The mood disorder known as depression affects over 17 million adults in the United States alone. However, the real number of the affected adults might even be much higher, as many people with depression don’t seek treatment for one reason or the other. If you are a type that doesn’t like to seek treatment, you can rely on these herbs and supplements to relieve you from these mood disorders.
Moreover, there are five classifications of depressive disorders, which share features such as sadness, irritable mood, a feeling of emptiness, and cognitive changes that affect functioning.
These classifications include;
- Major depressive disorder (MDD)
- Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
- Persistent depressive disorder
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Depressive disorder due to another medical condition.
Actually, you can handle depressive disorders with medication and psychotherapy, lifestyle modifications, including making dietary changes, and as well taking certain herbs and supplements.
For instance, research shows that certain vitamins, mineral supplements and herbs, and other compounds may be very effective at improving depressive symptoms.
Now let’s take a look at those herbs and supplements that can particularly help in fighting depression.
6 Herbs and Supplements To Help Fight Depression
Below are the effective herbs and supplements that can help you deal with depression (mood disorder).
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Some studies have shown that omega-3 supplements may help in treating depression. They are essential fats that you can get from your diet. Although more research is needed, omega-3 supplements are believed to be helpful in the treatment of depression in certain populations.
From the 2020 analysis of randomized control trials including 638 women, it was found that omega-3 fatty acid supplements significantly improved depressive symptoms in pregnant and postpartum women.
In the study, it was shown that supplements with a higher ratio of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were particularly effective. These two types of omega-3 fatty acids can commonly be found in seafood.
2. NAC (N-acetylcysteine)
NAC is seen as a precursor to the amino acids L-cysteine and glutathione. Meanwhile, glutathione is regarded as one of the most important antioxidants in one’s body an essential for regulating inflammation and protecting cells against oxidative damage.
Now, taking NAC has been revealed to offer several health benefits that include boosting your body’s glutathione levels.
On the other hand, research shows that people with depression are more likely to have higher levels of inflammatory cytokines like C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Thus, when you take NAC, it may help to reduce inflammation and ease depressive symptoms.
Study wise, a 2016 review of five findings concluded that treatment with NAC significantly reduced depressive symptoms and improved functioning in people with depression compared with placebo treatments. Most importantly, the NAC supplements are safe and well-tolerated.
This brightly colored spice has shown promise as a natural treatment for depression, saffron is packed with antioxidant compounds, including the carotenoids crocin and crocetin.
Through studies, it was discovered that saffron increases levels of the mood-boosting neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Although it’s quite unknown how exactly this process works, it’s believed that saffron inhibits serotonin reuptake, thus keeping it in the brain longer.
In about five randomized controlled trials, it was found that supplements with saffron significantly reduced depressive symptoms in adults with MDD compared with placebo treatments. However, according to researchers, larger trials with longer follow-up periods are needed before strong conclusions can be made.
4. Vitamin D
This vitamin supplement plays numerous essential roles in the body. And it’s unfortunate that a lot of people don’t have sufficient vitamin D levels, including people who suffer from depression.
According to research, people with depression are more likely to be low or deficient in vitamin D. It is said that those with the condition tend to have lower vitamin D levels than others. Again, people with the lowest levels tend to have the most significant depressive symptoms.
From a 2019 review of four randomized controlled trials, it was found that vitamin D supplements led to clinical benefits in people with major depression.
Meanwhile, vitamin D may fight depression through several mechanisms, such as reducing inflammation, regulating mood, and protecting against neurocognitive dysfunction. But despite that, more research is needed before it can be prescribed as a standard treatment for depression.
5. B Vitamins
B vitamins family plays important roles in neurological function and mood regulation. B vitamins, including folate, B12, and B6, are needed for the production and regulation of neurotransmitters like serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and dopamine.
According to research, deficiencies in vitamin B12 and folate may increase the risk of depression, and supplementing with these nutrients may help reduce depressive symptoms in certain populations.
Take, for instance, folate supplements may reduce symptoms of treatment-resistant depression in children and adults who have a genetic mutation that affects folate metabolism.
Elsewhere, vitamin B6 has also been found to improve depressive symptoms when used in combination with other nutrients, including tryptophan and a form of vitamin B3 called nicotinamide.
This mineral is essential for brain health and the regulation of neurotransmitter pathways. It also boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Deficiency in zinc is strongly linked to an increased risk of depression and depression symptom severity.
In an analysis of 17 observational studies, it was found that blood zinc levels were around 0.12 µg/mL lower in people with depression than in those without the condition. Meanwhile, the zinc also associated greater zinc deficiency with greater depressive symptoms.
That being said, it can be ascertained that a deficiency in zinc may increase the risk of depression. But while supplementing with this nutrient may reduce depressive symptoms, it should be used alongside antidepressant medications.
The Bottom Line
No matter the level of depressive symptoms you feel, just know that suicide is not an option and that there are herbs and supplements such as the ones mentioned in this article that can fight depression.
Depression is a mental health disorder and it affects millions of people worldwide. Even though depression is typically treated with medication and therapy, you can try other safe methods like dietary modifications, herbs and supplements to reduce their symptoms.
But in all, it is always advisable to discuss any supplement with your healthcare provider to ensure that it’s safe for you and fits your needs.
Thanks for reading and stay safe!