Treating burnout syndrome naturally with vitamins

How certain types of nutrients can help manage burnout syndrome.

Burnout is a state of complete emotional and physical exhaustion and can be a heavy burden for many of those affected. Quality of life is drastically reduced. It is estimated that nine million Germans suffer from the effects of burnout. Burnout can be avoided when those affected seek medical attention in the early stages. Additionally, vitamins and micronutrients help improve neural function and stabilize strained mental health. Find out here which types of vitamins and micronutrients can be beneficial.

A man sitting in front of a laptop holding his head.
Burnout syndrome is mostly triggered by continuous overwork. Image: dolgachov/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Causes and Symptoms

The causes of burnout.

The term burnout is an accurate description of how chronically exhausted and tired those affected feel. Their physical and emotional reserves are empty.

The cause of burnout is commonly excessive demands in the workplace, for example, too much work, coupled with time and performance pressure. People who suffer from burnout feel that they are incapable of dealing with the expectations placed on them in their job. They begin to lose their motivation, creativity and feeling of self-worth and begin a process of emotional distancing from their work (depersonalization).

The symptoms of burnout

The common symptoms of burnout include mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression. Sleeping problems, increased susceptibility to infection, stomach problems, backache , and headaches are all typical symptoms. Many of the sufferers of burnout feel dejected, helpless, and in despair. They can also be easily irritable or quickly become aggressive. As those affected begin to distance themselves from their work, their performance at work begins to suffer.

Return to Start

Aim of the treatment

The principle factor in the treatment of burnout syndrome is the patient recognizing the underlying stress factors and learning to either avoid or better deal with them.

What is the standard treatment for burnout?

A woman sitting cross-legged on the ground in a forest
Various relaxation and stress management strategies can help reduce stress levels. Image: Marcin Wiklik/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Common treatment applications for burnout include relaxation techniques such as autogenic training or yoga or learning stress-management techniques. These applications aim to help those affected to better reduce their stress levels and regain more calmness. It is especially important for those affected to distance themselves from exaggerated perfectionism, idealism, and ambition, while placing less expectation on themselves and learning to accept help.


Especially then when you are under a lot of pressure at work, it is important not to forget to focus on the good moments in life. Regularly take time to enjoy a hobby which you enjoy, meet with friends or enjoy a good meal.

Burnout out is usually treated with medication only if accompanying psychological disorders develop, like depression or anxiety.

The aims of micronutrient medicine

All emotional processes in the brain are controlled by biochemical processes. If the diet does not provide the body with enough vitamins and minerals, then these processes can be disrupted. Nutrient requirements are higher when the body is subject to excessive stress or great emotional strain. The intake of micronutrients can help to take care of these additional nutritional requirements and prevent against the health-related consequences of a deficiency. Micronutrients can also act as a supportive therapy to the classic treatment of burnout in many other ways:

  • B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and phosphatidylserine improve the function of the nervous system.
  • Amino acids and micronutrients like tryptophan, theanine, taurine, magnesium, and vitamin D have calming effects and help stabilize mental health.
  • Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium have anti-inflammatory properties and are able to reduce oxidative stress in the nervous system.
  • Roseroot strengthens the body and inhibits the stress hormone cortisol.
Return to Start

Treatment using micronutrients

B vitamins promote neural and energy metabolism

How B vitamins work

Several studies have shown that supplementing with micronutrients can have a positive effect on stress perception, mild psychological symptoms, and overall mood. This is especially true for dietary supplements that contain B vitamins, for example, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, or the vitamins B1, B6, and B12.

B vitamins have a wide range of effects: They benefit neural and energy metabolism and in turn have a positive effect on mental and physical performance.

They also help reduce homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a harmful natural metabolic byproduct. High homocysteine levels can suppress the production of important chemical messengers and in doing so encourage the onset of depression. The B vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid help detoxify the body from homocysteine.

B vitamin dosage and recommended use

For the supportive treatment of burnout syndrome, you should choose a supplement which contains all B vitamin complexes because the effects of individual B vitamins on their own in the treatment of psychological disorders have not been scientifically proven. Below are the recommended daily dosages for B vitamins:

  • Vitamin B1: 15 milligrams
  • Vitamin B2: 15 milligrams
  • Vitamin B6: 10 to 15 milligrams
  • Vitamin B12: up to 500 micrograms (as methylcobalamin)
  • Folic acid: 400 micrograms (as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate)
  • Niacin: 50 to 100 milligrams
  • pantothenic acid: 20 to 60 milligrams
  • Biotin: 150 to 180 micrograms


To ensure that folic acid can be fully effective, the body must first covert it into its active form, known as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF).

However, due to a genetic defect, around half of the population is unable to convert the folic acid. Therefore, you should ensure that your chosen folic acid supplements contain the 5-methyltetrahydrofolate form of folic acid.

