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Natural Supplements for Anxiety & Depression

By Julie Webb Kelley ; Updated August 14, 2017

According to Mayo Clinic, although anxiety and depression are two distinct disorders, they often appear at the same time. Anxiety symptoms may include panic attacks, phobias, generalized anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorders. Symptoms of depression may involve long-term sadness, fatigue, irregular sleeping and eating patterns, irritability, loss of interest in activities, family and friends or suicidal thoughts. Treatment for these disorders is usually necessary and may include medication or professional counseling. However, there are natural supplements that have proven to be helpful for anxiety and depression.

St. John's Wort

According to University of Maryland Medical Center, St. John’s wort is believed to be helpful for mild or moderate depression. Taking St. John’s wort for depression/anxiety should be done with care, as it tends to interact with several prescription meds, especially antidepressive drugs, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dosages for St. John’s Wort when used for depression and anxiety should be 300 mg three times a day.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), taking omega-3s may help decrease the symptoms of depression. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and tuna. The body cannot make its own omega-3s, thus it needs to be supplemented in the diet. Walnuts and flaxseeds are other sources of omega-3s. Omega-3s are highly concentrated in the brain and play an important role in cognitive function. Take 2 to 3 grams per day in two divided doses along with food.

Valerian

According to the NCCAM, the herb valerian has long been used for sleep disorders, anxiety and even depression. Although there is not enough scientific evidence that valerian works well for anxiety and depression, studies have shown that it is safe for four- to six-week periods. Valerian is relatively safe, says the Mayo Clinic, but it also has the potential for side effects such as headaches, dizziness and gastrointestinal problems. Valerian may increase the effectiveness of other sleep aids, so it should be used with caution. The University of Maryland Medical Center says that researchers aren’t clear about how valerian soothes the nervous system, but taking 200 mg doses three to four times a day may be helpful for sleep disorders associated with anxiety/depression.

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