• Melatonin
    • A hormone produced by the human body
      • When it’s dark, the body produces it, leading to drowsiness
    • Used regularly to help people get used to a new sleep cycle
    • Used regularly to combat sleep problems and insomnia caused by many other health disorders
    • Used for several forms of cancer
    • Used for cognitive disorders
    • The list goes on…
  • Lithium
    • A basic element (Li)
    • Found in varying concentrations in most rocks
    • Used for
      • Clinical depression
        • Probably effective
      • Bipolar disorder
        • The “gold standard”, unifromly understood to be effective
      • Schizophrenia, anorexia, bulimia, alcoholism, headache, epilepsy, diabetes, asthma, aggression
    • Has a long history of long-term use
    • Side effects can include
      • Fatigue, weakness in muscles, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness
        • These tend to become less bothersome
      • Urinating and being thirsty a lot, and tremor, tend to persist
      • Weight gain, worsening acne, rashes
      • Occassioanlly, risks posed to heart, kidney, and thyroid health
    • Should not be taken by breastfeeding women
    • Should only be taken if necessary in pregnant women
    • Regular blood tests are necessary

  •  SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine)
    • A chemical that the human body naturally creates
      • Has a role in making and breaking down other chemicals
    • Available by prescription in several European countries
    • Probably effective for
      • Depression
        • Orally or by shot
          • Lower doses by shot may be ineffective
        • Possibly as effective as some pharmaceutical antidepressants
      • Osteoarthritis
    • May be safe if taken twice daily for up to 12 weeks
      • Can cause serious side effects
        • Anxiety, headache, insomnia, dizziness, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, sweating, gas
  • St. John’s wort
    • A plant native to Northern Africa, Western Asia, and Europe
      • Commonly used by Europeans
    • Probably effective for
      • Mild to moderate depression
        • But perhaps less side effect incedence
      • Fatigue
      • Loss of appetite
      • Anxiety improvement
      • Sleep improvement
      • According to the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, can be as effective as pharmaceutical antidepressants for short-term treatment of mild depression
        • Likely not as effective as pharmaceuticals for more severe depression
        • Not as well tolerated
        • Interacts negatively with many other drugs
    • Likely safe if taken daily for 12 weeks
      • But not in large doses
      • May be safe if taken for a year
      • Can cause serious side effects
        • Headache, fatigue, diarrhea, upset stomach, restlessness, insomnia, dizziness, skin rash, anxiety

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    • Healthful types of fat
    • Known to be healthy for the circulatory system
    • Found in
      • Many species of fish
      • Walnuts, flaxseed, and flax oil
      • Other foods
    • The most active compounds are Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
    • Some say there’s not a lot of evidence for depression
    • A particular meta-analysis and systematic review argued that omega- fatty acids may have a small, insignificant benefit, but even that could likely be attributable to publication bias
      • 13 studies, 731 participants, randomized, placebo-controlled
    • However, another meta-analysis lead to different results
      • 15 trials, 916 participants, randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind, prospective
      • It was effective! But…
        • For it to significantly decrease depression, EPA had to be greater or equal to 60% of all the total EPA and DHA in the supplement
    • One study found an antidepressant effect in three weeks
    • Increases growth and maintenance of the hippocampus, leading to happiness, calm, and greater cognition (thinking ability)
    • The risk of major depression may rise if one lacks normal levels of the two main, healthful omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, stated above
      • Best if there is a higher ratio of DHA to EPA
      • Eat high-omega-3 fatty acid fish at least three times per week?
        • Such as herring, trout, salmon, tuna fish, sardines
        • If pregnant or breastfeeding, limit fish
          • Due to mercury
            • Some fish, such as shark, tile fish, and swordfish, have higher mercury in them
  • Vitamin D
    • A meta-analysis concludes that it can have about as much of an antidepressant effect as “that of anti-depressant medication”

  • Specialist Lynda Griparic lists several supplements and foods to reduce symptoms of depression
    • Probiotics
      • Responsible for almost all of the serotonin in our body
    • Black and green tea
      • Contains l-theanine, which fights depression, insomnia, and anxiety
    • Saffron
      • Has multiple antidepressant mechanisms
    • Tumeric
      • Also works in many ways
    • Foods rich in tryptophan
      • Leads to serotonin production
    • Zinc
      • Lower levels lead to depression and impaired thinking
    • Magnesium
    • Chamomile

Sources: http://www.webmd.com, http://www.healthline.com, http://www.mayoclinic.org, http://www.mindbodygreen.com, www.psychiatrist.com/jpg/article