We’ve all experienced those glorious moments of putting your face to the sun to absorb its rays of goodness and your whole body says “ahhh”. You relax and feel a sense of wellbeing, but that’s not just because of the warmth and feelings of being nurtured, it’s also because it activates our body’s production of Vitamin D, something it can’t do without sunlight. Pretty amazing right? This vitamin’s effect on the body is impressive and there is a direct correlation between depression and Vitamin D deficiency. If you or someone you love struggles with depression, take a closer look at supplementing with Vitamin D and some of these other natural options.
Fewer hours of sunlight = increased opportunity to become deficient in Vitamin D: It’s no coincidence that people seem happier in the sunnier and warmer months of the year than in the winter months and this can be connected to Vitamin D. Vitamin D is naturally made in the body but needs rays of sunlight to activate the reaction in the skin. Even though our bodies are able to produce the vitamin supplementation is often needed. Vitamin D is not technically a vitamin but a hormone, and considering the correlation hormones have with mental well-being, it’s understandable that a healthy level of Vitamin D in the system is necessary. Youth and older adults are at a greater risk of becoming depressed due to a deficiency of Vitamin D, an important fact to consider before the assumption of a mental illness is reached. In order to check our Vitamin D levels you will need a simple blood test done at a doctor’s office or in a laboratory. Looking for a supplement? We have sublingual, tablet or soft gel.
Another hormone that impacts your mental wellness is serotonin, the “feel good” hormone that triggers feelings of pleasure, well-being and satisfaction. Where antidepressant drugs suppress the body from breaking down the hormone (thereby increasing its concentration) there are gentler and more natural ways to increase the presence of serotonin in the body without harmful side-effects. L-tryptophan and 5-HTP are precursors to serotonin which simply means they must be present before serotonin can be produced in the body. Depletion of tryptophan in the body has been shown to lead to depression (as serotonin levels cannot be maintained or increased) and clinical studies have shown that the use of 5-HTP for depression has been just as effective for depression as standard antidepressant drugs. Check out this 5-HTP sublingual or this capsule as well as how gut health plays a role in mental health in The GI Tract, Mood and Gut Health.
Because serotonin levels are impacted by how quickly or slowly the hormone is metabolized in the body, the compounds that are responsible for the metabolization also play in role in mental wellness and warding off mood disorders. SAMe is a compound of methionine and ATP, two proteinogen amino acids that occur naturally in the body, and influences the metabolizing of serotonin. Studies have shown that supplementing with SAMe is just as effective for depression as antidepressant drugs.
St. John’s Wort has long been a celebrated herb for assisting with mood and warding off depression and Kroeger Herb has a great Complete Concentrate and a tincture available. Other benefits of St. John’s Wort are that it can assist with sleep disorders, nerve pain and viral infections. Long-term, daily use of St. John’s Wort has proven the most beneficial though not everyone should take this herb. St. John’s wort interacts with some commonly used prescription and over-the-counter drugs. DO NOT USE this supplement if you are taking contraceptives, antidepressants, immunosuppressants (such as cyclosporine), anticoagulants, Digoxin, HIV medicine, blood thinners, seizure-control medicine, cancer medicine, or any other medications.
Depression is more common than you may think and affects one in ten adults in the United States with nearly half of the population set to experience an episode of depression at some point in their life. Being proactive and addressing the signs and symptoms of depression naturally can reduce your chance of risk. Want to learn more about depression, mood disorders and how to alleviate the general blues? Consider these posts: “How to Overcome Depression Naturally” and “Benefits of Essential Oils: Physical, Emotional and for Appearance“<< read less