Search Term: " Anidepressans "
Happier and healthier: Curcumin-rich turmeric can help easedepression and anxiety, researchers find
April 25, 2019 05:11 PM
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can have benefits for mental health on top of its many benefits for cardiac and joint health and inflammation. Curcumin is believed to help reduce neuroinflammation — and the cytokines that help cause it — and moderate cortisol levels within the brain, while achieving more balanced levels of dopamine and serotonin. These actions may explain why a 2015 study indicates that turmeric supplementation can substantially improve the effectiveness of antidepressants in many people.
"Curcumin regulates levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, and it also decreases the markers of neuroinflammation, which is significant when you consider that inflammation contributes to mood disorders."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-11-curcumin-rich-turmeric-can-help-ease-depression-and-anxiety.html
Did you know that turmeric is just as effective as 14pharmaceutical drugs?
April 24, 2019 01:46 PM
Turmeric, a spice used in many Indian dishes, contains a high concentration of a substance called curcumin which possesses medical benefits rivaling many pharmaceuticals. Research suggests that turmeric has the potential to replace cholesterol and steroid medications, chemotherapy drugs, and antidepressants. There is even evidence it can be effective in reversing liver damage. Plant-based treatments are now in the process of revolutionizing modern medicine. In the near future, prescriptions for popular drugs such as Lipitor and Prozac could be replaced with prescriptions for Turmeric.
"Without a healthy fat/oil, curcumin may pass right through the body and not be absorbed into the small intestine and into the bloodstream, where it is most effective. Coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado are great to consume along with turmeric. Curcumin absorption is also boosted by piperine, the principle component found in black pepper."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-01-turmeric-is-just-as-effective-as-14-pharmaceutical-drugs.html
Exotic spice saffron found to be safer, more effective thanantidepressants
April 23, 2019 02:51 PM
Saffron has been used for centuries in treating various ailments both mentally and physically. Recent studies are showing support in the fact that this exotic spice can do wonders for those who are suffering from depressive symptoms. In fact, a recent control group proved that when people take adequate amounts of saffron on a routine basis, it has the ability to alleviate their symptoms just as much as mainstream antidepressants such as Prozac and other serotonin inhibitors.
"Along with the growing rates of depression, the use of antidepressant medication has continued to skyrocket. Some 2013 estimates from the CDC reveal that usage of these drugs increased by upwards of 400 percent in just 25 years."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-27-exotic-spice-saffron-safer-more-effective-antidepressants.html
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, helping prevent depression
March 23, 2019 10:57 AM
We've always known how benefical Omega-3 fatty acids are. They're found in seafood and many other food items but many people supplement with a vitamin. There is now more reason to make sure you're getting the right amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. new research suggests that this nutrient can considerably reduce the risk of developing depression since it is a known inflammation reducer. A 43% reduction in depression signs and symptoms is noted in patients.
"You might have heard that omega-3 fatty acids are good at reducing inflammation, but did you know that they can also help with depression?"
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-23-omega-3-fatty-acids-reduce-inflammation-prevent-depression.html
Happy news: Curcumin outperforms prozac for reducing symptoms ofdepression
January 25, 2019 10:22 AM
Despite the prevalence of depression, drug companies have still failed to come up with a way to address without side effects. The compound curcumin found in the turmeric spice has already been proven popular for it’s health effects but also holds promise in fighting depression. Phytotherapy Research found that it compared well next to Prozac when reducing depression symptoms. Importantly, taking curcumin does not produce the side effects that Prozac creates. To get more of this into your diet, you can purchase organic turmeric root and add to your meals. It is common to add to meats, cereal, granola, eggs, even coffee and tea. With 12.7% of Americans taking antidepressants, using this natural remedy may be a great option.
"Lots of people think they either have to live with their negative feelings or accept the possibly deadly side effects that come with antidepressant use, but there are some natural remedies that can be surprisingly effective – and one of the best may prove to be curcumin."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-22-happy-news-curcumin-outperforms-prozac-reducing-symptoms-of-depression.html
Study finds geranium demonstrates antidepressant and anxiolyticproperties
January 02, 2019 05:20 PM
Geranium is most often used as an essential oil, and researchers are finding that it has properties that can fight depression in struggling patients. They had a group of Swiss albino mice that they tested by giving geranium to them routinely through the study. The geranium was able to help produce serotonin, which is one of the leading ways that antidepressants work in aiding in the relief of depressive symptoms. The phytochemicals are what are responsible for this phenomena.
"The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that nearly 20 percent of the U.S. adult population is diagnosed with major depressive disorder or anxiety."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-22-geranium-has-antidepressant-and-anxiolytic-properties.html
Most Common Side Effects of Antidepressants + Natural Remedies for Depression
May 12, 2018 09:16 AM
If you are one of the millions of people battling depression, it is important that you understand the side effects that antidepressants oftentimes bring with them. These pills are the most common treatment for depression, but it does not come without its risks. Once you learn the potential risks that can come when taking these antidepressants, you may very well want to consider using some of the natural remedies for the mental health illness instead.
"Many physicians and researchers have expressed concern that the benefits of these drugs simply don’t make up for the major side effects of antidepressants."
Read more: https://draxe.com/side-effects-of-antidepressants/
Magnesium found to treat DEPRESSION better than antidepressant drugs: New science
August 02, 2017 12:14 PM
A natural health website has put out an article reporting on the benefits of magnesium. The article points out a recent study conducted by the University of Vermont's medical school. The study stated that magnesium alone could treat depression better than conventional drugs. The article contains a You Tube video with the writer, in which he claims taking only 248 milligrams of magnesium a day was effective. The writer claims politicians have ignored his calls to use natural substances instead of more expensive drugs to combat depression and other maladies.
