10 Natural Ways to Ease Depression

If you are suffering from depression or seasonal depression, there are many natural options that can help.  Of course, you should always see a doctor as well.

1. Supplement with Vitamin D

This vitamin, which is more accurately termed a hormone, has been recently found to play a role in the number of depressive symptoms experienced.  Researchers at the University of Massachusetts studied a group of post-menopausal women for a possible correlation between vitamin D and the symptoms of depression.  They found that the lower the levels of vitamin D the women had, the more likely they were to experience symptoms of depression.

2. Eat Complex Carbs

If you’re eating a high protein diet or if your diet lacks whole grains, you may be deficient in the building blocks to make important the important neurotransmitter serotonin in your brain—a natural chemical that helps regulate mood.  Add fruits and vegetables, beans, and whole grains to your diet.

3. Skip the Caffeine

Research links caffeinated beverages with suppression of serotonin.  By skipping the coffee or tea, you’ll give your brain a better chance to make sufficient serotonin to maintain balanced moods.

4. Boost Your Omega 3s

Finnish researchers found that people who ate fish less than once a week had a 31 percent increase in incidence of mild to moderate depression compared to those who ate fish more often than that.  Wild salmon and sardines are good sources of Omega 3s.  Excellent vegetarian options include:  raw walnuts, walnut oil, ground flaxseeds, and flaxseed oil.

5. Eliminate Alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant.  If you’re suffering from depression or prone to this disorder, skip the alcoholic beverage.
6. Take St. John’s Wort

The powerful herb frequently gets a bad rap in the media, largely because pharmaceutical drugs interact with it.  Whenever that happens the natural, more cost-effective, and lower-side-effect herb is blamed.  But, this herb has been found in numerous studies to be effective against mild to moderate depression.  Follow the instructions on the package.  And, if you’re taking any pharmaceutical drugs, consult your pharmacist or nutritionist before taking St. John’s Wort.  A typical dose for depression is 300 mg three times daily.

7. Add SAM-e

Pronounced “Sammy,” this supplement is widely prescribed for depression in Europe.  SAM-e is a naturally-occurring substance found in all living cells.  Low levels can play a role in depression.  Dozens of animal studies found that SAM-e caused significant results in only a few weeks of supplementation, due to its ability to boost three neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine—all of which are involved in mood regulation. A typical dose for depression is 1600 milligrams daily.

8. Get Adequate Magnesium

Magnesium is critical for the production and function of mood-regulating serotonin, yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the population is deficient.  Leafy greens and raw, unsalted almonds are good sources of magnesium.  Supplementing with 800 mg daily is common for depression.

9. To B or Not to B

When it comes to depression, consider adding a B-complex supplement to your daily diet.  Make sure you choose a natural supplement free of artificial colors, flavors, or fillers.  A 100 milligram supplement is a commonly prescribed dose for depression sufferers (with 100 MICROgrams of folate and B12).

10. Walk it Off

Research links insufficient exercise with depressive symptoms.  While it can be difficult to get motivated to get outdoors during the winter months, it is a valuable mood booster.  Try to go for a brisk walk at least three or four times a week.

Always consult a physician before taking any supplements.

Adapted from The Phytozyme Cure by Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, PhD, RNCP, ROHP.

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Mihaela L.
Mihaela L.2 years ago

I had depression for years, and after so, so long of researching and self-studying I completely recovered using one specific program. I don't know if it can help you but I know that it helped me. If you want to read review of that program go to http://bestsuggestion.net/end-your-depression.htmlGood luck !

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M4 years ago

Thank you for this article. I know from experience that one has to very careful in taking anti-depressant drugs as they are very hard to get off of. I have tried and twice just didn't make it and another pill was prescribed. I realize that many people have to take anti-depressants, I am just saying be very careful! There are way too many physicians these days that just push pills!

Melania Padilla
Melania P5 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Dale Overall

Interesting ideas for mild depression. Some of the tips such as exercise works well as it helps to lower some depression releasing endorphins. It is difficult if extremely depressed to do this as everything becomes an effort. Other tips such as whole grains is fine except for those with allergies. Then elsewhere on Care2 there are those stating that wheat is to blame for depression which is controversial in itself.

An occasional glass of wine is not going to hurt anyone with a meal if it is not done often. Stating that a person with depression cannot have the occasional drink is ridiculous. Alcohol is a depressant yes but like coffee, chocolate and other things these do not have to be a total "give it up forever!" Not everyone with depression is going to knock back tons of alcohol or drink endless cups of coffee or tea. Yes, there are herbal ones but not every one drinks it.

Past Member is not helpful with the disparaging comments about people becoming a bit depressed every now and then, stating they should not sink into it but roll up those sleeves and other pejorative descriptions. Others believe that depression equals laziness and one must pull up those bootstraps and get busy! Depression is not the blues or feeling a bit down every now and then.

Keeping distracted does help but it will not necessarily ease depression.

Tiffany Mcevoy
Tiffany Mcevoy5 years ago

Running is definitely a great way to help with depression. Between the feel-good hormones and the sense of achievement, it really is a fantastic mood-lifter.


Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

thanks for sharing this article

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Janine H.
Janine H6 years ago

This is so terrible. Always when i hear about terrible things it makes med sad, and i cannot understand how someone could do something terrible - hurt, rape or kill a person or animal. When i was a child this also happened to me... and surviving this is more terrible than not (parents and other may think different, but a victim?), living with all this pain... living with guilty feelings... full with hate for the own self
No one can understand, because most people cannot imagine this, cannot imagine how much it change. Some of them think, that this would not be so terrible, because all would make some sexual experiences, and so it would not matter if there were some without own interest or wish. This cruel and superficial society makes me sick.

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

Paula G.
Paula G.6 years ago

Lots of mixed reviews about St. John's Wort effectiveness. As well, if you are on dr prescribed you need to let them know what else you are trying.

Melinda offline K.
Past Member 6 years ago

actually one of the most important things you can do is maintain healthy gut bacteria since the majority of our happy brain chemicals are manufactured there.