5 Natural Supplements that Help with Depression
Just getting the motivation to get out of bed in the morning can be hard to conjure up.
And some antidepressants cause serious side effects.
When I was on Prozac, I was falling asleep all the time, even while driving. My body just didn’t react well to it.
Currently I’m on Wellbutrin but also take a couple of these natural supplements.
As with everything, discuss with your doctor or nutritionist before beginning a new supplement.*
I pray this information will help you 🙂
5-HTP stands for 5-hydroxytryptophan. This natural supplement increases serotonin levels in the brain.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Since serotonin helps regulate mood and behavior, 5-HTP may have a positive effect on sleep, mood, anxiety, appetite, and pain sensation.” 
Studies have concluded that 5-HTP may work as well as some antidepressant drugs (and has substantially less side effects). This is especially true with antidepressant drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac and Zoloft.
One study “compared the effects of 5-HTP to fluvoxamine (Luvox) in 63 people and found that those who were given 5-HTP did just as well as those who received Luvox. They also had fewer side effects than the Luvox group.” 
Additionally, in this study of 70 patients, it was concluded that “5-HTP has definitely got antidepressant effect in patients of depression. Antidepressant effect was seen within 2 weeks of treatment and was apparent in all degrees of depression. The therapeutic efficacy of 5-HTP was considered as equal to that of fluoxetine.” 
And keep in mind, even though it is a natural supplement, because 5-HTP increases serotonin levels it can cause unwanted side effects if you are taking certain medications.
So if you are taking any of the following drugs, do not take 5-HTP without talking to your doctor first.
This list is from the University of Maryland Medical Center, please refer to this website for more information on the interactions if you are taking any of the below medications.
- SSRIs: Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft
- Tricyclics: Elavil, Pamelor, Tofranil
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): Nardil, Parnate
- Tramadol (Ultram)
- Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Triptans (used to treat migraines)
- Zomig 
Although not for people with bipolar disorder, SAMe has been shown to help people experiencing depression.
This natural supplement was discovered in the early 1950’s. SAMe has been found to regulate key cell functions and it’s made in the body from methionine which is an amino acid found certain foods.
As stated in this study, “As many as 29% to 46% of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) show only partial or no response to an adequate course of an antidepressant.
A growing number of studies have also been directed toward exploring the potential use of augmenting traditional antidepressants with nonpharmaceutic supplements, or even using such supplements as monotherapy for depression.
S-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe) is one such compound. Compared with many other nonpharmaceutic supplements, SAMe has been extensively studied, and impressive literature extending back three decades suggests the antidepressant efficacy of SAMe.” 
And my doctor, who recently did my thermography scan, said that while I’m going off Wellbutrin, to begin taking SAMe 2 weeks before starting to transition off the antidepressant and to continue taking it for at least a month after.
She discussed with me how it would help my mood so I wouldn’t feel so emotional while my body adjusts to not being on the Wellbutrin anymore.
3) Vitamin D
Even though there is more research that needs to be done, many studies have shown a connection to healthy amounts of vitamin D and lower instances of depression.
For example, this 2016 study found that women in Malaysia, who were deficient in vitamin D, had increased feelings of depression. In addition, it found they experienced other mental health issues affecting their quality of life. 
And a study conducted in 2008 with “441 overweight and obese men and women in Norway found that those given 20,000 and 40,000 IUs per week of vitamin D supplements had significantly less depression symptoms after one year than those in a placebo group.” 
Another study concluded, “Vitamin D supplementation may be effective for reducing depressive symptoms in patients with clinically significant depression; however, further high-quality research is needed.” 
And a great benefit of vitamin D is its role in keeping your immune system functioning. As I stated in my article, Can the Sun help Prevent and Fight Cancer?, Dr. Michael Holick, an American endocrinologist who specializes in the field of vitamin D, says in one article, “Vitamin D deficiency is an unrecognized epidemic among both children and adults in the United States…
Vitamin D deficiency not only causes rickets among children but also precipitates and exacerbates osteoporosis among adults and causes the painful bone disease osteomalacia. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risks of deadly cancers, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes mellitus.” 
Vitamin D is produced by your body when exposed to sunlight. This vitamin is also found in several food sources including: raw milk, egg yolks, and fish.
In addition, you can take it as a natural supplement (be sure it’s vitamin D3), like the one to the left, if you aren’t getting outside often enough (or live somewhere that doesn’t see a lot of sunshine).
4) Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 is a major contributor for optimal brain chemistry. Paul Anderson, ND, who is a professor of naturopathic medicine at Bastyr Univerity, tells us that without enough omega-3 fatty acids, our bodies aren’t as efficient in transmitting nerve signals which can cause feelings of anxiety or depression.
According to BetterHealthNews, a study of 43 adults, conducted in 2007, found that those people who had higher amounts of omega-6s but lower amounts of omega-3s in their diet, also had higher levels of proinflammatory cytokines-molecules; which are often produced in the body when a person is stressed or experiencing feelings of depression.
So from this information we can conclude omega-3 fatty acids are not only very beneficial to your overall health, but also improve feelings of depression.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be consumed from fish as well as from natural supplements.
Your safest and most cost-effective choice for bumping up your omega-3 fatty acids is taking a high-quality Antarctic krill oil, like the one to the right.
And if you would like to read more about omega-3s, including the different types, you can do so by clicking here.
5) Vitamin B Complex
“According to Anderson [professor of naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University], one of the common culprits for mild depression is an imbalance of brain neurotransmitters-natural chemicals that can act as mood enhancers by helping transmit signals between brain cells.
Prescription antidepressants like Prozac and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) focus on one of these neurotransmitters in particular: serotonin, which they allow to stay around longer in the system…
A 2004 Danish study of 140 people found that those who were clinically depressed had low levels of vitamin B6 in their blood.” 
Natural Sources of B Vitamins Include:
- B1 (thiamine): whole grains, kale, spinach, peanuts, and wheat germ
- B2 (riboflavin): almonds, milk, yogurt, eggs, and spinach
- B3 (niacin): yeast, milk, eggs, green vegetables, and beans
- B5 (pantothenic acid): avocados, yogurt, eggs, legumes, and meat
- B6 (pyridoxine): meats like chicken, turkey, salmon, and tuna; sunflower seeds, brown rice, and carrots
- B7 (biotin): barley, liver, pork, chicken, fish, nuts, potatoes, and egg yolks
- B9 (folate): dark leafy greens, beets, salmon, milk, and beans
- B12 (cobalamin): fish, dairy, eggs, pork, and beef
And keep in mind that depression isn’t something you can just make yourself snap out of. It’s something that takes time and will power. But you can overcome it.
For comfort and inspiration, read my article, “Dear Depression, God is Bigger!”
And to get tips on overcoming depression, read “11 Tips to Overcome Depression”
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*Disclaimer: These supplements shouldn’t all be taken at the same time. I would advise you trying one for 3-4 weeks and if you don’t feel effects from it, try a different one from the list. Always talk to your doctor or a nutritionist before taking a new supplement.
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/5hydroxytryptophan-5htp  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23380314  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14609501  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27086558  http://www.thebetterhealthstore.com/012910_Top-5-Anti-Depression_04.html  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24632894  http://www.healthfaithstrength.com/can-sun-help-prevent-fight-cancer/