Laboratory testing to determine homocysteine levels, folic acid, and vitamin B12 levels.

Vial with a label stating "Vitamin B12 Test" being held in front of a test sheet.
Blood testing, focusing especially on folic acid and vitamin B12 levels, should be carried out regularly. Image: jarun011/iStock/Getty Images Plus

If you suffer from burnout syndrome or depression then you should avoid risk factors such as high homocysteine levels and folic acid or vitamin B12 deficiencies by undergoing regular blood testing with your local doctor.

A standard homocysteine level test is available. Normal levels are defined as being below 10 micromoles per liter.

The ideal process to identify vitamin B12 levels in the blood is to measure holotranscobalamin (HoloTC). Normal levels in the serum are above 54 picomoles per liter. Folic acid levels can be determined by directly testing the red blood cells (erythrocytes). The normal level is between 250 and 400 micrograms per liter.

Instructions for pregnancy, when breastfeeding, and when taking medication.

Pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding should use high-dosage supplements only if they have been diagnosed with a deficiency or after consulting their doctor.

Patients with kidney problems should not use the cyanocobalamin form of vitamin B12, but rather methylcobalamin.. High dosages of cyanocobalamin are likely to be harmful to kidney patients.

If you are taking a prescribed course of anti-epileptic mediations, then you must ensure that the daily intake does not exceed 5 milligrams of vitamin B6. High dosages of vitamin B6 can reduce the effects of the medication. The affected active anti-epileptic substances include phenobarbital and phenytoin.

In addition, taking more than 5 milligrams of vitamin B6 per day reduces the effects of the Parkinson's disease medication L-Dopa. Therefore, the medication should not be taken simultaneously with high dosage vitamin B6 supplement.

Magnesium suppresses stress hormones.

How magnesium works

Initial scientific studies have found evidence that magnesium has helped reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate level depression and anxiety. Its effects have been traced back to the fact that magnesium suppresses the release of adrenaline and noradrenalin and in doing so prevents the development of stress. Furthermore, it is involved in a wide range of biochemical processes which affect mood and have a relaxing effect on the muscles.

Dosage and recommended use of magnesium:

Initial studies have shown that magnesium in a dosage of between 46 and 600 milligrams per day can help reduce the severity of the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Micronutrient medicine specialists recommend a daily dosage of at least 200 milligrams of magnesium for adults.

It is recommended that you take magnesium at mealtimes to ensure it is well-absorbed by the intestinal tract. In this way you can also avoid gastrointestinal problems that can occur when you take high doses of magnesium on an empty stomach. Depending on each individual’s sensitivity levels, even low doses of magnesium (250 milligrams) can cause diarrhea. In this case, it is better to take the magnesium in small doses throughout the day. The sustained intake of more than 250 milligrams of magnesium per day should be accompanied by regular magnesium level blood tests.

Laboratory test to establish the magnesium level in the blood.

A blood test can establish if you have a magnesium deficiency. It is important to test whole blood which contains all the red blood cells. This is because even if the magnesium levels in the blood serum (the blood fluid) are normal, magnesium may exist inside the blood cells. A magnesium level of 1.38 to 1.5 millimoles per liter is considered normal.

Usage instructions when taking antibiotics and osteoporosis medication

When using certain types of antibiotics or osteoporosis medication (bisphosphonates) you should wait at least two hours between using the medication and taking a magnesium supplement. Otherwise magnesium can bind with the active pharmaceutical ingredient in the gastrointestinal tract and render it ineffective. Care should be taken when using:

  • Gyrase inhibitors Ciprofloxacin, Ofloxacin, or Levofloxacin
  • Tetracycline: For example, Tetracycline and Doxycycline
  • Bisphosphonate: For example, Clondronate, Alendronate and Ibandronate

Those who are suffering from chronic kidney complaints are unable to remove excess magnesium through their kidneys. To prevent a build-up of magnesium in the blood, those affected should avoid using magnesium supplements.

Antioxidants protect against free radicals and have anti-inflammatory properties

How antioxidants work

Note of the chemical formula for Coenzyme Q10 with tablets lying beside it
Coenzyme Q10 can have mood-lifting effects and promotes energy metabolism in the cells. Image: Ekaterina79/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Scientific studies have shown that severe emotional and physical stress in the body leads to increased oxidative stress and possibly an increased susceptibility to infection. This damages not only the cells and tissue but can also have negative effects on mood. Those in extremely stressful situations have an increased need for antioxidants which help neutralize harmful oxygen radicals.

