A research article published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that nutritional vitamin supplements may increase the effectives of antidepressant medications. The results published in the article provide new hope for patients with depression, since nearly two-thirds do not respond to common antidepressants, and often attempt multiple medications to find an effective therapy.
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Three Key Vitamin Supplements that Boost Antidepressants
Researchers at Harvard University and the University of Melbourne cross-examined 40 clinical trials that looked at the effects that vitamin supplements had on commonly prescribed antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and tricyclic antidepressant. The results of this analysis unveiled three key supplements that impacted the effectiveness of antidepressant drugs: Omega-3 Fish Oil, vitamin B, and vitamin D.
Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements: One of the supplements that exhibited the most evidence at increasing the effectiveness of antidepressants was Omega-3 Fish Oil. In particular, the chemical compound found in fish oil supplements, eicosapentaenoic acid, exhibited a significant boost in patients taking antidepressants.
Vitamin B Supplements: The compound S-adenosylmethionine found in vitamin B supplements also exhibited a boost in the effectiveness of antidepressants. However, this boost was noted at a much lower rate when it was compared to omega-3.
Vitamin D Supplements: The main active agent in vitamin D, ergocalciferol, also presented an improvement in the effectiveness of antidepressants. The enhancement was at a much lower rate than vitamin B and omega B-3 fish oils.
Researchers noted that these types of vitamin supplements might increase the effectiveness of antidepressants by rebalancing neurotransmitters in the brain and by reducing inflammation caused by conditions like major depression. Another explanation for this added boost in the effectiveness of antidepressants is that supplements like omega-3 replenish nutrients lost as a result of depression.
Another important factor that researchers stressed is the quality of supplements. Researchers recommend that patients talk to their doctor before taking vitamins to determine which provide the most benefits for their given condition.