The World Health Organization claims that as of 2016, there are about 615 million people in our world, or about 10% of the population suffers from clinical anxiety and depression.
Numerous events in life might trigger negative emotions, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, and nervousness, and might change the actions and character of a person. When depressed, most people isolate themselves in their own world.
Anxiety is a state of high energy, and depression a state of low energy and motivation, but there is a link between these two. Actually, about half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
The most commonly prescribed antidepressant in both these cases is SSRI’s (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor). The global antidepressant market has an estimated growth to around 13.4 billion dollars by 2021.
The Journal of the American Medical Association published a 2010 study which showed that in the case of mild or moderate anxiety or depression, these SSRI’s are no more effective than a placebo pill, which is extremely disturbing.
On the other hand, there are other ways to support the mind, body, and spirit, and alleviate these disorders of depression and anxiety when in their mild stages.
These are the six most effective supplements in fighting depression:
- Vitamin B12
You should do a blood test and find out if your body has enough vitamin B12, which is around 400-500 pg/mL. The lower levels lead to low energy, low mood, foggy thinking, and other symptoms.
This vitamin is found in animal products, in small amounts produced during fermentation, and plants do not contain it. Therefore, your practitioner should determine a proper supplementation.
You can also receive B12 injections to boost vitamin B 12 levels fast.
Probiotics strengthen the immune system and help digestion, and also affect the way your body absorbs and assimilates nutrients.
Our gut is our ‘second brain’ since it contains over 100 million neurons which enable us to “feel” the inner universe of our GI tract. It has its own reflexes and mechanisms which eliminate waste, break down food, and absorb nutrients.
Moreover, 90% of the serotonin is actually produced in the gut, so the healthy gut flora is essential for overall health, optimal mood, and ability to manage stress.
L-Theanine is a unique amino acid, primarily found in green tea. Scientists have confirmed its calming and relaxing properties, so it is beneficial in the case of stress and anxiety, sleeping difficulties, and inability to focus.
The body absorbs it in 30minutes, and it creates the feeling of “zen” while still promoting concentration.
It actually affects the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and GABA in the brain, boosts the learning capacity, helps sleep, and balances mood.
Also, it reduces stress by inhibiting some of the actions of the stress hormone norepinephrine in the central nervous system.
- Omega-3 Fish Oil
Fish oil is high in essential fatty acids and the ideal source of omega-3. It has potent anti-inflammatory properties, boosts cognitive health and optimizes brain chemistry.
Omega-6 fats are concentratedly found in corn, sunflower, vegetable, canola, safflower, and soybean oil, so we get them in high amounts. Also, it is also found in almost all seeds, nuts, and grains.
Our optimal health requires adequate intake of omega-3, as the body needs them in order to transmit nerve signals properly, and the lack might lead to anxiety and depression.
You should increase the intake of the whole-food omega-3 sources like wild salmon, Atlantic haddock, arctic cod, freshwater trout, pollock and Atlantic mackerel, as well as seaweeds, flax, hemp, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.
Moreover, as our body cannot produce omega fatty acids, sometimes supplementation in the best way to optimize their levels.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is actually a hormone, which is essential for numerous processes in the body and is responsible for the immunity, bone and teeth health. Additionally, it is able to enhance the neurotransmitter function and mood.
The daily dose for adults is 4,000 IU of a vitamin D3, and on a 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test, your levels should be above 50 ng/ml and no higher than 100 ng/ml. To optimize the levels of vitamin D, you should get in 10-20 minutes of unprotected sunshine daily.
- Tryptophan & 5-HTP
5-hydroxy tryptophan (5-HTP) is produced by the body from the amino acid tryptophan, which is naturally found in fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and poultry.
The conversion of tryptophan to serotonin is a process which included two steps, and initially, 5-HTP must be synthesized, as an intermediate step.
Tryptophan is a gentler supplement and well tolerated, while the absorption of 5-HTP is better and it passes the blood-brain barrier, where it gets converted into serotonin.
Therefore, it provides a stronger serotonin support than L-tryptophan, and clinical trials have shown that it is effective in the case of panic disorders, depression, sleep disorders, and binge eating.