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Herbs and nutrients that may help with feeling depressed

Herbs and nutrients that may help with feeling depressed

What do natural health practitioners mean when they talk about “feeling depressed”?

We all have times when our mood isn’t exactly stellar.  We might call it “feeling blue”, “sad”, “down”, or use the more technical term “low mood”.  Regardless of the label we give it, the feeling usually disappears fairly quickly – in days, or even hours.

When the feeling stays around for 2-3 weeks, however, you might begin to wonder if you’re actually feeling depressed.  If your low mood is combined with low energy and motivation, it’s likely that your natural health professional will want to use that label.  Note that because depression is classed as a serious illness, talking to a healthcare professional about it is vital.

Other symptoms you might experience if you’re depressed
Mood isn’t the only symptom that those who are depressed are likely to notice.  Other possible signs include:

  • General lethargy and low energy levels
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • A sense of hopelessness and gloom
  • Limiting thought patterns and negative outlook 
  • Sleep disturbances:  difficulty with either getting to sleep or waking up
  • Increase or decrease in appetite, often with accompanying weight gain or loss
  • Low libido

Herbs and nutrients that support a healthy, balanced mood
If you want to naturally support a balanced mood, there are several natural remedies that may help.  We advise talking with your natural health practitioner about which of these would be appropriate for you, rather than trying to manage on your own.

Specific herbs and nutrients to discuss include:

Omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs): Omega 3 EFAs – in particular DHA – are a major building block of brain and nerve neurons, which means they influence the ability of those cells to communicate with each other.  Omega 3 deficiencies can result in impaired brain function, learning and behavioural problems, and depressed mood.  

St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): many people associate St John’s Wort with helping to balance mood swings and manage depressed feelings.  That association is rooted in science: several researchers1,2,3 have studied St John’s Wort, and concluded that it can assist with mild, moderate, and even severe depression. 
One reason for these results is that St John’s Wort may influence the amount and effects of serotonin in our brains.  Serotonin is one of the main mood-regulating neurotransmitters (brain chemicals).

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea): numerous studies4,5,6,7,8,9,10show that Rhodiola has a significant impact on our levels of several important neurotransmitters, including noradrenaline, dopamine, and again, serotonin.  Between them, these compounds help to regulate our sleep/wakefulness cycle, sense of pleasure/reward and mood.

Vitamins and minerals: B-Complex vitamins (especially Folic Acid and Vitamin B12) and Vitamin D each appear to play important roles in maintaining mood balance and avoiding mood swings.  Zinc is also vital for healthy nerves, and Zinc deficiency may be related to feeling depressed.

1Linde K et al. St John’s wort for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2(2005): CD000448
2Linde K, Berner MM, Kriston L. St John’s wort for major depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 4 (2008): CD000448
3Panossian A, Wagner H. Stimulating effect of adaptogens: an overview with particular reference to their efficacy following single dose administration. Phytother Res 19.10 (2005): 819–38
4Kurkin VA, Zapesochnaya GG. Chemical composition and pharmacological properties of Rhodiola rosea. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Journal (Moscow) 1986;20(10):1231-44.
5Kurkin VA, Zapesochnaya GG. Chemical composition and pharmacological properties of Rhodiola rosea. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Journal (Moscow) 1986;20(10):1231-44.
6Petkov VD, Stancheva SL, Tocuschieva L, Petkov VV. Changes in brain biogenic monoamines induced by the nootropic drugs adafenoxate and meclofenoxate and by citicholine (experiments onrats). Gen Pharmacol 1990;21(1):71-5.
7Lazarova MB, Petkov VD, Markovska VL, Petkov VV, Mosharrof A. Effects of meclofenoxate and extr. Rhodiolae rosea L. on electroconvulsive shockimpaired learning and memory in rats. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol 1986;8(9):547-52
8Stancheva S, Mosharrof A. Effect of the extract of rhodiola rosea L. on the content of the brain biogenic monamines. Med Physiol 40 (1987): 85–7.
9Petkov VD, Yonkov D, Mosharoff A, Kambourova T, Alova L, Petkov VV, et al. Effects of alcohol aqueous extract from Rhodiola rosea L. roots on learning and memory. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg 1986;12(1):3-16
10Saratikov A, Marina TF, Fisanova LL. Effect of golden root extract on processes of serotonin synthesis in CNS. Journal of Biological Sciences1978;6:142

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Herbs and nutrients that may help with feeling depressed

Naturally support a balanced mood. There are 4 specific herbs and nutrients that may help. Learn more about EFA's, St Johns Wort, Rhodiola & B vitamins here.