"What’s really astonishing about all this is that while dangerous pharmaceuticals are bankrupting our nation and causing our health care system to collapse under the weight of out-of-control costs, magnesium can treat and prevent depression for mere pennies a day."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-07-20-magnesium-treats-depression-better-than-antidepressant-drugs-science.html
What you eat could help manage depression and anxiety
May 24, 2017 06:44 AM
Life was great, it was the occupation I needed, however I was a restless individual and I had gone up against a ton. A couple of years after the fact, Kelly had a comparably genuine time of misery which kept going much more. While she treated the manifestations customarily, with antidepressants and subjective behavioral treatment, she was left with a yearning to investigate the comprehensive side of emotional wellness treatment. Rachel Kelly found nourishing treatment while looking for correlative medicines for her own particular mental sick wellbeing.
Read more: What you eat could help manage depression and anxiety
Medical Cannabis Patients Use Less Opioids, Antidepressants and Alcohol, Study Finds
May 06, 2017 10:44 PM
The medical cannabis argument is still raging. People swear by it but others say it doesn't help or that it actually causes addiction. This talks about some positive outcomes of using it. Patients using medical cannabis use fewer opioids which is a huge plus because they are highly addictive. They also use fewer antidepressants and they drink less. These are very good things because most medications and alcohol have a negative affect on our internal organs.
"A 2013 survey found a majority of physicians — 76 percent — approve of the use of medical marijuana for their patients."
Read more: http://www.healthnutnews.com/medical-cannabis-patients-use-less-opioids-antidepressants-alcohol-study-finds/
Depression: does it originate in the immune system?
December 04, 2016 12:59 PM
While it is true that 1 out of 10 people are affected by depression, the cause of it is controversial. For years we have believed that low serotonin levels were the cause of mood disorders. New research now suggests that mood disorders could be caused by the body's immune system. Those antidepressants that some have been taking, may not have worked if serotonin levels weren't to blame.
"For decades, we've been told that serotonin is the key culprit for mood disorders, but now a growing number of doctors are subscribing to a radical new theory of depression - that the problem, at least for some people, is in fact the result of inflammation in the body, caused by the body's immune system reacting to an infection or stress."
Curcumin Helps Alleviate Depression
Curcumin is a phenolic acid that can be sourced from the cooking spice turmeric. It acts as a powerful antioxidant in humans and protects the body's cells from dangerous free radicals (harmful by-products that are released into the cells during oxygen related reactions). Provisional studies suggest that it may also have many more health benefits. There is also some evidence that curcumin or turmeric may help alleviate the symptoms of certain skin diseases, viral infections, diabetes, colitis, stomach ulcers, and high cholesterol. Once again, the ancient herbal remedy is being celebrated as a modern wonder drug. But perhaps the most promising results have been seen in the use of curcumin to treat depression.
Curcumin vs. Prozac
If there's one thing Big Pharma fears more than anything else it's competition from the outside. Because herbal medicines have far fewer and less serious side effects than prescription pills, they would be the logical choice - if only they worked as well. Well, there is now irrefutable, ironclad scientific evidence that an herbal remedy is every bit as effective at treating depression as one of the most popular prescription antidepressants.
When researchers with the Department of Pharmacology of Government Medical College in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India conducted a controlled clinical study comparing the effects of curcumin and Prozac, they didn't expect to make national, even global news. Although the popular herbal remedy is widely used in India, curcumin had never been subjected to rigorous scientific testing for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). The most serious and chronic form of the disease, major or clinical depression affects about 3 percent of population at any given time. The idea that a chemical compound from a popular native spice could compete with Prozac seemed far- fetched to those conducting the study. But after 60 patients diagnosed with MDD were randomly administered curcumin, fluoxetine (Prozac), and a combination of the two, the results spoke for themselves.
With the help of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, 17-item version (HAM-D17), researchers determined that curcumin was just as effective as Prozac at treating serious depression. Because the study utilized the latest research tools and followed strict testing guidelines, it became the first published report that indicated the efficacy of turmeric or curcumin in the treatment of depression. What the report did not take into account, however, were the serious side effects those who take Prozac endure; the most serious of which include anxiety, seizures, racing heartbeat, trouble sleeping, and suicidal ideation.
How Curcumin Treats Depression
Shortly after the results of the aforementioned study made news, researchers started looking for answers. It was not enough for Western scientists to know that curcumin is effective in the treatment depression, they also had to know how. As you might imagine, the how has proved more challenging than the if. This is not at all surprising, since curcumin has diverse biological properties that are difficult to study separately. So, while the mechanism of action is poorly understood, the effects of curcumin intake are well documented, particularly with regard to neurotransmitters.
As their name implies, neurotransmitters send messages to the billions of neurons in the human brain. Some of these neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating brain functions such as mood, memory, appetite, and sleep. Known as "feel-good" neurotransmitters because they help maintain mood balance, dopamine and serotonin play a role in depression. How do we know? For starters, studies have confirmed that people who suffer from clinical depression have consistently low levels of both neurotransmitters.
Once again, we aren't sure how curcumin extract works its magic, but testing has shown that those who take it have higher serotonin and dopamine levels. That fact alone might account for the improved mood those that take the dietary supplement have consistently reported. Although researchers will undoubtedly get to the bottom of this ancient mystery, it enough for most patients to know that curcumin is a safe and effective treatment option.
Combat Depression With Fish Oil
January 21, 2015 05:19 PM
What is a depression?
Depression can occur at any age and is a disorder of affective state, which leads to a state of sadness or hopelessness for a period. Depression is thought to be disease of the century as more and more researchers are trying to find an effective remedy to combat this disease. Lately, several studies are trying to prove that fish oil can affect a person’s mood and is an effective remedy for preventing and treating depression.
According to a Japanese study published in September in the journal Pediatrics, fish oil especially that obtained from sardines and salmon helps male teens feel less depressed.
