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Teens With Severe Depression Find an Unlikely Solution in Vitamins

In what’s being hailed as “breakthrough” science, a Dartmouth psychiatrist has found that metabolic deficiencies play a key role in teens with severe depression. According to Tonic, simply replenishing these teens’ bodies with folinic acid (a B vitamin) and other vitamins can do what multiple antidepressants and antipyschotics can’t. In a small study, every patient with the deficiency showed improvement after treatment with the vitamin.

Depression is now the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, affecting an estimated 322 million people, including more than 16 million Americans — and an estimated 500,000 of this number are U.S. teens. In addition to the vitamin study, recent research also suggests that increasing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables may improve your mental well-being in as little as two weeks.

Mindfulness training may also be helpful to combat the overstimulation and influence of social media — which plays a huge role in anxiety that can lead to depression. Another factor that needs to be addressed is sun exposure and your vitamin D levels, which can have a profound impact on mental health. For example, research has shown having a vitamin D level below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) can raise your risk for depression by as much as 85 percent, compared to having a vitamin D level greater than 30 ng/mL.

A number of studies have also confirmed that adequate levels of vitamin D can help alleviate symptoms of depression. While sensible sun exposure is the best way to get your “D,” if for no other reason than you can lift your mood by simply being outside, you can take supplements to up your levels. The only way to know you have therapeutic levels of vitamin D is to measure it, and typical effective doses are between 5,000 to 10,000 units per day.
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