Two ways to go about treating and managing mild to moderate depression naturally are among the easiest and healthiest things that you can do for yourself. First, getting an adequate amount of Vitamin D is essential for mood regulation. Our bodies are capable of producing Vitamin D through sunlight exposure, yet those of us living north of Atlanta, GA can have a difficult time producing enough Vitamin D through sunlight exposure alone. If this is geographically the case for you, work towards consuming more Vitamin D rich foods (dairy or foods fortified with Vitamin D). You can also take a Vitamin D supplement, which is recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil, as a means to getting an adequate supply of Vitamin D each day. His recommendation is to supplement with 2000 IU's of Vitamin D per day. As always, prior to taking any food or sports supplements, consult with your trusted healthcare practitioner beforehand. If you are on certain medications, too much sunlight exposure can negative side effects. Each of us has to be intelligent with how much sun exposure that you get, obviously you don't want to stay in the sun long enough to burn.
The second way to naturally treat and manage depression is by exercising. In fact, exercise has been scientifically shown to be more effective at treating mild to moderate depression than current antidepressant medications. Even light to moderate exercise performed 3-4 times per week for a duration of 20-30 minutes can have a profoundly positive impact on depression and overall feelings of well-being. As a fitness trainer, I always recommend that you start slow and focus on increasing movement and physical activity each day. As your fitness levels improve, begin more structured workouts and increase intensity as appropriate. Always engage in activities that you enjoy and if you can perform them outside in the sun, you're double-dipping! Just remember to stay well hydrated before, during, and after exercising! Check with your doctor prior to beginning an exercise program, particularly if you have any health conditions. If you are taking antidepressant medications, never stop taking the medications without consulting your prescribing physician.
In Wellness and Love,
Dr. Christopher Weaver DC, PAK is a Doctor of Chiropractic and Professional Applied Kinesiologist. He's published two books on health and Wellness.