Omega-3 fatty acids, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found mainly in fish oil. Because these nutrients play an important role in brain function, many researchers wanted to find out if a higher consumption of EPA and DHA leads to a decrease in the risk of depression. The results showed that an increased consumption of EPA and DHA influences positively the mental state and mood of adolescents.
According to Japanese researchers, fish oil has not the same effect in the case of adolescent girls. The different effect of fish oil in boys and girls is difficult to explain, a possible cause being that women show a genetic risk of depression significantly higher than men do.
Source of Omega 3 fatty acid
Omega 3 fatty acids improve the functionality of the brain in children, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and prevent cancer. This fatty acid are found in fish such as trout, salmon and mackerel, in nuts, linseed oil and rapeseed oil. Fish oil is the best source of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Since our body is unable to synthesize EPA and DHA, in order to prevent depression, is necessary to supplement our diet with supplements rich in these acids. Experts recommend a daily intake of 0.5 grams of omega-3- the equivalent of four meals of fish consumed over a week.
Recently, doctors have put on the list of antidepressants, the fish oil. Their argument is that the human brain is almost entirely made from fat - about 60%, especially DHA and phospholipids. Fish oil has in its composition the precious DHA and for this reason, many doctors recommend it as an antidepressant. The arguments of doctors are strengthened by studies, which show that people who consume omega 3 fatty acids are more optimistic and cheerful.References:
What is the Difference between 5-HTP and Tryptophan And How Does It Help Sleep Patterns?
June 22, 2011 11:00 AM
5-Htp and Tryptophan to Sleep Better, Feel Better
5-HTP, short for 5-hydroxytryptophan, is an organic compound that naturally occurs in the human body. It is a metabolite of tryptophan, and as such it serves as a chemical intermediate in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin. It is sold over the counter in many countries primarily as a dietary supplement. In addition, it is used as an antidepressant, appetite suppressant, and sleep aid.
Tryptophan to 5-HTP
Tryptophan is best known as an essential amino acid that must be obtained from the diet. Popular sources of this amino acid are eggs, cheese, pork, turkey, chicken, beef, salmon, and white flour. In one metabolic pathway, tryptophan is processed into vitamin B3, or niacin. In a completely different pathway, it is metabolized into serotonin and then melatonin, both of which are processed from 5-HTP.
Also known as oxitriptan, 5-HTP has been the subject of numerous studies in the past few decades. Being the immediate precursor of serotonin, regular intake has been observed to specifically increase the production of serotonin, the reason why it has been a very important amino acid widely utilized in the treatment of depression. On the other hand, tryptophan is utilized by the body in many ways.
5-HTP to Serotonin
Supplementation of tryptophan has also been used as a therapeutic treatment for depression. It is an alternative to antidepressants and stimulants, especially for patients deemed unresponsive to conventional treatments. Regular intake of this amino acid is recommended for the sole purpose of raising the levels of serotonin. But in order to do so, tryptophan must be metabolized into 5-HTP first.
Serotonin is often referred to as the happiness hormone, inasmuch as this neurotransmitter is implicated in several chemical reactions that contribute to physical well-being. For example, the perception of hunger is triggered by low serotonin levels. Not surprisingly, serotonin is the target of many drugs, such as antidepressant, anxiolytic, antiemetic, anti-migraine, and antipsychotic drugs.
Serotonin to Melatonin
It is a widely accepted fact that serotonin produced and released outside the central nervous system does not cross the blood-brain barrier, and thus it does not have the effect of serotonin found in the brain. That being said, its precursors, tryptophan and 5-HTP, can. For this reason, tryptophan and 5-HTP makes a viable candidate in increasing the levels of serotonin in the central nervous system.
Melatonin is synthesized from serotonin by a short metabolic pathway that stems from the synthesis of 5-HTP. Proponents argue that 5-HTP supplements work better than tryptophan due to the fact that the former is the immediate precursor of the neurotransmitters of concern. Furthermore, 5-HTP readily crosses the blood-brain barrier whereas tryptophan is subject to different metabolic pathways.
5-HTP works as an appetite suppressant since it makes serotonin more available outside the nervous system, especially in the digestive tract. By so doing, it promotes the synthesis of melatonin, which induces sleep. It also makes a reliable antidepressant as it increases serotonin levels in the central nervous system.
Grab Some Tryptophan or 5-HTP today and feel better, sleep better right now!
Using SAMe for Depression
June 04, 2011 10:15 AM
SAMe, or S-adenosyl-L-methionine, has been promoted for the treatment of depression and various physical conditions. It is believed to help improve the feeling of well-being and mood, and its use in treating depression is likely connected with that. Several studies have been carried out, administering SAMe both orally and parenterally with promising results. Some that use it believe it more effective than the more common antidepressants, and unlike most of these it has very few side effects and a very quick onset of action: around 2 weeks in comparison to a month for most others.
A typical study of the many carried out involved 30 subjects taking regular antidepressants but still suffering depression. They were given 0.8 grams SAMe for 2 weeks and then 1.6 grams for 4 weeks. Improvement was obtained in 50% cases and complete remission of symptoms in a total of 43% of the subjects. In another test on 28 subjects, the improvement equaled that of prescription antidepressant drugs.
These significant findings render this over the counter supplement (in the USA) worth taking for anybody that has either no effective help from their regular treatment, or would prefer to try a natural biochemical than a synthetic drug for their condition. You are recommended to refer to your doctor, however, if you intend changing your treatment.
Boost Brain Chemistry, Lower Bad Cholesterol, And More
May 12, 2011 01:27 PM
What is Inositol Good for?
Inositol is an organic compound present in many plant-based foods. Popular nutritional sources of inositol include brown rice, wheat bran, whole grains, beans, nuts, and other foods rich in fiber. It is a polyphosphorylated carbohydrate that was once classified as an essential nutrient together with B-complex group of vitamins. It is an important component of signal transduction of cells, amplifying the strength of signals from the receptors on the cell surface to target molecules within the cytoplasm.