  • Vitamin C is the preeminent antioxidant in the brain. It is heavily involved in the nerve metabolism and protecting the nerves from damaging influences. Initial studies have shown that vitamin C also has antidepressant effects.
  • Vitamin E: Scientific studies have shown that vitamin E had antidepressant effects when tested on mice. These effects most likely stem from improving the protection from oxidative stress in the brain region responsible for the development of depression.
  • Zinc: Several scientific studies also showed that zinc can reduce depression-related symptoms and improve overall mood. It is possible that the effects of zinc can be traced back to it stimulating production of a certain messenger substance which is vital for the survival of the nerve cells. However, further study is necessary to confirm this effect.
  • Selenium: Several scientific studies have indicated that regular intake of selenium can have an uplifting effect on the overall mood, while reducing anxiety and fatigue. In a study carried out on mice, scientists were able to show that selenium reduces both oxidative stress and inflammatory processes in certain regions of the brain.
  • Also coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid have been shown in individual studies to have mood enhancing and antidepressant effects. Here it is not only their antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties which play a role. They also promote energy metabolism processes in the cells. This is vitally important in the treatment of burnout syndrome because sustained mental and physical stress requires especially high levels of energy. The brain in particular requires more energy when subject to chronic overload. In these cases, an energy deficiency can develop which amplifies the symptoms of burnout syndrome.

Dosage and recommended use of antioxidants

For the treatment of mental and physical strain and stress, the following daily antioxidant dosages are recommended:

  • Vitamin C: 200 to 3000 milligrams
  • Vitamin E: 40 milligrams
  • Zinc: 15 to 30 milligrams
  • Selenium: 20 to 100 micrograms of sodium selenate
  • Coenzyme Q10: 100 to 500 milligrams
  • L-carnitine: 1000 to 2000 milligrams
  • Alpha lipoic acid: 200 milligrams

Micronutrient medicine recommends the administration of antioxidants in combination with one another to enable them to complement each other's effects. Furthermore, vitamin C is necessary to allow vitamin E to regenerate itself after it has finished neutralizing oxygen radicals. In combination supplements, the components are matched with one another and are in notably lower dosages.

When using supplements containing vitamin E and coenzyme Q10, it is recommended that they should be taken at mealtimes to allow them to be better absorbed thanks to the fat contained in the food.


If vitamin C and selenium are to be taken in combination with one another, then ensure that the supplement contains the sodium selenate form of selenium. The absorption of sodium selenate is not affected when taken with vitamin C, whereas the absorption of sodium selenite is.

Laboratory testing for antioxidative stress

Normally, taking antioxidants in the recommended dosage is harmless. However, if you wish to take a large number of antioxidants it is advisable to have your antioxidant levels tested by your doctor beforehand. This will provide the necessary information related to the balance of the free radical to antioxidant ratio or if oxidative stress is present due to an antioxidant deficiency. The antioxidative status can be established with various laboratory tests using a blood or urine sample.

If you are planning long-term selenium supplementation at high dosages, then you should test for selenium levels in your blood tests, ideally using whole blood testing because this contains all of the blood cells. The normal range is between 120 and 150 micrograms per liter of whole blood.

Antioxidants: Instructions during pregnancy, when breastfeeding, when suffering from an illness, or when taking medication

If you suffer from renal insufficiency (kidney problems) you must ensure that your consumption of Vitamin C does not exceed 500 milligrams per day because otherwise kidney stones and oxalate deposits can develop. In addition, it is recommended that those with kidney problems should only supplement with zinc and selenium if a deficiency has been diagnosed and only under medical supervision. 

L-carnitine is important for those with a functional kidney disorder (chronic renal insufficiency) However, the use of high-dosage L-carnitine supplements (above 1000 milligrams) should be discussed with a doctor beforehand.

L-carnitine can improve blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes. If L-carnitine is taken in conjunction with blood sugar-lowering medications, then there is the risk of hypoglycemia (excessively low blood sugar levels). These include Metformin and sulphonylureas like the active pharmaceutic ingredient Glibenclamide. It may be necessary to adjust the dosage of the medication. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels and consultation with a doctor are recommended.

In rare cases, L-carnitine can increase the effects of coumarin anticoagulant medications (vitamin-K antagonists). These medications include ethyl biscoumacetate, phenprocoumon and Warfarin. If using any of these medications, consult your doctor before using L-carnitine supplements. The doctor can determine the coagulation status (INR).

If suffering from cancer, discuss the use of L-carnitine in advance with a doctor.

Smokers should avoid using isolated high-dosage alpha-tocopherol, a specific form of vitamin E. It has been linked to an increased risk of developing lung cancer.

There are currently no studies available on the long-term use of alpha lipoic acid during pregnancy or when breastfeeding. Initial study data show no evidence of a negative effect on mother or child.

