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Depression is a mood disorder, which normally produces a decay of the state of mind and psychological and biological alterations of the person permanently.
It manifests itself through various psychological symptoms (lack of interest, sadness, demoralization, low self-esteem...) and somatic symptoms (loss of appetite, weight loss, asthenia, sleep disturbances with stages of insomnia and drowsiness, etc.).
Depression, what strategies may help?
Depression is a pathology that can be found amongst the three top causes for disability, and it generates very high individual, family and social costs. In Europe, depression is one of the main reasons for a lower productive capacity, early retirement and work absence, and it’s expected that this will increase over the years.
Anxiety or depression are the most common mental pathologies diagnosed in the United Kingdom, where in 2016 alone it was reported that over 17% of the population was suffering from these disorders.
Approximately, 1 in every 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem every year. According to a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report from 2015, at any given time an average of one in four patients of a full-time GP requires treatment for a mental health condition. There were nearly three million adults on local GP registers for depression in 2013/14. Close to 2 million people (1,833,904) were in contact with mental health and learning disability services in 2014/15.
These numbers, increasingly more widespread, show the drama that millions of people who suffer from this illness undergo, but, what strategies can help us prevent and combat depression?
Diagnosis and treatment for depression
Depression presents several symptoms such as sleep problems, apathy, panic attacks and emotional vacuum.
Depression might be caused by metabolic disorders (“endogenous depression”) or by external factors (“exogenous, neurotic or reactive depression”). The brain neurotransmitters suffer a metabolic disorder due to a serotonin and norepinephrine deficiency. This will produce the nervous excitement that will cause the typical depression symptoms.
But, what can you do to fight depression? Besides a psychological and medical treatment, which is always necessary, the affected person may use a support therapy, with a different remedy for depression: vital natural supplements.
Natural products for depression: 5-HTP, Rhodiola, L-theanine and others
There are some natural dietary supplements with important anti-depressive effects. Among them, you’ll find 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), which stimulates serotonin synthesis in the brain, improving mood, helping calm down and lose weight. It also helps sleep quality, reduces the probability of suffering panic attacks and reliefs fibromyalgia.
It participates in the formation of the inhibiting neurotransmitter GABA and is positively involved in dopamine and serotonin levels. L-Theanine reduces stress, anxiety and blood pressure.
Omega-3 fatty acids are an effective remedy for depression. These polyunsaturated fatty acids are good for the heart health, the cardiovascular system, the brain and joints, and they also provide a well-being feeling due to their multiple positive effects. They are considered an effective natural antidepressant. Among these fatty acids we can find Krill oil, used to fight fatigue, apathy and depression.
L-tryptophan is an amino acid that in the body turns into 5-HTP and stimulates serotonin production. Serotonin enhances good mood and provides psychological and mental wellness.
L-tyrosine also plays an important role in the production of dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. L-Tyrosine can help increase mental and physical performance.
Studies performed with Ginkgo Biloba have shown its ability to reduce depression in the elderly. The antioxidants it contains may reduce the harmful effects of free radicals associated with age, and enhance serotonin receptors.
Rhodiola rosea, also called Rhodiola, stimulates the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which contribute decisively to providing a state of energy and happiness. People taking Rhodiola regularly feel more sociable and active, and can cope better with stressful situations.
These nutrients and supplements act naturally against depression, without chemical substances. They are available with no need of prescription.
The best supplements for depression
Here we have a small list of the best supplements for depression. Including these products in our diet may help to reduce the symptoms of this condition, as well as being completely natural.
- L-tryptophan: As previously mentioned, tryptophan promotes the synthesis of serotonin.
- Group B vitamins: Vitamins B are essential for the correct functioning of the nervous system and production of neurotransmitters.
- Magnesium: It is a regulator of the nervous system, avoiding certain disorders such as insomnia, anxiety, hyperactivity, stress and depression. It is one of the best remedies for panic attacks and phobias.
- Omega-3 fatty acids rich in EPA and DHA from fish oil- Fish oil is the best source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (particularly, EPA). EPA has been proven to lower depression rates up to 10%.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency is more common than one would this. Several studies have demonstrated that a shortage of Vitamin D can increase the risk of suffering from depression.