I would like to encourage you to not hop on prescription antidepressants for your depression until you have given natural remedies a try first – such as natural supplements that do in fact work!
Doctors these days hand out prescriptions too easily without considering any natural alternative.
Here me out here. I’ll give you my number one recommendation that works great for me everyday.
I can fully attest to this from my own experiences. Throughout this article, I will list the best supplements for depression.
What to Know:
I have had experience with depression and anxiety for years and I am still in my journey, but lately have been feeling like I am making such good progress. It feels weird, but so good.
To go from a state of complete darkness. Lowest of low to something that feels even remotely better is so lifting.
These supplements I recommend I do in fact take. I can fully attest to their mental benefits.
Here, I will give you the rundown of each supplement, what they do, how they work, uses, benefits, and side effects.
Mental illnesses such as depression is extremely common and the number of cases among citizens are increasing each year.
Depression is not an easy fix. There is not a set cure nor a set cause.
Depression differs from person to person from factor to factor. It needs respect and awareness. Mental illnesses are not false. They are not a hoax. Depression is real and it does kill.
We all understand this, right?
But what we need to also understand is that natural remedies can have as big of an effect on our state of mental health as antidepressants can.
Possibly bigger … according to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people in the world suffer from major depressive disorder, and unfortunately antidepressants only work for 50% of that population.
The thing is people don’t try any natural alternative. A lot of symptoms and feelings of depression stem from nutritional imbalance, inflammation in the brain, and off-set brain chemistry.
Supplements can help with this big time.
Here I will focus on the consumption of natural supplements that do work.
I will give you my personal and strongest recommendations that have worked for me.
No I do not take all of the 12 listed below, but the ones I don’t take are backed up by clinical research of having beneficial properties mentally and physically.
Nonetheless, I will dive into the supplements you are wondering about.
I would like to stress that you should not solely rely on these supplements to treat your depression.
But this is your first step. Think of supplements as your antidepressants, but natural antidepressants. They can increase serotonin levels just like prescriptions can.
I don’t care if you don’t agree with me. Until you give it a real good try, you will never know. And that’s what everyone should do. Give it a try before resorting to meds.
If nothing has worked, and you can say you really gave it a go, then sure, talk to your doctor about your next move.
I never thought this would work. I thought the only way to cure depression was antidepressants. And believe me, the idea of me on antidepressants did sound very tempting. But a part of me was like no, I can’t. I just can’t.
So I started to research natural ways to cure depression as we all do at some point.
But the thing is know one listens to these natural ways. Why? Because they are a turn off that requires some sort of effort. Effort is so difficult to put in when you are depressed.
Synthetics or prescriptions sound so appealing, like such an easy fix.
So I ignored all natural remedies except for one. Supplements. That is where I started. Specifically, 5-HTP did wonders for me. You can read below what 5-HTP I take.
Then the effort required to do all the other natural remedies people tell you about such as talk therapy, exercise, diet, responsibility, thinking and behavioral concepts came so easily.
Because 5-HTP lifted my mood, it restored my serotonin just like prescriptions do.
So think of natural supplements as your building block or stepping stone.
The supplements give you the mood elevation, positive well-being, motivation, good sleep, good appetite, and overall enlightenment. Then it is up to you to act on this.
Change your life-style from what is was before. Incorporate change. Exercise. Eat healthy. Be more open and out-going. Talk to your family and friends. Take some risks.
Feed out the negative thoughts, situations, people who are bringing you down. Love yourself. Focus on yourself. Keep this up and you will find true happiness.
Here are my personal recommendations. All of these supplements you will find below with their description of benefits and any side effects that come with them.
If you are looking for one supplement that will do the trick in elevating your mood and giving you the emotional well-being you need, I would strongly recommend 5-HTP.
That is our number one supplement and best seller. I took this first out of any other supplement and found it worked tremendously. You can visit my full review on 5-HTP.
What I take presently:
- 5-HTP (3 capsules per day – lately my dosage has been reduced due to steady mood improvements)
- GABA (1-2 capsules per day)
- Omega-3 (1 capsule per day)
- Turmeric (1 capsule per day)
- Vitamins (B,C,D) (1 capsule per day)
- Melatonin (for sleep fixture) (here and there)
- Theanine (here and there)
The above amounts I consume can differ depending on the dosage (ie. mg present in each capsule).
Nonetheless, each bottle has a safe and efficient recommendation. Always read the labels.
Top 12 Supplements for Depression:
- This natural supplement (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is my strongest recommendation. It encourages brain serotonin levels just like prescribed medication does that leads to positives outcomes on emotional well-being, sleep cycle, appetite fixture, and mood enhancement without the side-effects (for most people).
