Recently, researchers have found to prevent depression symptoms, it is better to do more physical activities rather than taking nutritional supplements.
Previous studies have shown that how much sleep you get, how much energy you have, and how much physical activity you do all can affect feelings of depression.
One recent study looked at the links between sleep, physical activity, energy, and people mental health.
It examined physical activity and sleep in participants over two weeks.
Participants used mobile devices to rate their mood and energy levels four times a day. They could rate “very happy” to “very sad” for their mood and “very tired” to “very energetic” for their energy levels.
The researchers of that study found that physical activity could improve people’s moods later in the day.
Moreover, the effect was stronger in people with bipolar disorder. This is a mood disorder that has periods of feeling extremely “up” to feeling very “down” and depressed.
Physical activity also helped these people feel more energetic and sleep better.
The findings suggest that physical activity could help improve health and quality of life.
The team suggests that not getting enough exercise may increase the risk of chronic diseases and mental health issues.
The leader of the study is Dr. Kathleen Merikangas, a mental health researcher at NIH.
In another study, researchers found taking a daily intake of nutritional supplements won’t help prevent depression.
Instead, regular lifestyle coaching that helps people improve their diets and eating behavior may be more effective.
The researchers examined different nutritional and lifestyle habits that may change mood and wellbeing in people who were overweight.
They tested more than 1,000 overweight or obese participants from the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain.
Previous studies had shown that depression and being overweight often go hand in hand.
These participants had a higher risk of depression but were not currently depressed. They were followed up for one year.
Half of the participants received daily nutritional supplements, while the other half were given a placebo.
The supplements which contained folic acid, vitamin D, omega-3 fish oils, zinc, and selenium.
Half of the people also received psychological and behavioral therapy to change their eating habits.
For example, they learned how to cope with low mood, reduce snacking and increase a healthy Mediterranean style diet.
The researchers found that the supplements worked no better than the placebos in preventing depression.
On the other and, people who attended a recommended number of sessions of psychological therapy showed less depression risk.
The team suggests that nutritional supplements do not help to prevent depression. People may focus on changing their coping skills and eating habits to protect against depression.
One author of the study is Professor Ed Watkins from the University of Exeter.
This study is published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
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