As far as our health and general well-being is concerned, it has to be said that, as well as looking after ourselves physically, we should also ensure that we do all that we can do look after ourselves mentally as well. Stress, anxiety, and depression are all incredibly common ailments that affect millions upon millions of people all over the world. Perhaps most worrying of all, is the fact that a large percentage of people suffering with afflictions such as depression, will actually suffer in silence, for fear of being ridiculed or labelled. There is a very significant stigma attached to mental health disorders, which is why people choose to keep their feelings and problems bottled up inside. Suffering from any form of mental health ailment however, does not make you crazy or dramatic, it simply makes you human. Whether you yourself happen to be suffering with depression, or if you know somebody who is, the good news is that the condition can be beaten. Specialist supplements for example, have proven incredibly beneficial for fighting and preventing depression, and so to emphasize this point, here’s a look at the top five supplements for depression.
When people talk about natural supplements that are designed to help promote mental health and well-being, 5-HTP is one of the most effective supplements on the face of the earth. 5-HTP is actually an amino acid, and its full name is 5-hydroxytrytophan. One of the main reasons why 5-HTP is so effective for treating and preventing depression, is the fact that it helps to significantly boost natural serotonin levels within the body. Serotonin is a natural chemical hormone that is responsible for feelings of happiness, confidence, calmness, and relaxation. 5-HTP works as a precursor for serotonin and many prefer this supplement to other anti-depressant medications, such as Prozac, which actually possesses some pretty nasty side effects. In the body, 5-HTP is actually taken and converted into serotonin once consumed, so you are actually able to increase natural serotonin levels. This in turn will help you to get more sleep, to relax, and to feel happier and to think clearer in the process.
Theanine, or L-theanine as it is sometimes called, is an amino acid which is actually naturally present within green tea. Theanine is so beneficial because experts have found that it is able to naturally trigger the release of gamma aminobutyric acid, or GABA for short. GABA is so relevant because this chemical triggers the activation of specialist neurotransmitters in the brain that help to promote feelings of relaxation, calmness, and mental clarity. The problem however, is that with supplements containing artificially synthesized versions of GABA, the human body finds it difficult to absorb the GABA, which is where theanine comes into the mix. Theanine is able to easily be absorbed by the body, and can therefore increase natural GABA production from the inside.
Contrary to popular belief, vitamin D isn’t actually naturally present in sunlight at all. What sunlight does do however, is help the body to absorb vitamin D that may already be present from foods and supplements. Vitamin D supplements however, are easily absorbed by the body and therefore you don’t need natural sunlight to be able to absorb and process it. Vitamin D not only helps with the absorption of calcium, therefore improving teeth and bone health, but it also has been found to play a significant role in a person’s mental health as well. A number of studies carried out have found that individuals that take a vitamin D supplement daily, are far less likely to experience the signs and symptoms of depression when compared with people that do not get enough vitamin D on a daily basis. Though the exact reason why vitamin D is thought to help reduce depression is not yet clear, experts believe that the vitamin is actually able to help enhance natural neurotransmitter functions.
B complex vitamins have also been found to provide a number of benefits to people suffering with depression, stress, and anxiety, in a number of different ways. Studies have found that one of the main reasons why people suffer from depression and depression-like symptoms, is down to imbalances in their brain neurotransmitters. These brain neurotransmitters can function as enhancers to a person’s mood and can send transmissions and signals between the cells and the brain. Serotonin for example, is a neurotransmitter, and as we now know, this neurotransmitter can play a number of roles in helping to enhance a person’s mental health and well-being. What does this have to do with B vitamins? Well, put simply, B complex vitamins such as vitamin B6 or B3, actually help the body to hold onto the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan, as we now know, is converted into serotonin within the body, so by taking B vitamin supplements, you are able to preserve more tryptophan, and are therefore able to increase natural serotonin levels even more. For this reason, people taking B vitamin supplements, often stack them with 5-HTP, and vice versa.
Fish oil supplements
Fish oil supplements such as cod liver oil, have been found to be very beneficial for fighting mental health issues, and are extremely useful for improving brain health and function as a result. As the oil is packed full of beneficial omega 3 fatty acids, the human brain can benefit greatly from fish oil supplements. Omega 3s can promote long and short-term memory, they can prevent degenerative diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and they can help enhance cognitive function in general. When a person’s brain isn’t functioning correctly, or as efficiently as it should be, they can often find themselves experiencing a poor mood and feeling increasingly stressed, anxious, and depressed. As well as helping to improve mental health, fish oil supplements also provide numerous other benefits to other parts of the body, which promote overall health and well-being in general.