Depression is a common mental disorder that affects many people around the world. Effective treatments are available, but they don't work for everyone, so some people turn to dietary supplements to try to alleviate symptoms. But do they have an effect? Our team looked at the latest research and asked experts if supplements could be beneficial for people with depression .
Dietary supplements and depression
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global estimates suggest that 3.8% of people suffer from depression. Women are more likely than men to experience depressive episodes, and the risk of depression is slightly higher in people over 60. The number of people suffering from depression has steadily increased: in the United States, in 2020, nearly one in ten people suffered from depression .
Treatments for depression
Depression can be treated with medication and/or psychological therapies . The type of treatment depends on the severity of the depressive symptoms. Antidepressant medications are generally effective for more severe depression. They work by changing the action of neurotransmitters - chemicals that allow nerve cells to communicate with each other.
Can dietary supplements help?Some people do not respond to first-line antidepressant treatments, and 15 to 30% will not respond after two adequate trials. So, could food supplements – vitamins, minerals, or probiotics – help relieve symptoms or enhance the effectiveness of antidepressants? Our research laboratory conducted an in-depth study on depression, stress and anxiety at the cellular level. We sought to understand how neurons multiply or establish new connections, and under what conditions this occurs. We discovered that a unique combination of minerals, trace elements and omega-3 promotes neuronal growth. We named this composition “Cell Complex”. It is important to note that to obtain the best results, the "Cell Complex" must be combined with Omega-3 (EPA and DHA).
This study examined the effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA), a cellular vitamin and mineral complex ( CELL COMPLEX ), and their combination on neuronal growth in rat neuroblastoma cells grown in the laboratory. The results showed that omega-3 significantly increases the length of neurites, which are extensions of neurons allowing the transmission of information. For its part, the CELL COMPLEX increased the number of cells. When combined, Omega-3 and CELL COMPELX improved all growth parameters. This suggests that omega-3 and CELL COMPLEX have favorable effects on neuron growth, even over a relatively short period of time. The study also highlights the potential role of omega-3 in improving neuronal growth and their potential benefits in situations of cognitive impairment, that is to say when mental functions such as memory or concentration are reduced.
Research on food supplements
The MooDFOOD study examined dietary supplements and depression in 1,000 overweight and obese people at high risk of depression. In 2019, it concluded that taking daily nutritional supplements containing folic acid, vitamin D, zinc and selenium was no more effective in preventing major depressive episodes than a placebo.
Can probiotics help?
A study published in June 2023 provides new evidence that probiotics can help treat depression. Although it had a small sample size, this double-blind study of people who did not respond to antidepressant treatment found a marked improvement in symptoms in those who took probiotics.