7 Vitamins for Treating Depression Effectively

Updated on March 10th, 2020
vitamins for depression

Have you, ever feel spent and scared – even after a good night’s sleep?

Ever feel lonely and anxious despite being surrounded by a familiar company?

Ever feel like the mood swings never seem to end?

If your answer to all these questions is a big yes, you, or someone you know, may be battling with a global mental epidemic that is commonly known as ‘Depression’ today.

If you think you’re suffering alone, that’s far from the sad truth. The World Health Organization (WHO) paints an eye-opening picture: Around 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression.

In fact, it claims that suicide (due to a case of depression gone too severe) is the second leading cause of death amongst 15-29-year-olds.

Did You Know?

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide (WHO).

The message that’s emerging is deafening and crystal-clear. If left untreated or worse, undiagnosed, depression can be turn out to be fatal. Going by common belief, people generally don’t tend to make efforts to treat depression simply because they think it is not treatable.

Today, we will attempt at driving a behavioral change, one that motivates you to take better care of yourself – that too, through the natural methods. In short, we will list the top 7 vitamins for depression that you could give a shot.

[Also Read: Cure Depression with Natural Remedies]

Top-7 Essential Natural Vitamins for Depression

First things first, it is important to know that a lot of factors need to be factored in to understand the type of depression you may be suffering from.

According to the WHO, a depressive episode can be mild, moderate, or severe. It all depends on the number and severity of your symptoms.

Whatever be the case, there are plenty of natural vitamins for depression that can work their magic if coupled with the right medical and psychological treatment. After all, studies suggest that a poor diet can lead to depression-like symptoms.

Note: Before we jump into listing the vitamins, please consult your doctor to understand the right dosage and vitamin for you.

A holistic approach that includes counseling, understanding your health history, ongoing medications, suggested antidepressants, underlying allergies, etc. needs to be considered before you start any kind of self-treatment using natural remedies.

[Also Read: Popular Supplements to Treat Depression]

1. Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin B12

Why Does It Work?

For mental and emotional well-being, the B vitamins are a godsend.

Vitamin B3:  It boosts the production of serotonin, a chemical that helps brain cells and other nervous system cells to communicate effectively. Too little serotonin can cause negative mood swings and in turn, depression.

Vitamin B6: It helps in effective nerve functioning and aids in the metabolism of estrogen – both play a vital role in keeping depression at bay.

Vitamin B12: It helps better your mood and to elevate your energy levels, thereby combating fatigue effectively.

How to Use It?

It is best to consume vitamin B3 and B6 as oral supplements whereas, vitamin B12 can be found in natural, organic foods such as beef liver, sardines, lamb, eggs, feta cheese, and cottage cheese among others.

How Much to Use?

Doctors recommend a daily dose of at least 20mg for vitamin B3 and 25 mg daily for vitamin B6.

Conversely, you can consume a good B-complex daily (at least 10 mg) to help prevent low energy levels and depression-like symptoms.

Did You Know?

Staying up all night for just one night has shown to alleviate depression for as long as a month!

2. Omega-3S

omega 3 rich food
Source: ShutterStock

Why Does It Work?

Omega-3 Fatty Acids play an integral role in improving brain health and aid in uplifting your overall mood.

How to Use It?

Foods that are rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids include fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, herring, etc.), nuts and seeds like chia seeds, flax seeds, almonds, and walnuts and plant oils such as canola oil, soybean oil, etc. For vegetarians, fish oil supplements are readily available and a great source of Omega-3.

How Much to Use?

The recommended dose is 2000 mg of the DHA and EPA types of Omega-3s. Make sure to read the label to ensure that it contains at least 650 mg of DHA and 1200 mg of EPA in the supplement.

[Also Read: Probiotics to Fight Depression]

3. Vitamin C

vitamin c benefits

Why Does It Work?

According to this study(1), vitamin C helps in lowering depression and anxiety, while boosting cognitive functioning and enhancing mood, especially in older people.

How to Use It?

