The 9 Best Supplements for Depression of 2021, According to a Dietitian

Boost your mood naturally

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Pure Encapsulations O.N.E. Multivitamin at Amazon

"It contains potent nutrients that promote healthy cognitive function, cellular health, and eye health."

Best Budget: Carlson Maximum Omega 2000 at Amazon

"This is IFOS and IGEN non-GMO certified, and is tested by an FDA-registered laboratory for freshness, potency, and purity."

Best B Complex: Country Life Coenzyme B-Complex at Amazon

"An all-star supplement that uses Quatrefolic and methylcobalamin, it's an excellent choice to support your mental health."

Best Vitamin D: Source Naturals Vitamin D-3 Liquid Drops at Amazon

"These Vitamin D3 liquid drops provide 2000 IU per serving, and are perfect for anyone who has a hard time swallowing pills."

Best Fish Oil: Nordic Naturals Omega-3D at Amazon

"Nordic Naturals combines Omega-3 Fatty Acids with Vitamin D in one capsule, allowing nutrients to work better."

Best Curcumin: Doctor's Best High Absorption Curcumin at Amazon

"Curcumin is a plant polyphenol with potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties."

Best Probiotics: Klaire Labs Target gb-X at Amazon

"This is a hypoallergenic, specialty shelf-stable probiotic formulation targeted to provide robust gut-brain axis support."

Best Adaptogen: Thorne Rhodiola at Amazon

"One capsule of Thorne’s Rhodiola supplement contains 100 milligrams of Rhodiola extract."

Best St. John’s Wort: Gaia Herbs at Amazon

"This liquid extract is easily digestible and absorbs quickly into the body."

In 2017, around 17.3 million adults age 18 or older in the United States had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year (7.1% of adults in the U.S.). When it comes to treating depression, there are various options available, including therapy, medication, and complementary and alternative treatments.

Depression is a serious mental disorder and it is important to work with a mental health professional when seeking help. Research investigating how dietary supplements and herbal remedies work to reduce depression is still new and emerging. For those with diagnosed depression, therapeutic interventions should be explored first and supplements should be used in conjunction with therapy and possibly medication.

It is important to remember that there is no singular cure-all for mental health illnesses and you will likely benefit the most from a variety of support. Before taking a new supplement, consult your health care team.

Here, the best supplements for depression:

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Pure Encapsulations O.N.E. Multivitamin

Pure Encapsulations O.N.E. Multivitamin

Courtesy of Amazon

Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants work optimally when combined. For this reason, Pure Encapsulations Multivitamin is our top overall pick for the best depression supplement. A good choice for both men and women, one serving of the O.N.E Multivitamin provides choline, inositol, lycopene, vitamin D, lutein, and zeaxanthin for healthy cognitive function, cellular health, and eye health.

In addition to these potent nutrients, one serving contains over 100% of the recommended daily intake of folate in its most bioavailable form. Folate has been examined for its role in depressive symptoms. Some research suggests that there is a relationship between levels of folate and evidence of depression.

Pure Encapsulations prioritizes purity, potency, and clean ingredients. This product is gluten and GMO-free and features a vegetarian capsule. 

Best Budget: Carlson Maximum Omega 2000

 Carlson Maximum Omega 2000 Grab + Go Packs

Courtesy of Amazon

Supplementation of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, specifically EPA and DHA, has been argued to be a low-risk, effective intervention in treating depression. One comprehensive meta-analysis that reviewed the use of omega-3 fatty acids to treat depression in randomized control trials found that the use of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is effective in patients with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder and on depressive patients with depressive symptoms.

Carlson Maximum Omega 2000 Travel Pack, contains 2000 milligrams of omega-3s, from wild-caught, Norwegian Fish. One serving provides 1,250 milligrams of EPA and 500 milligrams of DHA. 

Maximum Omega 2000 is IFOS and IGEN non-GMO certified and is tested by an FDA-registered laboratory for freshness, potency, and purity. One pack of 30 soft gels is affordable and is excellent for travel or being on the go.

Best B Complex: Country Life Coenzyme B-Complex

Country Life Coenzyme B Complex

Courtesy of Amazon

Country Life’s Coenzyme B-Complex is an all-star supplement and is an excellent choice to support your mental health. What makes this product stand out among the rest is the use of Quatrefolic, a metabolized form of folate that bypasses many conversion steps in the body to deliver folate the body can immediately use.

