I have suffered from Clinical Depression all of my life. Over the years, I have found several helpful and natural methods to aid in lifting moods and decrease the debilitation of Depression. I personally use essential fatty acids in supplement form, plenty of selenium in supplement form, a really good B complex vitamin supplement, an awesome glutathione accelerator supplement and magnesium with Calm Natural. We can achieve greater health and be so much closer to total wellness!
Fight Depression with Fatty Acids
The incidence of depression has been increasing at an alarming rate over the last 60 years or so. Like many of the other emerging health problems we’re facing, the increase in depression can be linked directly to our diet. If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, there’s an extremely good chance that it may be a result of a long-term deficiency in unsaturated fatty acids.
Cross-cultural studies have shown that a country’s level of depression has a strong link to the overall amount and kind of fatty acids being consumed. Research has revealed that countries with the highest consumption of fish have the lowest rates of depression, and vice versa. For example, individuals living in New Zealand eat an average of 40 lbs. of fish each year, and 6 percent of their population suffers from depression. On the other hand, individuals in Japan consume an average of about 140 lbs. of fish a year, and less than 1 percent of their population suffers from depression. In countries where our Western diet, high in processed and fried foods, has been introduced, the incidence of depression goes up correspondingly. (The Lancet 98;351:1213)
Much of your brain and other nervous tissue is made up of fats. In fact, the cell membranes of nerves contain 20 percent essential fatty acids. In order to build and maintain these cell membranes, you need to be consuming adequate amounts of essential fatty acids.
To the dismay of pharmaceutical companies, there have been a few studies that have shown that fish oil supplements can dramatically improve depression and many of its accompanying symptoms, such as mood swings, insomnia, etc. There are many clinical trials testing the effectiveness of fish and other omega-3 oils in treating problems like bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder, and schizophrenia.
Fight Depression with Selenium
Another substance that helps ward off depression and other mental problems is selenium. Brazil nuts are one of the richest — if not the richest — natural sources of selenium. There are many doctors and dietitians who have their heart patients avoid nuts because of their high fat content. Study after study, however, has shown that adding nuts to one’s diet can dramatically lower the levels of harmful cholesterol (the LDL-form), while increasing the beneficial form of cholesterol (the HDL-form). Almonds, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, and hazelnuts can all help lower cholesterol and other harmful blood fats. Fresh, whole nuts should be your first choice, followed by lightly salted or dry roasted nuts.
Other Natural Depression Remedies
Here are another 6 natural and herbal remedies that are used for depression.
1) St. John’s Wort
The herb St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) has long been used in folk medicine for sadness, worry, nervousness, and poor sleep.
Today, the results of over 20 clinical trials suggest that St. John’s wort works better than a placebo and is as effective as antidepressants for mild to moderate depression, with fewer side effects.
Studies suggest that St. John’s wort is not effective for major depression.
It’s available at health food stores, drug stores, and online in the form of capsules, tablets, liquid extracts, or tea.
St. John’s wort may take 4 to 6 weeks to notice the full effects. Side effects may include dizziness, dry mouth, indigestion, and fatigue. St. John’s wort increases photosensitivity, so extra caution should be taken to protect skin and eyes from sunlight.
Although St. John’s wort appears to be reasonably safe when taken alone, it can interfere with the effectiveness of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, such as antidepressants, drugs to treat HIV infections and AIDs, drugs to prevent organ rejection for transplant patients, and oral contraceptives.
St. John’s wort is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, children, or people with bipolar disorder, liver or kidney disease.
SAM-e, pronounced “sammy”, is short for S-adenosyl-L-methionine. It’s a chemical that’s found naturally in the human body and is believed to increase levels of neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
Several studies have found SAM-e is more effective than placebo.
In North America, SAM-e is available as an over-the-counter supplement in health food stores, drug stores, and online. It should be enteric-coated for maximum absorption. Although it’s one of the more expensive supplements, it remains popular as a remedy for depression and osteoarthritis.
Side effects can include nausea and constipation. For more information, read SAM-e and Depression.
3) Folic Acid
Folic acid, also called folate, is a B vitamin that is frequently deficient in people who are depressed.
Folate is found in green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, fruit, beans, and fortified grains. It’s one of the most common vitamin deficiencies because of poor diet but also because chronic conditions and various medications such as aspirin and birth control pills can also lead to deficiency.
Besides food, folic acid is also available as a supplement or as part of a B-complex vitamin.
Researchers at Harvard University have found that depressed people with low folate levels don’t respond as well to antidepressents, and taking folic acid in supplement form can improve the effectiveness of antidepressants. For more information, read Low Folate and Vitamin B12 Linked to Depression.
5-HTP is short for 5-hydroxytryptophan. It’s produced naturally in the body and is used to make the neurotransmitter serotonin. Although taking 5-HTP in supplement form may theoretically boost the body’s serotonin levels, many experts feel there is not enough evidence to determine the safety of 5-HTP. It should not be combined with antidepressants.
Glutathione is a major defense against illness and aging. It is a vital tri-peptide consisting of Cysteine, Glycine, and Glutamine. These amino acids are naturally manufactured in every cell of your body with high concentrations in the heart, lung, liver, spleen, brain, muscle and skin tissue. Glutathione functions as both an antioxidant and an antitoxin for your body, attracting free radicals and toxins like a very powerful magnet. Glutathione boosts the immune system and fights off the damage of free radicals on your cells.
Although Glutathione is naturally prevalent in every cell of your body, starting in your early 20’s your body’s natural production of glutathione starts to decline by as much as 10% – 15% every decade. Additionally, stress, exercise, infection, injury and environmental toxins can also reduce your body’s glutathione levels. To increase your body’s natural defense against aging and cellular damage you must increase your glutathione levels. I use the original glutathione formulation from Dr. Robert Keller.
Sweets temporarily make you feel good as blood sugar levels soar, but may worsen mood later on when they plummet.
Caffeine and alcohol both dampen mood. Alcohol temporarily relaxes us and caffeine boosts energy, but the effects of both are short-lived. Both can worsen mood swings, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Vitamin B6 is needed to produce the mood-enhancing neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Although deficiency of vitamin B6 is rare, a borderline deficiency may occur in people taking oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, and drugs for tuberculosis.
Most people do not get enough magnesium in their diets. Good sources of magnesium are legumes, nuts, whole grains and green vegetables. Like vitamin B6, magnesium is needed for serotonin production. Stress depletes magnesium. Or you can try Peter Gillham’s Natural Calm, a relaxing magnesium supplement. It is sometimes called the Anti-Stress Drink. You can visit: Calm Natural Limited at http://www.calmnatural.com or call 1-800-961-4623. It is gluten-free with a vegetarian formula.
Always feel free to contact me with questions and I will do my best to get you answers! Please share this blog article with family and friends. May you have a blessed and healthy day!
Alternative Wellness Consultant