It is found in citrus fruits such as orange, kiwi, lemon, guava, grapefruit, and vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and capsicums. Alternatively, you can take oral supplements as well.

How Much to Use?

The suggested minimum dose is 100 mg daily and maximum limit is 2000 mg per day.

4. Magnesium

Why Does It Work?

Magnesium helps to relax the muscles, aids in constipation, and plays a key role in brain hormone production. Chronic constipation can cause depression. Surprisingly, according to the journal Nutrition Reviews(2), around 48% of people in the US consume less than the required amount.

How to Use It?

You can consume magnesium-rich foods such as whole grains, dried beans, nuts, and dark leafy greens, or take oral supplements to bridge the nutrient gap.

How Much to Use?

For the oral supplement, the suggested daily dose is 320-450 mg, best taken at night as it also helps with insomnia.

[Also Read: Magnesium For Depression]


5. Vitamin D

 vitamin D Benefits

Why Does It Work?

This ‘sunshine’ vitamin plays an important part in cognitive functioning.

How to Use It?

The best way to soak up some vitamin D for depression is by spending time outdoors in the sun or consuming it orally as a supplement.

How Much to Use?

Try spending at least 20 minutes each day in the sun (after applying sunscreen) to get enough vitamin D. Conversely, you can take 2,000 IU daily of vitamin D supplements if you are too time-pressed to spend time outdoors.

6. Iron

Benefits of Iron

Why Does It Work?

Iron helps in combating fatigue and boosts your mood. Alarmingly, around 10% of women experience iron deficiency today.

How to Use It?

It can be taken as an oral supplement or you can consume iron-rich foods such as shellfish, pumpkin seeds, liver, animal protein, spinach, lentils, quinoa, turkey, soy foods, and fortified foods (cereal and milk).

How Much to Use?

The recommended dose for an iron supplement is 9 mg taken twice a day.

[Also Read: Excellent Iron Rich Foods]

7. Folate

Why Does It Work?

Folate helps in creating new cells in the body, the inability of which can cause depression.

Additionally, it can help synthesize serotonin, the primary chemical involved in regulating your mood. Backing up this claim is this study(3) which says that people suffering from depression consume low levels of folic acid, as well as vitamin B12.

How to Use It?

It is most effective when consumed as an oral supplement.

How Much to Use?

According to the National Institute of Health, the recommended dose is 400 mcg per day.

[Read: Healthy Foods TO Boost Your Mood]

Did You Know?

Walnuts, kiwi, bananas, sour cherries, pineapple, tomatoes, and plums are high in serotonin and thus, can combat depression.

Did you know that as per the WHO, around 8,00,000 people die due to suicide every year? Ironically enough, depression is as treatable as generic cold and cough. There’s plenty of help available if you search in the right places.

However, perhaps, the most important learning is that popping pills for something as serious as depression isn’t always the answer. Natural therapy and vitamins such as the band of vitamin Bs, vitamin D., etc work wonders for depression.

So don’t give up just yet! If you feel like the vitamins prescribed above are not working for you in alleviating your symptoms, it is recommended that you consult your doctor immediately.

[Also Read: Hypnosis for Depression]


1. What Triggers Depression?

A number of factors can trigger depression. These include a family history of depression or genetics, poor nutrition, stress, chemical imbalances in the brain, physical health issues, drugs and alcohol, and unbearable grief/loss among others.

2. When Does ‘Depression’ Qualify to Be a Clinical Condition?

If a person tends to suffer from a ‘depressed mood’ continuously for a period of at least two weeks, it can be a case of clinical depression. Signs of a depressed mood include loss of interest or pleasure in activities previously thought to be enjoyable, decreased drive to be productive, low energy, hatred towards socializing, etc.

3. How Is Depression Treated?

It involves a combination of three types of treatments, namely medical, psychological, and social. Medications such as antidepressants and psychotherapy generally work well if undertaken religiously. In some cases, additional therapies such as physical activity, light therapy, relaxation techniques, wake-therapy, etc. can be used as well.

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