Many of the commonly prescribed mood-enhancing medications can be addictive and almost all of them have potentially dangerous side effects.  Despite what the large pharmaceutical companies would have you believe, chemicals are not the answer.  Mother Nature has provided us with the tools we need for a healthy mind and body. Exercise, a proper diet and daily vitamin supplements are safe alternatives to prescription drugs.

Here are some natural vitamin supplements and alternatives to consider:

Vitamin D: There is significant research to support the theory that low levels of Vitamin D can lead to depression. Your body produces Vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. This could explain why many people become depressed during the winter when nights are longer and days are shorter.  Adding a vitamin D supplement may help.

Vitamin B: Deficiencies in B Vitamins, especially folic acid, can affect serotonin levels in the human brain. Serotonin induces calmness and promotes restful sleep.  A deficiency of B1 can lead to irritability, insomnia, memory loss and anxiety and B6 deficiencies have been linked to depression. Make sure your daily supplement contains adequate amounts of B vitamins.

Essential Fatty Acids: Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are important for optimal health, including mental function. Deficiencies in essential fatty acids have been linked to depression, bipolar disorder and autism. Several studies have shown that children with attention deficit disorder improve significantly when essential fatty acid supplements are added to their daily regimen.

Curcumin: Antioxidant supplements have emerged as viable weapons in the fight against Alzheimer’s, especially those containing curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric. Researchers believe curcumin may help reduce the plaque formation that is associated with Alzheimer’s.   The fact that India produces nearly all of the world’s turmeric (and consumes 80 percent of it) probably explains why many inflammatory diseases, such as Alzheimer’s are not as prevalent in that country.

Exercise: There is a proven link between exercise and mental health. Studies show that people who exercise at least four times a week are far less likely to become depressed.  Exercise prompts your body to release endorphins, the “feel good” hormones that promote a sense of well-being.

If you suffer from anxiety or depression, put Mother Nature in the driver’s seat so you can avoid the potentially harmful effects of prescription medications. Work with your holistic practitioner to develop a natural approach to treatment so you can reclaim the happy life you deserve.