- 5-HTP is a chemical that the body makes from tryptophan (an essential amino acid that you receive from consuming food). 5-HTP is reformed into serotonin (happy chemical), thereby dispersing it throughout the brain.
- This is my favorite supplement. I honestly did not really know that there were natural supplements like this that could help elevate my mood and decrease my symptoms of depression this effectively. I thought the only path to go down was to visit the doctor, discuss my depression, and then have a prescription written up. It comes with limited side-effects (not nearly as close to those of prescribed meds) and elevated my mood within 2 weeks I would say.
- Not allowing it to work is also a big reason why people say this won’t work. They don’t wait long enough and then dismiss it as fake or useless. 5-HTP does work for 80% of the people who consume it I would say. Give it time to kick in. At least a couple weeks and be consistent with your doses. I would start with 3 capsules per day.
- I take GABA for my anxiety. Anxiety is a huge symptom of depression. GABA works to calm the central nervous system, therefore giving you a relaxed, calm feeling. It will make your nerve tension disappear.
- A clear correlation between GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) receptors and anxiety has long been established. A role in depression with GABA deficiency has also been linked, however it is not as established as well as with anxiety symptoms. Overall, GABA is a neurotransmitter and with deficiency, it can delay impulses between nerve cells and the brain, which can lead to anxiety and depression. There is also a correlation between this amino acid deficiency with epilepsy and chronic pain.
- Scientific research has shown that this supplement may boost mood elevation but primarily promotes a calming, relaxing effect on the nervous system. GABA deficiency comes with feelings of anxiety for no apparent reason. You may feel edgy or have difficulty being calm or relaxed. You may have a tightness in your stomach and have difficulty turning off your mind or falling asleep. By consuming GABA supplements, your central nervous system will be at a healthy state, promoting calmness and relaxation.
- I currently take GABA and it does work for me 100%. Again, give it time to work – at least a couple weeks and then you will notice consistent patterns of calmness.
- I would sometimes find myself fearful for literally no reason. There was nothing to be scared of, yet I had this pit in my stomach and an increase in heart rate. Why? I don’t know. That is anxiety for you. I wouldn’t want to talk to people and would find myself isolating from friends and family. I hated this and it was extremely unhealthy. So, I now take this supplement and notice a healthy balance of nerve tension which leaves me always feeling relaxed and calm. Specifically, I don’t take this for my depression. I found other products worked better for that mental illness such as 5-HTP. But studies show that depression and anxiety work in pairs. At least for me it did. So taking this supplement has a positive effect on both depression and anxiety you could say. If you are going to take this supplements, please give it at least 2 weeks to kick in and then be consistent with your doses.
- If you suffer from mainly anxiety, or anxiety and depression, I encourage you to take this natural supplement.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- In the past decade, many American citizens have turned to this natural supplement for their physical well-being and mental health. Americans actually spend approximately $2.6 billion yearly on this product. There are numerous benefits associated with Omega-3 fatty acids. Personally I love the form of Omega-3 Fish Oils as I would recommend that it has the most benefits. Fish oils are also difficult to consume by food as they are found in limited food groups such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines.
- So what benefits does this supplement promote? There are tons. The University of Maryland Medical Center discusses its benefits of lower blood pressure, reduces risk of stroke and heart attack, decreases abnormal heart rhythm (anxiety correlation), increases brain function, elevates mood, motivation, and productivity, and replenishes brain cells.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids or more specifically omega-3 fish oils are also considered anti-inflammatories meaning that they work primarily to decrease inflammation in the brain and the body. Brain inflammation can contribute to depression, anxiety, wiriness, ADHD, ADD, and disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. I take a fish-oil daily for my mental health and I have gotten my mother to take one as well. I think everyone should.
- Vitamin B or more specifically B-complex vitamins help your body make energy from the food you consume by forming red blood cells. However, while most people who eat a varied, nutritional diet can receive a plentiful amount of B vitamins (meat, leafy greens, dairy, peas, and whole grains) there is still an abundance of people who have vitamin B deficiency. These can include people who take prescription antacids, are vegetarian or vegan, people who implement fasting, over the age of 50, have stomach or small intestine disorders, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those who drink alcohol frequently.
- Vitamin B also has positive affects on physical conditions such as heart disease and PMS (premenstrual syndrome). You will find a healthy outcome for your physical and mental health. Vitamin B is very important.
- According to the US National Library of Medicine, an investigation was performed that looked at the productivity of Vitamin B consumption for the improvement and decrease of depression and anxiety symptoms. The participants were assessed at baseline and again at 30 and 60 day followups. What scientists found was a significant improvement in decreasing the symptoms of depression and anxiety among the adult participants (60 people).
