In the last 15 years, the number of women taking antidepressants has skyrocketed; now an estimated one in four women take medication to alleviate depression and anxiety. So if you're one of these women, you know that pills can be a hit or miss affair. You may take one type of drug, and find relief; then a few months later, you need a larger dose or the medication ceases to work.
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So here's some mood-boosting news. Researchers at the University of Melbourne, in Australia, wanted to study the effects of common supplements when they were paired with antidepressants to see if they'd make the medications work better. Scientists tested a variety of vitamins, including D and C, omega-3 fish oils, a compound called SAMe, folic acid, zinc, and others.
The results for the omega-3s were astonishing. Taking an omega-3 supplement helped the most, and boosted the power of the antidepressant in a "highly significant way," said Dr Jerome Sarris, the lead researcher. Not surprising--experts have long known that omega-3 fish oil can improve mood and help brains (and hearts) stay healthy. Still, it had never been paired with an antidepressant before and researchers said the finding was exciting. "Here we have a safe, evidence-based approach that could be considered a mainstream treatment," Dr. Sarris said in a statement.
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Other supplements that showed some effect--although not as much as the omega-3s--were vitamin D and SAMe. So talk to your doctor about supplementing your antidepressant with one of these, especially if you feel your medication is no longer doing the trick.