Best Natural Supplement For Depression

Carvacrol Oil is the best natural supplement for depression

Oregano Oil, which contains Carvacrol Oil, beat Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Diazepam in an antidepressant test on mice called the sucrose preference test[2].

And this was just normal Oregano oil that contained 6% Carvacrol Oil. It is now available cheaply with 55% Carvacrol Oil.

Carvacrol works differently from most other antidepressants. A lot of antidepressants work through the serotonin system, making you feel good. Carvacrol oil relieves depression through the dopamine system[3]
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Depression and Exercise

Exercise can be amazingly beneficial.

  • It is a natural antidepressant
  • And it improves your willpower, giving you more motivation and more “get up and go”.
  • It is referred to as a “keystone” habit in The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg, because people that exercise start engaging in other good habits like eating healthier even if that was never their goal. These good habits like eating healthy also help relieve depression.

A recent study showed that exercise reduced depression symptoms by 55%[1] in people with major depression. 

However! The exercise didn’t work for everyone, there was a very clear divide. First the researchers tested how the participants responded to rewards. Participants with low levels of reward processing didn’t gain any benefit at all from exercise. Participants with healthy positive reward processing, even if their depression symptoms were worse, benefited a lot from the exercise. 
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Best Supplements For Depression – and the surprising thing they have in common.

Examine.com is an independent website that documents clinical research on different supplements. I’ve looked through and managed to find 4 cheap natural supplements that are all described as having a “notable (moderate) effect on depression” and are supported by “high to very high level of clinical evidence”. The 4 supplements (with Amazon links) are:

All four are easily available and they don’t interact with each other so you can use all four of them daily if you wish.  All four are available cheaply online. read more

Foods For Depression

Diet is essential to managing depression. The reason for that is everyone has a diet, you have to eat something! Unlike other things that may help depression, the right diet relieves depression but the wrong diet actually causes depression. So you get a big double wammy from the wrong diet because you are missing out on the anti-depression benefits as well as actively adding to your depression.

Considering how important diet is to depression there actually isn’t much research on it. The reason for this is because cash is king. Pharmaceutical companies are willing to invest big money in running studies for their drugs as they stand to make a lot of money from it. But no one stands to make much money from proving how great salad is or even multivitamins. However more research is starting to be done and so far the results look great.

One study[1] involved eating a healthy diet for 12 weeks vs receiving social support. 1/3 of people (32.3%) in the healthy diet group went in to complete remission so they no longer had depression at all. This is a great result. Only 8% of the social support group went in to remission.

The problem with healthy eating that this study demonstrates is of course that the other 2/3 of participants that didn’t benefit as much.

The researchers scored participants based on how well they stuck to the diet. The better they stuck to the diet the stronger their drop in depression. Every extra 10% they scored in adherence to the diet resulted in a 2.2 drop on the MARDS scale they were using to measure their level of depression. With a 15 point drop being required to get the average participant in to remission. In other words the people who didn’t benefit as much were the participants that didn’t actually stick to the diet.

So it wasn’t the case that a healthy diet didn’t work for everyone, it was that people struggle to stick to a healthy diet. That’s the problem with healthy eating as a remedy for depression. It can be really hard. The people in this study had regular meetings and training to help them stick to the diet, and lots of them still didn’t do a great job of following the diet.

This was the diet they followed, it was based on the Mediterranean diet:

“The primary focus was on increasing diet quality by supporting the consumption of the following 12 key food groups (recommended servings in brackets): whole grains (5–8 servings per day); vegetables (6 per day); fruit (3 per day), legumes (3–4 per week); low-fat and unsweetened dairy foods (2–3 per day); raw and unsalted nuts (1 per day); fish (at least 2 per week); lean red meats (3–4 per week) [32], chicken (2–3 per week); eggs (up to 6 per week); and olive oil (3 tablespoons per day),

whilst reducing intake of ‘extras’ foods, such as sweets, refined cereals, fried food, fast-food, processed meats and sugary drinks (no more than 3 per week). Red or white wine consumption beyond 2 standard drinks per day and all other alcohol (e.g. spirits, beer) were included within the ‘extras’ food group. Individuals were advised to select red wine preferably and only drink with meals.”

That doesn’t mean this is the perfect diet for relieving depression. There isn’t anywhere near enough research to know what the best diet is, but it is certainly a good starting point. The best diet is one that you will you stick to depending on what your own strengths and weaknesses are. So if you prefer veg over whole grains then eating more veg will probably okay. Swapping veg for fried bacon on the other hand wont work.

I highly recommend making rolled oats one of the main whole grain foods you eat. Oats are a supper food when it comes to digestion. The gluey oats coat and protect the lining of your stomach. This will make your diet even healthier.

If you have an intolerance or allergy to a particular food then you definitely should avoid that food. A lot of mild food intolerance go undiagnosed as we have a slow response to them. If you think you may have one then avoid that food for 2 weeks and the try have a lot in one go and see how it makes you feel.

Wholegrain wheat is much healthier than refined wheat. But evidence is sketchy when it comes to how healthy whole wheat actually is. There is so much wheat in our diet that most of the studies just show that the whole grain wheat is better than refined. Research from 2016 has shown that some people do have a negative immune response to all wheat including wholegrain wheat[5]. If you think wheat may make you ill then test avoiding it for 2 weeks too.

Supplements can be quite an easy way of improving your diet. Multi vitamins can relieve depression[2]. As well as taking a probiotic supplement[3]. There are also associations between a lack of omega 3 found in fish and major depression[4], especially if you normally consume a lot of omega 6 foods including mayonnaise, foods that contain corn oil and animal fats. Taking an omega 3 supplement each day can be helpful.

