9 Natural Ways to Help Depression

Depression Solutions


By Daniel Amen, MD

[Excerpted from Change Your Brain Every Day]

Depression is not one illness. Like anxiety, the pandemic spawned a whole new level of people being diagnosed with depression and placed on antidepressant medication, without ever getting a proper evaluation or trying simple fixes.


Depression is not one illness. Click To Tweet


Here are 9 common things I do for patients before prescribing antidepressant medication.

  1. Check for and (if necessary) correct thyroid hormone abnormalities.
  2. Work with a nutritionally informed physician to optimize your folate, vitamin B12, vitamin D, homocysteine, and omega-3 fatty acids. I’m convinced that without doing these nutritional fixes, patients are less likely to respond to the medications.
  3. Try an elimination diet for three weeks.
  4. Add colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet.
  5. Eliminate the ANTs (automatic negative thoughts).
  6. Exercise—walk like you are late for 45 minutes four times a week. This has been found to be as effective as antidepressant medication.
  7. Add one of the following supplements to your daily routine: Saffron 30 mg/day; curcumin, not as turmeric root but as Longvida, which is much more efficiently absorbed; zinc as citrate or glycinate 30 mg (tolerable upper level is 40 mg/day for adults, 34 mg/day for adolescents, less for younger kids); or magnesium glycinate, citrate, or malate, 100–500 mg with 30 mg of vitamin B6.
  8. Consume probiotics daily.
  9. Try morning bright light therapy with a therapeutic therapy lamp of 10,000 lux for 20–30 minutes.


If someone comes to me with depression, I order screening labs, teach them not to believe every negative thought they have, give them basic supplements (saffron, zinc, curcumins, and omega-3s), and encourage them to exercise. Many people never need medication if they follow through with the program. If the above interventions are ineffective, I’ll try other nutraceuticals or medications targeted to their specific type of depression (take the test at brainhealthassessment.com).

Today’s Practice: Get treated for any depressive symptoms. Early treatment can be key in preventing long-term health issues for your brain.

In Change Your Brain Every Day, psychiatrist and clinical neuroscientist Daniel Amen, MD, draws on over 40 years of clinical practice with tens of thousands of patients to give you the most effective daily habits he has seen that can help you improve your brain, master your mind, boost your memory, and make you feel happier, healthier, and more connected to those you love.

If you want to join the tens of thousands of patients at Amen Clinics who have already learned how to change their brain every day and have a better life, speak to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.  


  1. Thank you.

    Comment by Donna Russell — January 25, 2023 @ 4:41 AM

  2. This list is absolutely to key to depression recovery!! While it is hard to motivate ourselves to do these things—just DO them! The results are stunning! Thanks Doc! Hit the mark again!!

    Comment by Michele Noel — January 25, 2023 @ 7:06 AM

  3. I have found all of these articles not only to be very informative, practical, and very useful in understanding things I had no clue about. I thank you for sharing these articles I am learning so much.

    Comment by Kathy Stowell — January 25, 2023 @ 8:06 AM

  4. How do you know which supplement is best from these three choices? "magnesium glycinate, citrate, or malate, 100–500 mg with 30 mg of vitamin B6."

    Comment by Celia S. — January 25, 2023 @ 12:52 PM

  5. interessting read

    Comment by Jan Bitrick — January 25, 2023 @ 4:11 PM

  6. Do you have a recommended brand of the Longvida?

    Comment by Kathy — January 25, 2023 @ 5:27 PM

  7. Might be useful to add posture ala Amy Cuddy (Harvard study), deep breathing, and NLP (every emotional state has a physiology). Set a goal for how you want to be (calm, energetic, hopeful, focused), and get in the physical pattern of the desired state (facial expression, posture, muscular tension, breathing, etc.).

    Comment by aaron mann — January 25, 2023 @ 8:11 PM

  8. Try an elimination diet for three weeks. What diet is this? What it contains?

    Comment by Mervi — January 25, 2023 @ 10:23 PM

  9. I'm a disabled veteran and I'm starting to suffer from early stages of depression fatigue I'm not as ambitious as I used to be, and life driven. I'm starting to wake up in the morning and asking myself what's wrong with me instead of what's right with me.

    Comment by Russell Allen — January 28, 2023 @ 5:18 AM

  10. Hello Mervi, thank you for reaching out. Here are more resources about Elimination Diets: https://www.amenclinics.com/?s=elimination+diet.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 7, 2023 @ 8:18 AM

  11. Hello Kathy, thank you for reaching out. For more information about Dr. Daniel Amen's recommended, brain-directed supplements visit https://brainmd.com/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 7, 2023 @ 8:19 AM

  12. Hello Celia S., thank you for reaching out. For more information about Dr. Daniel Amen's recommended, brain-directed supplements visit https://brainmd.com/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 7, 2023 @ 8:20 AM

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