An estimated 15 percent of us will have at least one bout of depression in our lifetime that’s severe enough to require medical attention. This degree of depression is characterized by a sense of sadness and despair that makes normal activities seem impossible.
But some good news: One controllable depression factor in many people is poor nutrition, according to Edward M. Hallowell, MD, an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the author of Human Moments: How to Find Meaning and Love in Your Everyday Life. While poor nutrition probably doesn’t cause depression, correcting a deficiency can be beneficial if you’re battling a depressed state, Hallowell says. Of course, nutritional supplementation is no substitute for professional evaluation, he adds. If you think you’re depressed, it’s crucial that you see a physician or psychiatrist for help.
Prescription for Healing
Here are the nutrients your body needs to combat depression
Nutrient: Folic acid Daily amount:400 mcg
Nutrient: Riboflavin Daily amount:50 mg
Nutrient: Thiamin Daily amount:50 mg
B vitamins may give a boost.Deficiencies of folate, riboflavin, and thiamin may be linked to depression. And your body needs vitamin B6 in order to manufacture the hormone serotonin, which seems to play a role in regulating mood.
Vitamin D may help keep spirits up.Vitamin D stimulates production of serotonin.
Selenium may improve mood.One study found that people who took 100 mcg of selenium daily felt less fatigue, anxiety, and depression than people not given the nutrient.
- Taking more than 400 mcg a day of selenium can cause dizziness, nausea, hair or nail loss, or a garlic odor on the breath or skin.