According to the World Health Organization, as of 2016, nearly 10 percent of the world population suffers from clinical depression and anxiety. While 10 percent may not seem like a big deal, it is more than the entire population of the U.S and Canada. Facing a stressful event, such as losing a job, going through a break-up, or losing someone close are all triggers of emotions like sadness, loneliness, anxiety, and negativity. However, some people experience these feelings very often, without any reason. Feeling alone and unsatisfied triggers feelings of depression that can be terrible, causing us to isolate ourselves.
Currently, any case of depression/ anxiety is treated with one or multiple drugs, such as Prozac, Celexa, Luvox, Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro. In fact, the global antidepressant market has an estimated growth to $13.4 billion by 2021.
Needless to say, the answer for many anxiety and depression cases should not be a prescription drug- we need to find the root cause of the issue in the first place. The good news is that there are natural options which support the body, mind, and spirit in an all-natural and safe way.
6 Supplements To Fight Depression
Probiotics do not only support immunity and digestion, but also promote proper absorbance and assimilation of nutrients. The gut is known as the second brain, containing over 100 million neurons that allow us to feel the inner universe of the GI tract. As a matter of fact, 90 percent of the serotonin is produced in the gut, not the brain. Maintaining healthy gut flora is critical for the mood, ability to deal with stress, and the overall well-being. Multiple studies have shown the positive effect of probiotics on depression.
- Omega-3 Fish Oil
Omega-3 fish oil is packed with essential fatty acids and omega-3 fats. It promotes healthy body by working on multiple levels, acting as natural anti-inflammatory and supporter of optimal brain chemistry. The Standard American diet is rich in omega-6 fats, which are mainly concentrated in canola oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil.
Adequate intake of omega-3 fats is of utmost importance as otherwise the body will fail to transmit nerve signals correctly, which may leave you feeling anxious and depressed. The best would be to consume whole-food omega-3 sources like freshwater trout, Pollock, Atlantic mackerel, Atlantic haddock, arctic cod, and wild salmon. Solid plant-based sources include walnuts, seaweeds, pumpkin seeds, flax, and hemp.
L-theanine is an amino acid that is mostly found in green tea. Multiple studies have shown that it promotes relaxed alertness, without side effects like drowsiness. It is useful for those who suffer from anxiety and stress and find it difficult to fall asleep, relax, or concentrate. This amino acid is absorbed in half an hour and it works by creating a feeling of ‘zen’ while promoting concentration. It affects the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and GABA in the brain, balancing mood and sleep and improving learning capacity.
- Vitamin B12
The best way to test your vitamin B12 stores is by doing a blood test from your doctor. Everyone should aim to be around 400-500 pg/mL. But, most people have quite lower levels of B12, which may lead to foggy thinking, low energy, and low mood, to name a few. The best is to work with your doctor to see which supplementation works best for you; however, it is important to look for a sublingual methylcobalamin, preferably from brands like AOR and Genestra.
Another option to boost your B12 stores is getting a B12 injection, which acts as a quick solution for depleted B12 levels. In the form of a daily supplement, B12 is more beneficial to keep healthy levels. It may take more time to see notable improvement with sublingual tablets in comparison to injections.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays numerous roles in the body and is mostly known for its role in bone and teeth health, immunity, and healthy mood. On a 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test, the levels are supposed to be above 50 ng/ml but not higher than 100 ng/ml. It has been scientifically shown that taking 4,000 IU of a vitamin D3 on a daily basis is a safe way to maintain healthy levels. It worth noting that getting 10-20 minutes of sunshine daily is one of the best ways to encourage natural vitamin D production. As for supplementation, opt for brands like Biotics Research Bio-D-Mulsion 1000 IU.
- Tryptophan & 5-HTP
The body produces 5-hydroxy tryptophan using the amino acid tryptophan, which is naturally found in poultry, eggs, fish, nuts, and seeds. Although it is available in natural sources, it can be found in supplement form, too. The conversion of tryptophan to serotonin is a process in which 5-HTP must be synthesized first.
Tryptophan is a gentler supplement and is generally well tolerated. On the other hand, 5-HTP is far better absorbed and it crosses the blood-brain barrier easier, where it is converted into serotonin. 5-HTP offers more powerful serotonin support compared to L-tryptophan and many studies have shown that these supplements help for sleep disorders, panic disorders, depression, and binge eating.
To sum up, there are many natural solutions that support the body and alleviate disorders of depression and anxiety in an all-natural and safe way. Some of the best natural supplements include B-complex vitamins, Holy Basil, BioStrath, and St. Johns Wort.