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Natural Medicine

Natural Medicine

Natural Medicine

In addition to medications that are prescribed, there are various other natural herbal supplements that may or may not be beneficial for depression. Some of the more popular ones include something called SAMe (which is short for S-Adenosyl Methionine), Omega-3 Fatty Acids, St John's Wort, Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, Saffron Extract - to name a few. Regarding the potential benefits, lack of benefit or harm, it's really important to talk with your doctor individually about specific supplements. While they sound healthy, they sound natural, they sound like a good thing (and they may be in some instances) sometimes they're not always benign and some of them can carry some significant side effects as well as significant interactions with other medicines you may be taking that could then become dangerous. It's therefore really important to look into these but to also ask about them and to make sure that they're an appropriate fit for you in your specific situation. The other thing to keep in mind with many of these substances is that they're not FDA-approved for the treatment of depression and therefore they're not regulated in the same way that a medication might be. And therefore, when it comes to a medication, the companies go under a very rigorous scrutiny to ensure that purity, that what you're receiving, is what is advertised. With many of the supplements, there is significantly less regulation and there is the possibility that you may not be getting exactly what you expect to be getting. So that's another level of caution that a person should maintain when exploring these options.

Doctor Profile

Zev Wiener, MD


  • Board-certified psychiatrist
  • Runs a private practice and serves on staff at UCLA Medical Center
  • Provides supervision and instruction to psychiatry resident MD’s and medical students

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