While we all feel sad occasionally, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feeling intensely, for long periods of time and most often with no apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood – it is a serious condition that affects both mental and physical health.
It is estimated that 10% of the world’s population suffers from depression. The number of depressed people surpasses the number of people currently living in the US. Most of that number are undiagnosed, but the diagnosed ones will most often be prescribed a mixture of therapy and medication. The meds used in treating depression, as well as many other mental issues, include Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Paxil, etc. It is estimated that the global market revolving around these meds will grow by $13.4 billion by the end of 2020.
All of the drugs listed have a whole lot of side-effects. Those side-effects include nausea, dizziness, physical and mental exhaustion, and problems with digestion. This is why they should be considered a last resort, and natural alternatives should be explored first. Some supplements that help fight depression are:
- Tryptophan $ 5-HTP
Our body produces 5-hydroxy tryptophan using the amino acid tryptophan, naturally found in poultry, eggs, fish, nuts, and seeds. Even though these natural sources exist, the supplement form is more effective in preventing and fighting depression.
Tryptophan tends to be well tolerated by our body, while 5-HTP is more easily absorbed and able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Once it crosses the barrier it helps produce serotonin, the happiness hormone.
- Vitamin B-12
Testing whether you are vitamin B12 deficient is easily done by performing a blood test ordered by your doctor. The ideal amount of this vitamin is 400-500 pg/ml. Any amount lower than that can cause: fogginess, low energy, and impaired thinking. Working with your doctor to ensure you get the right amount of Vitamin B12 is suggested, as this would be the easiest way of regaining the balance.
Another option is to go for vitamin B12 injection, which is a quick way of replenishing the depleted B12 levels.
Probiotics will help support your immune system, they will balance the amount of healthy gut bacteria, and they will also promote an adequate absorbance and utilization of nutrients. This will lead to an increased production of serotonin, which is mostly produced in the gut, as gut is often referred to as the second brain due to its neuron content.
This amino acid has been proven, in multiple studies, to promote relaxed alertness, with no drowsiness as a side-effect. L-theanine can be found in green tea, and it is highly effective against anxiety and stress. Those suffering from difficulties falling asleep will benefit a lot from it. It is absorbed half an hour after consumption, and by that time you will feel relaxed and focused at the same time.
- Omega 3 oil
Omega 3 oil, especially the one in fish, is rich in essential fatty acids and omega 3 fats. Both of these ingredients act as anti-inflammators and supporters of the brain function.
An increased consumption of omega 3 fats will lead to better nerve signal transmission, and when consuming fish such as Pollock, Atlantic mackerel, haddock, and wild salmon you will be left feeling relaxed. Omega 3 fats are also found in hemp, seaweed, walnuts, flax, and pumpkin seeds.
- Vitamin D
This vitamin is essential for bone and teeth health, immunity, and positive mood. Your blood tests should show a dose somewhere between 50 and 100 ng/ml of vitamin D. Taking daily supplements of this vitamin has shown to increase the effectiveness that it offers.