Treating depression with nutritional supplements is useful in some cases of depression when it is used alongside psychological and pharmacological treatment. Supplements do not treat depression on their own, but contribute to improving mood and relieving symptoms of depression, such as anxiety, tension, stress, and sleep disorders. [1]

This article discusses 6 of the best nutritional supplements that may help fight depression.

Treating depression with nutritional supplements

Choosing the appropriate dietary supplement for a patient depends on many factors, such as the patient’s age, health condition, and other medications he takes, and a doctor should be consulted before using any of them. [1]

Here are the most important nutritional supplements useful for patients with depression:

S-adenosylmethionine

S-adenosyl methionine or SAMe is a synthetic form of a chemical found naturally in the body. [2]

S-adenosylmethionine may be used as one way to treat depression with nutritional supplements. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2002 found that the supplement S-adenosylmethionine was as effective as an antidepressant drug. [3]

In addition, the combination of S-adenosylmethionine with treatment with SSRIs may increase their efficacy. [2]

S-adenosylmethionine can be taken in the form of nutritional supplements, or obtained from the following natural sources: [4]

  • Brazil nuts.
  • Egg whites.
  • sea ​​food.
  • Sesame.
  • sunflower seeds.

It should be noted that it is forbidden to treat depression with nutritional supplements that contain S-adenosyl methionine in the following cases: [5]

  • This dietary supplement may increase symptoms of mania.
  • HIV, in which S-adenosylmethionine can stimulate the growth of the bacterium Pneumocystis carinii; Which may lead to pneumonia.

S-adenosylmethionine may reduce the effectiveness of the drug levodopa, which is used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, patients with Parkinson’s disease should be careful when treating depression with nutritional supplements and follow up with a doctor. [5]

5-Hydroxytryptophan

It is an amino acid that plays a role in the manufacture of serotonin, and serotonin is one of the neurotransmitters that affect mood, and it is believed that there is a relationship between low levels of serotonin and depression. [3]

Treating depression with the HTP-5 supplement improves symptoms of depression, panic disorder, and is also used to treat depression in people with Parkinson’s disease. 5-HTP is available as a dietary supplement or medication. [3]

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Omega 3

Omega-3s may help improve mood and have potential as a dietary supplement for depression in both adults and children. [5]

The mechanism of action of omega-3 in the treatment of depression is not yet known, but it is believed that this is due to its anti-inflammatory properties, or its effectiveness in reducing the effect of the stress hormone cortisol. [5]

Omega-3 can be taken as a dietary supplement, or obtained from foods rich in it, such as some types of fatty fish such as tuna or albacore. [5]

It is worth noting that caution should be exercised when using an omega-3 supplement in people with blood thinners or coagulation disorders. Since it may increase blood flow. [5]

probiotics

It is known as live bacteria that increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. Which promotes digestion and gut health. [6]

Probiotics are believed to help relieve symptoms of depression by: [6]

  • Increasing neurotransmitters in the body, such as serotonin, which plays a role in influencing mood, appetite, and sleep regularity.
  • Impact on cognition and the body’s response to stress.
  • Reducing inflammation in the body.

In addition, a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry in 2021 demonstrated that taking probiotics improved symptoms in people with severe depression, within just 8 weeks of taking probiotics; Therefore, it is recommended to use probiotics as an effective way to treat depression with nutritional supplements in some cases. [4]

Probiotic-rich foods can also be used to contribute to improving symptoms of depression. Examples of these foods include: [4]

  • yogurt.
  • kefir.
  • kimchi.
  • sauerkraut.

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melatonin

It maintains the circadian rhythm and alerts the body when it’s time to sleep; Therefore, taking the hormone melatonin in the form of a dietary supplement may contribute to relieving symptoms of depression for some.

There are many foods that also contain melatonin, such as cherries, grapes, eggs, and fish. [4]

magnesium

It has an anti-stress effect and relaxing properties, and it also plays a role in the production of serotonin; So it is one of the ways to treat depression with effective nutritional supplements. [7] [8]

Rich sources of magnesium include legumes, nuts, whole grains, and green vegetables, but since most people don’t get enough magnesium; So it may be useful to take magnesium supplements in cases of depression, especially those suffering from magnesium deficiency. [7]

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