Due to the side-effects associated with anti-depressants, together with the controversy which surrounds their effectiveness, some individuals prefer to try to treat their depression in more natural ways; in relation to this, many people adjust their intake of nutrients in ways that research suggests may lift their mood. I examine the foods and nutrients which may help this goal to be achieved below:
FOODS AND NUTRIENTS WHICH MAY HELP TO LIFT MOOD :
Not only does some research suggest that the foods and nutrients listed below may help lift the mood when depressed, it suggests they may also make depression less likely to recur once feeling better:
1) SELENIUM: this can be found in oysters, mushrooms, and Brazil nuts
2) CHROMIUM: this can be found in turkey and green vegetables
3) ZINC: this can be found in shellfish, seafood, and eggs
All of the above nutrients can also be bought in supplement form from chemists and health food shops. However, they should not be taken in large doses so be sure to read the relevant labels to obtain the recommended amounts to take.
4) VITAMIN B12: this vitamin, which can also be bought as a supplement from health shops and chemists, is thought to help maintain general mental alertness and, also, help keep feelings of depression at bay. It can be found in salmon, meat, cod, milk, cheese, eggs, and yeast extract.
Some scientists recommend eating fish as a way of reducing depressive symptoms. The reason for this is that some research studies have provided evidence that FISH OILS have both an ANTI-DEPRESSANT and MOOD-STABILIZING effect. However, because of the amount of fish oil that needs to be ingested, one would have to consume a vast quantity of fish. In order to rectify this problem, many companies now produce FISH OIL CAPSULES (e.g OMEGA – 3) as dietary SUPPLEMENTS. These contain very concentrated fish oil. However, more research needs to be conducted in order to come to a definitive verdict on their effectiveness. One benefit of them, however, is that they have no side effects, apart from, rarely, a mildly upset stomach.
Otherwise known as HYDROXTRYPTOPHAN. The body manufactures this from tryptophan (an AMINO ACID) in the diet (sources include turkey and bananas) and it is linked to the production of SEROTONIN (a neurotransmitter which I discuss in other posts – please enter ‘SEROTONIN’ into this site’s search facility if you wish to access those posts) in the brain. Depleted serotonin levels in the brain are thought to be connected with depression and insomnia. Indeed, taking supplements of 5-HTP has been linked to not only helping to treat depression and insomnia but, also, obesity.
The Cochrane Review (2001) found two studies suggesting that 5-HTP was more effective at treating depression than placebos, but, also, concluded that more research needed to be conducted in order to reach a proper conclusion in relation to how beneficial it is.
A lot more research needs to be conducted in order to come to any definitive solutions about just how helpful diet, nutrients, and supplements are at treating mental health conditions. However, there is a vast number of people who take them and are convinced of their effectiveness.
Finally, I wish to stress that it is extremely important to speak to a doctor if you are considering coming off any prescribed medication.
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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).