Health & Nutrition

Natural Antidepressants

Depression is a mood disorder, characterized by symptoms of mood swings, sadness, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety and lack of enjoyment. Natural Antidepressants are alternatives to the pharmaceutical medication for treatment of light to mild forms of depression.

How do natural antidepressants work?

Researchers have found that depressed people have altered levels of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals released by nerve cells. The pre-synaptic neuron releases a neurotransmitter into the synapse where it binds with the postsynaptic cell to trigger an activity.

Natural Antidepressants work through interaction with the neurotransmitters in one of the following ways:

St. John’s wort

The flowers of this plant have been used for many years to heal wounds and relieve symptoms of insomnia and depression. It is nowadays available in the form of capsules and herbal tea. The flowers contain hypericin, pseudohypericin and hyperforin, which inhibit monomine oxidase A that destroys dopamine in the brain and leads to depression. If used correctly, it can reduce mild depression symptoms within two weeks. The best results show within six weeks. St.John’s wort has been proven as one of the best Natural Antidepressants and works as well as prescription drugs.

It has certain side effects such as skin sensitivity to UV light and should not be used with other monomine drugs or herbs. Avoid the use of alcohol and take it with food.


It is a natural amino acid that is extracted from a plant called Griffonia simplicifolia. The human body uses 5HTP to produce more serotonin that regulates depression and anxiety. It is a good dietary supplement as a natural treatment for depression and is safe to use with limited side effects. Positive changes in mood swing result from dosages of 50 to 300mg per day within a few weeks. It is even more effective when used with St. John’s wort. It is also effective in treatment of manic behavior and helps a person to sleep better. Besides these uses it reduces the symptoms of premenstrual stress, improves concentration and helps with weight loss.


S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) is a methyl donor involved the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain. It works fast and positive results can be seen within days. It is a safe product to use but still expensive. It may also protect against some of the effects from Alzheimer’s disease. It may cause mania in bipolar patients.


DL-Phenylalanine (DPLA) works by raising phenyl ethylamine levels in the brain through increased production of Norepinephrine and by protecting Endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals involved in pain and mood regulation. DL-Phenylalanine is converted to L-tyrosine in the human body. More research is needed on effective dosages.


People suffering from depression have low levels of L-Threonine, an amino acid that can only be obtained from protein in the diet or through a supplement. It is essential for growth and helps to reduce muscle cramps as well as hypersensitivity to gluten. It is an effective treatment in the early stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and is helpful in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.


The herbal plant, Scutellaria Laterifolia (Skullcap) is helpful in the nourishment of the nervous system because of its richness in minerals. It is an effective remedy for withdrawal symptoms when a person goes off tranquilizers. It was traditionally used for the treatment of rabies and relieve of menstrual cramps. It reduces the effects of arthritis and twitching movements. It can also be used to break a fever. It supports healthy liver function and digestion.

Other Natural Antidepressants

There are numerous alternatives to the antidepressant prescription drugs. Natural sunlight that provides Vitamin D to the human body reduces winter blues. Deficiency of Folic Acid increases the risk of depression onslaught. Omega-3 supplements also reduce symptoms of depression.

Natural Antidepressants provide an array of additional uses and have far less side effects than prescribed drugs. Natural Antidepressants should however, still be used with care. Consult your doctor before you use any anti-depressant medication.

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