Natural Remedies for Depression
Vitamin B6 is needed for making certain brain chemicals (known as neurotransmitters), including serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are required for normal nerve cell communication. They also play some role in depression. Researchers have been investigating the relationship between vitamin B6 levels and a wide variety of neurological conditions such as seizures, chronic pain, depression, headache, and Parkinson's disease.
Lower levels of serotonin have been found in individuals suffering from depression. So far, however, vitamin B6 supplements have not proven to be effective at relieving these symptoms. One study found that a sugar pill was just as likely as vitamin B6 to relieve depression.
SAMe is a substance found in every human cell. It is short for S-adenosyl-L-methionine but is more commonly known as "sammy." It is sold in Europe as a treatment for depression. It is available in the United States as a dietary supplement.
Several studies have shown SAMe to be more effective than a placebo for the relief of depression symptoms. Other studies have also shown treatment with SAMe to be equivalent to antidepressants for depression.
While there were few side effects in the published studies, all of the studies were short-term.
5-HTP is an abbreviation of 5-hydroxytryptophan. When 5-HTP enters the brain, it is converted to serotonin. 5-HRT is considered a natural treatment, not only because it is present in the body, but also because it is extracted from an African plant (Griffonia simplicifolia). In theory, increasing 5-HRT levels in the body should also increase serotonin levels. At this point, not enough studies have been done with 5-HRT to know if this is in fact true.