Updated: Feb 2, 2019
Yep. I said it. CURE. I never woulda thunk it, but after months of trial and error and a staggering amount of research, I stumbled upon a natural course of supplements that worked to cure my major depressive disorder, which was accompanied by intense anxiety. I was tipped off earlier in the year to the miracle of supplements when I had a milder depression, and purely by accident took a fermented multivitamin one day just for my health.
Within an hour, my depression vanished...like, DISAPPEARED, and a few days later, it happened again, so I knew I was onto something. Mind you, it was not a mild depression, just milder than what was to come later. As I know anyone suffering from depression is eager for me to just cut to the chase, let's just dive in, shall we? If you're suffering from depression, here's what has worked for me.
1) I began taking L-methylfolate this year once I discovered that I have two defects on the MTHFR gene, which is a hot topic in the depression community. Apparently, if you have any defects on this gene, you are 500 times more likely to get depression and anxiety. What a defect means is that your brain doesn’t process folic acid properly, but taking ordinary folic acid isn’t the answer and, in fact, could make you worse. You must take the L-methylfolate form, which can be purchased over the counter. I buy the Bluebonnet brand as it’s a food-based vitamin as opposed to being synthetic (like the pharmacy brands), which the body doesn’t absorb nearly as well. In fact, any supplement I take these days is food-based, and I’ve noticed dramatic results.
If you google “MTHFR and depression,” you’ll find an incredible number of hits, as there’s currently much research on the subject, but I would recommend that you first check out this article by Dr. Andrew Rostenberg, then read the rest of his site (and watch his videos). His work is a scientific marvel and I’m profoundly grateful to have found him and his team. I consulted with one of his doctors, Shana Alexander, and we came up with a wonderful nutritional regimen that had me depression- and anxiety-free within a few weeks. His site is a great place to start.
2) Check out the marvels of fermentation. If you were to try just one supplement on my plan, I would highly recommend that you take “New Chapter’s 40+ for Women Multivitamin,” which is a fermented supplement that also contains a number of herb blends. I don’t know what it is about this particular vitamin, but when I tried any of the other New Chapter varieties, like their “55+ for Women,” I did not get the same results, and a number of people (even someone at the company) said that the 40+ version was a completely different formulation.
If you’re a man, I suppose it couldn’t hurt you to take this vitamin, although you might want to compare the labels of their “For Men” varieties and see if they’re similar. All I can say is that when my depression was milder, all I needed was one vitamin a day to relieve my symptoms. When my depression was severe, I took two of these vitamins per day, in divided doses (with my doctor’s okay), along with the other supplements recommended by Dr. Alexander, which I’ll share later.
As I had such great results with fermented vitamins, I decided to add in fermented foods to my diet, as well, especially after I learned that Japan (which eats an extensive diet of fermented foods) has just a one percent depression rate, while the French population clocks in at 14 percent. I’m absolutely addicted to kefir, a yogurt drink that has billions more probiotics than ordinary yogurt. I also enjoy kimchi, a Korean cabbage salad, and kombucha, a fizzy drink. You’ll find that different brands of kefir have varying amounts of tartness, so test them out to find out your preference. The Evolve brand is quite smooth, while Trader Joe’s is quite tart (except for the mango flavor). In my opinion, I love them all.
3) Here is a list of other supplements I took (ordered from Metagenics) when my depression was at its worst, per Dr. Alexander:
Methyl Care 120C
D3 5000 120C
OmegaGenics DHA 600 Concentrate 90C
UltraMeal Advanced Protein French Vanilla (14)
Glutagenics Powder (60)
New Chapter 40+ for Women Multivitamin (from Amazon -- different amounts are available)
Bluebonnet L-Methylfolate (from Amazon)
The Methyl Care contains L-methylfolate, but I take two extra pills of the Bluebonnet brand (1000 mcg each). I also take Magnesium, Vitamin C and other assorted supplements when the mood strikes me, but as of this moment, I’m only taking the New Chapter 40+ for Women Multivitamin and two L-methylfolate tabs, as my symptoms are under control.
4) Try adding in Deplin, a pharmaceutical form of L-methylfolate. My friend, who takes Celexa, added in Deplin, and she has been depression-free ever since. It’s a 7.5 mg pill, so she takes it every other day, as Dr. Rostenberg believes that lower doses of folate work better. My friend has found that to be true, as well. If you don’t want to go the vitamin route, but are only doing moderately well with your antidepressant, taking Deplin every other day might be a big help.
5) One thing I haven’t mentioned in this essay is therapy, and believe me, that’s huge. I was in therapy for many years, with great results, but this summer, when I fell off of a ladder and sustained a traumatic brain injury, I developed a major depressive episode three weeks after (this happens to over half of all TBI patients). It started with late-day depressions, then morphed into full-day depressions, and put bluntly, it was awful.
While therapy is great, my point here is that my summer depression had nothing to do with my emotions or mindset. Despite being in the hospital for over a month, my mood was good, so this depression was purely chemical, which is what I’m focusing on in this essay. Therapy is a wonderful and life-changing endeavor, and not always prompted by a full-blown depression. But if you ARE depressed, I’m hoping the tips in this essay will help you as much as they have helped me.
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