Struggling with anxiety and depression? It's more common than you think.
Nearly 15 million Americans a year struggle with depression and about 18% of Americans battle one or more anxiety disorders, that occur twice as frequently in women than men.
For us New Yorkers, especially those that battle Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the cold weather doesn't help. Increased time spent indoors and decreased exposure to sunlight (Vitamin D) can lead to increased rates of anxiety and depression. Luckily, nature offers many treatments for those struggling with anxiety and depression.
There are many supplements that have shown promising in their ability to decrease anxiety and depression and restore mental well-being.
Below are five supplements considered to be some of the most effective in their treatment of anxiety and depression.
As always, be sure to consult with your physician before taking any supplements, especially if you have a history of anxiety or depression or are currently taking other medications and/or supplements.
5-HTP is a by-product of the protein building block, L-tryptophan. It works with the brain and central nervous system to increase production of the chemical serotonin, which is involved in sleep, appetite, sexual behavior and pain sensation. By increasing the synthesis of serotonin, 5-HTP can be a natural treatment for depression and anxiety, as well as insomnia, migraines, tension headaches, fibromyalgia, PMS, ADHD, seizures and more.
Omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids
Essential fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6, play a vital role in the function of serotonin and dopamine. Regularly eating omega-3 and omega-6-rich foods, like salmon, tuna, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds, are considered two of the best supplements for depression.
Several studies, including those of the National Institute of Health, reveal that vitamin B6 deficiency can contribute to depression and inattentiveness or mental confusion. Moreover, most diets do not provide sufficient amounts of this vitamin, otherwise known as pyridoxine. Since vitamin b6 is water-soluble and not stored by the body, it must be added to our diets or taken as a supplement. Foods that contain Vitamin B6 include: beef liver, potatoes, raw garlic and some non-citrus fruits.
Many people that struggle with depression are deficient in Folate, or Vitamin B9. Found in many different healthy foods, including fruits and leafy vegetables, folate is responsible for protein metabolism, cell growth and division and the prevention of neural tube defects. Folate deficiency may lead to the development of MDD, or major depressive disorder. Malabsorption of this vitamin is also associated with poor response to antidepressants.
Dating back three millennia and used by Ayurvedic practitioners, Ashwaganda is an herb proven to help calm anxiety in clinical studies. Ashwaganda is considered an ‘adaptogenic,' meaning that supplementation results in homeostasis or stabilization of physiological processes.
Stay tuned for the next post in our series of other natural anxiety and depression fighters this week!