Depression is a serious condition that can affect every aspect of life, as sufferers well know. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that depression affects over 15 million American adults today, and this does not even include the numerous adolescents that show depression symptoms.
Some research shows that niacin, also known as vitamin B-3, can alleviate depression in many cases. Many people suffering from depression have been found to have very low niacin levels.
In an attempt to lift the weight of depression and try to lead normal lives, many people turn to prescription antidepressants. However, antidepressants often do more harm than good, as they lead to an array of side effects, some of which may actually worsen the depression by creating new emotional imbalances. Before turning to dangerous drugs, try the natural approach first – you may be surprised at the positive results.
The first thing to remember when you decide to address your depression naturally is that a lifestyle change is in order. There is no single ‘wonder-cure’ that will take away your symptoms if you continue your disease-promoting habits. Nature works holistically, so you must work to gradually change your sleep, eating, exercise and stress patterns in order to see lasting results.
Studies have shown that high stress levels, poor diet, and lack of sleep can cause depression and anxiety. If you improve your nutrition, add a little bit of exercise to your daily routine, meditate regularly, and find a way to get a few more hours of sleep, you may feel completely differently. Once you have made this change, it will be easier to see which symptoms are still there, and which ones were simply due to your body running on empty.
If your body is niacin-deficient, you may experience anxiety, insomnia and depression. A severe, long-term lack of adequate niacin may lead to dementia and pellagra, a schizophrenia-like condition. Niacin cannot be stored by the body, so you need to frequently replenish your levels.
Niacin, along with the other B-vitamins, is key to the optimal functioning of your entire body. Besides depression, it has also been found to benefit those with arthritis, trouble sleeping, schizophrenia and addiction issues.
To start, try adding foods rich in niacin to your daily diet. These include leafy, green vegetables, carrots, celery, turnips, almonds, beans, red meats and fish. If you have added these foods to your diet, and do not feel a significant improvement in your depression, you could try a niacin supplement.
Be sure to choose the “flushing” variety, not the “flush-free” variety. “Flushing” niacin, or nicotinic acid, dilates the blood vessels and can create a warming sensation throughout your body; this is the form of niacin that has been used against depression. “Flush-free” niacin, or nicotinamide, has not been shown effective against depression.
Pure nicotinic acid is available at many health food stores, and online. Dosage can be a bit tricky, as you need to take enough to be effective, but very high amounts are hard on the liver. It is strongly recommended to talk to a natural health professional to determine the right amount for your body and state of health.
-The Alternative Daily