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The Best Supplements For Depression

Updated on March 20, 2013

Why Take Supplements for Depression

Depression, whether it be chronic, seasonal, mild or moderate; is a big burden to bare most days. Some people don't like the idea of taking antidepressants because they are not "natural" or they prefer to just cope with their depression without the assistance of prescription medication. Maybe you don't have insurance and can't afford Zoloft, Prozac or whatever other name brands are out there.

No matter what you reason for staying away from anti-depressant medication, there are supplements that can help you deal with your depression in a different way. If you have a deficiency in certain vitamins, it can lower your mood. Taking a supplement of these vitamins or minerals can give you the boost you need to get on with your life. No doctor necessary.

Even if you have severe depression and have to take medication. You can use supplements to help you even more. For those with mild depression, supplements could be all you need to get to feeling better.

Folic Acid / Folate / Vitamin B-9

What Does it do?

Folic Acid is a necessary vitamin, used to create DNA and RNA and is an active component of the Central Nervous System and the brain. It also plays a role in the development of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Role In Depression

Researchers from Tufts University have found that sufferers of depression, on average, have lower levels of Folic Acid in their blood stream. This is not proof, but supports the fact that a Folic Acid deficiency plays a role in the development of depression.

Neurotransmitters such an Dopamine, Serotonin and norepinepherine are important "feel good" chemicals in our brain. Because Folate helps to develop these chemicals, wouldn't it make sense that not having enough Folate would decrease the amount of these chemicals and lead to depression?

Other Benefits: Prevention of birth defects and increases the chances of conceiving twins

Further Reading about Folic Acid and Depression

Vitamin B Complex

If you would rather take less pills but still get the same benefit, a Vitamin B Complex supplement is the best option. I personally take one every day. It contains Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pyridoxine, Folic Acid and Cyanocobalamin. In layman terms, this Vitamins B-1, B-2, B-6, B-9 and B-12. This is five different B Vitamins in one supplement.

If you only want to take one kind of supplement, I suggest this is where you start. The major reasoning for this is that sometimes an excess of one type of B vitamin can mask a deficiency in others. If you are taking a B Complex, you will be sure to get enough of each type.

Omega 3 & Omega 6 Fatty Acids

What is it?

These essential fatty acids are found abundantly in fish. They are often called fish oils.

Role In Depression

An increase in depression and a decrease in fish consumption have both been happening in recent years. Studies suggest taking an Omega Fatty Acid supplement in combination with your normal medication to help alleviate symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder. Taking supplements can often help avoid relapse as well.


What is it?

Inositol is a glucose-like substance that helps serotonin and other neurotransmitters to do their job.

Role In Depression

It has been proven that those who suffer from bi-polar disorder and depression have below average amounts of inositol. Researchers have found that when a subject took an inositol supplement, their depression symptoms were lessened more than those who took a placebo.



What does it do?

GABA or Gamma-aminobutyric acid is a neurotransmitter involved in inhibition and stress relief.

Role In Depression

Having low levels of GABA have been shown to be linked to depression and anxiety. These two go hand in hand often. There have not been many studies to prove it's effectiveness in treating depression. But, there is a definite link between the two.


There are several supplements that are said to help those suffering from depression but the can be very dangerous to your health in other ways. Make sure you talk to your doctor about your plans to take any kind of supplement, especially if you are already on an anti-depressant. There is actually a risk of serotonin overload if you are not careful. This can be very damaging almost like a drug addiction to any kind of upper. It can mess up your brain chemistry. Many of these supplements should only be used if you have a deficiency.


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    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 4 years ago from Midwest

      A lot of great supplements listed here. I'm always happy to see people turn to natural alternatives like lifestyle changes and more natural remedies to deal with depression. Voted up!

    • Learning in Life profile image

      Megan Sisko 4 years ago from SW Florida

      That's great! It's so nice when we can find natural thing to help us.

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 4 years ago from Georgia country

      It's true that supplements may help to better a depressive mood. Because of my allergies I had a lack of some vitamins and minerals and I often was in a depressive mood. But when I started to take supplements it went away.

    • sleepylog profile image

      Sleepylog 4 years ago from Australia

      I find that Omega-3 feel oil works really well for me, so I can back-up what you wrote about it. In fact I know that when I forget to take it for a few days, I really start to feel down and moody. It is also particularly useful for coping with the mood swings of PMS.

    • mbwalz profile image

      MaryBeth Walz 5 years ago from Maine

      Great advice. My homeopath as well as naturopath and osteopath all recommend getting tested for Vit. D levels. It has a huge affect on me when I dip down to the lower part of normal. And I also like 5-htp since it helps with sleep, carb cravings, and mood.

      Thanks for the other suggestions. Will share!

    • Learning in Life profile image

      Megan Sisko 5 years ago from SW Florida

      You are very lucky. Thank you for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Happily I have never suffered from depression. Great information here and I'm passing it on to friends who do know the nature of this devil.