I used to be a bit of a skeptic about vitamins and supplements, but have had so much positive results of late that I am a true believer.
B vitamins in general can help with energy levels and mood, whether or not you are taking anti depressants. One of my physicians is a registered dietician as well as an MD. She really loves vitamin C and B vitamins. When I get the shots at the clinic she works at, I do feel energized. Many popular energy products are loaded with B vitamins, so there must be a lot of folks that think they help.
Vitamin D has been found to be helpful with Seasonal Affect Disorder. My physician likes to call Vitamin D a pro-hormone, which he believes more accurately describes its function. Vitamin D supplementation is a hot topic right now and there are books available. I found vitamin D to be very helpful in managing my own mood disorder and depression. I found a good on-line distributor where I can get this at a very affordable price.
As I have posted in other threads, I was recently prescribed Deplin (methyl folate). This is a biologically active form of folic acid and is the form of folic acid required for the brain to regulate neurotransmitter (serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine) production properly. Consequently, having methylfolate around in sufficient quantities to allow our neurochemistry to function properly is really a good thing! Anyhow for some folks, especially those with problems with folate metabolism (deficiency or problems making methyfolate, etc) taking Deplin really helps with mood stabilization. There is evidence that many people find it helpful to use Deplin with anti depressants. It is a prescription medical food, so, if you are interested, talk to your physician about adding Deplin to your treatment. I found taking 15 mg per day is helpful. My copay is the same for 7.5 (once daily) or 15 mg (twice daily) dosage. You might want to check out the Deplin website or get the link so you can refer you physician to it.
Anyhow for me, the results have been dramatic. I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression several years ago and have been on medical disability for over three years. A year ago, I was concerned because I had trouble completing sentences and only left the house when I had to buy food for the dogs or cats -- once a week at most. My anxiety and depression kept me cloistered from the world.
I worked with some very good physicians trying to find the root cause for my inability to function and, if that was not possible, at least come up with medical treatment that would help. It was very frustrating. Some things I tried seemed to have no effect at all; some helped with the dark edge of sadness and despair; others seemed to make things worse. It was tempting to give up -- or settle for treatments that masked symptoms but really did not help me be all that I know I have the potential to be...
I started vitamin D supplementation in January and found that it helps me significantly. I started using a timed release 5-HTP supplement to help manage serotonin levels. I tried 5-HTP before, but was on different medications at that time and it did not seem to help, so I quit taking it. This time it was different. The 5-HTP had a noticable impact. With the vitamin D and 5-HTP, I found I was sleeping better and was not darkly depressed. My doctor also suggested that I try niacinamide (a B vitamin) to help with mental focus. I found a good source for 1500 mg timed release niacinamide and since I "missed it" when I ran out, I think it helps. Unlike niacin, niacinamide does not cause flushing and -- well niacinamide is what was recommended for my problems with my attention span/mental focus.
Although I was doing much better, I was still not enthusiastic about life. I was not as anxious about leaving the house, but I wasn't confident that I could navigate the simplest of social settings, so I remained pretty much house bound. My physician had suggested Deplin in January, but we decided to hold off til we figured out which of new things we were trying were helpful. In March, I decided to ask about the "new folic acid" he had mentioned. I checked out the Deplin website and pondered their claims and decided to give it a try. Honestly, I was not expecting much. I was dealing with some other health issues for the first month I was on Deplin, so it was difficult to access how much it helped me initially. By the time I filled the prescription for the second time, it was clear something wonderful had happened.
My situation is still pretty dismal -- I mean -- I am fat old lady who has been on medical disability for three years recovering from/managing severe clinical depression. I am not on the top of anyone's social calendar! Until recently, I lived in constant anxiety over what would happen to me if I lost my disability funding. After less than three full months on Deplin, I am looking forward to becoming a productive, social being again. I have a lot of work to do to get there -- but at least I feel that I can
do the work it will take to become healthy again. This is a HUGE change for me.
I do not know if the things that have worked for me will help all of you reading this. Some of them might help some of you. However, I think it is important that we all know that it is not hopeless. Do not give up. Keep working with your health care providers to find what works for you
as a unique and wonderful individual.
Now that I have my wits about me, I can do all the things I learned about for having a healthy life. My doc prescribed physical therapy for me -- and I get a month of PT with a therapist to show me how to exercise and then a free month in the gym. I even talked my PT into THREE sessions next week. And for someone that had trouble making it out of the house at all -- this is big! I also have started water walking with a friend from "before my dark time" who is happy that I am out and about again.
A nutritious diet and regular exercise are so important for good health -- and I know they are both critical in managing depression. Unfortunately I was too sick to exercise for many years.
Having a positive attitude and developing good social skills and spiritual nurture are all very important in managing depression as well -- but -- until I got some help at a metabolic level -- I could not pull this off! Now I can work on it!
When we are messing with our brain chemistry and products that alter neurotransmitter levels and function, we are talking SERIOUS business. I think it is very important to have qualified folks helping us assess our progress and the efficacy of the products we try.
Much luck to you all!