Zinc can make certain types of antibiotics and osteoporosis medication ineffective. A break of at least two hours between taking the medication and using a zinc supplement is recommended. These medications include

  • Gyrase inhibitors such as Ciprofloxacin, Levofloxacin, Norfloxacin and Ofloxacin
  • Tetracyclines such as Tetracycline, Doxycycline, or Minocycline
  • Biphosphonates such as Alendronate, Etidronate, Ibandronate or Risedronate

Omega-3 fatty acids and phosphatidylserine are the building blocks of nerve cells.

How omega 3 fatty acids and phosphatidylserine work

Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are required for the growth, repair, preservation, and protection of nerve cells. This makes them an essential component of the nervous system. An ever-increasing number of studies are reporting a link between omega-3 deficiency and the development of various types of psychiatric diseases, including depression and recurring mood swings. There is also evidence that taking omega-3 fatty acid can help relieve the symptoms of depression.

Expert Knowledge

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids often have opposing functions. The findings of a current study have suggested that a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio (like more omega-6 and less omega-3) can increase susceptibility to mood swings.

Phosphatidylserine is an important building block in the cell membrane of nerve cells. It is involved in the production and release of various messenger substances, such as the "happiness hormone" serotonin and the stimulator dopamine and therefore influences the processing of information by the body. In doing so, phosphatidylserine can help to improve how you deal with stress. Additionally, several scientific studies have shown that it also has anti-depressive effects, prevents against inflammatory processes in the nervous system, and can help improve the overall feeling of well-being in stressful situations while reducing emotional tension.

Omega 3 fatty acids and phosphatidylserine dosage and recommended use

Linseed on a wooded spoon next to a glass with linseed oil.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found prominently in fish and plant oils such as linseed and walnut oil. Image: HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Micronutrient medicine uses omega 3 fatty acids in the following dosages to treat depression and mental health disorders:

  • EPA: 1000 to 1500 milligrams
  • DHA: 600 milligrams

Scientific studies have found evidence that points to EPA and DHA being particularly effective in the treatment of mood swings when they are administered in a ratio of 2:1. For example, this corresponds to 1200 EPA and 600 DHA per day.


Fish, plant oils such as linseed and walnut oil are especially rich in omega-3 fatty acids. If you wish to supplement your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, it is important to ensure that you are purchasing a high-quality product which is free of unwanted residues and pollutants. Special attention should be paid to the purity of fish oil.

At a dosage of 300 to 400 milligrams, phosphatidylserine can notably reduce the body's stress reaction in those under chronic strain.

Laboratory testing to establish the level of omega-3 fatty acids

A blood test is able to measure the levels of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in the red blood cells and determine if the patient has a deficiency in these substances. The omega-3 index is displayed as a percentage. A level of between five and eight is considered normal, meaning that between five and eight out of 100 fatty acids in the red blood cells are the valuable omega-3 fatty acids. A level of between eight and eleven is considered optimal.

Instructions when using blood-thinning medications and before operations

People who suddenly develop kidney or liver disease, for example, as the result of pancreatic or gallbladder inflammation, should not use omega 3 supplements.

If suffering from a blood coagulation disorder, it is advisable to discuss the supplementation with a doctor beforehand because omega-3 fatty acid can have blood thinning effects. Omega-3 fatty acids have blood-thinning properties and can increase the effects of blood-thinning medication starting at a dosage of 1000 milligrams. These include the following active pharmaceutical ingredients:

  • Coumarin derivatives such as Phenprocoumon and Warfarin
  • Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)
  • Heparin
  • and new oral anticoagulants such as Apixaban, Dabigatran, Rivaroxaban and Edoxaban

If you have been prescribed blood-thinning medication, then your doctor should regularly check your blood coagulation status if you are using omega 3 supplements.

Due to its blood-thinning properties, it is advisable to stop or reduce the dosage of omega 3 fatty acid before a planned operation. Your doctor can best advise you how to proceed. Omega-3 supplementation can be resumed without issue after an operation.

Amino acids for metabolic balance in the brain

How amino acids work

Amino acids are the building blocks for proteins, which fulfill many essential functions in the body. For example, proteins function as building blocks and are involved in all metabolic processes, carry out transport functions, act as chemical messengers, and play an important role in the immune system by helping combat pathogens (harmful bacteria). The use of the amino acids: tryptophan, taurine, theanine and GABA can be an effective supportive measure in the treatment of burnout syndrome:

  • Tryptophan is a precursor of the messenger substance serotonin. This "happiness hormone" lifts our mood and counteracts bad moods, anxiety, and depression. People with depression often suffer from a serotonin imbalance. Initial study finding have shown that the use of tryptophan can have a positive effect on our mood.
  • Taurine is present in large amounts throughout the bod, especially in the brain. Taurine has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. It has an important protective function in the brain. Taurine also acts as a nervous system suppressant and has a calming effect. Initial scientific studies on rats have also shown that taurine can have antidepressant effects.
  • Theanine is most commonly found in tea. It positively influences the levels of various chemical messenger substances which are responsible for the regulation of mood and activity (like serotonin, dopamine and GABA). Several studies have shown that theanine has both stress-reducing and anxiety-suppressing effects.
  • GABA is one of the most important suppressant messenger substances in the nervous system. It has a calming and muscle-relaxing effect. Initial studies findings show that GABA can aid the reduction of stress levels.

