How to Treat Depression With Therapeutic Doses of Vitamins

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Vitamins may help your depression. (Image: Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images)

The most common forms of depressive disorders are major depressive disorder and dysthymia, notes the National Institute of Mental Health. Symptoms can include feeling hopeless, irritability and fatigue. For some, physical symptoms such as headaches, body aches or digestive disturbance accompany moderate to severe depressive episodes. Feeling depressed on occasion is a natural occurrence for most individuals. However, persistent depressive symptoms that interfere with daily functioning require professional treatment. In addition to professional interventions such as counseling and psychiatric medications, improving nutrition habits with vitamin therapy is an option for regulating symptoms. Before increasing vitamin doses, consult your physician to ensure safety and prevent medication interactions.

Step 1

Start taking thiamine to decrease fatigue. Thiamine or vitamin B1 deficiency causes fatigue, memory disturbance and loss of appetite, notes Holistic Online. If you are experiencing these symptoms with your depression, eat foods rich in thiamine or take a supplement. Foods containing vitamin B1 include pork chops, black beans and sunflower seeds. Women require 1.1 mg a day and men require 1.2 mg to reach a therapeutic dose.

Step 2

Eat low-fat animal proteins or take a B12 supplement. Low levels of B12 in the body are linked to depression symptoms, according to MayoClinic.com. Vitamin B12 is important for regulating mood and preventing feelings of irritability and appetite loss. Increase consumption of foods such as eggs, chicken or fish for this vitamin. Therapeutic dose is 500 mcg twice a day.

Step 3

Take a folic acid supplement. The University of Maryland Medical Center indicates that folic acid, or vitamin B9, is crucial for mental and emotional health. Up to 38 percent of people with clinical depression also have low folate levels, making this a significant vitamin to incorporate into your daily diet. Therapeutic dosage of folate for treating depression is 50 mg or 800 mcg, a day. Holistic Online notes that high dose folic acid therapy is safe unless you have a pre-existing seizure disorder.

Step 4

Go outside and absorb sunshine or take a vitamin D supplement. Deficient levels of vitamin D are linked to depression as evidenced by the occurrence of seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression occurring in people lacking consistent sun exposure during winter months. The Vitamin D Council explains that the best source of obtaining vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight for 10 minutes, up to four times a week. If you are unable to achieve brief sunning, a supplement is suggested. Take 1.25 mg a day for therapeutic effects.

Step 5

Drink more orange juice and increase your vitamin C intake. Vitamin C helps absorb folic acid and is important in preventing fatigue, weakness and apathy associated with depression. High-dose use of vitamin C is possible by eating nutrient-rich citrus or taking 1,000 mg supplements, three times a day.

Things You'll Need

  • B vitamins

  • Vitamin D

  • Vitamin C

Tip

You can take a B complex vitamin instead of individual B vitamins, however, the therapeutic dose needed to treat symptoms of depression may not occur as readily.

Make sure you maintain adequate minerals such as iron for energy and calcium for regulating the central nervous system as part of your vitamin therapy.

Warning

Depression can be a sign of a medical condition. Consult your physician and obtain a physical to rule out medical causes of depression that require specific intervention.

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide related to your depression, get help immediately.

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