In 1988, Prozac, a SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake
Inhibitor) was introduced into the scene. Soon 22 million
Americans were taking the drug. With the fad popularity
of Prozac, soon more antidepressant drugs appeared on the
Antidepressants such as Wellbutrin and Zyban work by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and dopamine. Effexor inhibits serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. SSRIs such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft cause more of the serotonin to remain in the synapses for extended periods of time.
These drugs all have numerous side effects. For starters, they mask the real causes of depression, which relate to diet, exercise, stress and unresolved emotional issues. Instead of making appropriate life-style adjustments or dealing with life's issues, patients are given a false sense of reality and often feel detached and indifferent to family, friends and environment.
These drugs are also noted in many cases of joint pain, abnormal blood cell counts, sexual dysfunction and altered appetite/weight. An overdose or faulty interaction with other drugs can also cause a SSRI to induce hallucinations, irregular heartbeat and seizures. As an odd irony, depression is one of the common side effects of these drugs.
A common cause of depression is prescription medication. Your busy family physician may overlook the fact that the antibiotic or antihistamine you are taking could be the cause of your being "down and out." Diuretics, beta-blockers, hormone replacement therapies, painkillers, sleep aids, Tagamet and Zantac can all create the imbalance of neurotransmitters that may color your days gray. You can see the importance of educating yourself about the medications and supplements that you use.
Natural Approaches to Depression
Diet plays an important role in relieving depression. A deficiency of amino acids or B-complex vitamins will result in a deficiency of neurotransmitters. Tyrosine and phenylalanine will both elevate levels of norepinephrine, seen to improve mood in depression and anxiety case studies. Tryptophan (and its derivative 5-HTP) will increase serotonin levels.
Amino acids are derived from vitalized protein. Over-cooked meat is not a good source of amino acids. Furthermore, many people have problems with protein digestion. Super Algae or Ultimate Green Zone can be beneficial here, along with protease and high quality vegetable or animal protein sources.
B-complex has remarkable results for many sufferers,
because the B-vitamins are critical to the synthesis Of neurotransmitters. Dr. Peter D'Adamo has successfully treated
depression, hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Disorder in
many O Blood Types With high doses of folic acid and B 12.
One should always make sure to incorporate a B-complex
when taking a single B vitamin.
Essential fatty acids (Flax seed Oil, Super Omega 3 EPA, etc.) are also important to nerve function and may help depression and other nervous system disorders.
Where depression is associated with anxiety, kava kava
or St. John's wort may help to eliminate nervous tension.
Nutri-Calm is an excellent source of B-vitamins and also
contains herbs and nutrients to help anxiety.
Since 1976 s-adenosyl I-methionin (SAM) has elevated mood, eliminated suicidal tendencies and improved intellectual performance. This improvement was noted in approximately 80% of the cases. This is as effective as clomipramine and amitriptyline.
Getting off Antidepressants
For individuals who have already been subject to synthetic antidepressants, it is essential that you wean yourself gradually from these drugs while transitioning to other therapies. Sometimes the sudden loss of said chemicals can contribute to a deeper and more disturbing condition for the depression sufferer.
Balancing the adrenals with products such as Adrenal Support and Licorice may prove beneficial. While transitioning, it is vital to keep the bowel and liver in good condition in order to aid in elimination of wastes and to support the other organs in their responsibilities as well.
We have been led to believe that if we are not giddy and full of laughter at all times, then we must be depressed. It is up to you to know the difference between being a little blue and having depression. It is normal and natural to feel "blue" when we have experienced grief, sadness or setbacks. The key here is to find a constructive solution to the life situation so that we can move forward again.
In many cases there is no need for medication at all. Sometimes our "down" time is just that, a time to rest and reflect. Keeping a journal, exercise, dietary changes, daily exposure to sunshine, fresh air, talking to a trusted friend or advisor and taking a few supplements can work wonders.
The supplements that will work best for you will depend on what is causing your depression. Here are some of the common causes and remedies that can help.
