Natural alternatives to fight depression


Scientific study and clinical experience demonstrate that several natural remedies can help alleviate depression. These include the herb St John’s Wort, 5-HTP and SAMe(S-adenosylmethionine) which work by enhancing the brain’s production of the well-being hormone serotonin.

SAMe is a natural substance that the body can produce itself from the essential acid methionine and the cell fuel ATP. Found in all our cells SAMe plays an important role in critical biochemical processes, assisting other body’s chemicals to convert into serotonin.

Researchers from the University of Alabama in the US in the late 1980s found that depressed patients were not making enough of their own SAMe in their brains. After checking red cells from patients suffering from depression and schizophrenia, they discovered a decreased amount of a chemical called methionine adenosyl transferase (MAT), an enzyme necessary for the formation of SAMe.

People who have lower levels of SAMe tend to have high levels of the protein homocysteine in their blood. Homocysteine is implicated in a number of serious illnesses such as heart attack, stroke, liver damage, eye problems and is thought may contribute to the sticky plaques in the brain in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Since a deficiency in the B vitamin, folic acid, is associated with high homocysteine levels, high levels of SAMe may be assisted by eating foods containing folic acid such as asparagus and other green vegetables.

Depression is helped by a balanced diet which should include essential fatty acids from fish and nut which feed the brain; avoiding alcohol and sugar which cause sugar spikes in the blood, taking a multi-vitamin and minerals, incuding potassium. Vitamin D is helpful for the winter blues.

Exercise including medication and yoga are destressers, as it listening to music.

SAMe can be purchased online as a supplement at It also supports joint and bone health. This supplement should not be taken by anyone with bipolar disorder or pregnant woman.

People who are experiencing profound feelings of sadness and hopelessness should seek professional help. Natural herbs and supplements should not be taken in conjunction with other drugs and advice should always be sought from a medical professional before taking natural herbs and medicines for depression.