You can also add anti-inflammatory spices to your food to make it even healthy. Like ginger to your oats. Chilli powder, fenugreek and tumeric are good too. Try to add one of these to each meal if you can.

Diet and its effects on health and depression is a complicated subject and could easily fill a whole book. However the foods in the above study and the supplements I have mentioned are a great starting point.

So How Do You Stick To A Healthy Diet?

Here are some ideas:

  • Don’t wait until you are too hungry, you are much more likely to crave sugary foods when you get too hungry
  • Getting in to a routine of eating the same food each day makes it a lot easier. Then just have one day a week where you mix it up to make sure you still have variety in your diet
  • You are more likely to order healthy food on-line because there is a delay between when you order the food and when you have to eat it,
  • Whereas if you are buying food in-store then you get to eat as soon as you have bought it, so you are more likely to buy tasty junk food on an impulse. Stores are actually use this insight to get you to buy more. They put healthy food at the start as you are more likely to buy them when you are further away from till and then sweets closer to the till as you get closer to being able to pay for and eat the food.
  • If you do shop in-store don’t go whilst you are hungry
  • People who exercise are more likely to eat healthier (possibly because better blood sugar management from exercise means you will crave junk food less often)
  • People who keep a log of their food are more likely to eat healthier too. It is worth logging how you feel each day along with your food so you can see which foods are making you fell better or worse.
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    Beliefs, Adverse Childhood and Life Events, and Depression

    In my post How our brain creates depression – and what does it mean for a cure? we talked about how depression is actually a low internal locus of control (therefore you have an external locus of control).

    Your Locus of Control is basically a bunch of subconscious beliefs about how much control you have over your environment. For our ancestors having control over their environment made a big difference to their chances of survival. A lot of these beliefs are to do with your social environment. Like how much control you have over whether people like you or not.

    If you are depressed then you subconsciously believe certain goals that were important to our ancestor’s survival are difficult to control.

    Your Locus of Control is really just a bunch of subconscious beliefs, and in the case of depression it is beliefs about things that were important for our ancestor’s survival like health and social connections.

    Sometimes the belief is completely accurate like if your brain believes you have a zinc deficiency. In which case just trying to change the belief isn’t going to fix the deficiency. But the goal stetting in the previous post could be used to motivate you in to taking vitamin and mineral supplements every day which may help relieve some of your depression. Multivitamin and mineral supplements actually help me a lot as I have poor digestion.

    Some beliefs are much more subjective. If you get fired from a few jobs you may start to believe it is impossible for you to hold down a job. That sort of belief is likely to contribute to depression as having access to resources was important to our ancestor’s survival. Some of the other techniques I have suggested below can counter beliefs like this therefore reduce depression and increasing motivation to actually go and get a job. So it is even more effective in this situation. People often believe it is the trauma that causes the depression (getting fired in this example) when it is actually the belief the going forward (not being able to ever hold down a job).

    How our brain creates depression – and what does it mean for a cure?

    Like my last post we are again looking for an explanation here that makes sense but more importantly shows us what we can do about depression. So there will be no talk of brain chemicals and neurotransmitters.

    First we need to define something called Locus Of Control.

    Locus Of Control? (“Location” of Control)

    When we have a high internal locus of control towards a particular goal then we believe (subconsciously) that we are in control of the outcome. That if we work hard we will achieve a given goal. We are more motivated and much more resilient. We gain pleasure from working hard towards the goal. We feel energised. This increase in subconscious motivation outweighs other feelings too so we become less stressed from setbacks, we become more positive about being able to overcome problems. Everything seems easier.

    This happens because you associate the goal with your chances of survival, prosperity and reproduction. From working towards your job to spending time strengthening social relationships. So as far as your emotional subconscious brain is concerned you are working towards a survival goal and your chances of achieving it are good so it is time and energy well spent. So you are privileged with high motivation and positivity.

    The opposite is true when you feel like you have very little control over the outcome. This is sometimes known as an external locus of control as you believe the outcome is outside of your control, that there is no way you can make it happen. As a result you are much less motivated towards the goal. This makes sense, as there is no point spending time and energy trying to do something we don’t really believe is possible. You become a lot less resilient when trying to achieve this goal, everything feels like a lot of effort and you don’t even want to try. You become pessimistic and give up more easily. The task becomes less pleasurable. This saves you wasting energy on things that are impossible or unproducitve. Sometimes this low internal locus of control is referred to as “learned helplessness”.

    Understanding Depression

    The human body is a complex system. So there are many different ways of understanding and describing depression. However the best explanation of depression for us is one that helps us understand what we can to do to alleviate and manage it.

    “Low levels of this neurotransmitter affects that brain chemical… blah blah blah” isn’t a very useful explanation unless you are a pharmacist. Another way of explaining depression is to list all the symptoms or what it feels like, this might be useful for forming a diagnosis but not for doing much about it.

    This post is a more useful explanation that hopefully puts depression in context.

    Emotions, feelings, motivation (or a lack of them in the case of depression) have been shaped by evolution to help our ancestors survive in their natural environment. So we feel good after a good night’s sleep, a filling meal, or spending time socialising. (Social acceptance and social status were very important for our ancestor’s survival. Getting kicked out the tribe could have meant certain death. Being high up in your tribe would have had many advantages.)

    We feel negative emotions towards things that weren’t good for our survival and prosperity like pain from an injury, discomfort when too hot or too cold, tiredness when we are sleep deprived, or upset when we lose someone within our social circle.

    Although sometimes these feelings weren’t very pleasant to experience they increased our ancestor’s survival more often than not so they became a permanent part of our brains. Evolution lead to us being good at survival, not good at being happy. Depression is one of these traits that increased our ancestor’s chances of survival in their natural environment. You could describe it as being outdated in a way, or as going a bit haywire in our modern day world.