Cancer research on inositol is one of the most publicized. Fruits and vegetables that are known for their high fiber content also contain large amounts of inositol, which is believed to prevent the inactivation of DNA repair gene and protect the cells from mutation that lead to carcinogenesis. In laboratory studies it has shown great medicinal potential as a therapeutic remedy for various cancers. In addition, it has been extensively utilized in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Rebalances Brain Chemicals
Supplementation of high dose inositol has been observed to be beneficial to sufferers of mental illnesses. There have been numerous clinical trials focused on its effects on the chemical compounds found in the central nervous system, and early studies recorded that its mechanisms of action are similar to a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
A growing body of scientific literature is devoted to its purported role in the amelioration of anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, clinical depression, and bipolar disorder. It has been favored over some SSRIs because of its desirable results and absence of side effects. It has particularly benefited individuals diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, with testimonies being largely positive. Also, it has been reported to also reduce frequency of panic attacks.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
High-fiber diet has always been recommended to manage high cholesterol levels. It emphasizes the intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The same group of foods is rich in the carbohydrate inositol. In the latter half of the 20th century, it was discovered that inositol in fact contributes to the breakdown of fatty molecules, such as triglycerides, in the gastrointestinal tract and interferes with their absorption. More importantly, regular consumptions of inositol appear to reduce overall lipid levels in the blood. It is postulated that it blocks the metabolic pathway that integrates triglycerides in very-low-density lipoproteins, the immediate precursors of low-density lipoproteins, also known as bad cholesterol. By so doing, it not only lowers cholesterol and free fatty acids found in systemic circulation but also prevents cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis.
Many nutraceutical products that contain inositol are commercially touted to aid weight loss. Inositol has also been associated with the alleviation of digestive problems, most notably constipation. It is believed to soften the stool by attracting water as it works its way into the alimentary canal, and regular intake promotes regularity. Furthermore, it has been linked to hair growth as low levels of inositol have often been tied to hair loss.
Taking a inositol supplement can help you obtain all the inositol you need for your daily needs!
Herbs For Depression
December 13, 2010 12:34 PM
Fight Depression with Natural Herbs
Before discussing treating depression with natural herbs we should first consider depression itself: what is it and what causes people to become depressed? Psychiatrists and psychologists will suggest a number of definitions although most experts agree that there are two forms of depression.
Causes of Depression
Exogenous depression comes about as a result of external factors such as bereavement, heavy debt, job loss, etc, while endogenous depression comes from within and is believed to be due to biochemical problems, including food allergies, hormonal changes, thyroid problems, nutritional deficiencies, particularly Vitamin B deficiency, and addictions. There are many other reasons for people becoming depressed, some of which can be established by the particular symptoms of the individual.
In many cases of depression the external factors are often easier to treat than those due to internal factors. Many exogenous causes of depression such as bereavement are alleviated through time, while causes such as job loss and debt can be resolved once the cause has been rectified: thus, if the patient is no longer in debt or is re-employed, the depression tends to disappear with the cause.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is not diagnosed from a single symptom, but from a number of symptoms that can point to a person being clinically depressed and requiring treatment. Among the symptoms of depression are:
Prolonged periods of sadness or despair
Forms of Depression
Many normal people can suffer one or two of the above systems, and would not be diagnosed as depressed because of it. We can all get mood swings, feel a bit worthless now and again or be unable to concentrate or focus at times, but that does not mean we are clinically depressed.
Depression would not be diagnosed in a patient with just one of these symptoms but five or more likely would be. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders deem the patient suffering clinical depression if displaying 5 or more of the bottom 8 symptoms above for a month or more. This is believed to be the case with around 17 million Americans so it is a significant problem.
Manic depression is otherwise known as bipolar disorder, where patients have large mood swings from high and extreme hyperactivity and excitability to very low deeply depressive moods and is a clinical condition generally treated using drugs.
Treatment of Depression With Natural Herbs
The usual treatments are drugs that often have undesirable side effects; so many people are trying natural remedies instead. There are a number of herbs that can be used to treat depression, one of the most familiar being St. John's Wort. However, there are others, and here is a synopsis of each.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort (hypericum perforatum) is likely the best known herbal treatment for depression. In fact, in Germany it is prescribed by doctors to children and adolescents for the treatment of mild depression and is available over the counter in many countries.
However, it can also be used in cases of severe depression, and a report in the Cochrane Database Review[8(4)] by K. Linde, M.M. Berner and L. Kriston in 2008 stated that of 29 separate tests carried out on a total of over 5,000 patients, the conclusion was that St. John's wort extracts were at least as good in treating severe depression with 5 times lower side-effects as tricyclic antidepressants and twice lower than the new selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).
It should be stated, however, that one trial on 340 subjects indicated no improvement over a placebo. However, the anti-depressive drug sertraline (Zoloft) was also shown to be no better than the placebo in this test, so some doubts must lie regarding its accuracy. Of all the herbal treatments, St. John's wort has had most testing carried out and it seems to be effective in treating mild to severe depression although not all experts are yet agreed.
Kava Kava Root
Kava kava can be used to treat depression and anxiety, largely due its content of kavalactones that are believed to increase the amount of a number of neurotransmitters in the blood, including the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Kava kava root is mildly intoxicating, having much the same effect as alcohol, and can also reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
However, it is doubtful if its effects are permanent and so it may be less of a depression cure as a short-medium term treatment. Its effects are also variable on different people, some describing it as making them feel relaxed and 'dreamy', while others find it therapeutic and making them feel better in themselves.
Kava kava should not be taken without your doctor knowing about because there have been concerns about its effect on the liver if taken in excess. A European-wide ban was lifted about two years ago after testing found the risks of taking it to be very low. It has been used for centuries as an intoxicating drink on islands such as Fiji.
