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Depression and Nutrition
This fact sheet offers generic advice on depression but everyone is different. It is therefore beneficial to have a personal health and nutrition assessment to get specific advice that takes account of al your health issues.
• fresh fish - at least 3 times a week to boost your zinc and omega-3 intake. Tuna, salmon and snapper contain the highest levels tryptophan which wil help lift your mood.
• plenty of fresh fruit – eating a banana before bed time wil help you sleep • pork contains tryptophan which wil help your mood and your energy• seeds and nuts (Brazil nuts and walnuts are best for depression) Exclude:
• processed foods (i.e. lots of additives, preservatives and colourings)• high fat foods • sugary foods, including honey and syrup Limit intake of:
• red meat – because it raises levels of brain chemicals cal ed dopamine and norepinephrine. High levels of these in your body can cause (or add to) stress and anxiety. • wheat products - wheat contains gluten which has been linked to depression and anxiety Supplements
Most people suffering from depression and/or anxiety are deficient in B vitamins, magnesium and
Hawke’s Bay soils are very deficient in magnesium and selenium so supplementation is often
required to ensure sufficient intake.
Magnesium (500mg)
Vitamin B complex ( with at least 75mg of most of the B vitamins and at least 100mcg of
Omega-3 (There are 2 sub-types of omega-3; DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA
(eicosapentaenoic acid). Choose a brand that provides at least 600 mg of each) • Selenium (70mcg)
St John’s Wort (at least 300mg) but not if already taking anti-depressant or the birth control pil
P.O.Box 7308 Taradale Hawke’s Bay 4121 P 06 844 0587 M021 0228 6372 E [email protected] Depression and Nutrition
The fol owing herbs have been proven to help depression: • valerian• ginseng and Siberian ginseng • St John’s Wort (see supplements, previous page)• licorice root (provided you do not have high blood pressure) The science bit!
Serotonin (the feel good brain chemical) is produced and absorbed in the gut. If your digestive system is impaired and you have too many toxins in your system, you wil not be absorbing the right levels of serotonin (or any other nutrients). It is therefore crucial to stop smoking and eating junk food to reduce the number of toxins in your system.
Our bodies only produce half of the amino acids we require. The rest, cal ed essential amino acids, come
from food or supplements. One of the essential amino acids is methionine, which breaks down in the
liver to produce a sub-amino acid cal ed S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e (pronounced sammy) for short!).
SAM-e is known to raise levels of the brain chemicals dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Low
levels of these chemicals are associated with depression. Natural food sources of methionine include
fish, meat, milk, nuts and eggs.
P.O.Box 7308 Taradale Hawke’s Bay 4121 P 06 844 0587 M021 0228 6372 E [email protected]


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