The TOP 9 Supplements for Your Optimal Mental Health

Are there supplements for depression

We work so hard to maintain emotional and mental balance. I mean, we fine-tune meds, make lifestyle changes, work on relationships, and more. Still, we wonder if we’ve covered our bases. Hmmm. What about vitamins and supplements?

Antioxidant/Anti-Inflammatory: The link between emotional/mental health disorders and chronic inflammation is real. Let’s tone-down this inflammation with some healthy supplements…

We’ve chatted vitamins and supplements numerous times, most recently a piece on probiotics and the gut/mind connection. So it’s been a while, and time to check back in.

We’re fortunate to have so many highly qualified and bright professionals willing to share their wisdom and lend a hand here on Chipur. Speaking of which…

How to treat depression without meds

Amanda Porter, NP

Amanda Porter, NP describes herself as a wife, mom, introvert, and writer who likes to talk about faith, hope, and recovery. Amanda is a nurse practitioner, specializing in holistic psychiatry/mental health – proudly practicing at the nationally-renowned Lindner Center of HOPE in Mason, Ohio.

What do you think? Is she qualified to educate and help us? Uh, yep. So let’s go ahead and hand Amanda the reins…

The TOP 9 Supplements for Your OPTIMAL Mental HEALTH

Upfront fact: I am a HUGE fan of nutrient therapy and supplements. I’m actually a little nutty about it. I have three shelves in our kitchen devoted to storing them. As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, I know that reaching optimal mental health is virtually impossible if you do not lay the groundwork for nutritional success.

In other words, FOOD is MEDICINE.

However, the reality of a chaotic life can disrupt our best intentions for healthful meals. So, we can rely on supplements to help out.

A Good Start:

  1. Daily Multivitamin: A concise daily MTV will, if nothing else, give you some piece of mind that you did in fact get your daily required chromium. So, there’s that.
  2. Fish Oil or Caprylic Acid: Believe it or not, fat is not the enemy anymore when it comes to diet. Just watch for the TYPE of fat you are taking in. Omega 3 fatty acids can help with focus/concentration, depression, and Alzheimer’s. They can also decrease the onset of psychosis.
  3. Vitamin D: You think you’re getting enough from your milk and yogurt, but you’re just not. Low Vitamin D levels are connected with increased rates of depression, cognitive decline, and fatigue. The geographic region with the highest rate of schizophrenia? Scandinavia, where the average daily sunlight is zilch and Vitamin D levels are sunk.
  4. Probiotics: A healthy gut makes for a healthy brain. Helping gut flora proliferate has a HUGE beneficial effect since 95% of serotonin is stored in the gut. Depression can be relieved and overall mood can be balanced. BDNF (fertilizer for your brain) is boosted, as well as the strength of your immune system.
  5. Magnesium: This supplement is important for controlling anxiety, aiding in restorative sleep, resolving depression, and lowering hyperactivity. The easiest way to become magnesium-deficient? Eating a ton of processed food. The most optimal version is magnesium oxide.
  6. B-Complex: This is a daily proposition. If you don’t have the building blocks for serotonin and norepinephrine, those prescription psychotropics don’t stand much of a chance of working. Abundant B vitamins are necessary. ALSO, let’s think about that folic acid for a sec. Have you been checked for the MTHFR mutation?
  7. Antioxidant/Anti-Inflammatory: The link between emotional/mental health disorders and chronic inflammation is true. Let’s tone-down this inflammation with some healthy supplements. This could come in the form of green tea, turmeric, cinnamon or ginger root – all of which are amazing. Throw in some dark chocolate if you want to get wild. Glutathione (the uber-antioxidant) cannot be consumed in an effective supplement form, BUT you can ingest its precursor, the lovely n-acetylcysteine. Anti-inflammatories have even been known (I’ve witnessed this myself!) to be helpful in the treatment of some addictions.
  8. Phosphatidylserine: It’s the new generation of ginkgo biloba. It’s helpful for memory, focus, and cognitive functioning. Combine it with a smidge of l-tyrosine and you’ve got a killer weapon against inattention issues.
  9. Lithium: Now, take a deep breath and put your pitchfork away. I’m not talking about the lithium carbonate that can zombify you. I’m talking about the mineral – say, lithium aspartate – that can halt the progression of dementia, promote neurogenesis, and decrease glutamate (the neurotransmitter that can send your brain into a chaotic overdrive).

If you are the sort to worry about “overdoing” your vitamins, learn the difference between the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) and the Tolerable Upper Limit (TUL). As you can see, there is a large gap between the minimum you should take-in so you can KEEP LIVING and the maximum you can take in before you STOP LIVING.

Where to purchase your supplements is up to you. However, I would advise you to CHECK THE LABEL. Don’t assume that when you pay $4 for a 1000-tab tub of multivitamins at a discount store that you are getting QUALITY. Check the label for the presence of any of the dreaded fillers. Fillers = junk.

