The interest in learning all about vitamins and herbs for depression has skyrocketed. Indeed, depression is the most common of all mood disorders affecting an estimated 17 million Americans every year. Needless to say, many of us are very familiar with prescription drug antidepressants, such as Zoloft and Prozac. However, there are also natural substances that can help counter depression. So, without further adieu, let's delve into vitamins and herbs for depression.
St. John's wort is highly recognized as an herb that can help brighten the moods of mild to moderate depression sufferers. In addition, St John's wort has been found to ease anxiety. Although the exact way the herb works to counter depression is not yet known, St. John's wart has been dubbed "nature's Prozac" because of its success. In general, it appears to boost levels of the brain chemical serotonin, a powerful brain chemical that is responsible for good moods. In fact, many European studies have found that St. John's wort is even more effective than some prescription antidepressants and in Germany, St. John's wort outsells pharmaceutical antidepressants. Indeed, St. John's wort is the superstar when it comes to herbs for depression.
Gingko Biloba is highly valued for its ability to enhance circulation, especially to the brain. Therefore, this herb may be helpful in combating depression if the depression is related to poor blood flow to the brain.
Other herbs used for depression include: Damiana and Yohimbe. However, unlike St. John's wort, Damiana and Yohimbe do not have the research to support its medicinal claims.
That said, let's move forward on our topic of vitamins and herbs for depression.
The B complex vitamins are recommended by some experts because these vitamins are necessary for the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. Clinical depression sufferers often have lower levels of one or more of these important B vitamins. Keep in mind that most multivitamins provide the recommended daily allowance. However, during times of emotional stress higher amounts are needed.
In addition, the mineral zinc is often found to be deficient in people who suffer from depression. Zinc plays a role in aiding proper brain function and in promoting mental alertness.
Although the following are not vitamins and herbs for depression, we would be remiss if we didn't mention a few other natural substances that may be helpful in combating depression.
SAMe is an effective natural antidepressant. According to the well renowned tome "Nutraceuticals - The Complete Encyclopedia of Supplements, Herbs, Vitamins, and Healing Foods" written by Arthur J. Roberts, M.D., Mary E. O'Brien, M.D., and Genell Subak-Sharpe, M.S. who states:
"European studies show that SAMe can be faster and more effective in overcoming depression than many standard antidepressant drugs. It is thought to work against depression by enhancing the action of the mood-elevating brain chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine." (Page 96).
Indeed, SAMe is one to consider even though it's not under the category of vitamins and herbs for depression.
5-HTP is said to boost levels of serotonin. It may be helpful for mild depression.
Essential Fatty Acids- Fish oils offer high concentrations of omega-3-fatty acids that are needed for proper brain function. More specifically, fish oils are a rich and direct source of two essential omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA and DHA. It's important to note that the brain is 60 percent fat and requires essential fatty acids, especially DHA. Researchers have linked the lack of omega-3 fatty acids to depression, and in particular DHA.
Nutritional-Supplement-Educational Opinion On Vitamins And Herbs For Depression
We believe you may want to consider a comprehensive formula specifically designed to combat depression. In fact, a comprehensive formula using carefully selected ingredients can offer more therapeutic benefits, often better than taking a single nutrient or herb on its own.
Therefore, it's important to understand the how and why of what makes some these comprehensive depression products useful -- an important factor in making an informed choice. Moreover, mixing and matching nutrients and herbs on your own can be very dangerous to your health as well as expensive.
However, make sure that the product is professionally and scientifically formulated by a highly-credentialed scientific team that can ensure the proper blending of ingredients to maximize the therapeutic benefits needed to combat depression.
It's important that you always speak to a physician before taking any dietary and herbal supplements. In addition, you should never stop taking any prescribed medications to try any these nutrients, including vitamins and herbs for depression without talking to your physician and/or psychiatrist.