As many as one in five American adults deals with depression each year, whether short-term or situational depression or long-term, chronic depression. But for some, taking prescription antidepressants can be risky, resulting in mental and physical side effects that may seem far worse than the mild depression that prompted the prescription. In these situations, it can often be better to start with natural and over-the-counter remedies, resorting to prescription medication only if these methods aren't effective. Read on to learn about four vitamins, minerals, and other supplements that can act as natural mood supplements.
Those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may already know that this mental health ailment is associated with the lack of sunlight seen over the winter months. This is directly correlated with a lack of Vitamin D; SAD sufferers who use a sun lamp or supplement their diet with Vitamin D tablets may find that their winter blues are significantly diminished. For those who work long hours, have a history of skin cancer, or who don't incorporate much Vitamin D into their diets, year-round supplementation can also provide some antidepressive benefits.
St. John's Wort
For decades, this flowering plant has been prized for the way it changes the brain's retention of mood-boosting hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Available at just about any drug store, St. John's Wort tablets are an inexpensive way to combat the blues. But for those who are taking prescription birth control or antibiotics, beware: St. John's Wort can seriously interfere with the effectiveness of these medications and should be used only in consultation with your physician or a pharmacist.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These healthy fats are found in coldwater fish like salmon, walnuts, and other foods. But for those who aren't fish lovers or who try to adhere to a low-fat diet, supplementing with Omega-3s can yield major benefits to both heart health and mental health. Because the brain contains a significant amount of fatty tissue, maintaining healthy levels of Omega-3s can keep it in good working order.
Another heart-healthy mineral, magnesium has been shown to reduce stress levels (and blood pressure). Those who have anxiety and depression, who tend to get depressed during a certain point in their menstrual cycles, or who struggle with borderline high blood pressure that makes most types of antidepressants a bad idea can achieve significant benefits by adding a magnesium-rich multivitamin to their daily regimen.