Passion flower has been used for centuries to treat anxiety, stress and depression, its active ingredients believed to be maltol and ethylmaltol that help to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is one of the brain's key neurotransmitters and has been described by some as the brain's own 'Valium' supply.
Through the intervention of GABA, passion flower extract helps in reducing anxiety levels and makes you feel a lot calmer. If you suffer forms of depression that make you hyper or excitable, passion flower will help to reduce this and also helps to cure insomnia. It is a component of many natural sleeping pills.
These are just three natural substances that can be used to treat depression. However, you must inform your doctor or physician if you decide to take them since they may interfere with or change the effect of any antidepressant drug you are currently taking.
Call today for natural remedies for depression
Hops and St. John's Wort
July 15, 2009 12:17 PM
St. John’s wort has emerged recently as an herb that is known to assist the nervous system. Quite a few naturopathic physicians rank kava kava, valerian, St. John’s wort, passionflower, and hops as the most effective herbs for treating insomnia. A study that took place in 1994 and was published in the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology proved that St. John’s wort extracts increased deep sleep during the total sleeping period of the patients. This study also makes an interesting connection between sleep and depression. It was found that many standard antidepressants and MAO inhibitors used to treat those people who suffer from depression cause a decrease in deep sleep. St. John’s wort has demonstrated the ability to treat both insomnia and depression.
Hops, an herb that is commonly found throughout the world, was originally used as a food. The tips of the food were both cooked and eaten. The young plants were the ones eaten because the older plants were too tough. A famous herbalist, Gerarde, recommended using the buds of these plants in salads, while the Romans anciently used hops as a food and Native American tribes found hops to be of great value. Hops have been appreciated for a long time for its nervine properties. A hop was first used as a beer ingredient in England around 1500. At this point, hops farmers noticed that their farmhands often seemed tired and easily fatigued. With time, the herb gained a huge reputation as a natural sedative. Pillows were filled with hops to promote rest and relaxation during the reign of King George when people were recovering from an illness.
Lupulin is a compound that is found in hops. It is described as a sedative and hypnotic drug. Certain parts of the plant have been found to have sedative and hypnotic effects. This herb is known to be fast-acting, soothing, and calming to the nervous system. Additionally, it is another nervine herb that assists in promoting sleep. It is mainly used to alleviate nervous tension and promote restful sleep. Also, hops is used for antispasmodic effects. Its relaxing effect has the potential to calm the nerves and muscles in cases of muscle spasms. This herb has also been shown to contain appetizing and tonic properties. It acts as a stimulant to the glands and muscles of the stomach, while calming the hyperexcitable gastric nerves. Hops also has a relaxing influence upon the liver and gall duct, and a laxative effect on the bowels.
Along with other uses, hops is also used for its antibiotic properties. It is very helpful for sore throats, bronchitis, infections, high fevers, delirium, toothaches, earaches, and pain. A hops remedy is a great way to help with inflammation, boils, tumors, and swelling. Hops is extremely high in B-complex vitamins, which are known for their calming effect on the nervous system. B vitamins also promote energy and aid in problems of depression, anxiety, nervousness, and memory. Additionally, hops is extremely rich in potassium, which is necessary for nerve transmission, contraction of muscles, and hormone secretion. Low levels of potassium are often found in those people who have high blood pressure. Additionally, hops contains magnesium, zinc, copper, iodine, manganese, iron, sodium, and fluoride.
Hops and st. johns wort are a wonderful herb that has many therapeutic uses. Hops and st. johns wort come in tea bag, capsule, and tablet forms at your local or internet health food store. For more information on St. John’s wort and hops, contact your local health food store.
March 29, 2009 10:08 AM
Constipation occurs when one has difficulty passing stools, or infrequently passes hard, dry stools. This is the result of food moving extremely slowly through the large intestine. From time to time, most people experience constipation. However, lifestyle changes and better eating habits can help to relieve the symptoms and prevent recurrences. Constipation usually results from insufficient amounts of fiber and fluids in the diet. Fiber can be found in plant foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber that is water-soluble takes on a soft texture and is helpful in softening the stools. Insoluble fiber goes through the large intestine unchanged and is helpful in adding bulk to the stools to stimulate bowel contractions.
Other factors that can cause constipation include inadequate exercise, advanced age, muscle disorders, structural abnormalities, bowel diseases, neurogenic disorders, and a poor diet, especially a heavy consumption of junk food. Constipation can also be a side effect of iron supplements and some drugs, like painkillers and antidepressants. It is also common during pregnancy. High levels of calcium and low levels of thyroid hormone can also lead to constipation. Those with kidney failure are also prone to having problems with constipation. Constipation is often caused by dehydration in older individuals, with depression being a factor in people of any age. Some medications, like cough syrups, pain medications that contain codeine, antidepressants, iron supplements, blood pressure and heart medicines, calcium supplements, and some antihistamines can also cause constipation.
A small percentage of people with spinal injuries and other similar problems have constipation because the nerves that usually regulate bowel movement have been damaged or destroyed. A condition referred to as Hirshsprung’s disease makes the normal excretion of feces impossible because the nerves inside the bowel are missing. The nerve cells in the colon can also be damaged by long-term use of laxatives, which makes constipation inevitable. A thrombosed hemorrhoid, anal fissure, or a pocket of infection at the anus can create a spasm of pain that is strong enough to contract the muscles and prevent the evacuation of stools.
Constipation can cause a variety of other ailments such as appendicitis, bad breath, body odor, coated tongue, depression, diverticulitis, fatigue, gas, headaches, hemorrhoids, hernia, indigestion, insomnia, mal-absorption syndrome, obesity, and varicose veins. It may even be involved in the development of other serious diseases like bowel cancer. It is important to have regular bowel movements in order to remove toxins from the body. Toxins from bowel bacteria and undigested food particles play a part in the development of diabetes mellitus, meningitis, myasthenia gravis, thyroid disease, candidiasis, chronic gas and bloating, migraines, fatigue, and ulcerative colitis. People can have bowel movements as infrequently as three times a week and still not be constipated, but there are some health practitioners that believe that it is important to have a bowel movement every day.