As a precursor to serotonin, 5-HTP (5-HTP Power) aids in balancing mood and regulating sleep patterns. In recent years, St. John's wort has been widely touted as a natural product for mild to moderate depression. St. John's wort does have antidepressant action, but works best on depression associated with anxiety.
Kava Kava targets the limbic system in the brain, as well as relaxing muscles. It helps promote a calm, mentally alert state coupled with a feeling of well-being.
High cortisol levels from chronic stress may contribute to feeling anxious and "blue." Adaptogens such as Eleuthero root or SUMA Combination can help to reduce stress levels and calm distressed feelings.
Licorice root strengthens the adrenal function and may also help balance blood sugar levels. This can help to stabilize a person's mood.
Black cohosh can be an effective antidepressant for depression associated with PMS, menopause or childbirth. It is also a good antidepressant for women who feel "trapped".
Damiana is another mood elevator, which can treat depression in both men and women caused by low reproductive hormones.
Taking 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily can cause significant improvement in seasonal depression. St. John's wort is also helpful for seasonal depression.
Folk medicine has long recognized a connection between the liver and digestive function and depression. Constipation was thought to produce melancholy in traditional western medicine. Recent research shows there is scientific validity to this point of view as the bowel produces more serotonin than the brain. 95% of the serotonin receptor sites in the body are located in the colon. Because of this, intestinal irritants and a high sugar diet can lead to depression.
A particularly effective formula for depression here is the Chinese formula Mood Elevator. This formula helps sagging energy, feelings of sadness and sagging spirits. It decongests the digestive organs and liver, and helps calm anxiety.
The thyroid plays an elemental function in this physiology. Hypothyroidism is often overlooked and the depression, a mere symptom, diagnosed. Depression is noted and is
sometimes the first diagnosed in 40% of hypothyroid patients. If a group of depression patients were tested, approxiately 10-15% of them would be found to have thyroid disorder.
In many cases feeding the thyroid with iodine (found in liquid Dulse, concentrated black walnut, Thyroid Activator and TS II with Hops) can alleviate the depression and turn hypothyroidism around. Thyroid Support may also help.
It is important to get in touch with any emotional causes of the depression while working on the physical side of it. Use flower essences or essential oils to help heal emotional issues and consult with a qualified therapist to help identify triggers or causes.
A complete list Of possible therapies and remedies for depression follows.
Below is a list of suggested products. Those in bold are key products for the health issue explained on this page.
For details and ordering simply copy a product's name in the search box above or click on the bold name.
Therapies: Aromaherapy, Deep Breathing, Exercise, Flower Essence Therapy, Gut Healing Diet, Heavy Metal Detoxification, Hydration, Low Glycemic Diet and Stress Management
Herbs: Black Cohosh, Black Walnut, Damiana, Dulse, Eleuthero, Gotu Kola, Kava Kava, Korean Ginseng, Passion Flower, St. John's Wort, Wild American Ginseng and Yellow Dock
Herbal Formulas: AdaptaMax, Blood Stimulator, Energy V, Kudzu/St. John's Wort, Mood Elevator, Nervous Fatigue Formula, Stress Relief, Stress-J, SUMA Combination, Super Algae, Thyroid Activator, Trigger Immune and TS II
Nutritional Supplements: Nutri-Calm and Vitamin B-Complex
Nutrients: CLA, Flax Seed Oil, Folic Acid Plus, L-Glutamine, Magnesium, Niacin, Omega-3, SAM-e, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin B-6 and Vitamin D3
Nutraceuticals: 5-HTP Power, Adrenal Support, Anxiousless, Bowel Detox, Master Gland, Mega-Chel, Melatonin Extra, Men's X-Action, Thyroid Support and Women's X-Action
Flower Essences: Find Strength
Essential Oils: Bergamot, Frankincense, Helichrysum, Jasmine Absolute, Lemon, Neroli, Patchouli, Pine Needle, Red Mandarin, Rose Bulgaria, Rosemary and Ylang Ylang
Foods: GreenZone Powder
Topicals: Wild Yam Emollient