Depression is a debilitating disease characterized by exhaustion, despair, and feelings of hopelessness. It affects approximately 16.2 million Americans, impairing them not only mentally but physically as well.
While there are all types of treatment options available for depression (ie. talk therapy, antidepressant medications, etc.), these treatments tend to produce inconsistent results from patient to patient.
Perhaps you’ve tried these treatments but to no avail? Maybe you’re looking for something outside the box? If so, these natural antidepressants might be of use to you.
1. B Vitamins
Some of the most effective natural antidepressants are B Vitamins. Folate and B12, specifically, offer top-notch antidepressant benefits, converting amino acids into serotonin, the brain chemical that promotes feelings of happiness and well-being.
You can find folate and B12 in a variety of foods, including but not limited to nuts, spinach, beans, eggs. Not interested in any of these foods? There are capsule supplements available as well.
If you’re going to reap the antidepressant benefits of B Vitamins, you need to consume them on a regular basis. Make sure to incorporate them into your meals daily.
While it’s widely seen as a recreational drug, cannabis actually has quite a few health benefits. One of the most prominent of these benefits is its antidepressant effect. Though research on the antidepressant effects of cannabis is limited, there is some evidence to suggest that it stabilizes the mood, lessening depression’s influence on the brain.
There are two types of cannabis that can help to treat depression: THC and CBD. While the former produces a “high”, the latter does not.
You can find CBD online and at natural health stores across the country. THC, on the other hand, is best purchased from a dispensary or marijuana delivery service.
THC is not yet legal in all states. Make sure to look up your state’s laws before attempting to purchase it.
Another natural substance that has shown to reduce the effects of depression is zinc. While its exact effects on the brain aren’t quite yet understood, studies suggest that they do, in fact, exist.
Zinc can be found in a wide variety of foods, including red meat, oysters, chickpeas, baked beans, and chicken, to name just a few. It’s also available in supplement form.
The key is to consume adequate amounts of zinc on a daily basis. The recommended amount is 8mg for women and 11mg for men.
If you’re looking for a natural counterpart to prescription antidepressants, you should consider using SAMe or S-adenosyl-L-methionine. This is a naturally occurring molecule in the body, one which breaks down hormones and proteins and which elevates mood-stabilizing brain chemicals.
SAMe can be recreated in the lab and is available in supplement form. By taking 200 milligrams of SAMe twice a day for a week or so, you should start to see a marked improvement in your depression-related symptoms.
Not seeing an improvement from 400 mg a day? Up your dosage. It’s safe to consume up to 1,200 mg of SAMe a day.
5-HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan is a naturally-occurring amino acid that helps to increase serotonin levels in the body. In doing so, it improves and regulates the mood, helping to stave off depression.
Synthesized in labs, this amino acid is available in supplement form. By taking 50 mg of it 3 times a day, you should start to see marked improvements in mood and energy levels.
Make note, though, that if you want to get results from this supplement, you’ll have to use it on a recurring basis. It acts in a similar way to antidepressant medication.
6. St John’s Wort
Another natural antidepressant you might like to try is St. John’s Wort, a plant that’s native to parts of Africa and Europe. Like so many natural antidepressants, this one is believed to increase serotonin levels in the body. And because serotonin is a “feel-good” chemical, increased levels of it help to reduce the effects of depression.
Note, the effects of St. John’s Wort are not yet scientifically proven. Studies of the plant show mixed results for those with mild and moderate forms of depression. In other words, some see improvement while others don’t see any at all.
In any case, it’s worth a try. You can buy it in supplement form online and at most natural health stores.
7. Ginkgo Biloba
If your depression comes with only mild effects, you might consider taking Ginkgo Biloba.
This supplement works by increasing blood flow to the brain. This, in turn, improves concentration, thus reducing the effects of depression. Other benefits of this supplement include improved libido and memory.
To get the best results, you’re advised to take 40 to 80 mg two to three times a day. It’s recommended that you take them with your meals.
At this point, the benefits of Ginkgo Biloba have not been scientifically proven. However, there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence available to suggest that they’re legitimate.
8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
One last natural antidepressant to consider is Omega-3 fatty acids. These are said to combat depression by increasing the activity of two vital brain chemicals. These brain chemicals are typically low in those suffering from depression, and so, the Omega-3s are believed to help.
The easiest way to consume Omega-3 fatty acids is to take fish oil supplements. However, you can also get them through trout, salmon, and sardines. In any case, if you want to reap their benefits, you need to be consuming them on an everyday basis.
These Natural Antidepressants Could Make All the Difference
Beating depression is far from easy. But if you’re grasping at straws, these natural antidepressants are certainly worth a try.
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