The Real Truth: Antidepressants Actually Deplete These 3 Crucial Nutrients for the Brain

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

side effects of antidepressants

3. B-Complex Vitamins

As with the other nutrients previously mentioned, deficiency in B-complex vitamins can result in symptoms of depression. (20) Rather than looking at a patient’s nutrient profile, many doctors prescribe antidepressants, “treating” the symptoms rather than looking for the cause.

The eight essential B vitamins are factors in the production of the body’s energy. When we’re deficient in one or more, we can feel fatigued and depressed. In many studies, patients presenting with depression or psychiatric disorders have been found with low levels of B-vitamins. (21, 22)


Psychiatric antidepressant, anticonvulsant, and antipsychotic medications are known to inhibit the absorption of B-complex vitamins. They make a bad situation worse.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) has been implicated in the proper functioning of mitochondria, the body’s energy producers. Low B2=low energy=feelings of depression.

Food sources of vitamin B2 include:

  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Almonds
  • Organ meats
  • Whole grains
  • Wheat germ
  • Wild rice
  • Mushrooms
  • Soybeans
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Avocado

Of its many activities, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) helps the body to make hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which contribute to mood. A deficiency can result in irritability, nervousness, difficulty with cognition and memory, and muscle weakness. (23) Psychiatric drugs work to stimulate mood hormones as well but not through the same channels, so they may work at cross-purposes to the natural process.

Two other members of the vitamin B family are B9 (folate) and B12 (cobalamin). Deficiencies in these nutrients have been commonly found in people suffering from depression and other psychiatric disorders. (24, 25)

Good sources of these vitamins are:

  • dark leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, citrus, avocado, okra, legumes, lentils, seeds, nuts, Brussels sprouts (folate)
  • meat, fish, eggs, nutritional yeast, seaweed, algae (B12)