Written by Sadie Wirthlin

Depression is a condition that affects millions of people. Depending on the severity, conditions may require medications, but that doesn’t always work for everyone. Researchers have started looking into how they can make these medications more effective, and one promising avenue is to pair antidepressant medication with certain supplements. Recent research suggests that taking omega-3 fish oil and vitamin D supplements with antidepressants may prove useful in treating patients.

The American Journal of Psychiatry recently published a study on the use of antidepressants combined with omega-3s, vitamin D, and zinc. Results show that patients who took depression medication with omega-3s and vitamin D had fewer depressive symptoms than those who didn’t take supplements. Omega-3s had the most powerful effect, but vitamin D also proved beneficial. Zinc, on the other hand, had mixed results. The ARCADIA Mental Health Research Group stated that omega-3s could be most beneficial because their fatty acids produce biological activity that may improve one’s mood. The question still remains, however, on whether the pairing of antidepressants and nutritional supplements is an interactive effect or simply two individual mood elevators.

Even with this new research, there is still a lot to learn when it comes to antidepressants and how they work. Some data suggests that 30-45% of patient response to depression medication is due to a placebo effect. Regarding the effect of nutrient supplements, there are concerns about the sample size of studies, as well as the quality and purity of the commonly unregulated nutritional supplements.

All in all, researchers remain cautiously optimistic about the positive effects these supplements could have on treating depression. There has not been any major safety issues with nutritional supplements, but some side effects can include constipation, upset stomach, and diarrhea. Further studies are needed, but combining particular nutritional supplements and antidepressant medication may be a low-cost way to inprove treatment results. It is strongly encouraged for people to consult with a doctor about what medications and supplements they should take.

Sources: Time.com, ajp.psychiatryonline.org

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