It’s no secret that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the most effective ways to manage depression. However, targeting specific nutrients has been shown to be more effective at selectively targeting depression symptoms and preventing them from worsening. Today, let’s take a look at the Best vitamins for depression and their food sources so you can restore your energy and wellbeing in no time.

See also: How to Cultivate And Maintain a Healthy Mindset and How Does Caffeine Affect The Body

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental disorder that affects how a person feels, thinks, and acts. It can be a very serious condition and can last for months or even years. Depression can make it hard to get out of bed, enjoy life, and respond to challenges.

See also: How to Cultivate and Maintain a Healthy Mindset and How does Caffiene Affect The Body


Depression occurs when there are low levels of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps control mood and emotion. When serotonin levels are low, it can cause depression. There are many things that can lower serotonin levels, including:

There are several things that you can do to increase your levels of serotonin. Some of these include eating foods that are high in tryptophan which converts to serotonin in the body, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.

Treatment for depression typically involves medications that increase serotonin levels, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Other general treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy, self-care, and social support networks (like group therapy or peer support).

What Causes Depression

Depression is a mental disorder that can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics and environmental factors. There is no one “cause” of depression, but there are many possible ways that it can develop over time.

Psychological Causes of Depression

  • Negative personal traits
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Negative thinking and beliefs
  • Substance use
  • Stressful life events

Situational causes (past and present)

  • Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Trauma
  • Grief and loss
  • Poor social network
  • Bullyinga lady in all black sitting on the ground , against a tree, in the state of depression


  • Financial struggles
  • Overworking
  • Unhealthy habits like abusing drugs

Cognitive causes

  • Perfectionism
  • Low self-worth
  • Low self-esteem
  • Body image issues

Biological causes

  • Genetic factors
  • Hormonal factors
  • Neurotransmitter irregularities
  • Gender

Depression symptoms

There are a number of different symptoms that can be associated with depression. Here are some of the most common:

1. Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed

One of the most common symptoms of depression is a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. This could range from being unable to get out and do things that you used to enjoy, to making drastic changes to your daily routine in order to avoid feeling bored or lonely.

2. Poor sleep quality and chronic fatigue syndrome-like symptoms

Another symptom often associated with depression is poor sleep quality. This can include difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or having restless sleep for long periods of time. It can also lead to chronic fatigue syndrome-like symptoms, such as trouble waking up in the morning and being very fatigued throughout the day.

3. Feeling a sense of emptiness or unhappiness

The American Psychiatric Association describes a feeling of emptiness or unhappiness as follows: A pervasive and intense feeling of sadness, distress, or loneliness. The individual feels hopeless about the future. This type of sadness can persist even when you’re surrounded by people and things that used to make you happy.

4. Changes in appetite, including eating more or less than is typical

There are several changes in appetite that can be a sign of depression. Some people may eat more than they usually do, while others may eat less. Eating too much can lead to weight gain and metabolic syndrome, while eating too little can lead to anemia and malnutrition. 

5. Feelings of guilt or worthlessness

Depression can cause people to feel trapped in negative thoughts and memories. These thoughts may make them feel guilty for things they have done or for things that have not happened yet. They may also feel like they are worthless and undeserving of happiness. This can make it difficult to get out of bed in the morning and motivation to do anything else diminishes.

6. Feelings of anger or irrational outbursts

People who are depressed may feel overwhelmed by their sadness and pain, which can lead to angry outbursts. Additionally, people who are depressed may have difficulty regulating their emotions. This means that they are more likely to react emotionally to things that normally wouldn’t bother them. 

Best Vitamins for Depression

Vitamins are the best way to promote mental health and help with depression at the same time. Here are the best plus food sources:

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B 3 is a water-soluble vitamin belonging to the B-complex group of vitamins.

It is also known as niacin or nicotinic acid. Best sources of vitamin B 3 include whole grains, nuts, seeds, nuts, bananas, legumes, and fortified foods, such as cereals, bread, and other products.

Vitamin B 3 is specifically important for the brain and nervous system. It helps to maintain nerve function, supports cognitive function, and regulates moods. Studies have found that supplemental niacin can help to improve depression symptoms in some people.

Niacin has been shown to increase the production of serotonin, thus promoting better mood regulation. Serotonin plays a role in both healthy moods and depressive episodes. When niacin levels are low, serotonin levels are also low, which can lead to increased depression symptoms. Supplemental niacin can help to restore serotonin levels and improve depression symptoms.

A study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that people who took niacin had significantly lower rates of depressive episodes than those who didn’t take it. 

In addition to improving depression symptoms, research suggests that vitamin B 3 may help protect the brain from damage caused by stress. According to one study published in the journal Experimental Biology, pregnant rats given supplemental vitamin B 3 were less likely to give birth to offspring with signs of anxiety and depressive disorders. This means that vitamin B3 may lower the genetic predisposition to depression.

Best sources of vitamin B3

  • Brown rice
  • Avocados
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Green peas
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds

Vitamin B9

Depression is often associated with problems with energy levels, mood, and cognitive function. Vitamin B9 helps to support these functions by promoting the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood and sleep patterns.