Dosage and recommended use of amino acids:

Amino acids in the following dosages are recommended for the supportive treatment of burnout syndrome:

  • Tryptophan: 5000 to 1000 milligrams
  • Taurine: 200 to 500 milligrams
  • Theanine: 200 to 500 milligrams
  • GABA: 100 to 500 milligrams

Micronutritionists usually recommend a supplement which contains a combination of amino acids. The dosages of the amino acid are often reduced because their effects complement one another.

Instructions during pregnancy and when breastfeeding

Patients suffering from liver or kidney diseases are unable to normally metabolize and remove tryptophan from the body and should therefore avoid taking tryptophan supplements. Because tryptophan can reduce blood pressure levels, patients undergoing treatment for high blood pressure should consult with their doctor beforehand.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid the use of supplements containing tryptophan as there is currently insufficient data available of its effects on unborn and newborn children.

Roseroot inhibits the stress hormone cortisol.

How roseroot works

Roseroot (Rhodiola rosea) has been used since ancient times in the traditional medicine of the arctic regions for its ability to inhibit the release of the stress hormone cortisone. This allows the human body to better adapt to stressful situations. A recent scientific study provides the first evidence that the use of roseroot can help relieve the symptoms of burnout. However, further comprehensive study is required to confirm this effect.

Dosage and recommended use of roseroot

As a supportive treatment for burnout syndrome, between 200 and 400 milligrams of roseroot extract per day are recommended. The extract should be standardized with a rosavin content of between one and two percent. This corresponds to between 2 and 8 milligrams of rosavin in 200 to 400 milligrams of the extract.

Roseroot extract is best taken on an empty stomach as this allows the active substance to be better absorbed. It is also better to take roseroot extract in the first half of the day (early or late morning).

Instructions during pregnancy, when breast feeding, or when taking medication

Study findings have not shown any evidence that would call into question the safety of roseroot. However, the effects of roseroot on unborn or newly born children have not been studied. Therefore, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use roseroot supplements.

Roseroot can inhibit the production of the enzyme which breaks down medication in the liver. It is possible that roseroot fundamentally slows the breaking down of medications and therefore increases their effect. It should therefore not be used when taking medication.

Vitamin D and exposure to the sun both have a positive effect on mood.

How vitamin D works

A woman stands by the water while watching the sunset
Vitamin D deficiency promotes depression and mood swings. Image: nicoletaionescu/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Vitamin D is not consumed with food; it is mainly produced during exposure of skin to the sun. For a long time, researchers suspected a link between depression and vitamin D deficiency. Depressive episodes are common during the long and dark winter months because the skin has little exposure to the sun.

It is now seen as medical fact that severe vitamin D deficiency can lead to serious depression. On the other hand, the antidepressant effects have not been fully understood. Various scientific studies have reported that vitamin D (more than 1000 international units) can help reduce mood swings and depression. Experts suspect that vitamin D affects the production of a specific messenger substance in the nervous system which in turn plays an important role in the development of depression.

Dosage and recommended use of Vitamin D

The ideal dosage of vitamin D depends on how good the existing levels are in the body. Depending on existing vitamin D levels, an intake of between 1000 and 4000 international units of vitamin D per day is recommended to help reduce the symptoms of depression. Higher levels are necessary to treat acute vitamin D deficiencies, for example, up to 10,000 international units for a time period defined by a doctor.

Expert Knowledge

General instruction for the slow increase of vitamin D levels: Long-term administration of 1000 international units (IU) per day, in addition the body's own production of 4500 international units will increase the levels by 10 nanograms per liter (ng/ml).

A blood test to establish your vitamin D level

A vitamin-D deficiency can be diagnosed by a doctor using a blood test. A laboratory test will determine the vitamin D levels in the serum (the blood liquid without blood cells). Levels between 40 and 60 nanograms are ideal.

Instruction if taking medication or suffering from sarcoidosis

The use of vitamin D supplements helps increase calcium intake levels. Thiazide diuretics can reduce the amount of calcium being expelled by the body and so the simultaneous intake of both can lead to a rapid increase in blood calcium levels. It is therefore recommended to regularly check calcium levels during blood testing. Thiazides include the active pharmaceutical ingredients hydrochlorothiazide, Xipamide or indapamide.

