Understanding the Link Between Depression and Nutrition

Posted on Feb 3, 2013 by 2 Comments
Understanding the Link Between Depression and Nutrition

I’ve struggled with depression on and off for about 15 years. I’ve tried several antidepressants with varying degrees of success.

Recently, however, I learned that people taking antidepressants have different nutritional needs than people who are not on medication.

One of the more interesting ways in which antidepressant use affects nutrition is by affecting the absorption of vitamin B2. Also known as riboflavin, this nutrient helps keep your skin healthy.

To counteract the effects of antidepressant use, add low-fat milk, almonds, eggs, and spinach to your diet.

Taking antidepressants can lower the amount of co-enzyme Q10 in your body. This is an important antioxidant that is also involved in cellular energy production.

To keep your energy levels up, you’ll need to increase your intake of poultry and fish. If you’re a vegetarian, peanuts and canola oil are good sources of CoQ10.

Cutting carbs is often thought of as one of the best ways to lose weight, but people on antidepressants often find themselves craving carbohydrates and will struggle to be successful following traditional eating plans that recommend a diet based heavily on fruits and vegetables.

They will continue to eat even when they’re not truly hungry because of an imbalance in their serotonin levels. Eating a small carbohydrate rich snack such as a dinner roll or a serving of dry cereal about an hour before your meal may be helpful in resisting the urge to overeat.

If you’re struggling with antidepressant weight gain after taking medications such as Prozac, Lexapro, or Celexa, this is certainly a worthwhile option to explore with your doctor.

If you suffer from depression, do you feel like what you eat has an effect on your mood and behavior? Did you know that antidepressant use changes your nutritional needs?

Photo credit: hotblack via morgueFile

Posted in: Health
Dana Hinders

Dana Hinders lives in Iowa with her husband and son. She has been a freelance writer since shortly after earning her degree in journalism from The University of Iowa in 2003. She writes extensively about parenting, crafts, and creative ways to save money. Visit her at danahinders.com.

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  • http://32in32.com/ Pauline Hawkins

    I wonder if eating those foods will help change those who suffer with depression, even though they are not on an anti-depressant.

  • http://www.befreebies.com/ BeFreebies.com

    Pauline I also wonder if there is a link between nutrition and depression. I take a lot of nutritional supplements, and I notice a big change between my energy and mood when I am taking my supplements regularly versus when I run out or forget to take them for a while.