depression symptoms may be addressed by the following nutrients:
Betaine HCl
Depression can result from low neurotransmitter activity due to poor assimilation of key nutrients. Low stomach acid is a common cause of poor nutrient assimilation. It follows that supplementation with acid supplements such as betaine HCl may reduce the incidence or severity of depressive illness.
Depressed patients were helped significantly by a combination of 1000 mg of calcium gluconate and 600 IU of vitamin D, given twice a day for four weeks.
Chromium helps treat atypical depression, a type of depression characterized by mood reactivity, excessive sleepiness and sluggishness, and hypersensitivity to rejection. In one study, a 600 g dose given for eight weeks helped 65% of atypical depressives whose symptoms included extreme carbohydrate craving. The mineral may work by addressing hypoglycemic issues in these patients.
DHEA supplements can relieve depression in individuals whose tests reveal low levels of the hormone. Low DHEA is common postpartum, in those with chronic fatigue syndrome, and in several chronic disease conditions.
Folic acid (folacin, folate)
Adults diagnosed with depressive disorders tend to have lower-than-average blood folate levels, and treatment with folic acid is associated with improved outcome for such patients. Anti-depressant drugs tend not to be effective for those with low folate levels.
GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid)
GABA is helpful in some cases of depression. Low GABA levels are found in women whose depressed mood is associated with hormonal changes.
Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo can improve mental function and help to relieve depression. In one study it reduced scores on the Hamilton Depression scale by 50%. Because ginkgo is believed to work by treating age-related loss of serotonin receptors, the herb may be most helpful to older individuals.
Low inositol levels are associated with depression. Treatment for four weeks with 6-12 grams per day has helped to relieve depressive symptoms.
Iodine (iodide)
Iodine deficiency can result in depressed mood, particularly when the condition is extreme and associated with hypothyroidism.
Lithium salts are used in relatively large doses to treat some cases of bipolar disorder. However, used in small doses of 5 to 10 mg daily, the mineral helps to protect the brain against pharmaceutical and other mood-altering substances used to treat depression.
Magnesium deficiency can cause nervousness, irritability, and depression. Because an estimated 75% of Americans are magnesium-deficient, assuring optimal magnesium intake -- around 300 mg daily -- is essential for those suffering from these conditions.
SAM-e is effective in treating depression in many individuals with moderate clinical depression, and has been found to help cases where pharmaceutical solutions were ineffective. Side benefits of SAM-e may include improved joint health and liver function.
Niacin (nicotinic acid, vitamin B3)
Niacinamide deficiency results in depression, anxiety, and personality changes including excessive startle reaction. The vitamin's mild sedative effect may be particularly helpful in cases of anxious depression.
Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA, fish oil)
Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are lacking in most Americans' diets, and low levels are associated with depression. Depression during pregnancy is often linked to inadequate levels of these fatty acids.
Phenylalanine proved as helpful as the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine in a double-blind study. The amino acid is most helpful in cases of depression involving apathy and lethargy, and has the advantage of near-immediate effects.
Phosphatidylserine (PS)
PS is helpful for depression, and appears particularly useful in treating Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD (a form of depression that occurs with inadequate exposure to sunlight).
Individuals suffering from chronic or recurring depression were found to have lower-than-average levels of pregnenolone in their spinal fluid. Some depressed individuals are helped by pregnenolone supplements.
Rhodiola has reportedly improved anxiety and depressed mood in a majority of patients with depression.
St. John's wort
St. John's wort helps relieve mild to moderate depression -- relieving symptoms in 67% of those afflicted, in one study.
Tryptophan and its relative 5-HTP are effective antidepressants for a large number of individuals. The amino acid tryptophan is metabolized into serotonin, the mood-elevating neurotransmitter so often manipulated by patent drugs, and has the advantage of near-immediate action for those it will help. Tryptophan is effective against seasonal affective disorder.
The amino acid tyrosine works better than most antidepressant drugs. It is particularly effective for those whose depression is accompanied by apathy or lethargy, and can help to clarify thinking for those under stress.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Thiamine deficiency is characterized by anxiety and depression, even in relatively early stages. Alcohol destroys thiamine, and many alcoholics are thiamine deficient.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B6 is particularly helpful in cases of premenstrual depression. A dietary deficiency can cause both depression and mental confusion.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Vitamin B12 helps to alleviate depression directly and also helps to lower homocysteine, a dangerous compound that is associated with depressed mood.
Vitamin C
According to Andrew Saul, Ph.D., physicians who prescribe large doses of vitamin C have had "striking success in reversing depression." This success is likely due to vitamin C's key role in the conversion of dietary amino acids to norepinephrine. Norepinephrine deficiency is often linked to clinical depression.
Depression is one of many symptoms associated with zinc deficiency.

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