Supplements for Depression

Depression is a common emotional and physical complaint ranging from mild melancholy to total despair and even suicidal thoughts. It can be triggered by things like emotional stress, a life change, a traumatic event, seasonal shortages of sunlight, a reaction to medication, alcohol, allergies and nutritional deficiencies.

While everyone feels blue from time to time, if it persists for more than two weeks and includes sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, lack of sex drive and excessive crying, seek immediate medical or psychiatric help.

Scientists don't really know what causes depression, but it seems that it involves an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Several new prescription anti-depressant medications have hit the market in recent years, but vitamin, mineral and herbal therapies may play a role as well.

Deficiencies in vitamin C and the B vitamins have been linked to depression, as they are vital for the production of neurotransmitters. Calcium and magnesium seem to sooth the nrves and can help with symptoms like insomnia.

The herb St Johns wort has been hailed as a natural remedy for mild to moderate depression and anxiety. It seems to increase the brain's the production of serotonin which can lead to mood enhancement.

Some people, especially seniors, have had success using ginko biloba to manage their depression. 5-HTP, a form of the amino acid tryptophan, may also be beneficial for this condition. Eating foods rich in tryptophan such as turkey, milk and salmon can alleviate the sleeplessness that often accompanies depression.

Melatonin may have the same anti-insomnia affect, plus seems to counteract symptoms of SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

A final recommendation is kava, a member of the pepper family, which targets the limbic system and may be beneficial in treating anxiety, stress and restlessness.

Some of these natural remedies don't mix well with prescription drugs, so please consult a health professional before trying any of these approaches.

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