Natural Nutrition To Fight Depression And Anxiety

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Mental illness has become an extremely profitable business in the United States.  Annual sales of anti-depressants keeps growing and growing.

In fact, major depression is expected to become the secondmost cause of disability worldwide by 2020.

Anxiety, panic, and depression steal from the experience of life and cast a dark cloud over everything.

Eating clean and exercising definitely help to fight both depression and anxiety, but sometimes you need a little bit extra to balance things out.

That’s where natural supplements come in.  Below is a list of nutrients that will help you take control:

1.  A low carbohydrate diet, with no grains or sugars.  (For more info on sugar check out these blog posts: Sugar Cravings Taking Over Your Brain and 99 Ways Sugar Is Poisoning You)

2.  Plenty of water.  A dehydrated brain doesn’t work right.

3.  B-complex supplementation.  The B vitamins all work together, if you’re missing just one, none of them work.

4.  Full-spectrum Sea Salts.  Sea salts are full of the trace minerals you need to keep yourself in balance.  I personally like to get a salt from a different area every time I need some more.  This week it might be Celtic salts, next week Himalayan salts.  Doing this helps me be sure that I’m getting a wide variety of trace minerals.

5.  Magnesium.  Try to get 600-800mg a day.  Magnesium glycinate is very easily absorbed by your body.  Since magnesium can be taken in through your skin, Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) baths or magnesium oils can be a good magnesium boost when you’re feeling down or overworked.

6.  Zinc.  Zinc can be rough on an empty stomach, so I take my zinc and magnesium right after breakfast.  If I’m feeling beat down from tough workouts or super-stressed, I take a second dose after dinner.

7.  L-tryptophan.  This amino acid is what people talk about in turkey dinners – it doesn’t make  you sleepy, don’t worry :).  Typtophan is useful for fighting off both depression and anxiety and is a direct precursor to serotonin.

A good way to take tryptophan is 500mg on an empty stomach and note how you are feeling.  If you don’t improve your sense of general well-being within a half hour, take 500mg more, and continue.  When you start feeling better, that is your dose.  (Note: Do NOT take is you are also taking anti-depressants.  Talk to your doctor first)

8.  Theanine.  This amino acid is useful for combating anxiety paired with mind racing and physical tension.  Begin with a low amount on an empty stomach and find your personal prescription the same way you did with L-typtophan in #7.

Theanine can be found in black and green tea and is the precursor to the calming neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid.

Theanine shows positive effects on both serotoning and dopamine.  Small doses can raise your energy, while larger amounts are very relaxing.

More benefits include lowering high blood pressure (maybe through the calming effect) as well as being neuroprotective against alzheimer’s and dementia.

9.  Gamma-aminobutyric acid.  This is the neurotransmitter supported with theanine.  It can also be taken as a supplement itself.  It is used by naturopaths for issues with anxiety, physical tension, and racing thoughts.

10.  L-tyrosine.  This amino acid becomes norepinephrine and dopamine – both neurotransmitters linked to depression.

Figure out the dose the way you would with theanine or tryptophan.

Tyrosine is stimulating and so you shouldn’t take it if you have a problem responding to stress, it might set you off.  Also, since tyrosine is a precursor to melanin (skin pigment), so you shouldn’t take it if you have melanoma.

Don’t use tyrosine if anxiety is your problem, only for depression.

11.  Taurine.  Famous for being an ingredient in the energy drink Red Bull, tyrosine is good for fighting anxiety related problems.  It helps take care of nervousness without being sedating.

Taurine is an antioxidant, helps support bile functions, and helps take care of the electrical system in your brain and heart.

Work out your dosage the way you would with other amino acids (small amounts on an empty stomach).  Very high doses might have a diuretic effect (you’ll pee more), but aren’t toxic.

12.  DL-phenylalanine.  Another amino acid precursor to tyrosine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and endorphins.  Read about tyrosine above, DL-phenylalanine has the same warnings.

DL-phenylalanine is very helpful people with strong addictions towards pleasure seeking.  (Ever seek pleasure or comfort from foods?  Check out these posts: End Emotional Eating and Do You Use Food As A Reward?)

13.  Sunshine or Light Boxes.  I prefer sunshine :)

Using a light box for 15-30 minutes in the morning can shut down melatoning production during the day, which lessens fatigue and depression as well as raising serotonin levels.

Spend as much time outdoors as you can without burning to get the most you can out of “light nutrients.”

Oh, and don’t wear sunglasses when you walk on your lunch break.

14.  Vitamin D.  Vitamin D is another supplement I take daily.  Deficiencies in vitamin D can lead to not only depression and anxiety, but a whole host of other health problems.  (A lack of vitamin D has been shown to be a big cancer risk)

15.  Fish Oil/Omega 3s.  Fish oil helps you with EVERYTHING.  Depression, anxiety, weight loss, you name it, fish oil can help.

There you have it, 15 natural supplements to help fight depression and anxiety.

Long term, your best defense against both depression and anxiety are a healthy low-carb diet, exercise, and a strong social support network – your family and friends.

4 Responses to “Natural Nutrition To Fight Depression And Anxiety”

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