A new placebo-controlled study showed that taking about 250 mg a day of a highly absorbable magnesium (basically anything besides magnesium oxide or hydroxide) was highly effective for depression. This is similar to what's been seen clinically for years.
This is yet another study showing that natural alternatives are highly effective for depression and anxiety. As with most of the other natural treatment studies, no significant side effects were seen. Instead, the level of side benefits was significant, including increased energy, decreased constipation, and decreased headaches, muscle aches and cramps.
Previous studies have shown that magnesium has numerous other benefits, including decreased risk of diabetes and heart attack. It can be taken in combination with common SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) antidepressant medications. When combined, the magnesium's benefits are additive to the SSRIs, but with none of the commonly associated side effects, such as sexual dysfunction.
Other head on studies have shown that a special highly absorbed curcumin product called Curamed was more effective than Zoloft at improving mood. Omega 3s can also be beneficial. As with magnesium, both of these also have significant side benefits without significant negative side effects.
Each of these natural alternatives are also non-sedating and non-addictive.
In my experience, people dealing with depression and anxiety do best when they combine the entire healing arts toolkit, including both natural and prescription therapies, along with counseling and other modalities. That so many people don't receive effective treatment for this is a national tragedy, resulting in countless preventable deaths each year, and unnecessary suffering.