Now you’re off to a good start with the basics!

Thank You, Amanda!

You’ve essentially provided a clinical consultation free of charge, and it means a lot, Amanda.

Okay, since it’s my site, I guess I have to play the heavy with the disclaimers. Please keep in mind we’re all wired differently, so what works for one of us may not for the other. If you’re considering any of the vitamins and supplements above, do your due diligence, turning to a medical professional for consultation. We don’t want any boo-boos when it comes to allergic and/or med interactions. And remember, as wonderful as these vitamins and supplements may be, they aren’t FDA approved for the treatment of emotional/mental health disorders.

Got it?

Be sure to check-out Amanda’s website and blog, as well as the Lindner Center of Hope. Both are valuable resources.

Finally, Amanda was good enough to provide her sources for the piece. So that means you can turn to them for knowledge and insight…

Amminger, et. al. (2015). Longer-term outcome in the prevention of psychotic disorders by the Vienna omega-3 study. Nature Communications; 6 (7934) 1-7.

Asevedo, et. al. (2014). Systematic review of N-acetylcysteine in the treatment of addictions. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria; 36 (2), 168-175.

Axe, J. (2016). Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It. New York: Harper.

Brown, H. & Roffman, J. (2014). Vitamin Supplement in the Treatment of Schizophrenia. CNS Drugs; 28, 611-622.

Farooqui, A. (2009). Beneficial effects of fish oil on the human brain. Springer: New York, NY.

Higdon, J. (2003). An Evidence-Based Approach to Vitamins and Minerals: Health Benefits and Intake Recommendations. Stuttgart: Thieme

Lounsbury, H. (2014). Fix Your Mood with Food. Guilford: Skirt!

Perlmutter, D. (2013). Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar — Your Brain’s Silent Killers. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.

Sears, W. (2012). The Omega-3 Effect: Everything You Need to Know About the Supernutrient for Living Longer, Happier, and Healthier. Boston: Little, Brown and Company

Walsh, W. (2014). Nutrient Power. New York: Skyhorse.

Many, many more Chipur titles to review. Please, help yourself.

  • Keith Wilson March 15, 2017, 8:22 pm

    I was given a blood test for nuerotransmitters it showed my gaba levels being undetectable what can be done to raise those I have severe cognitive issues and bad deppression

    • Chipur March 15, 2017, 8:42 pm

      Appreciate your comment, Keith. So sorry for your circumstances. I will touch base with Amanda in the a.m. and see if she’ll jump-in with a reply…


      • Chipur March 16, 2017, 2:45 pm

        Hang in there, Keith. Have notified Amanda, so I’m sure she’ll chime-in soon…

    • Amanda Porter, NP March 16, 2017, 5:20 pm

      Hi Keith! I’m happy to hear from you. It’s controversial right now whether or not GABA can be taken effectively as a supplement b/c it might not cross the blood-brain barrier. So I would advise that you instead supplement with B6 and Zinc (precursor to GABA). A thorough blood workup should be done too, to see if you are deficient in any other vitamins. Also consider Valerian (keeps the GABA you do have around longer), and Pu-erh Tea. Hope this helps!

      • Chipur March 16, 2017, 6:25 pm

        There you go, Keith. Hope the info helps. Sure appreciate you stepping-up and helping-out, Amanda…


      • Keith Wilson March 16, 2017, 9:41 pm

        Amanda I was tested for some vitamins but not all of them .i was low on d and my testosterone was on the end but was within the scale . I was also tested for mthfr and was poitive for the a1298 and c677 mutations.was given 15 mg of deplin but it didn’t help thank you

      • Chipur March 17, 2017, 12:58 pm

        Keith and readers: First link pertains to MTHFR mutation (in plain English) and the second address GABA. Interesting reading…

      • Amanda Porter, NP March 19, 2017, 5:55 am

        Here’s a link to what I feel should be tested for in all patients:
        Also, if you feel the Deplin wasn’t effective, you could consider the Cerefolin instead.

      • Chipur March 19, 2017, 1:32 pm

        You’re the best, Amanda. This is great info to have access to. Readers, link is safe. Please check this out, and while you’re on Amanda’s site, peruse about. She has plenty of good stuff to offer…


  • In Your Corner KC March 29, 2017, 1:11 am

    I am concerned about my father’s mental stress and depression. Thank you for mentioning important minerals that he has to take to cope with his depression. I will take care that he will have all these food minerals in his diet.

    • Chipur March 29, 2017, 9:57 am

      Thank you for visiting and commenting, IYCKC! And, of course, thanks to Amanda Porter, NP for the recommendations. And keep in mind these are just that, recommendations. Needs and responses vary on a per case basis.

      You’re such a good daughter, caring for your father as you do. Hope things work-out well for the both of you…