Mon, Apr 26, 21

What Are The Most Popular Natural Antidepressants?

Today, a vast number of people suffer from the effects of depression. Still, not everyone wants to immediately jump in line to start taking prescription or over-the-counter antidepressants to try to solve their issue. Thankfully, pharmacy-made medications are not the only option available for those looking to overcome their depression. Several natural types of antidepressants are prevalent among those looking for alternatives to medications prescribed by doctors that can help to improve their quality of life.

Related: How To Increase Dopamine Naturally

Ginkgo Biloba

Individuals who are looking for a natural approach to treat the symptoms of mild depression should consider giving Ginkgo Biloba a try. This herb boosts energy and concentration by increasing the level of blood flow to the brain. While research hasn’t directly connected it to people’s moods, it has been linked to improved memory and attention span which many depressed people often experience issues with. Additionally, Ginkgo Biloba has been shown to improve some of the sexual side effects of prescription antidepressants. Those taking this herb for depression should consume 40-80 milligrams two or three times per day, though it’s essential to use a standardized extract with 6% terpene lactones and 24% flavonoids.

S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM-e)

Like prescription antidepressants, SAMe can increase levels of specific brain chemicals that are involved in determining a person’s mood. Studies of this substance have indicated that it works about as effectively as prescription antidepressants but can start working much faster within the body. While prescription medications for antidepressants can take up to three or more weeks to start working effectively, SAMe can start kicking in within one to two weeks. Start with 200 milligrams twice a day for one week, and then double the dosage if you don’t notice any changes.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Certain types of fatty fish, like albacore and tuna, contain omega-3 fatty acids that, according to multiple studies, can help improve mood and treat symptoms of depression in both adults and kids. Scientists are not entirely sure how omega-3 fatty acids can do this, but it may reduce the effects of the stress hormone cortisol. Taking omega-3s at too high a dosage can result in an upset stomach as well as thinning of the blood, so those on blood thinners or who experience clotting issues need to regulate their omega-3 intake carefully.

Related: How Vitamins And Stress Are Related


Tea being made from lavender

Lavender is well known and loved by many for its relaxing properties and ability to help people receive a good night’s sleep without the various side effects that often accompany sleeping pills. Lavender can also significantly help in reducing symptoms of anxiety and help with stress relief. Those who suffer from depression symptoms may benefit from taking lavender supplements or drinking lavender tea because of these effects.

B Vitamins

The B vitamins B12 and folate can help the brain convert amino acids into other chemicals, such as serotonin. These increased serotonin levels improve people’s ability to process emotions while also helping them feel less anxious, happier, calmer, and more focused. It’s suggested that those taking B vitamins to fight depression take 400 micrograms of B12 and 800 micrograms of folate every day.

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St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort is derived from a type of yellow flower that has been used as a component of various herbal remedies for many centuries. While specific studies have shown that St. John’s wort can help treat symptoms of depression, the results of this research have been relatively inconsistent. There is data to suggest that it can change how the brain can process chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in ways similar to prescribed antidepressants. However, scientists do not yet know if it can be utilized effectively as a long-term treatment for depression, especially severe depression.

Also, it must be noted that taking St. John’s wort has the potential to impact the effectiveness of many types of prescribed medications. Additionally, combining this substance with prescription antidepressants can result in the build-up of life-threatening serotonin levels within the body. Please consult your primary medical physician if you’re considering taking St. John’s wort to treat depression symptoms. 

5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

5-HTP is a molecule that can increase serotonin levels within the brain, which is a type of mood-boosting chemical (neurotransmitter). Various scientific studies have shown that it can significantly increase the quality of people’s moods compared to a placebo. It’s recommended that those seeking depression relief take 50 milligrams of 5-HTP up to three times a day.

Related: Herbs For Anxiety: A Guide To Natural Anxiety Remedies


A doctor in mint scrubs holding a handful of vitamins and supplements 

Low levels of zinc can cause a decrease in immunity that can negatively impact one’s overall mood. According to one study, depressed individuals who took zinc supplements alongside prescribed antidepressants felt significantly less depressed after six weeks than those only taking the prescribed medications. It’s recommended that those taking zinc for depression consume up to 25 milligrams each day.

5-Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

DHEA is a type of steroid hormone that is produced by the body’s adrenal glands. A small selection of studies has indicated that it may ease some of the symptoms that come along with various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Please note, however, that DHEA may result in side effects and can interact negatively with a range of other drugs. These interactions may result in higher risks for specific cancer types, bleeding, changes in blood sugar levels, and it may also affect menstruation and fertility.

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