Sarcoidosis patients often have high calcium levels in their blood In these cases, the use of vitamin D supplements is not recommended.

Dosage overview

Daily micronutrient intake recommendations for burnout syndrome



150 to 180 micrograms (µg)

Folic acid

400 micrograms


50 to 100 micrograms (mg)

Pantothenic acid

23 to 60 milligrams

Vitamin B1

15 milligrams

Vitamin B2

15 milligrams

Vitamin B6

10 to 15 milligrams

Vitamin B12

10 to 25 milligrams

Vitamin C

200 to 3000 milligrams

Vitamin E

135 to 335 milligrams

Vitamin D

1000 to 4000 international units (IU)



46 to 600 milligrams


15 to 30 milligrams


20 to 100 micrograms

Plant substances


250 milligrams

(2 to 8 milligrams Rosavin)


Alpha lipoic acid

200 milligrams

Coenzyme Q10

100 to 300 milligrams


1000 to 2000 milligrams

Omega 3 fatty acids

1000 to 1500 milligrams EPA

600 milligrams DHA


300 to 400 milligrams


200 to 500 milligrams


500 to 1000 milligrams


200 to 500 milligrams


100 to 500 milligrams

Overview of recommended laboratory tests

Recommended blood tests for burnout syndrome

Normal reference ranges

Folic acid/Folate (Whole blood)

250-400 micrograms per liter (red cell folate) (µg/l)

Vitamin B12 as holotranscobalamin (Serum)

over 54 picomoles per Liter (pmol/l)

Vitamin D (Serum)

40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml)

Magnesium (Whole blood)

1.38 to 1.5 millimoles per Liter (mmol/l)

Omega 3 index

5 to 8 percent

Homocysteine (Serum)

under 10 micromoles per Liter (µmol/l)

Selenium (Whole blood)

120 to 150 micrograms per liter

Return to Start


Burnout syndrome is a state of complete emotional and physical exhaustion. Certain types of micronutrients can act as a supportive therapy to the standard forms of burnout treatment.

B vitamins help strengthen the nervous system and optimize energy metabolism processes which increase the physical and emotional capacity for stress. Magnesium inhibits the production of stress hormones and can help relieve episodes of anxiety. Antioxidants help protect the nervous system from damage caused by free radicals and also have anti-inflammatory properties while also providing the body with sufficient energy in stressful situations.

Omega 3 fatty acids and phosphatidylserine are involved in the protection and preservation of the nerve cells and also influence the release of important nervous system messenger substances. The amino acids tryptophan, taurine, theanine, and GABA help protect the nervous system and have calming and relaxing effects. Roseroot can help reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol being released, which makes it easier to adapt to stressful situations. Vitamin D is suspected of having an effect on important nervous system messenger substances which play a role in the development of depression.

Return to Start

Study and Source Index

Aboul-Fotouh, S. (2013): Coenzyme Q10 displays antidepressant-like activity with reduction of hippocampal oxidative/nitrosative DNA damage in chronically stressed rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013; 104: 105-12., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Bakker, A.B. et al. (2014): Chronic job burnout and daily funtioning: A theoretical analysis. Burnout Research 2014; 1(3): 112-119., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Baumeister, J. et al. (2008): Influence of phosphatidylserine on cognitive performance and cortical activity after induced stress. Nutr Neurosci. 2008; 11(3): 103-10., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Benton, D. et al. (1991): The impact of selenium supplementation on mood. Biol Psychiatry. 1991; 29(11): 1092-8., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Berger, M.E. et al. (2017): Omega-6 to omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio and subsequent mood disorders in young people with at-risk mental states: a 7-year longitudinal study. Transl Psychiatry. 2017; 7(8): e1220., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Biesalski, H.-K. (2016): Vitamine und Minerale. Indikation, Diagnostik, Therapie. Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart New York.

Biesalski, H.-K. et al. (2010): Ernährungsmedizin. 4. Aufl. Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart.

Bond, A. et al. (1974): The use of analogue scales in rating subjective feelings. Br J med Psychol. 1974; 47: 211-218., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Boyle, N.B. et al. (2017): The effects of magnesium supplementation on subjective anxiety and stress—a systematic review. Nutrients. 2017; 9(5): 429., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Caine, J.J. et al. (2016): Taurine, energy drinks, and neuroendocrine effects. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2016; 83(12): 895-904., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Casado, A. et al. (2011): Determination of oxidative and occupational stress in palliative care workers. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2011; 49(3): 471-7., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Casado, A. et al. (2008): Relationship between oxidative and occupational stress and aging in nurses of an intensive care unit. Age (Dordr). 2008; 30(4): 229-36., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Casaril, A.M. et al. (2017): Antidepressant-like effect of a new selenium-containing compound is accompanied by a reduction of neuroinflammation and oxidative stress in lipopolysaccharide-challenged mice. J Psychopharmacol. 2017; 31(9): 1263-73., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Deacon, G. et al. Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the treatment of depression. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017; 57(1): 212-223., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

