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Home > Research Department  > Health Concerns Articles > Depression
    Health Concerns Articles  
DEPRESSION
Articles by a Naturopathic Doctor ( N.D.)
Last Updated:

FIGHTING THE BLUES

Along with conventional therapies like counselling, herbs and supplements can provide support.
CHOOSING A COURSE OF TREATMENT WHEN YOU ARE DEPRESSED CAN BE CONFUSING - ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU FEEL UNMOTIVATED.
Depression is a common medical problem that affects millions of people each year.  It is a signal that one’s coping mechanisms have been overwhelmed.  Depression can be triggered by any perceived negative change in one’s life or a negative reaction to a situation.

Physical causes of depression include nutritional deficiencies, biochemical / hormonal imbalances, substance abuse, hypothyroidism, liver disease and anemia.  In these cases correcting the physical problem will result in alleviation of depression.

Symptoms and Types of Depression
Symptoms of depression vary between individuals.  Common signs and symptoms include insomnia or hypersomnia, weight-loss or gain, digestive disturbances, headaches, bowel changes, low libido and frequent colds and flu.  Severe depression can lead to hallucinations and suicidal ideation.  Types of depression include seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that affects people in the winter months because of dark and damp weather.  Post-partum depression is a type of depression suffered by some women after childbirth.  Manic-depressive disorder is characterized by severe depressive episodes alternating with periods of euphoria and exhilaration.
 


Depression Treatments
Antidepressant medications are the conventional treatment for depression. These medications work by changing neurochemical levels and the way they interact in the brain. There are a variety of medications which affect serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine in depression patients and vary in their side effects. Other conventional treatments include counselling in addition to music and colour therapy. Biofeedback has also been studied as a treatment for depression. If you are currently taking antidepressants, please consult a health care professional before proceeding with natural therapies.
 

What you can do to help fight the blues:

- REDUCE SUGAR INTAKE;  IT CAN MAKE YOU FEEL 'LOW'
- EAT LOTS OF VEGETABLES
- USE SUPPLEMENTS TO SUPPORT SEROTONIN PRODUCTION AND OTHER NEUROTRANSMITTERS
- USE STRESS REDUCTION TECHNIQUES AND EXERCISES LIKE YOGA AND TAICHI WITH DEEP BREATHING
- TAKE SUPPLEMENTS THAT HELP SUPPORT YOUR ADRENAL GLANDS
- ENSURE ENOUGH PROTEIN INTAKE
- DO THINGS YOU ENJOY
- TALK WITH A COUNSELLOR

DID YOU KNOW?
(DEPRESSION FACTS)

- Low thyroid, candida, low adrenal, and hypoglycemia can all cause depression.
- It's normal to feel depression at different times in your life, but not for extended periods of time or without reason.

Light therapy is helpful for SAD because full spectrum lighting regulates the production of melatonin.  Melatonin regulates daily patterns and when it is deficient, it can lead to depression.  Full spectrum light bulbs and light boxes are available.

Lifestyle changes to help with depression include regular exercise, proper rest and undertaking enjoyable mental activities.  Start a hobby that you enjoy.  Learn to deal with stress in positive ways.  Learn the triggers for your depression and how to avoid them.

Dietary treatment of depression begins by an assessment of nutritional status and toxin levels.

Deficiencies of nutrients can alter the functioning of the nervous system.

A build-up of toxins in the brain can lead to symptoms that mimic depression.  Balancing blood sugar is important because fluctuations can cause depression.

Avoid caffeinated drinks, alcohol, tobacco, saturated fats, artificial sweeteners, wheat, refined flour products, refined sugar products and any foods you are sensitive to.  Eat a whole foods diet including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains (especially oats) and nutritional yeast.  Include foods that are high in tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin.  They are ocean going fish, eggs, nuts and wheat germ.

The following list of supplements can be used for depression.  Adult doses are given.  (CLICK SUPPLEMENT NAME FOR PRODUCTS).

SUPPLEMENT DOSAGE THERAPEUTIC EFFECT
Vitamin B complex plus B12 100mg three times daily, B12 1000mcg daily Many of the B vitamins are involved in nervous system regulation and the production of neurochemicals.
Vitamin C with bioflavinoids 2000-5000mg a day Helps the nervous system and adrenal glands.  In large doses exerts a tranquilizing effect. A good antioxidant.
cal-mag 1000mg calcium with 750mg magnesium daily Effective natural tranquilizers.  Use chelate or citrate forms.
Chromium 200mcg daily Balances blood sugar.  Decreases food cravings.
Lecithin 1 tbs granules daily or 6 capsules Contains nutrients the body uses to make  the important neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
Salmon or Tuna oil 2000-6000mg daily.  Use standardized type Contain essential fats (especially DHA) important for healthy brain function
Evening Primrose oil 1000mg three times daily Increases prostaglandin levels to help with depression.  Fatty acids stabilize nerve cell transmission.
St John’s wort As directed on label Eases depression and restores emotional stability.  Works well in combination with valerian root.   Can decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.  May cause sun sensitivity.  Use with guidance if taking pharmaceutical drugs.
5-hydroxy tryptophan As directed on label, at bedtime It is a serotonin precursor.  Works as an antidepressant.  Use under the supervision of a health professional.
 L-tyrosine As directed on label, at bedtime Boosts adrenaline production, which in turn, stimulates dopamine production.  Do not take if using MAO drugs.
Also beneficial for DEPRESSION SUPPORT: Multivitamins, multi enzymes, iron, zinc, SAMe, gamma-aminobutyric acid, melatonin, borage, damiana, ginger, gingko biloba, Siberian ginseng, licorice root, oatstraw, homeopathic remedies and tissue salts.
For informational purposes only.  Please consult your health care practitioner before taking natural health care products. Click here for full disclaimer.


All articles copyright National Nutrition 2001 - 2015.  For educational purposes only.  Please note that while National Nutrition supports your right to use natural health care products for any therapeutic purpose that you see fit, that the information on this website should not be considered as a claim or as a substitute for medical advice.

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