Recommendation: Calcium; 1,000-1,200 mg/day.

Rationale: May help control mood swings, depression, and sadness.

Notes: If symptoms are associated with PMS, calcium supplementation may help.


Recommendation: Folate; 400 mcg/day.

Rationale: Those suffering from depression tend to be deficient in folate; helps maintain healthy levels of serotonin.

Notes: Usually well tolerated.


Recommendation: Magnesium; 310-320 mg/day for women; 400-420 mg/day for men.

Rationale: May have some antidepressant qualities; may be helpful in treating bipolar disorder (manic depression).

Notes: Always take with food to prevent diarrhea.


Recommendation: Omega-3 fatty acids; 3-5 grams/day of combined EPA and DHA.

Rationale: May help stabilize mood in those suffering from bipolar disorder.

Notes: May interact with aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.


Recommendation: Selenium; 55 mcg/day, with a tolerable upper intake level of 400 mcg/day.

Rationale: Low levels of selenium, linked to thyroid problems, may be associated with depression and anxiety.

Notes: Food sources include cereal grains, meat, and fish.


Recommendation: Vitamin B6; 1.3-1.5 mg/day for women; 1.3-1.7 mg/day for men.

Rationale: Supports brain function; may be an effective treatment for depression.

Notes: Food sources include eggs, wheat germ, meat, and whole-grain cereals.


Recommendation: Zinc; 12 mg/day for women; 15 mg/day for men.

Rationale: May have antidepressant qualities.

Notes: Generally well tolerated up to a dosage of 30 mg/day.


Note: Larger doses may be necessary for disease management and prevention. Check with your health care practitioner for individualized recommendations.

Sources: Jaime S. Ruud, RD, research analyst in the department of nutritional science and dietetics at the University of Nebraska and author of Nutrition and the Female Athlete (CRC Press, 1996); PDR for Nutritional Supplements (Medical Economics Co., 2001).