The following nutrients are very helpful in dealing with and preventing constipation: garlic, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, apple pectin, chlorophyll liquid, essential fatty acids, a multi-enzyme complex, a multivitamin and mineral complex, vitamin B complex, vitamin D3, vitamin E. Additionally, the following herbs are also beneficial: alfalfa extract, fennel seed, aloe vera, ginger, milk thistle, triphala, cascara sagrada, goldenseal, rhubarb root, senna leaves, and yerba mate.
Adding a good fiber supplement as well as the above mentioned supplements can help one stop constipation and start normal bowel movements again. Natural fiber, vitamins, and herbs are available at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands such as Source Naturals, Solaray, Kal, Planetary Formulas, and Natures Plus to ensure quality and safely of all your natural supplement needs.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, herbs, and fibers are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
St. John's Wort
June 22, 2008 08:52 AM
St. John's Wort is a plant with yellow flowers that researchers continue to look at for its health and well-being benefits. A perennial herb, it is from Europe and found its way to America with settlers. It is commonplace in meadows and fields. The first recorded use of St. John's Wort was in ancient Greece. It also goes by the following names: hypericum, Klamath weed and goat weed.
For centuries, this plant has found use as a medicine for depression and anxiety. People often used it to treat mental conditions and nerve pain. Today, people use the herb to treat sleep disorders and anxiety as well as a treatment for mild to moderate depression. In Europe, St. John's Wort is available as a prescription medicine and finds wide use there.
In the United States, it is an herbal supplement and does not have classification by the government as a prescription medicine. However, there is great interest in the U.S. in this herb's capabilities as treatment for depression. Studies show St. John's Wort has a minimal effect on major depression. There is evidence though that it is a useful herb for treating milder depression. Some studies show it acts similar to synthetic antidepressants by affecting the neurotransmitters in the brain. There is also evidence that it produces fewer side effects than these synthetics.
In North America, St. John's Wort comes in capsule, tablet, liquid extract, oil-based skin lotions and tea form. The flower tops of the plant find use in tea formulations. The major active elements in the herb, considered by some researchers as antidepressants, are hyperforin and hypericin. Studies suggest that the hyperforin in the herb plays a part in helping people decrease alcohol consumption. In addition, hyperforin has beneficial antibacterial properties. The plant also contains essential oils and flavonoids. Native Americans have a history of use of St. John's Wort as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent agent.
If you decide to try St. John's Wort, you must consult with a health care professional first, as this herb interacts with other medications. Evidence shows that it can affect anticoagulant drugs and contraceptive pills. It can also affect medication needed to treat high blood pressure.
One study of St. John's Wort showed it was beneficial to a group who consumed 300 mg. three times daily compared to a group who took a placebo only. This study occurred over a four-week period. Sixty-seven percent of the St. John's Wort group experienced improvement of their depression compared to 28 percent of the placebo group. This study included only those suffering from mild depression. What was important in this study was that there were no adverse side effects from the St. John's Wort as compared to synthetic antidepressants. This was significant because many patients often refuse standard antidepressants because of the harmful and bothersome side effects they produce.
There is no denying that St. John's Wort has a long tradition as a medicine to treat anxiety and depression. This is why studies continue into its effectiveness. Researchers do not want to ignore repeated testimonials about the herb's antidepressant capabilities; they seek to make sure these claims are legitimate by having facts to back them up.
Thirty-seven trials that met criteria for being credible received recognition concerning St. John's Wort. They received summarization in a study. (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 1998, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD000448. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000448.pub2.)
The conclusion reached upon analysis of the studies showed St. John's Wort could benefit those with milder types of depression. No conclusive evidence exists that more severe types receive anything more than minimum benefits from the St. John's Wort products that were part of the studies. The researchers stress that their analysis applies only to certain products they tested, not every St. Johns Wort formulation on the market. Many are of different pharmaceutical quality and of different strengths and purities.
Research will continue into this natural product that the earth provides us. At the very least, St. John's Wort does help some forms of depression. The jury is out on whether its benefits will extend to those who suffer harsher forms of the debilitating mental condition that affects millions.
June 03, 2008 01:11 PM
Mental disorders, including depression, affect more than 22 percent of adults in the United States according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The stressful way in which we live contributes to this percentage of unhappy people. People feel pressure on the job and are being rushed all the time. We eat fast food on the run due to time constraints and have less time to exercise. This combination of factors leads to moodiness and irritability. It also detracts from our overall happiness.
Whether you typically experience seasonal sadness or have been diagnosed with depression, there is help available. You don't have to accept feeling down as part of life. Nor do you have to deal with the unwanted side effects that come with taking a prescribed antidepressant or anxiety medication. All you need to take the edge off of life is natural albizzia flowers. This herb provides a natural way to reduce stress.
Albizzia Flowers as a Natural Remedy for Sadness
Albizzia flowers are herbs that have been used by the Chinese for more than 500 years to treat sadness. They also have been used by Korean and Japanese people as a natural remedy for life's stresses.
Taken from the silk tree, albizzia is often referred to as the happy tree. It can be used for a variety of emotional needs, from spiritual disorders to emotional imbalances. It is also known as the Mimosa tree.
Uses for Albizzia Flowers
Albizzia flowers can be used to treat the following:
In essence, this herbal flower provides a gentle calming effect. It works to relieve tension and bring a sense of peace over the body. The herb gives a sense of contentment and comfort, and relieves aches and pains associated with the symptoms above.
Albizzia is especially useful for those dealing with grief. Losing a loved one can feel devastating and overwhelming. Albizzia flowers help to relieve these feelings and can make coping with your loss a little easier.
