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Cooper Complete® Top 9 Supplements to Combat Depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, affecting nearly 2 in 10 adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 31% of the U.S. population struggled with anxiety and depression in June of 2020 during the COVID-19.

Depression can be triggered at any stage of life, regardless of age. These triggers can include:

  • Life circumstances
  • Genetics
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Environmental conditions
  • Variety of other medical issues

The good news is that depression is treatable with medication and therapy. See how supplementation may help relieve the symptoms of depression.

Advanced Omega-3

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Omega-3

Research supports that omega-3 provides major benefits in promoting heart health and fighting inflammation. Studies also show the positive effects of omega-3 fatty acids on brain health in various psychiatric disorders, most notably depression, but also bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Omega-3 is naturally found in fish such as salmon, sardines, trout and halibut; however, the average American does not consume the recommended amount of omega-3 through diet alone. Some researchers have found cultures that consume higher levels of these types of seafood (and therefore more omega-3) have lower overall levels of depression.

Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3 contains 1,200 IU EPA/DHA per serving of two softgels, which evidence shows may even boost the effectiveness of antidepressants.

Vitamin D3 – 125 mcg (5,000 IU)

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Vitamin D

Commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is absorbed through sun exposure as well as through consuming foods such as fish, eggs and fortified milk. However, similar to omega-3, it is difficult to acquire enough vitamin D through diet alone. Cooper Clinic recommends a daily baseline of 50 mcg (2,000 IU) of vitamin D, the amount found in all Cooper Complete multivitamins.

A simple blood test will show if you need more than 50 mcg (2,000 IU) per day to obtain a healthy level. For those who do need higher levels, two Cooper Complete Vitamin D3 softgel options are available—25 mcg (1,000 IU) and 125 mcg (5,000 IU).

With regard to supplements for depression and mental health and Vitamin D, a study involving 441 obese patients found taking additional vitamin D supplements improved overall depressive symptoms. In a study conducted by UT Southwestern and The Cooper Institute, researchers examined records of 12,600 Cooper Clinic patients seen between 2006 and 2010 and found higher vitamin D levels were associated with a significantly decreased risk of current depression, particularly among people with a prior history of depression.

Mood changes often synchronize with the seasons as anxiety and depression tend to increase during the winter months, commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Other studies have shown taking 10-20 mcg (400-800 IU) daily helped improve depressive symptoms associated with SAD.

Prolonged Release Melatonin Supplement

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Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body’s pineal gland which regulates sleep cycles. Depression can affect the amount of melatonin produced by the body, which is why anxiety and depression are often accompanied by problems falling asleep or staying asleep. Cooper Complete melatonin supplements can help kick-start your body’s natural production of this sleep hormone, helping you get a good night’s sleep and, in turn, deal with stress more effectively.

In addition to vitamin D, melatonin also can promote more quality sleep during the prolonged darkness of the winter months as light affects melatonin production in the body.

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort is a perennial herb that grows naturally in much of the world with a history of treating emotional disorders dating back to the Middle Ages. Today it is commonly used to treat depression worldwide. The standard dose of St. John’s wort is 300 mg, three times per day, usually taking up to four weeks to experience full effectiveness. As with all supplements, it is important to consult your doctor before taking St. John’s wort as there are many known interactions between this herbal supplement and other medications including certain antidepressants and birth control.

SAMe

SAMe (pronounced samm-ee) is short for S-adenosylmethionine, a chemical produced by the body. The research in favor of SAMe as a treatment for depression is not definitive due to the size and validity of the studies, but is encouraging. Several double-blind, placebo-controlled studies found SAMe effective in relieving depression. Significant research also shows SAMe’s ability to increase the response rate when taken in conjunction with antidepressants.

A typical full dose of SAMe is 400 mg taken three to four times per day. If this dosage yields favorable results for depression symptoms, it is encouraged to take it for a few weeks before decreasing the amount. As little as 200 mg taken twice daily may suffice once the initial dose has helped relieve symptoms.

Folate

While the use of folate by itself as a treatment for depression has been shown to have no effect, folate supplementation might boost the effectiveness of antidepressants. Folate helps the body break down high levels of homocysteine, which is most commonly associated with Alzheimer’s and depression. This breakdown also produces SAMe, explaining the connection between folate and depression. The methylfolate form of folate (L-5-MTHF) used in Cooper Complete multivitamins may increase the effectiveness of antidepressants.

Vitamin B12

In a 2013 study of 199 participants, results showed a link between vitamin B12 deficiency and high homocysteine levels. While vitamin B12 deficiency and depression often have overlapping symptoms, depression can be a symptom in and of itself of this vitamin deficiency as well. Cooper Complete’s vitamin B12 supplement is one of the supplements for depression that help alleviate this laundry list of symptoms including extreme fatigue, moodiness and memory issues.

Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral for proper neurologic function.

A meta-analysis of 17 studies involving 1,643 depressed and 804 control subjects revealed lower zinc levels in blood compared to the control subjects. Several randomized clinical trials support the effectiveness of zinc supplementation in improving mood not only in those who struggle with depression but also in healthy individuals. Cooper Complete offers 30 mg OptiZinc supplements and 10 mg orange-flavored zinc lozenges.

Magnesium

Magnesium, another essential mineral, plays a key role in brain biochemistry. With the first study investigating the benefits of magnesium in patients with depression conducted nearly 100 years ago, various clinical studies continue to confirm magnesium supplementation as an effective intervention for depressive symptoms. Cooper Complete offers a magnesium oxide supplement that contains 300 mg elemental magnesium as well as a magnesium glycinate form that contains 100 mg elemental magnesium. Cooper Clinic physicians recommend magnesium glycinate as this form of magnesium does not promote a laxative effect.

Magnesium Glycinate Supplement

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Exercise

Many effective tools fight against depression and research is constantly expanding to better understand how supplements can be an asset in this battle. Research has also proven the positive benefits of other lifestyle factors, especially exercise, in regard to mental health. A 2018 study from The Cooper Institute reveals the importance of midlife fitness in the primary prevention of depression and encourages physicians to consider fitness and physical activity in promoting healthy aging. Another study examined a controlled group of adults ages 20-45 and identified consistent aerobic exercise as an effective treatment for mild to moderate major depressive disorder—supporting Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper’s belief that exercise is the best medicine. Dr. Cooper recommends 30 minutes of sustained aerobic activity most days of the week for optimal overall physical and mental health.

If you suspect you or a loved one suffers from depression, consult your doctor to plan the best course of treatment. A doctor can help you discern if medication, therapy or other resources would be helpful. Completing this survey by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, or another like it, may help your doctor evaluate your symptoms.

As a reminder, your physician understands your health profile best, so it’s important to talk to him or her about which supplements are best for you.

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