- Theanine or more specifically L-theanine is extracted from tea leaves to generate over-the-counter supplements. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, L-theanine has been investigated for its positive effects of relaxing and calming the nervous system thereby being an effective remedy for anxiety. Theanine also contains beneficial properties that help reduce depression symptoms.
- Depression can contain symptoms such as heavy fatigue, insomnia, appetite loss, eating disorders, over-eating, isolation, muscle pains, and chronic sadness. L-theanine is proposed as an alternate natural supplement to prescribed medication that can reduce these symptoms. This is due to the increased functionality of the central nervous system that gives your mind a stress-free, anxiety-free, and relaxing effect. There is limited studies pertaining to this supplement, but through a bit of research, it does have positive effects.
- L-theanine has largely been correlated in decreasing anxiety among patients. Again, this is because its main purpose is to calm the nervous system, thereby promoting feelings of soothing and relaxation.
- This supplement is a herbaceous perennial plant in the ginger family. It is native to southern Asia. You may not have heard of this product, but it is the yellow spice that colors curry and American yellow mustard. It is also considered an very strong anti-inflammatory like omega-3 fatty acids.
- Turmeric has been found to increase nerve growth in the frontal cortex and hippocampal areas of the brain. They also implement benefits on physical health such as reducing the risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease mainly because they promote anti-inflammation in the brain and body.
- This product’s main constituent is curcumin and together, studies have shown that they effectively reduce inflammation in the brain, thereby decreasing symptoms of depression. Other benefits include the prevention of heart disease, arthritis, increase brain function, and increase in long life. I consume this product through supplement form because you will attain the most efficient amounts of turmeric through supplements. It is actually difficult to consume the high levels of turmeric you need by food to maximize all the benefits. That is why a supplement of turmeric is easily efficient in providing you with the natural nerve growth you need to implement emotional well-being.
- This product has been available as natural dietary supplement in the US since 1999. The body uses SAM-e to make specific chemicals that play a beneficial role in pain, depression, liver disease, and other conditions. Those who don’t make enough SAM-e from the body take this through supplement form. Again, those with diet restrictions or certain physical conditions such as an increase in age can find it difficult to obtain this important compound.
- Overall, it is a powerful mood elevator, thereby increasing positive brain chemistry in aims to reduce depression symptoms. I personally do not take SAM-e. Through reading reviews by clicking the product, you will notice majority of them are positive. However, I take 5-HTP and for my main depression supplement and I find it works great.
- SAM-e is also used for anxiety, heart disease, abdominal pain, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, tendinitis, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Since the product contains healthy compounds needed for essential bodily and mind functions, it has a lot of beneficial effects.
- You have probably noticed a pattern here. Take your vitamins like your mother has told you! Mainly, vitamin D plays an essential role in bone health but other studies have shown that vitamin D has a positive affect on your mental health like vitamin B and C.
- Vitamin D receptors has been found in areas of the brain. These receptors are found on the surfaces of our cells and when these cells receive a certain chemical signal, it tells the cell to act in a certain way (divide, die, replicate, repair). This means that vitamin D is acting in a crucial way for our cells in the brain.
- A theory that is often presented is that vitamin D affects the amount of chemicals called monoamines like serotonin. Therefore, with vitamin D efficiency, you will notice an uptake of monoamines in the brain, thereby resulting in an increase in serotonin levels.
- Melatonin is found naturally in the body throughout hormones. It is sometimes used to establish order in life-cycles such as decreasing jet-lag, adjusting sleep-wake cycles, and helping those establish a daily and nightly routine. It is used for insomnia patients as this product helps those with sleep disorders.
- Mainly, melatonin is like an internal clock that aids in regulating internal rhythm in your body, thereby allowing for a fixed sleep schedule. It is made from serotonin, hence why people take this product to help elevate their moods and decrease depression symptoms. If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), then this product is definitely the best option for you. If you suffer from insomnia or lack sleep in general, then I would recommend melatonin.
- Mental disorders such as depression often steal sleep, appetite, energy, and mood from people. Vitamin C is relatively inexpensive and is extremely healthy not only for the body, but for the mind also.
- Vitamin C deficiency can lead to physical disorders such as scurvy, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease. These physical disorders can have an adverse affect on your mental health by promoting stress and hormonal changes. Stress and hormonal change are big contributing factors to mental illnesses such as depression. That is why vitamin C supplements help combat this deficiency, thereby promoting a positive effect on your physical and mental health.
