EATING WELL IN KANSAS CITY - January 2019
Manage Depression Naturally with Nutrition and Supplements
By Angela Watson Robertson
Maybe you’re feeling low because it’s that time of the year when the sun goes down at 4 p.m., and you’re still spinning from holiday family gatherings. Maybe you’re feeling clinically depressed due to chronic health problems, financial challenges, and you’re recovering from the worst year of your life. Regardless of the reason for your depression, you can reclaim your mental health and feel better using nutrition and supplements.
As a health coach, I teach what is called lifestyle medicine. This form of medicine focuses on exercise, diet and nutrition, supplementation, stress-relieving techniques, and alternative therapies. Lifestyle medicine is all about the habits and choices you make each day that affect how you think and how you feel.
The number of people that struggle with depression on a daily basis in our country is staggering and heart breaking. Yet, with so many Americans on an antidepressant, why aren’t people feeling better? According to many doctors, including Kelly Brogan, MD, author of A Mind of Your Own, depression is not a disease but a symptom of “something not being right within.”
When I think about the cause of depression, I don’t think about a chemical imbalance in the brain. Instead, and as Dr. Brogan states in her book, I think about “the impact of a sedentary lifestyle, processed food diets, and unrelenting stress.” So, if you’re consistently depressed and you feel like you’ve tried everything with no improvement, I’d suggest you look at your nutrition and supplement regimen to feel better. Here are a few recommendations to consider.
Eliminate Processed foods from your diet.
Processed foods often clog up your digestive tract and don’t provide adequate nutrition for optimal health. Plus, they can be a key factor in an increase of inflammation in your body. Studies have shown that people with high inflammation are more prone to depression.
Eat Whole Foods
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, pastured meats, wild fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, and traditional natural fats like unrefined olive and coconut oil. This may seem simple in a world conditioned to take a pill to cure depression instead of looking at what goes in our bodies at each meal, but it really is that important.
Take supplements that support a healthy gut, calm mind, and balanced blood sugar
As Dr. Brogan mentions in her book, “There is now ample animal research and preliminary human trials to support the ability of gut microbes to influence mood and behavior.” Take a high quality daily probiotic will help keep your gut and microbiome healthy and balanced.
L-Theanine —is a calming amino acid found in tea. It can help reduce anxiety and calm your mood. I have personally benefited from taking 200 mg twice per day.
Magnesium —You can get magnesium from your diet, but most people need more for proper digestive support, muscle pains, and to help with mental health. I recommend taking at least 300 mg per day if you have high anxiety, PMS symptoms, or insomnia. Try different forms of magnesium to see what works best for you.
B12 —I’ve heard numerous stories from people who are sick for years and eventually find out the primary culprit was a lack of B12 in their system. It’s great to take a combined supplement of B vitamins, but I find that B12 is the most important when it comes to mental health. I recommend B12 as a lozenge or liquid in the form of methylcobalamin or adenosylcobalamin twice a day.
There are numerous other supplements that have proven to be beneficial to fight depression naturally, so do your research. The above recommendations are a good start and a few examples of some that have worked for many of my clients.
I recommend using a holistic approach to treating depression and be very thorough. Work with practitioners who listen to you, share your lab results with you openly, and allow you to be an informed and empowered patient.
In addition to the above, make sure you are getting enough sleep, exercise, and meditation into your day. Many people report feeling better and responding better to other treatment modalities for depression when they are getting quality sleep each night, moving their body regularly, and practicing daily meditation. If you’re having trouble creating this type of lifestyle for yourself, I’d recommend working with a Certified Health Coach to get you back on track.
Angela Watson Robertson, MBA, CIHC, INHC, a.k.a The Reinvention Warrior, is a well known nutrition blogger and health coach who teaches you how to transform your life starting with the food you eat. She has created simple, effective tools to help you reinvent every area of your life- from health, career and money to relationships, spirituality and sex. Find her free wellness tips, nutrition courses, and coaching programs at www.angelawatsonrobertson.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter.