Depression is a serious condition, experienced by many people (approximately 15 million American adults or approximately 6.7% of the US population at any time). We see depression every day in our practices, manifesting in various forms in our patients. Some people feel down and blue on occasion while others suffer from debilitating depression that impairs their ability to work. We do not profess to cure depression with the exclusive use of vitamins. However, we believe that vitamins and supplements can play a role in treating and prevention depression. A recent study shows that using magnesium for depression shows promising results.
Most people who are depressed benefit from multiple modalities of treatment– these can include therapy with a trained counselor or therapist, medication, lifestyle changes (including improved sleep habits and exercise regimen) and some carefully chosen supplements. We always advocate seeking professional help for symptoms of depression which may include feeling hopeless, lack of energy and not wanting to participate in normal activities. We also recommend going to get urgent help from your local emergency room or crisis hotline should you experience any thoughts of suicide or violence towards others.
In more subtle cases of depression and feeling down, making small change to your daily routine can often go far. We can not overemphasize the importance of proper sleep. This means an adequate amount of quality sleep. Some people spend a great deal of time in bed but they are not getting quality sleep for a variety of reasons– insomnia, sleep apnea, poor sleep habits, etc. See more on sleep and its role in energy in this blog.
Exercise can also be a useful tool in combatting depression. We understand that it is often hard to take the first steps towards being active when you are depressed. However, if you can get break a cycle of inactivity with starting the most simple at home exercise or some light walking, it can often lead to building new healthy routines that build on them selves and reverse the downward cycle of inactivity. Not moving can make you feel more down and tired, thus engaging your body in activity can help to start reversing the process in small increments. Let us not forget that exercise and activity create natural endorphins that make your body and brain happy.
When we think about vitamins that help depression we often looked to Vitamin D. This important vitamin, which is actually a hormone, is known to improve mood in those who are deficient. Who is deficient? Most of us to varying degrees, depending on where you live and who you are– read more on specifics of vitamin D and find out how much you should be taking.
Another useful supplement for depression is Omega 3s or fish oil. These products are shown to help with brain function and therefore logically can help with mood. Similarly many B vitamins are known to optimize brain and nerve function, and accordingly seem to help with fatigue, lack of energy and other symptoms that can look like depression.
But perhaps the most exciting news about vitamins for depression relates to this new study, suggesting a role for magnesium in treating depression. We have long touted magnesium for it’s role in muscle aches, migraine prevention and IBS. We know it is an essential electrolyte for adequate hydration, blood pressure regulation and more. It is somehow not surprising that it also can play a role in mood regulation and improving symptoms of depression.
As with all news about vitamins for depression, there is no sure thing and nor are vitamins and supplements a substitute for other treatment modalities for depression. They can however be a useful addition to any healthy lifestyle and attempt to feel better. Figuring out which vitamins to take based on your diet, lifestyle and health concerns is the key and a personalized multivitamin is a great way to get what you need.
Romy Block specializes in Endocrinology and Metabolism and is mother to three elementary age boys. Arielle Levitan is a Doctor of Internal Medicine with a special interest in Preventive Medicine and Women’s Health. She is a mother of three active adolescents. As professional women with active family lives, they recognize that people often neglect their own health needs and are uncertain about what vitamins to take. Each person is different in her diet, exercise and health history, and will benefit from different nutrients. After years of advising their patients about the proper vitamins to take, Drs. Block and Levitan created Vous Vitamin® to provide people everywhere with quality vitamins that are suited to their individual needs. They are authors of the award winning The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health (She Writes Press, 2015).
The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered by Vous Vitamin® are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Nothing contained herein is intended to be a diagnosis or constitute medical advice. The symptoms described in this Blog may be a result of a serious medical condition which requires medical treatment. You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this Blog and before beginning any vitamin or supplement regimen.