How do you know which vitamin supplement is right for you? The symptoms of depression vary widely from person to person so your holistic practitioner can work with you to develop a nutritional supplement regimen that best suits your individual needs.

Everybody suffers from a “blue mood” from time to time. For most people minor bouts of sadness are short-lived and soon forgotten.  But for the 17 million Americans who suffer from clinical depression, extreme sadness is a crippling fact of life that robs them of the simple joys of living and escalates into symptoms so severe that it is impossible to function.  The prescription medications that are used to treat depression have unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects. That is why holistic practitioners recommend mood-boosting vitamin and herb nutritional supplements for their patients who suffer from depression.

Some of the vitamin and herb supplements used to boost mood and treat depression include:

SAMe:  S-adenosylmethionine, which is usually referred to as SAMe, is a compound that occurs naturally in the brain. Studies have shown that it boosts the production of serotonin and dopamine, both of which have significant mood-boosting effects.

St. John’s Wort: This medicinal herb which has been used in Europe for centuries to treat depression has gained recognition in the United States during the past decade. The leaves and flowers of this herb are harvested and then dried before being converted into a pill or liquid form.  St. John’s Wort is particularly helpful in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder, which is a type of depression that occurs in some people in the winter months.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Omega 3 fatty acids boost mood by regulating brain function and numerous studies have shown that a deficiency can significantly increase the risk for depression. Omega 3 fatty acids are abundant in certain types of fish and statistics show that depression rates are lower in countries where fish consumption is high (like Japan).

Ginkgo Bilboa: Traditionally used in Chinese medicine, ginkgo extract comes from the leaves of the ginkgo bilboa tree. This extract, which is available in liquid or pill form, improves blood flow to the brain which helps in the treatment of depression.

Mood-boosting nutritional supplements are most effective when they are used in conjunction with healthy lifestyle choices like regular exercise, adequate rest and a high-fiber, low-fat diet. Exercise is particularly important because it releases feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins. Yoga, gardening, soothing music and spending time with supportive friends can also make a major difference.

Remember that depression is a treatable illness and there are many natural approaches that offer relief.   Reach out to your holistic practitioner and explore ways to manage depression so you can enjoy all of the joys life has to offer.