Supplements for depression and anxiety are becoming an ever-important tool in what is sadly evolving into a growing problem for many. Because while the COVID-19 pandemic has dominated the global conversation for the past 14 months, another health crisis has quietly trended towards epidemic levels – clinical depression and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder).
IMPORTANT: Supplements are not intended to replace talk therapy or prescription medications. Consult your doctor before starting any new supplements. Do not discontinue taking any prescription drug without first consulting your doctor and/or therapist. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts please call 911 or 800-273-8255 immediately.
As more and more people struggle with depression, its victims continue to seek non-synthetic solutions. A simple Google Trend search reveals a grim reality:Queries for ‘Supplement for Anxiety’ since 2004.
One can logically conclude that those suffering from anxiety and/or depression are looking for natural solutions to their disorders, before turning to prescription drugs.
Many, however, have struggled to find effective solutions, as evidenced by the startling fact that, according the the CDC, at least 1 in every 10 adult Americans take anti-depressant medication.17
Past-Era Supplements for Anxiety / Depression
While interest in mental health supplements has grown throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s, a specific group of supplements hit the market.
Adaptogens: Adaptogens like ashwagandha, reishi, rhodiola, turmeric, and more have been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine. To this day, adaptogenic drinks and elixirs line shelves at health food stores like Whole Foods Market.
B-Vitamins: B-Vitamins are involved in energy production and mental health. Some research shows that B-Vitamins, when taken as part of a multi-vitamin, may reduce symptoms of anxiety. There is not a great deal of research on B-Vitamins alone, however vitamin B-9 is of significant interest (see below).14
N-Acetyl L-Cysteine: N-Acetyle L-Cysteine, or ‘NAC’ for short, is the most important precursor to glutathione – a tripeptide and the antioxidant responsible for dopamine efficiency in the brain.13
L-Theanine: L-Theanine is a non-essential amino acid commonly found in green tea. Theanine is said to have calming properties (and is often used in pre workout supplements to prevent the jitters often associated with coffee).
Lemon Balm, Valerian, Chamomile: Limited research exists on the effectiveness of these three flowering plants as it relates to depression and/or anxiety. However, all three appear frequently in common sleep supplements, suggesting that each does often produce calming effects.
Of all ‘Past-Era’ natural depression supplements, the adaptogen Ashwagandha is still considered relevant, and has the most clinical research behind it showing its effectiveness at reducing anxiety15, and improving sleep16.
The Top 3 Emerging Natural Supplements for Depression.
Modern research has shown that three new supplements in particular are showing potentially ground-breaking efficacy in their ability to help deliver positive outcomes for individuals struggling with anxiety and/or depression.
The three best natural dietary ingredients* for depression are:
*Dietary Ingredients refer to natural, non-synthetic ingredients that are considered safe for consumption, as outlined by FDA regulations for new dietary ingredients.
1. Conquer Stress with Saffron.
Saffron is the world’s most potent stress and anxiety-relief ingredient. Saffron is a flower that has been used in Ayurvedic cultures for thousands of years because of its healing properties.
Over the course of the past 2 decades, scientists have been researching Saffron, and how it impacts the human body and mind.
The results of these studies have yielded incredible findings.
- A study conducted in 2005 showed Saffron having the same ability to fight depression as Fluxotine – a synthetic prescription drug.2
- Saffron (as Safr’Inside™) showed significant reduction in depressive symptoms over a 6-week study. It may also reduce variance in heart-rate when under stress.3
- A 4-week study conducted in Australia showed that saffron intake was associated with improvements in sleep quality in adults with self-reported sleep complaints.4
NOTE: It is important to note that not all Saffron powders, and extracts are created equally. AURA uses an exclusive form of Saffron called ‘Saffrinside‘ – which is extracted using a patented Tech’Care™ process which preserves the identical chemical structure as the Saffron extracts that have been researched.
2. Algal-Based Omega-3 Reduces Depression.
Omega-3 are well-known for their ability to improve cardiovascular health, and has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, but did you know that the Omega-3s are extremely impactful on brain health as well?
It’s true. The two omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA and DHA have been researched in the past several years, and shown promising results for people with depressive disorders.
Did you Know: “More than 30 clinical trials have tested different omega-3 preparations in people with depression.”5
A few of the most compelling findings are:
- A 2016 study showed that taking fish oil supplements improved depressive symptoms in people with depression, with effects comparable to those of antidepressant medications.6
- A 2014 study conducted in Italy suggests that Omega-3 supplementation may be an effective treatment for depression due to its anti-inflammatory properties.7
Not All Omega-3s Are Created Equally. AURA uses North American sourced Omega-3 from Algarithm ingredients – the only N. American supplier of pure algal-based, vegan-friendly omega-3 that does not participate in other unsustainable sourcing activities.
3. Feel Better with Folate.
Folate, also known as Vitamin B9, is one of the most important, yet under-emphasized micronutrients in our body.
Most people don’t know that Folate deficiency is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in our country – especially in women.
Research has uncovered a significant link between Folate and depression.
- Scientists have shown that elevated levels of homocysteine, an amino acid caused by the breakdown of dietary methionine (an essential amino acid), are a possible cause of depression. Activated folate (such as Quatrefolic®) helps reduce high homocysteine levels.10
- Researchers Alec Coppen and Christina Bolander-Gouaille confirmed a link between folate and depression in their research study “Treatment of depression: time to consider folic acid and vitamin B12”.11
- A study at the University of South Florida provided a third critical data point, finding another statistically-significant relationship between low folate levels, and depression.12
The technology to produce bio-available folate supplements is still quite new, and we can expect the scientific community to dive deeper into the relationship between homocysteine, folate, and the next breed of natural depression supplements.
Saffron, omega-3s, and folate are exciting dietary ingredients that may be used in dietary supplements to help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
AURA Botanical Mood Booster
AURA Botanical Mood Booster
Featuring micro-encapsulated Iranian saffron, algal-based omega-3, and activated Folate.