In today’s fast-paced world, mood swings are as fickle as the daily weather. In the mad rush to cloister ourselves with comfort, we sometimes find it difficult to pull it altogether into a perfectly neat bow. This is when depression hits us hard. There are so many things that can get us down: stress, isolation, failed relationships, insomnia, pregnancy to name a few. Most of the time it may be a minor let down lasting one or two days at the most; nothing a scoop of London dairy can’t fix. Sometimes though, we find that our depressive state sticks with us longer than a few days and how much ever we try, we just can’t seem to bounce back up on our feet. Don’t worry! You are not alone. You are suffering from what is medically termed as ‘Clinical depression’. Scientifically, depression is believed to be the byproduct of low serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine levels; the three essential neuro transmitters that regulate mood swings in humans. While severe, recurring cases of clinical depression needs to be treated with anti-depressants after consultation with a doctor, the more benign ones can be treated naturally at home. Here are few top supplements that can help you naturally beat the blues:
- Omega 3 fatty acids/ Fish oil: Fish oil comprises of two major poly-unsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), collectively termed as Omega 3 fatty acids which are integral for the overall neural and cardiovascular health. Research has indicated that people suffering from depression generally have low levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in their system and counties that serve fish as a staple dietary element have lower cases of depression. While the full effect of Omega 3 fatty acids on depression is still obscure, these are generally believed to elevate the serotonin levels and thereby enhancing signal transmission in the brain.
- Multi-vitamins: Vitamins B complex & vitamin D are believed to fend-off depression. Vitamin B beats depression by acting as conservers of the amino acid Tryptophan and maximizing its conversion into serotonin. Additionally, Vitamin B12/folic acid is especially vital for the synthesis of norepinephrine and dopamine, the two other neurotransmitters involved in the mood variations. Vitamin B is also required for adrenal health. Stress causes a major depletion in Vitamin B. If you’ve been having mood swing as a result of major stress, it is advisable to bolster your diet with vitamin B. Vitamin D is a hormone which enhances calcium absorption. Deficient levels of vitamin D can lead to increased fatigue, mental problems and brain fog. The exact mechanism of vitamin D action on depression is just a conjecture, however, this is believed to act by enhancing neurotransmitter function.
- GABA: GABA, or Gamma amino-butyric acid is a inhibitory neurotransmitter that relives stress by shutting down the flight and fight response of the nervous system and thereby inducing a mild sedation that will help the body and mind to relax and heal. This is usually sold over the counter as a capsule, pill or powder. Theanine, an amino acid derivative found in green tea and also sold over the counter helps trigger the quick release of GABA in the brain.
- Inositol: A glucose-like organic compound that expedites the transmission of serotonin and other mood-regulating neurotransmitters in to the brain and thereby reliving stress. It is usually sold as a capsule or powder.
- Tryptophan: This is the precursor for serotonin, the chief neurotransmitter that regulates the mood swings. Tryptophan is sold over the counter as L-tryptophan or 5-HTP which represent the two precedent stages of tryptophan conversion to serotonin. This is used as a treatment method in the worst case scenarios when even anti-depressants such as Prozac don’t work.