Is This Happiness-Boosting Supplement the New Zoloft?

by Mary Nunes
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We live in an era when there are natural supplements for just about everything: vitamin C for glowing skin, vitamin A for hair growth, and probiotics for gut health (to name a few). Little did we know there are vitamins for our mental health, too.

The fact of the matter is that mental illness is not a rare thing (or anything to be ashamed of discussing). In fact, one in 10 adults in the developing world are on antidepressant medication. A 2014 paper on antidepressants found that most of their benefits are due to the placebo effect. It also revealed that they can sometimes cause patients to feel more anxious or worse than they did before. So our questions is this: Can certain nutritional supplements increase the effectiveness of antidepressants?

The answer to this question is yes. According to an analysis published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, nutritional supplements do in fact boost the effectiveness of several types of antidepressants. These include SSRIs, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants.

According to the study, "More patients showed an improvement in mood when prescribed omega-3 fish oil, methylfolate, vitamin D, and SAMe supplements in combination with antidepressant medication, compared to those who took medication only." They found that omega-3 fish oil produced the most significant improvement out of all four supplements. In fact, other studies have shown that both omega-3 and vitamin D can help improve mental health all on their own.

Want more information on supplements? Next up: the five most important vitamins for hair growth.

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