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Use of supplements

To consider

  • Omega-3            

    Research has shown that the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can have a beneficial effect on the course of mental health complaints (Mocking et al., 2018), including in depressive patients with elevated inflammation levels. The most well-known omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Although a full understanding of the mechanisms of action is lacking, supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids is mentioned in the Dutch treatment guideline "Richtlijn farmacotherapie bij persoonlijkheidsstoornissen". Experts recommend consuming fatty fish regularly (weekly), such as herring, mackerel, or salmon. These fish species may also contain other substances besides omega-3, such as astaxanthin, which contribute to health. However, fish does not contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), but you could consume a handful of walnuts (15 grams) daily. If regularly consuming fatty fish is not feasible, omega-3 supplements offer an alternative for EPA+DHA supplementation. Pay attention to the correct dosage. Many manufacturers suggest taking omega-3 supplements in a higher dosage (e.g., 1000 mg per day or more). The Dutch 'health council' states that an intake of 200 milligrams (EPA + DHA) per day is sufficient. Discuss the use of omega-3 supplements with your healthcare provider.

  • Pro-biotics        

    Probiotics can have a positive impact on gut health and are effective against antibiotic-related diarrhea (Agemonne et al., 2018). A link has also been found between gut health and mental well-being (e.g., Socala, et al., 2021, Vitetta et al, 2023), where probiotics in combination with psychopharmaceuticals can have a beneficial effect (Ortega et al., 2022; Gawlik-Kotelnicka & Strzelecki, 2021). Although Dutch guidelines for the treatment of mental health complaints do not yet mention the use of probiotics, trying them can be considered. Consult your healthcare provider if you want to use probiotics alongside your regular treatment for mental health issues. The 'Nationale Probiotica Gids' provides an overview of effective probiotics for antibiotic use, based on research in the Netherlands. While scientific knowledge about the relationship between probiotics and mental health is still limited, the existing literature cautiously suggests a potential positive effect. Products not included in the National Probiotics Guide may also be effective and possibly more affordable (example: Aavalabs). Discuss the use of pro-biotics with you healthcare provider.

    Important: Excluding serious clinical causes of gastrointestinal complaints is essential. Discuss this with your general practitioner. The use of probiotics is discouraged when taking immunosuppressive medication or undergoing chemotherapy.

Don't use

  • New Chemicals

    New psychoactive substances (NPS), designer drugs, or 'research chemicals' refer to substances that, in terms of their chemical structure, closely resemble substances covered by the Medicines Act or the Opium Act. However, since these laws currently do not prohibit specific groups of substances, they fall outside the regulation. The risk of interactions with medications and/or substance dependence is imminent. Therefore, let your healthcare provider know if you are using these substances.

  • St. John's Wort 

    It is known that St. John's Wort can interact with medication and adversely affect its efficacy. Therefore, it is advised against using St. John's Wort as a supplement on your own initiative. Let your healthcare provider know if you are using this substance.

  • Herb Check       

    The Dutch National Medicines Evaluation Board (CBG) has launched a campaign to increase awareness about the interactions between herbal remedies and medications. For more information, please visit the CBG website:

    Please note that the website is only available in Dutch.