In modern America, Depression has now become the most diagnosed disorder among teens and adults. In fact, between 10 and 15 percent of all teenagers have shown symptoms of depression at any one time. About 8.3 percent of teenagers experience at least one major depressive episode per year, compared to 5.3 percent for adults. This shows that teenagers are potentially more susceptible to depression in today’s climate, which is particularly worrisome for parents because of all the extra risks that an adolescent with depression can be posed for. Studies show that 30 percent of teens with depression also develop a substance abuse problem. Teenagers with depression are likely to have a smaller social circle and take advantage of fewer opportunities for education our careers. Depressed teenagers are more likely to struggle with school and career opportunities. Untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide, which is the third leading cause of death among adolescents. In fact, suffering from mental illness such as depression and anxiety makes a teenager 12 times more likely to commit suicide. For these reasons and many more, a parent in this day and age needs to be fully aware on the reality of depression in our culture.
While depression is a terrifying reality to any parent of an adolescent that may suffer from it, there are ways that a parent can make sure that their teen poses as little risk as possible to ever get depression in the first place. One of the less known safety measures available to everyone is that of mood enhancing supplements. Studies have shown that adequate levels of various vitamins and minerals create a balanced body and mind that can be protected from depression and anxiety, because inadequate levels of these vitamins and minerals are associated with depression. These mood enhancing supplements are of utmost priority to any parent that is wary of the issue of depression because of how effective they can be in created a protective suit of armor for our beloved children. We will go over many of the vitamins and minerals next.
Magnesium is one of the most essential minerals in the human body, connected with brain biochemistry and the fluidity of neuronal membrane. Under a magnesium deficiency, a number of psychiatric issues, namely depression, were observed. Because of this, magnesium supplementation has had a big place in the range of homeopathy as a remedy for a range of mental health issues. In fact, the first study linking magnesium having a mechanistic antidepressant effect was published more than 100 years ago. Magnesium plays a vital modulatory role in brain biochemistry, influencing several neurotransmission pathways associated with the development of depression. Personality changes, including apathy, depression, agitation, confusion, anxiety, and delirium are observed when there is a deficiency of this element. Rodents receiving a diet deficient in magnesium displayed depressive behavior that was reversed by antidepressant drugs. Poor nutrition, insulin resistance and/or type 2 diabetes, stress, and certain medications may also lead to magnesium deficiency. Taking a supplement can help make sure that your child is receiving adequate levels of magnesium so that it’s functions in the biochemistry can remain stable. The reason supplementation is a good option is because getting enough magnesium through the standard American diet can be difficult, and it has major consequences. Gut microbiota (GM) has previously been associated with alterations in rodent behavior, and since the GM is affected by the diet, the composition of the diet may be an important factor contributing to behavioral changes. A magnesium restricted diet has been shown to induce anxiety and depressive-like behavior in humans and rodents, and it could be suggested that magnesium deficiency may mediate the effects through an altered GM. Meaning that the magnesium supplementation helps the Gut bacteria stay strong enough to avoid a chain reaction that leads to depression.
Inositol is a vital cofactor for many of the brain’s most important neurotransmitters. It is an important part of the brain’s intercommunication process. Because of its ability to increase communication systems within the brain, inositol is a very viable natural remedy for treating depression and anxiety. People with depression, in fact, have lower levels of Inositol on average that the greater population. This insinuates that making sure your child has a high level of Inositol is an important factor in their well-being. One double blind study of 28 depressed patients over four weeks showed significant decrease in depressive symptoms in the patients who were given 12 mg of inositol a day versus those who were given a placebo. Serotonin is one important neurotransmitter affected by inositol. This molecule has many roles in your body and impacts your behavior and mood. The potential of Inositol improving the ability of transmitters like serotonin in stabilizing mood was shown in another study where 20 people with panic disorders found that 18 grams of inositol each day reduced the number of weekly panic attacks by 4 — more than the reduction of 2.4 per week seen in individuals on anxiety medication.
