Updated: Sep 4
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When those who suffer from anxiety and depression decide to get help, they often utilize a combination of therapy and medication. Talking to someone and learning coping mechanisms for combating negative thinking and behavior patterns can be enormously beneficial in the recovery process. When not enough, medication is also an option to improve brain chemistry and increase serotonin production. Though therapy is always recommended, some people do not react well to certain medications, nor do they always want to have to take one. For these individuals, they often pursue a natural route that involves supplements. On a side note, it is important that one always consult a physician before starting a supplement/vitamin regiment. Here’s the top supplements that anxiety/depression sufferers use and why.
1. Sam E
This is a natural occurring chemical component in all cells of the body. Sam E is used as a prescription in parts of Europe, but is offered over the counter in the United States. In several studies, it has shown to be promising in its treatment of depression. It can be used alone or in conjunction with other antidepressants that have not been effective enough on their own. It works rapidly unlike other antidepressants and does not appear to have the same side effects, including weight gain, dry mouth, nausea, or cognitive interference.
B vitamins are a group of eight different nutrients that can work together to possibly decrease stress levels in the body. Two separate studies found that people who had lower blood levels of Vitamin B-12 were more likely to have anxiety and depression, and those who ate foods high in B vitamins were less anxious and depressed than those who didn’t. One can increase their intake of B vitamins by eating certain animal-based foods, or they can take a daily supplement. It can take time for B-complex to build up in the body, so don’t expect a change overnight.
3. Omega- 3 Fatty Acids
Omega- 3 fatty acids have many powerful health benefits for the body and mind. Several studies have indicated that people who consume Omega- 3 supplements or eat large amounts of certain types of fish improve their symptoms of anxiety and depression. There are three types of Omega- 3 fatty acids: ALA, EPA, and DHA. EPA seems to be the most effective at treating anxiety and depression.
L-Theanine is an amino acid that can be found in green tea. One study showed that it had anti-anxiety effects on rats, similar to benzodiazepines. The average dose is around 200 mg, and it does usually work right away. The benefit to L-Theanine is that it does not cause sedation like other anti-anxiety medications. It is also obviously not habit-forming.
The majority of Americans do not receive enough magnesium in their diet. Though our bodies don’t need much of it, a deficiency may result in sluggishness, anxiety, or sleeplessness. The average dose of magnesium may range from 100-500 mg. Magnesium citrate is the preferred type of magnesium to take for severe anxiety symptoms.
6. Vitamin D
Studies have shown a link between a Vitamin D deficiency and depression. Researchers believe that taking Vitamin D on a regular basis can help improve brain function, help cells grow, keep bones healthy and strong, and boost immune systems. Eating foods such as salmon, fish liver oils, animal fats, and Vitamin D fortified milk can help. Spending time outside in the sun (with sunscreen) has also shown to correlate with an improved mood. Those who eat a vegetarian or vegan diet do not always get enough Vitamin D, so these individuals should consider taking a supplement.
Is the Natural Path For You?
Supplements and vitamins can be a great alternative for those who do not respond well to medications, but It’s important to remember that they do not take the place of regular counseling. For those who struggle with mild anxiety and depression, supplements may be helpful. For those with more serious mental health concerns, such as Bipolar disorder or severe agoraphobia, it is not advisable to simply rely on vitamins and supplements. Make sure to speak with a physician before consuming any substance, especially if you are already taking another medication.
*Please consult with a doctor before starting any supplement/vitamin regiment*
Do you struggle with anxiety and depression? Have you considered counseling? If so contact Straight Talk Clinic at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at straighttalkcounseling.org. One of our professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.