If you or a loved one struggles with depression, even major depression, there are two supplements you must take to feel better. New evidence suggests these supplements can greatly enhance your mood and sense of well being.

With the first supplement, researchers studied 60 subjects with major depression. Each had a score of 15 or more on the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating scale. Doctors commonly use it to assess the severity of a patient's depression.

The researchers randomly assigned the subjects to three groups. They gave the first group 1,000 mg of the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). They gave Group 2 the drug fluoxetin (commonly known as Prozacr). And they gave Group 3 a combination of both. The study lasted eight weeks and they evaluated the subjects every two weeks.

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Now get this. The EPA alone reduced symptoms by 56%, beating the drug's improvement of 50%. However, in the group taking both, symptoms improved by a whopping 81%.

It's not surprising that EPA beat Prozac. We've known for years that omega-3s are very effective for mood disorders. But I was surprised to see that both of them together gave far superior results. What's sad, though, is that you won't ever hear Big Pharma touting the latter. It would be too threatening to reveal that a nutrient could make their chemical more effective.

What this tells you is that depression is indeed a chemical disorder. I'm sure that with a little research, we might find out what other natural nutrients we can combine with omega-3 to totally replace Prozac. Could it be something as simple as tryptophan, the amino acid that gets converted to serotonin, the neurotransmitter enhanced by Prozac? Don't count on government or Pharma ever telling you about it though.

The other supplement that can help your depression surprised me when I first heard about it. But it makes sense. It's probiotics. You know them as the beneficial germs (like acidophilus) that help your digestive tract.

It turns out that they can help your mood as well as your gut. A study on 124 adults (mean age 62 years) found that drinking a probiotic-laden milk improved their mood. Those in the bottom of the "happy" scale were much higher on the scale after taking the probiotics.

If you have depression, consider taking omega-3s and a probiotic. Omega-3s have many health benefits in addition to improving mood disorders. And beneficial organisms provide some beneficial nutrients. More importantly, they modulate your immune system, which is literally an extension of your brain. So it makes sense that they can help your mood.

Yes, you can get probiotics from dairy. But this is one area where I definitely prefer supplements over the food. Most milk today isn't a whole food. It's pasteurized and homogenized, and many of the cows receive hormones and antibiotics that get passed through to their milk. And these can cause their own health problems for many. So find a good probiotic to boost your mood. My favorite is the one offered by Advanced Bionutritionals. It's very powerful and fairly inexpensive.

Ref: Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2008 Mar;42(3):192-8; Eur J Clin Nutr, 2007; 61(3): 355-61.

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