What herbs and supplements can help fight depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that affects more than 17 million adults in the United States alone. However, the actual number is believed to be much higher because many people with depression do not seek treatment for various reasons .

The following are five classifications of depression, which are characterized by sadness, irritability, emptiness, and cognitive changes that affect function :

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
  • Disruptive mood disorder
  • Persistent depression
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Depression due to another medical condition

Depression can be treated with medication and psychotherapy. Lifestyle changes, including changing eating habits and taking certain supplements, may also help people with depression.

For example, research shows that certain vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other compounds may be particularly effective in improving depression symptoms.

This article lists 11 supplements that may benefit people with depression.

Omega-3 fats are essential fats, which means you need to get them from your diet. Some research suggests that omega-3 supplements may help treat depression .

An analysis of randomized controlled trials conducted on 638 women in 2020 found that supplementing with Omega-3 fatty acids can significantly improve the depression symptoms of pregnant women and postpartum women .

In this study, supplements with higher proportions of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were particularly effective. EPA and DHA are two Omega-3 fatty acids, which are very common in seafood .

Another review of 26 studies involving 2160 participants found that omega-3 supplements have an overall positive effect on the treatment of depressive symptoms.

Specifically, the researchers concluded that omega-3 preparations containing 60% or more EPA at a dose of 1 gram or less per day are the most effective .

Although these findings are encouraging, other studies have observed mixed results. For example, a 2019 study found that omega-3 supplementation did not reduce depression symptoms in children and adolescents with MDD .

Overall, omega-3 supplements are well tolerated, and if fatty fish is lacking, they can be added to the diet healthily. They may also help treat depression in certain people. However, more research is needed.

Generalize

Omega-3 supplements may help treat depression in some people, but more research is needed.

NAC is the precursor of the amino acids L-cysteine ​​and glutathione. Glutathione is considered to be one of the most important antioxidants in the body and is essential for regulating inflammation and protecting cells from oxidative damage .

Taking NAC has been shown to have multiple health benefits , including increasing the body's glutathione levels .

Studies have shown that patients with depression are more likely to have higher levels of inflammatory cytokines, such as C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, and tumor necrosis factor-α. Taking NAC may help reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms of depression .

In addition, NAC can improve neurotransmitter disorders in patients with mental illness. Disorders of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and glutamate may be related to mood disorders and schizophrenia .

Finally, a 2016 review of five studies concluded that compared with placebo treatment, NAC treatment can significantly reduce depressive symptoms and improve function in patients with depression. In addition, NAC supplements are safe and well tolerated .

A dose of 2–2.4 grams per day is believed to help treat mental illness, such as depression .

Generalize

NAC supplements can reduce the symptoms of depression and improve the function of patients with depression.

Saffron is a brightly colored spice that is full of antioxidants, including the carotenoids crocin and crocetin. Interestingly, saffron has shown promise as a natural remedy for depression .

Studies have observed that it can increase the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain that promotes mood. Although it is not clear how this process works, it is thought that saffron inhibits the reuptake of serotonin, allowing it to last longer in the brain .

An analysis of five randomized controlled trials found that compared with placebo treatment, saffron supplementation can significantly reduce depression symptoms in adults with MDD .

In addition, the review found that saffron supplements are as effective as antidepressants in reducing symptoms of depression .

However, the researchers acknowledged that a larger follow-up and extended follow-up time are needed to better evaluate the ability of saffron to help treat depression .

Generalize

Saffron supplements have shown promise as a natural remedy for depression. However, research is still in progress, and larger and longer studies are needed to make a strong concussion.

Vitamin D is a key nutrient that plays many important roles in your body. Unfortunately, many people, including depression, have insufficient vitamin D levels.

Studies have shown that people with depression are more likely to lack vitamin D or lack vitamin D. People with this disease usually have lower levels of vitamin D than the general population, and people with depression have the most obvious depressive symptoms .

Vitamin D may fight depression through a variety of mechanisms, including reducing inflammation, regulating mood, and preventing neurocognitive dysfunction .

A review of four randomized controlled trials in 2019 found that vitamin D supplementation has clinical benefits for patients with major depression .

In addition, a 2020 study of depression patients with vitamin D deficiency found that a single injection of 300,000 IU of vitamin D and its conventional treatment can significantly improve depression symptoms, quality of life and disease severity .

However, a 2020 review of 61 studies concluded that although vitamin D levels are associated with depressive symptoms, supplements may be helpful, but more is needed before vitamin D can be recommended as a general treatment for depression Evidence .

