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How Nootropics Can Be Used to Alleviate Depression
Depressive illness devastates millions of lives. Modern psychiatric medicine often proves very ineffective in treating it, with SRRI’s being the most commonly diagnosed drug. In many cases depression is viewed as a “chemical imbalance” which is an outdated model of depression that is very reductionistic. The reality is that depressive illness is a complex pathology with numerous symptoms and causes. In many cases the best solution is a combination of therapy and drugs, but SRRI’s are not exactly preferential to many people due to their unreliability and often severe long-term side effects.
There are many nootropics and nootropic-like substances which have been shown to treat depression quite effectively. Due to the fact that nootropics are unregulated and unpatentable, the pharmaceutical industry is unable to monetize them for profit. Despite the overwhelming evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of using nootropics for depression, they are still struggling to gain mainstream acceptance.
If you are looking for a reliable and safe way of alleviating depression, this post has you covered. I hope to leave you feeling like you have other options than what big pharma would have you believe.
While I don’t intend to promote any of these substances as a cure for depression, many of them have sufficient evidence to suggest they work quite well. When combined with therapy and proper lifestyle choices (high-quality sleep, healthy diet, regular exercise, etc), nootropics can be an incredible way to further alleviate symptoms of depression.
List of the Best Nootropics for Depression
Uridine is nutrient that forms the basis of nucleic acids (specifically RNA) and is produced in our own bodies. When supplemented it is able to confer additional nootropic actions that would otherwise not be possible.
Uridine is a particularly effective nootropic due to its ability to upregulate baseline dopamine levels over time, which is a promising quality that makes it highly attractive to many people. It also heals neuronal structures in the brain, leading to enhanced improved mood and cognition function.
Fish oil is an omega-3 fatty acid that is commonly supplemented for improving brain health and mood.
Fish oil consists of EPA and DHA which primarily have been shown to significantly reduce depression and improve cognition, respectively. In fact, high-EPA fish oil products are one of the most popular natural antidepressants available today, and the evidence is quite promising.
Vitamin D is an dietary nutrient that is produced in our own bodies when exposed to sunlight. However, people supplement Vitamin D if they are unable to get adequate sunlight.
Vitamin D plays many essential roles in the body which includes regulating mood, and shown potential for alleviating depression.
Tianeptine is an atypical antidepressant drug that has many unique nootropic properies, and is in a unique class of its own from typical antidepressants.
The pharmacology of Tianeptine is quite unique- in the short term it brightens mood and reduces depression and anxiety, while in the long-term it heals the brain and reverses the effects of chronic stress. It is considered an atypical antidepressant because it lacks the usual mechanisms of pharmaceutical drugs, and it does not have major side effects when used at the appropriate dose ranges.
Creatine is a nutrient that serves a critical role in providing energy to the body in the form of ATP. Creatine is often thought of as a bodybuilding supplement however it also shows some modest nootropic potential.
Creatine is serves an important role in maintaining mental health, supplementation can reduce lethargy and brain fog, and may be one of the best nootropics for depression on the market.
Magnesium is an essential dietary mineral that also plays a critical role in maintaining mental health. Magnesium is fairly hard to acquire from diet alone, therefore supplementation is often necessary.
Low levels of magnesium have been linked to various mental health problems including depression and ADHD. It acts as a modulator of brain activity and can prevent over-excitability in neurons, leading to healthier and stable brain activity.
Compared with other adaptogens, panax ginseng shows the most promise for improving general mental health, elevating mood, and alleviating depression.
Bacopa Monnieri is an herbal nootropic that has some unique properties. It is typically supplemented to improve memory and mood, and shows potential be an effective nootropic for reducing depression.
Bacopa works by increasing levels of serotinin and preventing neuroinflammation, which has antidepressant and anti-stress effects on the brain.
Rhodiola rosea is a nootropic herb of the adaptogen class that shares some similarities with panax ginseng. Like other adaptogens, it is characterized by conferring a wide range of benefits to both mental and physical health.
Rhodiola has been shown to improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and reduce the symptoms of depression. It primarily works by modestly boosting levels of dopamine and serotonin, two key neurotransmitters for regulating mood and emotion.
Despite being most known for cognitive enhancement, aniracetam also appears to have anti-depressive and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) qualities. It’s mood brightening qualities are due to producing increased levels of dopamine and serotonin.
Phenylpiracetam is a nootropic stimulant that can enhance psychomotor activity and improve alertness.
Phenylpiracetam exhibits strong moderately strong antidepressive and anti-stress qualities; is nonaddictive and free of any serious side effects. However, it does lose effectiveness when used frequently, and as such many people suggest taking some time off when it loses potency.
Semax is an unusual nootropic with strong antidepressant and mild anxiolytic effects. Semax achieves the bulk of its antidepressive benefits due to increasing levels of dopamine, serotonin, and BDNF in various regions of the brain.
Semax is characterized by being nonaddictive and being relatively free of any adverse effects. It does have stimulatory properties on the nervous system but it can increase mental clarity quite noticeably.
Selank is a sophisticated nootropic that was developed for similar purposes as Semax; primarily for antidepressant and anxiolytic uses. In contrast with Semax, Selank is more of a mood-enhancer than a cognitive enhancer.
Selank has been shown to increase levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, and is quite effective at reducing anxiety as well.