Depression is highly prevalent worldwide. Complementary medicine – including nutrition and dietary supplementation – is an effective adjunct to managing and treating mild-moderate depression. Here are six considerations to naturally address depression:
1. Balance your blood sugar.
Poor blood sugar control is associated with symptoms of depression. Excess sugar intake in the form of highly processed foods is also associated with systemic inflammation – a key hallmark of depression and other chronic conditions.
2. Reduce systemic inflammation.
As noted above, low-grade systemic inflammation is common in people suffering with depression and other mental health disorders. Reduce your intake of nasty fats such as refined seed oils and margarine, and instead choose omega-3 rich fats including oily fish, nuts and seeds.
3. Consider a multi-strain, high-potency probiotic supplement.
More and more research is revealing the extraordinary connection between the gut microbiome and the brain.
4. Ensure sufficient Vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to lower mood and depression. A 25(OH)D test can be requested by your doctor to determine your vitamin D status. Vitamin D3 can be temporarily supplemented to boost levels; whilst regular sun exposure is the best way to maintain optimal vitamin D levels. Speak to a properly qualified nutritionist or naturopath with regards to supplementation.
5. Consider methyl-folate and Vitamin B12.
These nutrients are required to support an essential biochemical process called methylation (more on this later). Some individuals with mood disorders and other health conditions may present with a variant in the MTHFR gene, which reduces the effectiveness of methylation. With inadequate methylation, the body is unable to produce adequate neurotransmitters and hormones required to balance mood. Other B vitamins, such as vitamin B6 and B2, are also involved.
6. Address any stressors in your life.
Too much stress can lead to chronically elevated cortisol. Cortisol isn’t all that bad in small doses. But if chronic, it is linked to dysregulated serotonin and dopamine – two important neurotransmitters for regulating mood.
7. Talk with heart.
Talking about depression and any concerns you have is incredibly therapeutic. If you don’t have someone near to you that you can freely talk to, or even if you do, find yourself a wonderful psychologist.
There are a lot of beautiful ways to naturally address depression without the need for drug interventions. However, it begins with one very important step – that is, knowing you are worth it! And you are! xo