Major depression is a serious medical illness affecting 10 to 14 million adults. It involves disturbances in mood, concentration, sleep, activity level, interests, appetite, and social behavior. Depression can develop in anyone, regardless of race, culture, social class, age, or gender.

Many people suffering from depression are not aware that there are natural remedies for depression that are a safe and effective alternative to psychiatric medication. Lifestyle changes such as dietary modifications, stress reduction and exercise can also have a positive effect on depression symptoms.

Causes of Depression

Depression can be triggered by traumatic life events, poor diet, nutritional deficiencies, blood sugar imbalances, allergies, medical illness, lack of exercise, drug and alcohol use, and digestive difficulties. These triggers are known to cause or contribute to neurotransmitter imbalances and depletion.

Finding the cause of depression means addressing the biochemistry of the brain. This can require testing such as Neurotransmitter testing, blood chemistry panels, thyroid and hormone testing.

Proven Natural Depression Remedies

Targeted Amino Acid Therapy (TAAT)

Targeted Amino Acid Therapy or TAAT is designed to address neurotransmitter deficiencies or imbalances. Neurotransmitters are synthesized from various amino acid precursors. Serotonin, for example, is synthesized from 5-HTP, and oral doses of 5-HTP have been shown to significantly elevate serotonin levels.

A non-invasive neurotransmitter lab test is available to measure your neurotransmitter and hormones levels. This test will determine which neurotransmitters are too high or to low. If an imbalance is present targeted amino acid therapy can help bring them back into balance thereby reducing or eliminating symptoms such as anxiety or depression. The program uses a combination of specific amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that will increase your body’s production of neurotransmitters. These formulas can be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies your practitioner may prescribe. The right balance of these chemicals can set the stage for restoring your health. You brain and nervous system will once again send strong signals to the rest of your body.


5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid. It is found in high concentrations in the brain and acts as a building block for the brain to make serotonin. 5-HTP may work synergistically with certain nutritional supplements to support mood. This nutritive amino acid may also support a healthy sleep cycle. Serotonin is involved in mood regulation, sleep, and appetite control.


L-Carnitine is an amino acid that has been reported to safely alleviate depression in some people in doses of 1000 mg twice a day. Acetyl-L-carnitine is a form of carnitine that has shown superior absorption effects to regular L-carnitine.


L-Tryptophan is the precursor to Serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain, which is deficient in depression. L-Tryptophan is a natural relaxant and helps alleviate insomnia by inducing normal sleep. L-Tryptophan reduces anxiety & depression; helps in the treatment of migraine headaches; helps the immune system; helps reduce the risk of artery & heart spasms.


SAM-e is involved in more than 35 biochemical reactions involving enzymatic transmethylation. Methylation is the process by which the body rids itself of compounds, synthesizes neurotransmitters, makes components of cartilage, regulates enzyme activity within the cell, and maintains the flexibility of cell membranes. Serotonin and other brain chemicals require methylation to be synthesized. SAM-e promotes healthy joint function and comfort, boosts mood and emotional well-being. The suggested dose of SAMe to treat depression ranges from 400-1600 mg a day.

St. John’s Wort

Numerous scientific studies have addressed the effectiveness and safety of standardized St. John’s Wort extract. It is thought to work by inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and GABA. Hypericin extract appears to inhibit serotonin uptake by postsynaptic receptors and increase synaptic dopamine concentration. Recommended dosage 300 mg three times a day.

Natural remedies for depression can provide persons suffering with depression a safe and effective alternative to taking pharmaceutical medications or enable them to reduce the dose.

About Author

Valerie Balandra is a board certified psychiatric nurse practitioner and holistic health practitioner. Her Integrative Psychiatry practice and website focuses on ways to identify causes of bio-chemical imbalances and provides natural treatments for depression and anxiety. She provides telephone consultations to patients wanting more information on natural treatments for mental health disorders.

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