit is that it is good for joint health. There were no negative effects from taking this at all for me. It also has anti-aging benefits and has been shown to benefit the brain, liver, joints and other tissues of our bodies. I found SAM-e is a good one to turn to.
A lack of Vitamin D has been linked to depression. I discovered this later in my living with depression years. While you can get Vitamin D from sun bathing, we now know that the benefits of doing that can be outweighed by the associated risks. Advice on how much D to take as a supplement varies, so consulting with a nutritionist is advisable.
Selenium is next on our list, and it has also been shown to have a positive effect on depression. It’s an essential trace mineral. You can get selenium by eating nuts, beans, seafood and whole grains as well as lean meats if you’re a meat eater.
Tryptophan plays a big role in the production of serotonin. In case tryptophan is a new term for you, it’s an amino acid. The reason why it’s important if you suffer with depression is because serotonin is a neurotransmitter and helps us achieve a feeling of contentment. Foods rich in tryptophan include eggs, spinach, pumpkins, nuts, and peas, so be sure to eat enough of these foods to help your body produce the serotonin it needs for you to feel better.
Omega 3 fatty acids are important to so many aspects of a healthy body and a healthy mind! Omega 3s have been shown to improve brain function. To ensure you are getting enough Omega 3s, be sure to eat wild seafood like salmon, sardines and herring. You can get Omega 3s by eating walnuts, flax seeds, hemp hearts and chia seeds. An added benefit of eating chia seeds is that they help reduce blood pressure!
B vitamins are important as well as they are considered to be anti-stress vitamins. Nutrition experts have found that folic acid (vitamin B9), niacin (vitamin B3), and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) support the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture serotonin, that “feel good” chemical we discussed earlier. Things are so interconnected. It’s really very cool!
Finally, I want to share with you a tool I used during the winter months to help my depression. It is a full spectrum light, and they have become very affordable. I didn’t sit in front of a bank of lights as people used to do. I had a small light fixture that I used almost daily for a few hours while I was working at my laptop. I suspected I suffered from SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, as my depression always worsened as fall and winter set in. I used this tool in conjunction with taking SAMe, and my last year as a depressed person was much easier to bear because of these two “tools”.
I hope you will try these supplements and tools for depression. While there is growing evidence that certain foods can improve your mental mood, and I can tell you it was absolutely true for me, using nutrition to fight depression may not work for everyone. If trying to prevent this challenge through nutrition doesn’t work, consult a medical professional in order to identify the cause of your depression and the best ways to deal with it.
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
Certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant
I’m Cheryl A Major, and I work with people of all ages and challenges to help them understand how and what to eat to get healthy quickly and deliciously. Download your 10 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget, and get started right away!