DGPPN, BÄK, KBV, AWMF (Hrsg.) für die Leitliniengruppe Unipolare Depression. S3-Leitlinie/Nationale VersorgungsLeitlinie Unipolare Depression – Langfassung, 2. Auflage. Version 5. 2015., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

European Medicines Agency (EMA): Assessment report on Rhodesia rosea L., rhizome et radix. 12. Juli 2011; EMA/HMPC/232100/2011., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Forester, B.P. et al. (2012): Coenzyme Q10 effects on creatine kinase activity and mood in geriatric bipolar depression. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2012; 25(1): 43-50., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Gariballa, S. (2011): Testing homocysteine-induced neurotransmitter deficiency, and depression of mood hypothesis in clinical practice. Age Ageing. 2011; 40(6): 702-5., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Gröber, U. (2011): Mikronährstoffe. Metabolic Tuning – Prävention – Therapie. 3. Aufl. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH Stuttgart.

Gröber, U. (2014): Arzneimittel und Mikronährstoffe – Medikationsorientierte Supplementierung. 3. Aufl. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft Stuttgart.

Hallahan, B. et al. (2016): Efficacy of omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids in the treatment of depression. Br J Psychiatry. 2016; 209(3): 192-201., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Heilhammer, J. et al. (2014): A soy-based phosphatidylserine/ phosphatidic acid complex (PAS) normalizes the stress reactivity of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal-axis in chronically stressed male subjects: a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Lipids Health Dis. 2014; 13:121., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Heilhammer, J. et al. (2012): Omega-3 fatty acids administered in phosphatidylserine improved certain aspects of high chronic stress in men. Nutr Res. 2012; 32(4): 241-50., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Jenkins, T.A. et al. (2016): Influence of tryptophan and serotonin on mood and cognition with a possible role of the gut-brain axis. Nutirents. 2016; 8(1): 56., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Kasper, S. et al. (2017): Multicenter, open-label, exploratory clinical trial with Rhodiola rosea extract in patients suffering from burnout symptoms. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2017; 13: 889-98., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Kennedy, D.O. (2010): Effects of high-dose B vitamin complex with vitamin C and minerals on subjective mood and performance in healthy males. Phsychopharmacology (Berl). 2011; 211(1): 55-68., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Kilb, W. et al. Taurin as an essential neuromodulator during perinatal cortical development. Front Cell Neurosci. 2017; 11: 328., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Kumura, K. et al. (2007): L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biol Psychol. 2007; 74(1): 39-45., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

de Koning, E.J. et al. (2015): Vitamin D supplementation to prevent depression and poor physical function in older adults: Study protocol of the D-Vitaal study, a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. BMC Geriatr. 2015; 15: 151., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Korczak, D. et al. Differenzialdiagnostik des Burnout-Syndroms. HTA-Bericht 105. Herausgegeben vom Deutschen Institut für Medizinische Dokumentation und Information, Köln, 1. Auflage 2010., retrieved on: 2018-03-22

Lee, B.H. et al. (2010): The roles of BDNF in the pathophysiology of major depression and in antidepressant treatment. Psychiatry Investig. 2010; 7(4): 231-35., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Li, Z. et al. (2018): Association of total zinc, iron, copper and selenium intakes with depression in the US adults. J Affect Disord. 2018; 228: 68-74., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Liu, J.J. et al. (2016): Pathways of polyunsaturated fatty acid utilization: implications for brain function in neuropsychiatric health and disease. Brain Res. 2016; 0:220-246., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Lobato, K.R. et al. (2010): alpha-Tocopherol administration produces an antidepressant-like effect in predictive animal models of depression. Behav Brain Res. 2010; 209(2): 249-59., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Long, S.J. et al. (2013): Effects of vitamin and mineral supplementation on stress, mild psychiatric symptoms, and mood in nonclinical samples: a meta-analysis. Psychosom Med. 2013; 75(2): 144-53., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Maes, M. et al. Lower plasma Coenzyme Q10 in depression: a marker for treatment resistance and chronic fatigue in depression and a risk factor to cardiovascular disorder in that illness. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2009; 30(4): 462-9., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Maes, M. et al. A review on the oxidative and nitrosative stress (O&NS) pathways in major depression and their possible contribution to the (neuro)degenerative processes in that illness. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2011; 35(3): 676-92., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Manosso, L.M. (2013): Antidepressant-like effect of α-tocopherol in a mouse model of depressive-like behavior induced by TNF-α. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2013; 46: 48-57., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Marotta, F. et al. (2011): Redox balance signalling in occupational stress: modification by nutraceutical intervention. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2011; 25(2): 221-9., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Messamore, E. et al. (2017): Polyunsaturated fatty acids and recurrent mood disorders: Phenomenology, mechanisms, and clinical application. Prog Lipid Res. 2017; 66: 1-13., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Mosetter, K. et al. Ausgebrannte Zellen - Die Neurobiochemi des Burnout. Trauma. 2014, 2:52-61., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Murphy, S.E. et al. (2006): Tryptophan supplementation induces a positive bias in the processing of emotional material in healthy female volunteers. Psychopharmacology. 2006; 187(1): 121-30., retrieved on: 2018-03-22