Antidepressants vs. Natural Herbs to Relieve Depression
Using Albizzia flowers is much safer than taking a prescription antidepressant. Antidepressants are mind-altering drugs that have a list of unhealthy side effects. They can cause you to feel things like dry mouth to headaches. Drugs like Paxil can even increase the risk of suicide in some people. You can avoid these potentially dangerous side effects by using natural herbs to take the edge off of life.
Albizzia is a relaxant and a sedative that works to calm the liver, kidneys and heart. It works to ease and calm the mind and body without the effects of pharmaceutical drugs. Starting with a low dose of 10 drops two to three times per day is recommended. As your body adjusts, you can work your way up to 30-60 drops several times per day.
Though it isn't a miracle herb, Albizzia is a helpful herb that can relax the body and aid mood disorders. It can be used in conjunction with prescription drugs or in place of them to minimize the effects of a stressful lifestyle.
Depression and Vitamins
April 17, 2008 11:20 AM
Most men dealing with depression have stories that are very similar, waking with a heavy head even in the happiest of times. A bad day is described as one in which you can’t get out of bed and it feels as if there is a dark cloud hanging over your head. Today, as the NFL season moves towards playoffs, many athletes are living with depression related to multiple concussions. A study of over 2,500 retired NFL players concluded that three concussions triple the chance of experiencing depression. This is extremely important in a sport in which brain trauma is so often and easily dismissed.
Just like helmets cover the faces of men playing a violent game, the angry aggression that is so commonly associated with normal guy behavior may actually be a mask for depression and physical injury is not needed to suffer its effects. It has actually been discovered that depression is more common in men than anyone ever knew, as male depression has often been under-diagnosed because the standard diagnostic manual portrays the depression symptoms more commonly associated with women. About six million men will be diagnosed with depression in 2008, not counting the one million more that will go undiagnosed.
The sad weepiness that is commonly associated with depression is much more commonly found in women, while a man is more likely to be short-tempered, fatigued, and uninterested in sex, work, or hobbies. However, it is work that provides depressed men a distraction to their painful inner feelings. Men are more likely to try downing their pain in alcohol or drugs instead of getting treatment. Untreated depression explains why the male suicide rate is more than four times the rate of female suicide. Although there are hormonal differences in depression of the different genders, the common factor is stress.
Although some men are open to being told they are depressed, most only act out with more anger. An effective, but not exactly subtle approach to telling a man he may have depression is leaving and article or book around the house for him to pick up. Severe depression requires immediate attention by a trained practitioner, along with various medical interventions. Once the worst is over, it is important to try to maintain a depression-free lifestyle. This can be done by reduction stress and finding social support as well as dietary changes.
This is a difficult step for men who are used to conversations which revolve around scores and transactions, but good places to start are men’s groups at houses of worship (church) or those groups such as AA if substance abuse is part of the problem. By fortifying the brain with depression-fighting nutrients, including a B vitamin complex, one can maintain and promote normal mental functioning. Many depressed people are extremely deficient in folic acid as well as dietary essential fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are needed to build healthy brain cells, along with phosphatidyl serine. Other herbs, including eleuthero, rhodiola, and ginseng, can help the body to adapt to stress, while St. John’s wort and SAMe work as natural antidepressants.
The most severe mistake that can be made is to play down depression, which applies to raging men just as much as it does to weeping women. Both genders need to seek help if feeling this way. If you feel you are experiencing depression, seek professional help as well as look into dietary changes, exercise, and the support of family can be a good start to a healthier outlook on life.
7-Syndrom Healing and 5-HTP
June 07, 2006 03:49 PM
Boomer Breakthrough – Keeping in the Game
If there is not thing boomers need to manage, its chronic stress. That’s because of its deleterious effects, which include accelerated aging and altered brain function. This month boomer breakthroughs will focus on 5-hydroxytryptophan or 5-htp, one of the most versatile and powerful anti-aging remedies. For starters, 5-htp is a more powerful antioxidant than either vitamin C or melatonin. This it deserves a place in ones daily vitamin regimen based on this fact alone. However, the better-known attribute of 5-htp is its stabilizing effects on the brain and nerves.
Mood, Anxiety and Depression
Chronic stress can lead to mood swings, anxiety, depression, poor memory, and reduced cognitive functions. Last month we recommended the Adaptogenic herbs Ashwagandha and Rhodiola as therapy for smoothing out periods of intense stress such as looming deadlines. For longer term stress supplementation with 5-htp is a better choice. That’s because extended periods of stress reduce brain levels of serotonin. Supplemental 5-htp is produced from the African plant Griffonia Simplicifolia and has over 30 years of safety and effectiveness in clinical use.
How do you know if you have low levels of serotonin? Persistent anxiety is one key and insomnia is another. 5-htp, an intermediary metabolite of serotonin, has proven to be clinically effective in reducing these disorders. Weight gain and eating disorders also appear to be associated with low serotonin levels.
Serotonin the Antiaging Neurotransmitter
Serotonin, one of three major neurotransmitters, has a calming effect and helps keep emotions in check. It has been extremely helpful in lessening panic attacks, various phobias, suppressing appetite, and reducing aggression, anxiety, and pain sensation. And, it may be more effective in relieving mild depression than antidepressants. In a 1991 Swiss study, the effectiveness of 5-htp in alleviating depression was compared to a conventional antidepressant, fluvoxamine (Luvox). Patients were divided into two groups and given either 100mg 5-htp or 150mg of fluvoxamine three times a day for six weeks. At the end of the test period, the 36 5-htp patients showed a greater percentage of improvement than the 33 fluvoxamine patients.
Other studies have compared 5-htp with antidepressants such as chloripramine and imipramine. 5-htp was at least as effective if not more so than the conventional drugs. Moreover, 5-htp has no reported side effects, although some patients have experienced mild nausea when they first take 5-htp. If this happens, merely back off and reduce the daily dose to 50mg and gradually increase it over a four-day period.
