The type of lifestyle you lead and the foods you eat are powerful tools to help you beat your depression, as we have already discussed. Perhaps you need something extra, though? You’ve heard that there are herbs and other natural supplements that are helpful, but how can you be sure which ones are effective? The answer lies in the research.
Once again, the list of things that can help with depression is extensive (How nice is that? We have the luxury of having too many choices and can easily move on to the next if one doesn’t work!). So, we are going to focus here on the things that have been proven to work.
-Vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid: Why? Because B6, B12 and folic acid all contribute to the formation of SAM-e (S-adenosyl-methionine) which is responsible for the production of serotonin and other happy hormones that combat depression. In reality, the deficiency of all the B vitamins has been linked with depression. These work synergistically when taken together so a good B complex is not a bad idea for people with depression and I have seen it have a positive effect on mood. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2885294/?tool=pubmed)
**Folic acid: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1123448/
-SAM-e: Why? Because it has proven antidepressant properties, as described above and here following. (S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAMe) as antidepressant: meta-analysis of clinical studies. Acta Neurol Scand Suppl. 1994;154:7-14.; S-adenosylmethionine treatment of depression: a controlled clinical trial Bell et al. Am J Psychiatry.1988; 145: 1110-1114) This works best when taken with B-vitamins. The downside to SAM-e is that it is expensive and can cause nausea and vomiting. It is also not to be taken by individuals with bipolar depression as it can cause mania.
-Tryptophan: Why? It is responsible for the production of serotonin (happy hormone, remember?) which has a profound influence on our body, especially the brain cells related to mood, and is low in people with depression. (http://www.thorne.com/media/alternative_medicine_review/2000/Volume_5/Number_1/Neurotransmitter_Precursors.pdf) This works best when taken alongside B-vitamins as well as niacinamide and Vitamin C since these are all cofactors (helpers) of tryptophan.
The list is short because too many choices is paralyzing and makes it less likely for someone to make a choice. More interested in an herbal approach? That’s a popular method a lot of my clients prefer. And is the topic of the next step in our series.