- Moderate vitamin C deficiency can even be linked to symptoms of depression. An experimental study published in the January 2011 issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that low levels of Vitamin C was correlated with higher mortality rates and symptoms of depression. Implementing healthy foods such as vegetables and salads (leafy greens) can increase levels of Vitamin C, but many people find that taking vitamin C supplements is an easier and more efficient method to acquire these doses.
- These are organic compounds essential for the body and mind. They contain amines and carboxyl functional groups along with a specific side chain to each amino acid. They make up proteins that are important for bodily and brain functions. Amino acid residues form the second largest component of human muscles and tissues. Besides their roles as protein functions, they promote neurotransmitter support that helps regulate mood and brain function.
- Without an adequate amount of amino acids, your brain cannot function properly leading to wiriness and decreased brain activity which can lead to depression symptoms.
- These supplements are considered anti-inflammatory microbes that affect the gut and brain in a positive way. They are mainly consumed for stomach or digestion problems. However, they also help to decrease stress signaling in the body and increase the transformation of tryptophan into serotonin (chemical responsible for happiness and mood elevation). Research has shown that probiotics have positive effects similar to antidepressants which also help elevate mood and brain function by increasing serotonin levels.
- A massive amount of serotonin is also found in the gut (majority of it actually). Having a healthy guy will allow healthy serotonin levels.
- I take probiotics for my body mostly whenever I have an upset stomach. I find other supplements work better for depression like 5-HTP whose sole purpose is to elevate the mood.
- Nonetheless, probiotics are healthy for both the body and the mind. Other studies have shown a decrease in anxiety symptoms also.
- 5-HTP: I take this everyday. This I take one capsule during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However lately, I have noticed very steady mood improvements, so I lower my dosage to sometimes even 1 capsule per day. Start with 3 capsules per day. It truly is a great natural supplement that elevates your mood greatly due to the increase production of serotonin (happy chemical) in the brain. 5-HTP does not come with any side effects for most people and you will notice an improvement of mood and overall well-being in about a week or two. If it takes longer, don’t panic. Everyone’s brains work differently. Give it some more time. This is by far my favorite natural supplement and personally, the best one for depression.
- GABA: I take this also. I mainly take it for my anxiety because this supplement has a calming and relaxing effect on the central nervous system. However, depression and anxiety come hand in hand as you may have noticed so GABA does help with both depression and anxiety symptoms. You will notice mood elevation as well as a calming effect when taking this. This is my most recommended supplement for anxiety.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These are essential for mental and physical health. They are extremely popular because they have many mental and physical benefits. Physically omega-3 helps prevent heart attack and stroke, lowers blood pressure, decreases abnormal heart rhythm, and prevents arthritis by loosening joint pain and stiffness. Mentally, they help with depression by decreasing inflammation in both the body and brain. Omega-3 come mostly in fatty fishes which are hard to acquire. That is why many have turned to the supplement form. I would say everyone should be taking omega-3, depression or not.
- Turmeric: Another great supplement that has many physical and mental benefits. I take my turmeric everyday with one capsule per day. Turmeric prevents cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and increases life-span. It is an anti-inflammatory like omega-3s that tend to aid the body and brain by decreasing high levels of inflammation (inflammation causes many physical disorders as well as mental disorders.) Turmeric is basically a very strong anti-inflammatory. I wish more people new about this supplement. People refer to it is the mega-multivitamin.
- Vitamin B,C,D: Vitamins are extremely important for numerous physical and mental reasons. Take your vitamins is all I have to say. You’ve probably been told that however. I try to take mine everyday, but I am guilty of missing some doses. That may seem like a lot of supplements but truthfully they are all natural and our bodies and minds are natural machines constantly ready to up-take natural products to use for our own efficiency.
Those are my top 5 recommendations. Of course, the other supplements listed that aren’t in my recommendations are extremely helpful as well for their own reasons.
All of them help reduce depression symptoms, but some more than others because some solely focus on elevating your mood, like 5-HTP while others help with both physical and mental issues.
I would like to stress that a combination of these supplements is completely safe. I combine mine everyday and have only noticed positives for my health.
If you are unsure, start with 5-HTP. Again, that is what I started with and I noticed an impact on mood elevation very quickly. Much quicker than you will find with antidepressants.
However, it is important that you implement other actions in your life to help combat your depression.
Allow your supplements to give you the elevation you need to change your life-style, your choices, and your way of thinking and behavior.
Exercise and eating healthy are the two main ones I would like to emphasize. With these beneficial supplements, a healthy routine and diet, you will find a massive improvement on your physical and mental health. Read my article that discusses the best foods for depression and the best exercises for depression.
If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, do not hesitate to ask me. I have had many years experience with mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
Comment below if you have something to add or just want to connect. I live to help people and I am so grateful for the help I have received.