Natural Supplements for Depression: Use Vitamin B, Fish Oil, St. John's Wort & Other Nutritonal Supplements to Fight Depression

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Signs and Symptoms of Depression

According to Kelin and Wender (1) patients may experience a variety of symptoms including: empty and/or anxiety feelings, persistent pessimism, worthlessness and/or helplessness, irritability, chronic or persistent fatigue, insomnia (waking up very early in the morning although some experience excessive sleeping), eating too much or losing interest in food, suicidal thoughts or even suicide attempts, and many others. However, it is important to understand that not all individuals experience the same type of symptoms when suffering depression.

Natural Supplements for Depression

There is much information on treatments for depressive disorders available. Dr. Ray. Sahelian, MD wrote an excellent book (2) about the use of supplements to help your mind get proper nutrition and functioning. Here a summary of his main recommendations on natural supplements for depression (please read disclaimer bellow)

Sahelian recommends starting with the following to relieve depression symptoms:

a) Take a B-complex pill (5 to 10 times RDA for the B vitamins) for a month and a multivitamin pill (100% RDA for most vitamins). Then, after a month, reduce dosage to a B- complex vitamin that gives you two or three times the RDA.

b) Include an antioxidant (100 to 250 mg of Vitamin C and 30 to 100 units of Vitamin E). This has been shown to relieve depression significantly.

c) Take fish oil capsules (with meals) equivalent to about 2-4 grams (omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA) for a month. Then reduce dosage to 1-2 grams a day. (Note: Low levels of DHA have been associated with depression, memory loss, and dementia (source 3)).

According to the book an improvement should be seen within 2-3 weeks. If no improvement is seen within this time frame more nutritional supplements for depression need to be added. For example:

d) Two capsules a day of St. John’s Wort (300 mg -standardized to 0.3 hypericin content) at breakfast and lunch. According to a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (4), St. John’s Wort is the most widely used nutritional supplement for depression, particularly for mild depression. It has been extensively used in Europe.

Other nutritional supplements, such as inositol, choline, glutamine, alfa-lipoic acid, melatonin, DHEA, NADH, etc have been used to naturally treat depression. However, according to Ellen Landauer (5), depression should be treated using a “consistent, comprehensive program of self-care”. A wholesome diet, exercise, proper rest, and selected quality nutritional supplements is what is needed to handle depressive disorders.


(1) Kelin D.F. and Wender, P. H. 2005. Understanding Depression: A Complete Guide to Its Diagnosis and Treatment. 2nd Ed. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195156140

(2) Sahelian, R and Ullis, K. 2000. Mind Boosters: A Guide to Natural Supplements That Enhance Your Mind, Memory, and Mood. St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 9780312195847

(3) Levine, B. S. 1997. Most frequently asked questions about DHA. Nutrition Today, Vol. 32: 248-49

(4) Hypericum Depression Trial Study Group. 2002. “Effect of Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort) in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial.” Journal of the American Medical Association, 287(14): 1807-1814.

(5) Ellen Landauer, Health Coach, at


Please read this disclaimer regarding the information you have just read.