Another stand-out ingredient is the use of methylcobalamin (Vitamin B12), the more active and readily available form of the vitamin. Vitamin B12 supplementation, used in conjunction with some antidepressant medications, has been shown to improve depressive symptoms.

A bonus to the eight B vitamins provided by each two-capsule serving is the addition of phosphatidylcholine, inositol, and alpha-Lipoic Acid. These complementary ingredients help support the cellular energy production process to keep your energy levels in tip-top shape.

Ticking off major boxes such as NSF-Certified Gluten-Free, kosher, vegan, and non-GMO, Country Life produces its products using renewable energy, a win for you and the environment. 

Best Vitamin D: Source Naturals Vitamin D-3 Liquid Drops

Source Naturals Vitamin D-3 Liquid Drops

Courtesy of Amazon

Interacting with more than 30 different tissues in the body and affecting more than 1,000 genes, Vitamin D is important for many body processes, not just maintaining bone health. Research on Vitamin D’s role in decreasing depressive symptoms is mixed. One meta-analysis, including four randomized control trials with over 900 participants, found that Vitamin D supplementation favorably impacted depression ratings in major depression.

For anyone who has a hard time with pills, Source Naturals Vitamin D3 is for you. These Vitamin D3 liquid drops provide 2,000 IU per serving; however, for those that want more or less Vitamin D, dosing can be adjusted directly by the user by increasing or decreasing the amount of drops consumed.

Free of yeast, dairy, corn, soy, wheat, egg, and gluten, this product is an excellent choice for those with food allergies or intolerances.

Best Fish Oil: Nordic Naturals Omega-3D

Nordic Naturals Omega-3D

Courtesy of Amazon

Nutrients work best when used synergistically, which is why we love that Nordic Naturals combines Omega-3 Fatty Acids with Vitamin D in one capsule. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it can only be adequately absorbed when it has fat molecules to travel with it through the body.

Nordic Naturals Omega 3D pairs 1,000 IU of Vitamin D3 with omega 3 fatty acids from wild, sustainably sourced fish, making each capsule primed for efficient digestion and absorption. In addition to 1,000 IU of Vitamin D3, this product provides 330 milligrams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 220 milligrams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per serving.

Every batch of Nordic Naturals fish oil is crafted from fresh, wild-caught, omega-rich fish. They are committed to using only non-GMO, gluten-, and dairy-free ingredients with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Best Curcumin: Doctor's Best High Absorption Curcumin

Doctor's Best High Absorption Curcumin

Courtesy of Amazon

Curcumin is a plant polyphenol with potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties, and it is the active ingredient in the spice turmeric. There have been a few clinical trials investigating curcumin as an intervention for depression, and they have shown curcumin to be safe, well-tolerated, and efficacious among depressed patients.

One serving of Doctor’s Best High Absorption Curcumin provides 1,000 milligrams of curcumin as well as black pepper extract, which helps boost the absorption of the curcumin. To get the most benefit of curcumin, it makes sense to use a supplement instead of only using turmeric spice as the spice itself would need to be used in large quantities to get the same effect.

This product is non-GMO and free of gluten and soy.

Best Probiotics: Klaire Labs Target gb-X

Klaire Labs Target gb-X

Courtesy of Amazon

Knowing that the gut and brain are intimately connected via the gut-brain axis, the use of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) to support mood has become an emerging and fascinating field of research. In 2015, a randomized clinical control trial evaluated whether specific probiotics could play a role in cognitive reactivity to sad mood. Researchers found that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with a sad mood.

Klaire Labs Target gb-X with Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus is a hypoallergenic, specialty shelf-stable probiotic formulation targeted to provide robust gut-brain axis support. Each probiotic sachet contains five billion colony-forming units of the same probiotic strains used in the research study referenced above.

In addition to the targeted probiotic blend, this product is free of the following common allergens: milk, casein, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, gluten, and soybeans and no artificial additives, colors, flavorings, preservatives, sugar, or salicylates are used.

Best Adaptogen: Thorne Rhodiola

Thorne Research Rhodiola

Courtesy of Amazon

Rhodiola is considered to be an adaptogen due to its purported ability to increase resistance to chemical, biological, and physical stressors and it has been thought to help with symptoms of depression; however, research is mixed. A small study found Rhodiola extract to be significant in ameliorating depressive symptoms; however, more research needs to be performed.