Neurologen und Psychiater im Netz: Burnout-Syndrom: Therapie. Herausgegeben von Berufsverbänden und Fachgesellschaften für Psychiatrie, Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie, Psychotherapie, Psychosomatik, Nervenheilkunde und Neurologie aus Deutschland und der Schweiz., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

No Author listed (2002): Rhodiola rosea. Monograph. Alternative Medicine Review 2002, 7 (5): 421-423. retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Parente, E. et al. (2017): Safety of oral alpha-lipoic acid treatment in pregnant women: a retrospective observational study. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2017; 21: 4219-27., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Perry, T.A. et al. (2004): Pyridoxine-induced toxicity in rats: a stereological quantification of the sensory neuropathy. Exp Neurol. 2004; 190(1): 133-44., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Ranjbar, E. et al. (2014): Effects of zinc supplementation on efficacy of antidepressant therapy, inflammatory cytokines, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in patients with major depression. Nutr Neurosci. 2014; 17(2): 65-71., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Ryan-Harshman, M. et al. (2007): Carpal tunnel syndrome and vitamin B6. Can Fam Physician. 2007; 53(7): 1161-62., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Sawada, T. et al. (2010): Effect of zinc supplementation on mood states in young women: a pilot study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010; 64(3): 331-3., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Sepehrmanesh, Z. et al. (2016): Vitamin D supplementation affects the Beck Depression Inventory, insulin resistance, and biomarkers of oxidative stress in patients with major depressive disorder: a randomized, controlled clinical trial. J Nutr. 2016; 146(2): 243-8., retrieved on: 2018-03-22

Slough, C. et al. (2011): The effect of 90 day administration of a high dose vitamin B-complex on work stress. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2011; 26(7): 470-6., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Soczynska, J.K. et al. (2008): Acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid: possible neurotherapeutic agents for mood disorders? Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2008; 17(6): 827-43., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Solati, Z. et al. (2015): Zinc monotherapy increases serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels and decreases depressive symptoms in overweight or obese subjects: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Nutr Neurosci. 2015; 18(4): 162-8., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Tarleton, E.K. et al. (2017): Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PLoS One. 2017; 12(6): e0180067., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Tartagni, M. et al. vitamin D supplementation for premenstrual syndrome-related mood disorders in adolescents with severe hypovitaminosis D. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2016; 29(4): 357-61., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Unno, K. et al. (2013): Anti-stress effect of theanine on students during pharmacy practice: positive correlation among salivary α-amylase activity, trait anxiety and subjective stress. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013; 111: 128-35., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Vaziri, F. et al. (2016): A randomized controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation on perinatal depression: in Iranian pregnant mothers. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016; 16: 239., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Watanabe, N. et al. (2015): A mindfulness-based stress management program and treatment with omega-3 fatty acids to maintain a healthy mental state in hospital nurses (Happy Nurse Project): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2015; 16:36., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

White, D.J. et al. (2016): Anti-stress, behavioural and magnetoencephalography effects of an l-theanine-based nutrient drink: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. Nutrients. 2016; 8(1): 53., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Williams, J.A. et al. (2016): Vitamin D levels and perinatal depressive symptoms in women at risk: a secondary analysis of the mothers, omega-3, and mental health study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016; 16: 203., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Wu, G.F. et al. (2017): Antidepressant effect of taurine in chronic unpredictable mild stress-induced depressive rats. Sci Rep. 2017; 7(1): 4989., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Yoto, A. et al. (2012): Effects of L-theanine or caffeine intake on changes in blood pressure under physical and psychological stresses. J Physiol Anthropol. 2012; 31: 28., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Yoto, A. et al. (2012): Oral intake of γ-aminobutyric acid affects mood and activities of central nervous system during stressed condition induced by mental tasks. Amino Acids. 2012; 43(3): 1331-7., retrieved on: 2018-03-22.

Return to Start