I’m not sure why more psychiatrists don’t first test for nutritional deficiencies before dispensing Zoloft or Prozac, and especially antipsychotics like Seroquel and Zyprexa. The good ones will send you to get lab work done before upping your meds or adjusting anything. Sometimes we do need antidepressants. But other times we need spinach—think of Popeye.
In addition to seeing a psychiatrist regularly, I now work with an integrative health physician who tests my nutrition levels every year. If you haven’t ever tested your levels, you might inquire with either your psychiatrist or primary-care physician. The supplements can be expensive, but you can make it back twice or three-times fold by not having to see your psychiatrist as often.
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
I was surprised when my results showed an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency because I eat plenty of salmon and take fish oil supplements every day. That shows you just how much fish—salmon, tuna, halibut—or flaxseeds and walnuts we need to consume to be at an optimal level. These essential minerals reduce inflammation and play a critical role in brain function, especially memory and mood. The body can’t make them, so you need to either eat them or take supplements. I spend the big bucks on a quality brand of fish oil, OmegaBrite, because their capsules contain 70 percent EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) in a 7:1 ratio of EPA to DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). New research has confirmed the positive effects of EPA on mood, even more so than DHA, as it provides a natural balance to omega-6 arachidonic acid.