One capsule of Thorne’s Rhodiola supplement contains 100 milligrams of Rhodiola extract. As with any supplement, it is best to start with a low dose and increase gradually and to always consult with your healthcare provider.

Every Thorne product is made with the purest possible ingredients—without gluten or other major allergens (eggs, tree nuts, peanuts). This product also contains no soy, dairy, yeast, shellfish, or fish.

Best St. John’s Wort: Gaia Herbs

Gaia herbs St. John's Wort

Courtesy of Pharmaca

St. John’s wort is a plant that grows in the wild and has been used for centuries for mental health conditions. A large meta-analysis of 27 studies found St. John’s Wort to be effective in treating mild to moderate depression.

As always, it is critical to consult your healthcare provider before adding in a new supplement. Combining St. John’s wort with certain antidepressants can lead to a potentially life-threatening increase of serotonin. In addition, taking St. John’s wort can weaken many prescription medicines.

Gaia Herbs St. John’s wort recommends that adults take 30 to 40 drops in a small amount of water one to three times daily between meals. This liquid extract is easily digestible and absorbs quickly into the body. It is also gluten, soy, and dairy-free.

Final Verdict

Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants work optimally when combined with one another and when it comes to brain health, there is no one nutrient that reigns supreme. For this reason, Pure Encapsulations Multivitamin is our top overall pick for the best depression supplement. It is a good choice for both men and women, and we love that Pure Encapsulations prioritizes purity, potency, and clean ingredients.

What to Look for in Supplements for Depression

Ingredients

Supplements for depression vary in strength, formulation, and ingredients; there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing the right supplement for you. Research is mixed on the best type of depression supplement, so it may take trial and error to find the best product for you.

It is important to check the ingredients when shopping for a new supplement. Be mindful of potential allergens, and always reach out to your health care provider if you are unsure about complementary ingredients in a product.

Not all supplements are created equal. It is worth spending a little extra to buy a product from a company that puts quality and purity at the forefront of what they do. Look for certifications from independent, third-party testing companies such as ConsumerLab.com and NSF International. These organizations provide quality testing and allow products that pass their tests to display a seal of quality assurance that indicates the product was properly manufactured, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants. 

Contraindications

Though most of the supplements reviewed are generally recognized as safe, you may need to consult your healthcare provider if you are already taking certain medications or supplements. It is always important to remember that just because a supplement is sourced from natural ingredients, it can still be incredibly powerful. Start a new supplement with the lowest dose possible, be mindful of unwanted changes, and increase as needed.

FAQs

Can I take natural supplements with my prescription depression medication? 

Depression is a serious mental health disorder that might involve multiple forms of treatment, including therapy, prescription medications, lifestyle modifications, and possible supplementation. Some supplements may be safe to be used alongside prescription medications, and others might not be.

If a supplement is known to affect serotonin levels and you are taking a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI), combining the two can be dangerous. Some nutritional supplements like vitamins or omega-3 fatty acids are generally recognized as safe. Consult with your prescribing provider before adding in a supplement to ensure safety.

Which supplement is best for seasonal depression or SAD? 

Depending on where you live, it might be sensible to take a Vitamin D supplement during the winter months. When sunshine is less frequent or more time is spent indoors because of the cold, we can become deficient in Vitamin D.

Taking a multivitamin in the winter months might also be ideal for seasonal depression as dietary intake tends to fluctuate based on the seasons. A multivitamin can ensure all of your nutritional bases are covered. 

Which supplement or supplements are best for boosting mood?

The research on natural supplements' role in depression treatment is so new that it is difficult to make a definitive statement about what supplement is best as a mood booster. Specific probiotics might help regulate mood or resilience from sad moods. In addition, adaptogens like Rhodiola might help support moods in more acute situations. 

What Experts Say

“Treatment for depression is multifaceted, and interventions should be tailored to the individual patient. Some supplements like omega-3 fatty acids can be helpful but should not be the primary form of treatment.” —Dr. Robin Schor

Why Trust Verywell Mind? 

As a Registered Dietitian, Sydney Greene takes supplement recommendations seriously. Every product has been researched and vetted by her against clinical research, product reviews, and third-party testing websites. These are products she would not only feel comfortable recommending to her clients but she would take them herself if needed.

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Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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