Fish oil includes essential fatty acids derived from fish. Supplementation reduces symptoms of major depression but perhaps is not as effective for minor depressive symptoms (1). The EHA fatty acid in particular is thought to be most effective, and therefore supplementation should be higher in EPA than DHA (2). It seems that over 1g of EHA per day works best.
Food Sources: Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, shellfish.
Saffron is a luxurious spice and also can be used for depression. It could be just as effective in the treatment of depression as some depression medications (3). 30mg of saffron daily appears to be an effective dose.
Food Sources: Saffron (spice)
Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric. Supplementation can reduce symptoms of depression but it may take 2-3 months to see the effects. Curcumin also seems to increase the effectiveness of some antidepressants (4). A dose of around 1000mg a day split into 2 serves seems to be effective and is also the recommended dose for reducing inflammation.
Food Sources: Turmeric (spice)
Zinc is a mineral. It’s supplementation seems to reduce symptoms of depression predominantly in those who are non responsive to anti-depressant treatment. So it may not be useful for those who are responding well to treatment. It can increase Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) levels that help brain health (5). 25mg is the dose most often used in research.
Food Sources: Oysters, red meat, poultry, baked beans, chickpeas, nuts.
Creatine is a compound derived from amino acids (protein molecules). It significantly reduces depression alongside treatment with antidepressant medications, SSRIs (6). Making this treatment more effective. 3-5g per day is effective and also the recommended amount for sports performance benefit too.
Food Sources: Red meat, fish.
L-Carnitine is a chemical derived from amino acids (protein molecules). It can significantly reduce depressive symptoms, and in some cases to a similar extent as antidepressant medications (7). It seems to be more effective in older people. 2-4g per day is an effective dose.
Food Sources: Meat, fish, poultry, milk.
Folic acid is a B vitamin. It has been found to reduce symptoms of depression in those who had low levels of folic acid before supplementation (8). Meaning that a deficiency in folic acid may increase your risk or increase the severity of depression. 15mg per day is an effective dose.
Food Sources: Dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, peas, seafood, eggs, dairy, meat.