Depression is a mood disorder that causes feelings of sadness, hopelessness, loneliness and despair. The symptoms of depression can be debilitating. Studies show that 1 in 10 Americans suffer from some degree of depression. If left untreated, depression can lead to physical problems, social isolation, sleep disorders, changes in appetite, thoughts of suicide, or even death.
Treatment for depression usually consists of a combination of prescription medications and counseling. Many depression sufferers are reluctant to take anti-depressive medications because of side effects that may occur. Some patients have found that starting a regime of healthy eating, regular exercise, and taking specific vitamins can reduce the symptoms of depression.
Alternative methods of treatment using natural products, such as vitamins and supplements, should always be discussed with your physician or health care professional.
The following vitamins and supplements have proven to be effective in treating depression in some patients, without the side effects caused by prescription medications.
<strong></strong>Vitamin B is essential for brain health. The B vitamins help produce and control chemicals in the brain that influence mood and mental stability. Low levels of B12 or B6 can lead to depression. A simple blood test can measure the levels of the B vitamins in your system. If you have insufficient levels, your doctor may suggest a B vitamin supplement. A B12 shot can be administered if you have a severe deficiency.
<strong></strong>Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin. It helps the body absorb calcium, which leads to stronger bones, and can also help to lower blood pressure and protect against certain cancers. Some studies have indicated that maintaining an adequate level of vitamin D can also ease the symptoms of depression. Vitamin D can be found in foods, such as eggs, sardines and milk. Although the body can absorb vitamin D from exposure to the sun, most people try to limit their exposure to the sun’s harmful rays and prefer to take a vitamin D supplement.
Folic Acid is a B vitamin that may help to reduce the symptoms of depression. Folic acid aids in the production of essential compounds and neurotransmitters in the brain. A folic acid deficiency may be a risk factor for depression. Research into using folic acid supplements as a possible treatment for relieving some of the symptoms of depression is ongoing.
A natural approach to treating the symptoms of depression is appealing to those patients who do not want to take prescription medications to treat the disorder. Your physician can help you determine if a natural approach to treating your condition is advisable.