Can Depression Supplements Provide a Lasting Solution to Depression?

depression supplements from brainsmart

There is no denying that a huge social stigma has been attached to depression. What people don’t know or want to admit is that depression is something that all of us experience at one point in our lives. It’s a part of being human. Even good-natured people get depressed sometimes as problems in life are inevitable. Feeling low is okay every now and then. At times it’s even perfectly normal. It is unnatural, for example, to be unaffected by the death of a loved one.

For many people, depression is a highly-reversible emotional disorder. One only needs to explore the manifold options available right now. Over the last few decades the ‘natural’ movement has made a lot of headway in discovering, rediscovering, and promoting natural solutions to every health problem. Enter the group of natural depression supplements and serotonin supporting brain supplements that are currently gaining popularity in the fields of alternative/naturopathic and integrative medicine.

Critics of natural supplements for depression claim that these supplements for brain improvement only have antidepressant properties that are anecdotal at best, in spite of the mounting clinical evidence that demonstrate their efficacy. To these people nothing beats industrial-strength pharmaceuticals.  But are these doctor prescribed brain supplements the best remedy for you or your loved one? Educating yourself on the differences between natural mood supporting supplements for brain and drugs for depression will help you choose the right treatment for you.

Herbs and Spices

Doctor prescribed drugs versus natural depression supplements

Unlike herbal supplements for depression, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, tricyclic anti depression medications, or any class of pharmaceutical for that matter are completely synthetic and are therefore devoid of nutritive cofactors such as antioxidants and phytochemicals naturally present in plants. Natural supplements for depression also work on the underlying biochemical causes of depression i.e. chemical and hormonal imbalance in the form of neurotransmitter deficiency and insufficient levels of hormones related to mood and mental well-being. It is for this reason that herbal depression supplements usually do not work as fast as their pharmaceutical counterparts, which only work on suppressing symptoms, not on fixing what caused the problem in the first place. By correcting neuro-chemical depletion natural supplements for depression restore biochemical balance in the nervous system, thereby promoting nervous system health as well.

While psychiatric medications are not ineffective, serious risks can outweigh the benefits of these drugs. Potential side effects of anti-depressant medications are well-documented. These include depletion of the very nutrients vital to mental health along with; constipation, aggression and violent behaviour, suicidal thoughts, seizures, hallucinations, out-of-nowhere homicidal tendencies, psychosis, depression, bloating, headache, hyperhidrosis, insomnia, fatigue, nausea, tremors, anxiety, agitation, mania, dizziness, loss of appetite, confusion, hostility, rage, self-mutilation, nightmares, drowsiness, dry mouth, overeating, upset stomach, difficulty in swallowing, mood swings, memory lapses, indigestion, impotence, heart attack, restlessness, tinnitus, numbness in the extremities, diarrhea, poor concentration, panic attacks, sleepiness, and rashes. You may have noticed that some of the side effects are adverse. All popular prescription medications for the brain are required to include a black box warning on their bottles and packaging.

This is not the case with natural depression supplements. They are normally well-tolerated by most people who take them. Natural supplements for depression might have side effects that can affect sensitive individuals, especially if they are not used correctly.  But such side effects are mild and short-lived.  Lifestyle adjustments are also called for when taking natural depression supplements, such as getting the right amount of sun exposure and avoiding any specific foods that may interact with the supplement’s active compounds.

shutterstock_102144631-1Are natural depression supplements for you?

If you are seeking a natural alternative to prescription drugs for the treatment of mild to moderate depression then taking natural depression supplements could  be a very good option for you, especially if you want to avoid the dangerous side effects associated with popular brands of prescription drugs. It is always sensible to consult your health care provider to guide you in the decision-making process.

While natural supplements for depression are generally mild and safe they do have some contraindications that would affect certain individuals. Each person is unique, which means that some might have negative pharmacological reactions not normally experienced by the majority. Some may experience nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, and even insomnia, while others experience nothing but euphoria and sound sleep.

It should be noted that natural depression supplements should only be used to treat mild to moderate depression. People suffering from major depression should consult a licensed health care practitioner before taking any type of natural brain supplement to improve mood. Those already on psychiatric drugs should not take natural supplements for depression or any other types of brain supplements as it is possible that they may lead to negative interactions when taken together.  St. John’s Wort, an ingredient in a number of depression supplements can interfere with many medications, including blood-thinning drugs, birth control pills, chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS medications.

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About the Author

Sam Jansen is a leading brain scientist, lawyer and author, studying neuroscience, social behaviours and the science of happiness. You can find him at Google+