What do natural health practitioners mean when they talk about “feeling depressed”?

We all have times when our mood isn’t exactly stellar.  We might call it “feeling blue”, “sad”, “down”, or use the more technical term “low mood”.  Regardless of the label we give it, the feeling usually disappears fairly quickly – in days, or even hours.

When the feeling stays around for 2-3 weeks, however, you might begin to wonder if you’re actually feeling depressed.  If your low mood is combined with low energy and motivation, it’s likely that your natural health professional will want to use that label.  Note that because depression is classed as a serious illness, talking to a healthcare professional about it is vital.

Other symptoms you might experience if you’re depressed
Mood isn’t the only symptom that those who are depressed are likely to notice.  Other possible signs include:

  • General lethargy and low energy levels
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • A sense of hopelessness and gloom
  • Limiting thought patterns and negative outlook 
  • Sleep disturbances:  difficulty with either getting to sleep or waking up
  • Increase or decrease in appetite, often with accompanying weight gain or loss
  • Low libido

Herbs and nutrients that support a healthy, balanced mood
If you want to naturally support a balanced mood, there are several natural remedies that may help.  We advise talking with your natural health practitioner about which of these would be appropriate for you, rather than trying to manage on your own.

Specific herbs and nutrients to discuss include:

Omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs): Omega 3 EFAs – in particular DHA – are a major building block of brain and nerve neurons, which means they influence the ability of those cells to communicate with each other.  Omega 3 deficiencies can result in impaired brain function, learning and behavioural problems, and depressed mood.  

St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): many people associate St John’s Wort with helping to balance mood swings and manage depressed feelings.  That association is rooted in science: several researchers1,2,3 have studied St John’s Wort, and concluded that it can assist with mild, moderate, and even severe depression. 
One reason for these results is that St John’s Wort may influence the amount and effects of serotonin in our brains.  Serotonin is one of the main mood-regulating neurotransmitters (brain chemicals).

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea): numerous studies4,5,6,7,8,9,10show that Rhodiola has a significant impact on our levels of several important neurotransmitters, including noradrenaline, dopamine, and again, serotonin.  Between them, these compounds help to regulate our sleep/wakefulness cycle, sense of pleasure/reward and mood.

Vitamins and minerals: B-Complex vitamins (especially Folic Acid and Vitamin B12) and Vitamin D each appear to play important roles in maintaining mood balance and avoiding mood swings.  Zinc is also vital for healthy nerves, and Zinc deficiency may be related to feeling depressed.

1Linde K et al. St John’s wort for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2(2005): CD000448
2Linde K, Berner MM, Kriston L. St John’s wort for major depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 4 (2008): CD000448
3Panossian A, Wagner H. Stimulating effect of adaptogens: an overview with particular reference to their efficacy following single dose administration. Phytother Res 19.10 (2005): 819–38
4Kurkin VA, Zapesochnaya GG. Chemical composition and pharmacological properties of Rhodiola rosea. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Journal (Moscow) 1986;20(10):1231-44.
5Kurkin VA, Zapesochnaya GG. Chemical composition and pharmacological properties of Rhodiola rosea. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Journal (Moscow) 1986;20(10):1231-44.
6Petkov VD, Stancheva SL, Tocuschieva L, Petkov VV. Changes in brain biogenic monoamines induced by the nootropic drugs adafenoxate and meclofenoxate and by citicholine (experiments onrats). Gen Pharmacol 1990;21(1):71-5.
7Lazarova MB, Petkov VD, Markovska VL, Petkov VV, Mosharrof A. Effects of meclofenoxate and extr. Rhodiolae rosea L. on electroconvulsive shockimpaired learning and memory in rats. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol 1986;8(9):547-52
8Stancheva S, Mosharrof A. Effect of the extract of rhodiola rosea L. on the content of the brain biogenic monamines. Med Physiol 40 (1987): 85–7.
9Petkov VD, Yonkov D, Mosharoff A, Kambourova T, Alova L, Petkov VV, et al. Effects of alcohol aqueous extract from Rhodiola rosea L. roots on learning and memory. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg 1986;12(1):3-16
10Saratikov A, Marina TF, Fisanova LL. Effect of golden root extract on processes of serotonin synthesis in CNS. Journal of Biological Sciences1978;6:142
Herbs and nutrients that may help with feeling depressed
 

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