Depression is a state of intense sadness, melancholy, or despair that lasts for a prolonged period of time – sometimes for months. In some cases, it does not seriously affect the individual’s ability to function. When it does disrupt function, it is referred to as clinical depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in ten people suffer from a depressive illness of some type each year.
The symptoms of depression can include sadness, fatigue, irritability, apathy, feelings of isolation, loss of interest in favorite activities, hopelessness, insomnia, significant weight changes, aches and pains, and even thoughts of death or suicide. It has been found that symptoms vary according to age, gender, and culture. For instance, a depressive teen-age boy is more likely to experience irritability and grumpiness, while a grown man who is depressed is more likely to experience sleep problems, fatigue, and loss of interest in work and hobbies. Sometimes, there appears to be a cause of the depression, such as loss of a loved one or declining health. In other cases, no obvious cause can be found.
Nutritional deficiencies are associated with depression, so certain supplements can help treat this disorder. But because depression can not only have a great impact on daily life, but even lead to suicide, it is important to consult a physician if you suspect that you or a loved one suffers from this disorder. A doctor should also be consulted about the nutritional aspect of treatment, as certain medications may contraindicate the use of some supplements.
Nutritional Deficiencies Linked with Depression
• B vitamins, particularly B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), and B12 (cobalamin)
• Calcium – USANA Vitamins supplements Active Calcium™ and USANA Body Rox™ Active Calcium™ Chewable are more than calcium supplements. They are carefully formulated, clinically proven bone-building formulas. Both USANA Products contain calcium citrate and carbonate, magnesium, vitamin D, and silicon to optimize bone mineralization and to ensure proper calcium use.
Fatty acid deficiencies can also contribute to depression. Your doctor can have your fatty acid and mineral levels analyzed by a laboratory company. The company, on the other hand, can measure your vitamin levels. When treating depression nutritionally, it is important to see an anti-aging specialist who is fellowship trained. Both this specialist and your conventional doctor must work together to help treat this disease.
Supplements to treat depression
• Alpha-lipoic acid
• Ashwagandha root
• Bacopa monniera
• B-complex vitamins
• Calcium – Although most people are deficient in calcium, there is a danger in taking too much calcium. Do not ingest more than 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium a day. USANA’s Active Calcium is enhanced with boron and vitamin K. Boron reduces calcium excretion and increases deposition of calcium in the bone. Vitamin K influences the level of osteocalcin in the bone-forming cells and thus the rate of mineralization of bone.
• Centella asiatica
• Chromium – Combining with the protein picolinate allows your body to absorb chromium more efficiently. However, some chromium picolinate supplements contain more chromium than necessary. Ask your doctor for a recommendation on chromium consumption.
• Coenzyme Q10
• EPA/DHA (fish oil)
• 5-Hydroxy-ryptophan (5-HTP) – Do not take with vitamin B6. Consult your doctor regarding use if you are taking antidepressants. Do not take at the same time as antidepressants or any serotonin-affecting drugs
• Ginseng – Always take with food. Do not take if you are taking a blood thinner. Use with caution if you have high blood pressure
• Inositol – May stimulate uterine contractions. Women who wish to become pregnant should consult their doctor regarding its use
• Phosphatidylcholine – Use with caution if you have malabsorption problems, as this could exacerbate them
• St. John’s wort – Do not take with antidepressants, indinavir, cyclosporine, theophylline, warfarin, or ehinylestradiol. If you are exposed to the sun, it may cause a skin rash. May lessen effects of birth control
• Tryptophan – Do not take if you are on an antidepressant
• Tyrosine – Do not take if you are taking an MAO inhibitor medication
• Valerian – Do not take if you have liver disease or if you abuse alcohol
• Vitamin A and mixed carotenoids
• Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
• Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
• Vitamin C