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Nutrition and Supplementation for Mental Health

Jul 11, 2015
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B vitamins. The B vitamins, especially folic acid and vitamin B6, can be helpful in mild depression, and you should know that B vitamins can increase the efficacy of prescription anti-depressants.

B vitamins. The B vitamins, especially folic acid and vitamin B6, can be helpful in mild depression, and you should know that B vitamins can increase the efficacy of prescription anti-depressants. Nutritional deficiencies of B12 or B6 can be a root cause of depression and other mood irregularities.

St. John's wort. St. John's wort is an herbal remedy that has long been used in Europe as a treatment for mood disorders. Standardized extracts have shown an effectiveness equaling Prozac in the treatment of mild to moderate forms of the disease. It should not be taken with anti-retroviral medications, birth control pills, or antidepressant medications, especially SSRIs like Prozac or Celexa. Try 300mg of an extract standardized to 0.3 percent hypericin, three times a day. It's full effect will be felt in about eight weeks.

SAMe (S-adenosy-L-methionine). Has the advantage of working more quickly than St John's wort. Use only the butanedisulfonate form in enteric-coated tablets, or in capsules. Try 400-1,600 mg a day on an empty stomach.

Fish oil. Recent preliminary studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may be helpful in maintaining a healthy mind. A reasonable dose of fish-oil supplements (1,000 - 2,000 mg per day) might be useful in addressing mild depression. For patients suffering from depression, recommend doses range from 2,000 to 4,000mg/d. Studies utilizing the higher doses have shown the most benefit, with minimal side effects. In fact, since omega-3s are a necessary component of every cell in your body, most patients will report “side benefits” of taking omega-3 supplements. Not only is their depression improved, but their skin and eyes are less dry, and they usually report fewer aches and pains! Fish oil is also an excellent source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an essential fatty acid found in nerve and brain tissue.

In addition, follow a well-balanced diet and include an antioxidant multi-vitamin/mineral supplement to ensure you are meeting your nutritional needs for all the essential nutrients.

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