(NaturalNews) The brain is dependent on mood-boosting nutrients. When food lacks these essential nutrients, depression and anxiety can quickly set in. Typically, anti-depressants are prescribed to treat these problems, which in many cases can so easily be remedied by taking the correct nutrients.
This article is for information purposes only. Anyone suffering with severe depression should see a qualified naturopath or homeopath to correctly identify the causes. Self-treating even mild cases of "the blues" with the supplements mentioned here is best undertaken with the help of a medical professional.
Mood boosting minerals
Chromium: This mineral helps to stabilize blood sugar. Individuals experiencing mood swings, who perhaps over-react when it comes to minor issues or feel very tired during the day, may be lacking in this essential mineral. According to Psychology Today, "Duke University scientists found that consuming chromium picolinate, a trace mineral naturally found in whole grains, mushrooms, liver and many other foods, has significant effects on individuals suffering from atypical depression".
Magnesium: Low levels of magnesium in the human body can result in anxiety, sleeplessness and depression. Simply put, magnesium is the mineral needed to make serotonin, the brain's "happy chemical".
Most anti-depressant drugs supposedly work by boosting serotonin levels. Raising serotonin levels naturally can apparently be achieved by supplementing with the amino acid 5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP. This is sold over the counter in the UK, USA and Canada as a dietary supplement for use as an antidepressant, and it is marketed in many European countries for cases of major depression.
Other amino acids that can make a difference to mood swings include phenylalanine and tyrosine, from which the body makes the neurotransmitter noradrenalin - vital for motivation and drive.
Essential fats and mood
Much has been said on Natural News on the subject of omega 3 fats and the importance of eating oily fish such as wild salmon. Cod liver oil is another rich source of omega 3. Studies have shown that severely depressed individuals consuming a diet high in these fats generally show significant improvement, greater than that reported for antidepressant drugs.
Vitamins B & D
In older people, vitamin B is often missing because this vitamin is not absorbed so well the older one gets. Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid are often recommended for individuals over 50 years of age, particularly with depression or "brain-fog".
There is a definite correlation between individuals with a vitamin D deficiency and depression. In cold Northern climes, many people feel low, irritable and angry during winter because of the lack of sunshine. Depression levels can be substantially lowered by taking vitamin D supplements or by getting direct sunlight on the skin each day.
Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about natural, healthy living and is currently studying to be a naturopath. She divides her time between writing for Natural News and various other sites, home schooling her children and studying part time.