Living With Depression/Nutrition
We all know that good nutrition is important for our general health. Many people also think that it has a big effect on out mental health. When you're depressed, it's easy to neglect yourself. Many depressed people find themselves either forgetting to eat, or falling into unhealthy patterns and perhaps overeating, or existing on food that's easy to make, but has little nutritional value. Try and get into a pattern of regular meals and making sure you're getting enough of all the basic food groups. Some nutritionists believe that certain micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals) can improve mental health, or that deficiencies in these micro-nutrients can make you feel worse. If you don't think you're getting enough vitamins and minerals from your food, it might be worth taking supplements.
As with everything else, nutrition is one part of managing your depression and probably won't be a cure in itself. Many claims of health benefits from supplementing nutrients have not been well studied or scientifically proven; much of the evidence is anecdotal. Before starting to take supplements, read as much as you can about them, and for anything other than a general multivitamin, consult a qualified nutritionist or your doctor first.
St. John's wort
St. John's wort has received a lot of press as being a "natural anti-depressant". Studies have shown that it may indeed be effective against depression, and works in a similar way to modern anti-depressants, but with fewer side-effects. Talk to your doctor if you want to try St. John's wort, and don't start taking it if you are already on anti-depressants.
Omega-3 is a type of fatty acid found in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, eggs and flax seeds (linseeds). It is thought to be beneficial to general health as well as brain health. Some studies have shown that it may help speed up recovery from depression.
Some studies show that folic acid, a B vitamin, can improve depression. The active biological metabolite of folic acid is available as a prescription medicine.
A deficiency of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) may contribute to symptoms of depression. Vitamin D-3, while not specifically aimed at depression, can improve physical and cognitive functioning, contributing to well-being.
There is fairly good evidence that the amino acid tryptophan can help depression.