Generalize

Studies have shown that vitamin D supplements may benefit people with depression. However, more research is needed before it can be used as the standard treatment for depression.

Rhodiola plant growing wild

When taken in supplement form, Rhodiola rosea is an herb associated with multiple potential health benefits . These include reducing symptoms of depression and improving stress responses, which can help your body adapt to stressful conditions.

The herb may have the ability to enhance nerve cell communication and reduce excessive activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocorticoid (HPA) axis, thereby having an antidepressant effect.

The HPA axis is a complex system that can adjust the pressure response of the human body. Studies have shown that overactivity of the HPA axis may be related to major depression .

Some studies have shown that supplementing with rhodiola can benefit patients with depression.

For example, a study of 57 patients with depression found that taking 340 mg of rhodiola extract daily for 12 weeks can effectively reduce the clinical significance of depression symptoms .

Moreover, although rhodiola therapy is not as effective as the antidepressant Sertraline, it has far fewer side effects .

Another study found that a supplement composed of rhodiola and saffron can significantly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in adults with mild to moderate depression after 6 weeks.

Generalize

When used alone or in combination with saffron, rhodiola can reduce symptoms of depression.

B vitamins play an important role in nerve function and mood regulation. The B vitamins (including folic acid, B12 and B6) required for the production and regulation of neurotransmitters (such as serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and dopamine) .

Studies have shown that vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency may increase the risk of depression, and supplementing these nutrients may help reduce depression symptoms in some people .

For example, folic acid supplements may reduce the symptoms of drug-resistant depression in children and adults with genetic mutations that affect folate metabolism. .

When used with antidepressants, vitamin B12 supplementation can also reduce the symptoms of depression in patients with MDD .

An evaluation in 2020 also showed that taking vitamin B12 as early as possible may delay the onset of depression and improve the efficacy of antidepressants .

When combined with other nutrients, including tryptophan and a form of vitamin B3 called nicotinamide, vitamin B6 has also been found to improve depression symptoms.

Generalize

Vitamin B deficiency is associated with an increased risk of depression. Folic acid and B vitamins such as vitamins B6 and B12 may help treat depression.

Zinc is a mineral essential for brain health and the regulation of neurotransmitter pathways. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties .

Zinc deficiency is closely related to the risk of depression and increased severity of depressive symptoms .

An analysis of 17 observational studies found that people with depression have blood zinc levels about 0.12 µg/mL lower than people without the disease. The study also linked zinc deficiency to worsening symptoms of depression .

Similarly, a review of four randomized controlled studies found that when participants took zinc supplements and antidepressants, their depression symptoms were significantly reduced .

Generalize

Zinc is essential for brain function, and the lack of this nutrient increases the risk of depression. In addition, when used with antidepressants, zinc supplementation can reduce symptoms of depression.

In addition to the above supplements, research shows that the following treatments may benefit people with depression.

8. S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe)

SAMe is a sulfur-containing compound that has shown promise in the treatment of depression. It exists naturally in your body and plays an important role in brain function.

A review of 8 studies in 2020 found that SAMe, when used alone or in combination with antidepressants , can improve depression symptoms in patients with MDD. The daily dose range is 200–3,200 mg, and the treatment time range is 2–12 weeks .

9. St. John's Wort

St. John's wort growing wild

St. John's Wort is a popular herb that has shown promise to relieve symptoms in patients with depression.

A review of 35 studies conducted in 2016 found that St. John's wort reduced symptoms in the treatment of people with mild to moderate depression. However, this supplement has not been shown to be effective in treating major depression .

Like many other herbs, St. John's wort has the potential to interact with commonly used drugs. Importantly, this herb may seriously interact with certain antidepressants, causing potentially life-threatening side effects .

10. Magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral that may benefit people suffering from depression. Magnesium deficiency is common in patients with depression, and studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can reduce symptoms of depression .

A randomized study of 126 patients with mild to moderate depression found that compared with placebo, taking 248 mg of magnesium daily for 6 weeks can significantly improve depression symptoms .

11. Creatine

Creatine is an organic acid that, among other functions , plays an important role in maintaining brain energy. It is believed that changes in brain energy levels are related to the development of depression .

Some studies have shown that supplementing 2-10 grams of creatine a day can reduce the symptoms of MDD patients .

Generalize

SAMe, St. John's Wort, magnesium and creatine may help reduce symptoms of depression, but more research is needed.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide or self-harm, please seek support:

  • Call the life hotline at 2382 0000 24 hours a day .

While waiting for help to arrive, stay with others and remove any weapons or substances that may cause harm. you're not alone.

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