GABA (Gamma amino butyric acid) is an amino acid produced naturally in the brain, where it functions like a neurotransmitter by facilitating communication between brain cells. GABA’s big role in the body is to reduce the activity of neurons in the brain and central nervous system, which in turn has a broad range of effects on the body and mind, including increased relaxation, reduced stress, a more calm, balanced mood, alleviation of pain, and a boost to sleep. Because of these effects, GABA is prescribed a supplement to people to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. One study administered a GABA supplement to depressed animals along with a control substance to the other half of the depressed. The study found that differential manipulation of GABA receptors can modify behaviors relevant to depression and anxiety. This showed that the GABA supplement was similar in effect to traditional antidepressants, which is why parents should consider supplementing their children’s diet with this very supplement.
L-theanine is an amino acid that is traditionally found in tea leaves, where its benefits were first discovered. Now it can be even more effective in a separate supplement form. L-theanine promotes relaxation and facilitates sleep by contributing to a number of changes in the brain including boosting levels of GABA and Serotonin, lowering stress causing excitatory brain chemicals, and triggering the release of the relaxing alpha brain waves. There’s evidence that L-theanine may help improve sleep quality in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A study examined the effects on the sleep of boys ages 8-12 and found that the supplement worked safely and effectively to improve the quality of their sleep, helping them to sleep more soundly. L-theanine is processed in the brain through the blood – brain battier. The blood-brain barrier is similar to a gateway that prevents blood borne substances from crossing over into the brain; it is a form of protection for one of the body’s most important organs. This barrier prevents many medications from reaching their target area. Research shows that 98% of small molecule neurotherapies, and 100 percent of large molecule neurotherapies can’t pass through the blood brain barrier, rendering many types of common treatments for anxiety almost useless.
BUT, L-theanine is different. It uses a different transport system to get across the blood-brain barrier, allowing it to target the brain directly. Essentially, L-theanine is better able to efficiently travel into important parts of the brain. Then, Once past the blood-brain barrier, L-theanine enacts a variety of neurophysiological and pharmacological effects. It has been found to up-regulate inhibitory neurotransmitters and blocks the binding of L-glutamic acid to glutamate receptors in the brain. It has also been found to potentially modulate serotonin and dopamine in select areas of the brain. L-theanine inhibition of cortical neuron excitation can also have anti-stress effects.
Research suggests that Vitamin B supplements may also help fight depression. The B-complex vitamins are essential to mental and emotional well-being. They cannot be stored in our bodies, so we depend entirely on our daily diet to supply them. The first clinical effects of insufficient vitamin B complex are mood changes, insomnia, changes in appetite, sugar carving and impaired drug metabolism. B-vitamins play an important role in the nervous system. As a group, the B vitamins plays an important role both in alleviating depression and in relieving the anxiety and restlessness which often accompanies it. Low vitamin B12 status have been found in studies of depressive patients, and an association between depression and low levels of the vitamins is found in studies of the general population. On the basis of current data, one study suggested that oral doses of vitamin B12 (1 mg daily) should be tried to improve treatment outcome in depression. A 2004 Danish study of 140 people found that those who were clinically depressed had low levels of vitamin B6 in their blood. These research findings would suggest to any parent that they need to make sure the B vitamins in their children are adequate and by taking a supplement you can make sure of it.
Vitamin D, also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, is a steroid hormone precursor. But over time research has linked low vitamin D levels with obesity, autoimmune disease, cancer, and depression. According to the CDC, in 2006 a whopping one fourth of the population was deficient in vitamin D. Eight percent were “at risk” for vitamin D deficiency illnesses and one percent had levels that were considered imminently harmful. Vitamin D is perhaps the single most underrated nutrient. Researchers reviewed 14 studies, consisting of 31,424 participants and found a strong correlation between depression and a lack of Vitamin D. The lower the Vitamin D level, the greater the chance of depression. These stats indicate a need for parents to emphasize the need for adequate Vitamin D levels in their children, and supplements can help that. One study randomly assigned 44 healthy persons to varying doses of vitamin A plus one of the following: 400 IU of vitamin D/day or 800 IU of vitamin D/day, or a placebo for a period of five days. The Positive and Negative Affect Scale was used to assess mood at the end of the five days. Results showed enhanced positive affect for the vitamin D treatment groups when compared to the placebo group.
The studies and data that we have covered for these various supplement options show that all of them are a necessary option for parents that want to give their children the best protection from depression and anxiety. The simple use of these supplements can potentially protect our children from developing one of the most tragic, debilitating diseases in the world.