Additionally, vitamin B9 may help improve cognitive function by increasing memory capacity and reducing anxiety and stress symptoms.

In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, researchers found that people who took vitamin B9 supplements for six weeks significantly reduced depressive symptoms compared to those who didn’t take any supplements. The study participants who took the supplements also had better mood scores than those who didn’t.

Best sources of vitamin B9

  • Edamame
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Lentils
  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Oranges
  • Lettuce
  • Mangos
  • Spinach

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is important for proper brain function and can improve depression symptoms in a number of ways. 

First, it helps increase serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a hormone that plays an important role in mood regulation. 

Second, vitamin B12 can protect against brain damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules that can damage cells in the body, including the cells in the brain. 

Third, vitamin B12 can help improve sleep quality and reduce inflammation in the brain. Inflammation is associated with depression symptoms, so reducing inflammation could help improve depression symptoms on its own or lead to better antidepressant treatment outcomes over time.

There are several ways to get vitamin B12:

Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal products, but plant-based sources, although limited, are also available. These sources may include fermented foods like sauerkraut, nutritional yeast, mushroom, algae, and fortified foods and cereals.

That being said, food sources of B12 may not provide sufficient amounts to meet your daily requirement, so consider adding a supplement. Ensure you get yours from a reputable seller and that it’s vegan.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another excellent vitamin for depression. It’s a water-soluble vitamin that’s essential for human health. It helps the body produce collagen, which is important for healthy skin and bones. Vitamin C also helps keep the immune system functioning properly and can help to prevent colds and other infections.

Vitamin C has also been shown to improve symptoms in people with depression. This is because vitamin C promotes the production of glutathione, a major antioxidant, and detoxifier in the body. It helps protect the cells in the body from damage. It also plays a vital role in regulating mood and cognitive function. 

Low glutathione levels have been linked with several diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. It is also important for preventing nerve damage caused by toxins and radiation exposure. 

Vitamin C also has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to alleviate depressive symptoms by reducing inflammation associated with chronic stressors. Finally, vitamin C may improve depression by promoting the regeneration of nerve cells in the brain. All of these mechanisms are thought to work together to improve overall mental health.”

One study showed that taking 500mg of vitamin C daily for eight weeks improved depressive symptoms in people diagnosed with major depressive disorder. In another study, participants who took 800mg of vitamin C twice daily for four weeks reported improvements in mood, anxiety, and fatigue compared to those who took a placebo.

Best sources of vitamin C

  • Kiwifruit
  • Strawberries
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Broccoli
  • Tomato
  • Kale
  • Snow peas
  • Spinach
  • Grapefruit

Vitamin D

The connection between vitamin D and depression was first explored when it was found that people with low levels of vitamin D were more likely to develop depression. Since then, research has consistently shown that vitamin D supplementation can improve symptoms of depression, including reducing anxiety, mood, and stress levels.

One way that vitamin D improves depression is by increasing serotonin levels.

Serotonin is often synthesized from tryptophan from the food we eat, but for this process to occur, vitamin D is needed to activate the pathway. So low vitamin D levels will result in low serotonin levels with an increase in depressive symptoms.

This shows that even though vitamin D cannot affect your serotonin levels directly, it plays a part in its production.

Best sources of vitamin D

  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Mushrooms
  • Tofu
  • Fortified foods
  • Supplements

Other Nutrients for Depression

Besides the vitamins for depression discussed above, there are other nutrients that can further improve depression symptoms. These may include:

Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega fatty acids are important nutrients found in various plant foods and can fight depression.

Some studies have found that people with depression have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood than people who don’t have depression. Omega-3 fatty acids can help to improve mood and reduce anxiety symptoms. They also appear to improve cognitive function and reduce inflammation in the brain.

There is still some research to be done on the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for depression, but it seems likely that they could be useful in treating this condition. If you are struggling with depression, it is worth considering whether omega-3 supplements.

Nonetheless, omega-3s have also been shown to improve memory and thinking skills in adults. They may also play a role in preventing age-related cognitive decline.

Additionally, they can reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol, both of which promote cardiovascular health. 

Best food sources of omega-3 fatty acids

  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Walnuts
  • Hemp seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Seaweed 
  • Spinach


There are several ways that zinc can improve mood and cognitive function. 

Zinc enhances antidepressant-like effects in the brain, which can improve mood and make you feel happier. 

Additionally, zinc helps the brain to produce new neurons, which may help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease and other memory problems. 

Finally, zinc has been shown to play an important role in learning and memory formation.

Best food sources of zinc

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Oatmeal
  • Tofu
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Sweet potato
  • Potato

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Final Thoughts

Depression is a serious mental health issue that can be difficult to overcome. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help get your depression under control.

Increasing your intake of certain vitamins, like vitamins have been shown to help improve mood and fight against depression. By including these vitamins in your daily routine, you may find it easier to maintain a positive outlook and fight off the blues. So if you’re feeling down and don’t know what to do, give these vitamins a try!

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