5-htp has an advantage over its precursor amino acid L-Tryptophan (LT). it is more readily absorbed than LT and is immune to meals without reducing its effectiveness. 5-htp, unlike LT, is not shunted into niacin, melatonin, picolonic acid and other amino acids. Seventy percent of oral 5-htp ends up in the bloodstream, crosses into the brain and is directly converted into serotonin.
It’s best not to combine 5-htp with antidepressant medications, although there have been no reports of adverse events. Suggested doses is 100mg 3 times a day or 200 to 200 mg taken at bedtime for insomnia.
Pain, Per-menopause and PMS
5-htp has additional benefits for boomers. It reduces hot flashes and is an effective anti-pain remedy. The concern over use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has led to interest in safe and effective methods of reducing hot flashes. Come anti-depressants (Prozac, ect.) have been effective in alleviating hot flashes in women with breast cancer or at risk of the disease. Increasing serotonin is the proposed mechanism by which this occurs. Serotonin in turn resets the brain’s heat regulating system. 5-htp is effective at raising serotonin levels, is free of side effects, and is an effective substitute for anti-depressants.
Additionally, 5-htp has been clinically useful in reducing premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) symptoms such as sadness, hopelessness, self-deprecation, tension, anxiety, emotional instability, tearfulness, anger and irritability.
Migraine and fibromyalgia share a common root in serotonin and adrenal hormone (Cortisol) receptor function. Serotonin plays a role in maintaining pain thresholds, vascular constriction/dilation and maintenance of restorative sleep. It is also thought to disrupt pain signals and induce the activity of endorphins, the brains natural painkiller.
Italian researchers report in two clinical trials involving patients with fibromyalgia, that 5-htp (100mg 3X/day) significantly reduced fibromyalgia symptoms. These include a number of tender points, subjective pain severity, morning stiffness, sleep patterns, and anxiety.
Now offers 5-htp in three convenient doses; 50mg for starters, 100mg for maintenance, and 200mg plus 250mg tyrosine, Niacinamide and vitamin B-6 to stabilize adrenal function and help control minor pain.
Adapted from 7-syndrome healing: Supplement essentials for Body and Mind by Marcia Zimmerman and Jayson Kroner, 2006, Nutrition Solution Publications.
Coming out of depression.
October 28, 2005 02:46 PM
If a positive outlook is the sun, then depression is a heavy shade drawn across one’s existence. Clinical depression is not the passing blue mood or feelings of sadness, grief and sorrow in the face of life’s more somber moments. But when sadness seems never-ending, when you can’t concentrate, sleep or enjoy anything, when you feel hopeless and that life isn’t worth the bother—now that’s depression.
If your moods are especially dark, seek professional help. What you may be experiencing, though, is more of a sneeze n’ sniffle melancholy than the heavy chest-cold kind (and the analogy is apt, given how common a disorder depression truly is). If that’s the case, you may find the following supplements helpful:
Omega-3 Fatty acids: A healthy brain needs plenty of these healthy fats. Flax seed oil and fish oil are two common sources.
SAM-e: This naturally occurring substance helps activate serotonin and dopamine, two brain chemicals vital to healthy mood.
St. John’s Wort: One of the best-known natural depression fighters, St. John’s Wort also helps reduce the mild anxiety that often accompanies depression. It usually takes four to six weeks to reach full effectiveness.
Tryptophan: An amino acid the body uses to create serotonin. Natural tryptophan is found in milk protein concentrate.
Speak with health care practitioner if you are taking prescription medications for depression (or any other condition, for that matter). Do not stop taking synthetic antidepressants without proper guidance.
Natural Progesterone and PMS
July 25, 2005 10:02 PM
Natural Progesterone and PMS
When a woman’s body experiences an imbalance of progesterone resulting in estrogen dominance, a variety of pre-menstrual symptoms can result. Estrogen dominance can occur when a progesterone deficiency is present. PMS refers to a whole host of symptoms which can vary from woman to woman. Conventional therapies for PMS involves the use of antidepressants, diuretics, counseling, nutritional regimens and synthetic hormones. Interestingly, most symptoms which commonly characterize PMS are also typical of estrogen dominance. Due to this observation, Dr. John R. Lee gave natural progesterone to his patients with PMS and obtained some impressive results. “The majority (but not all) of such patients reported remarkable improvement in their symptoms-complex, including the elimination of their premenstrual water retention and weight gain.”10 Let’s quickly review the hormonal flux which characterizes the menstrual cycle. During the week following the end of the menstrual period, estrogen is the dominating hormone which initiates the buildup of the uterine lining once again. At the same time, eggs in the ovary begin to mature. Estrogen levels also contribute to the secretion of more vaginal mucous at this time making the tissue environment more conducive to sperm survival and motility. From ten to twelve days after the beginning of the last period, estrogen levels will crest and then begin to taper just prior to ovulation and when the egg (corpus luteum) has matured enough to produce progesterone.
Consequently, progesterone will dominate during the second half of the cycle. Increased levels of progesterone cause the body temperature to rise, the continued development of the uterine blood-filled lining, and the thinning of cervical secretions. All of these events occur in anticipation of the presence of a fertilized egg. If pregnancy does not occur within 10 to 12 days after ovulation, both estrogen and progesterone levels rapidly fall, which initiates the shedding of the uterine lining (menstruation) and a new cycle begins again. If a woman becomes pregnant, progesterone levels continue to rise and the uterine lining remains intact to receive and nourish the fertilized egg.
Eventually the placenta will produce much higher than normal amounts of progesterone throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. It’s rather easy to see that a woman’s monthly cycle is regulated by the rise and fall of estrogen and progesterone. This perfectly natural fluctuation of hormones can wreak havoc with the health of a woman when imbalances occur. More often than not, a hormonal imbalance consists of a progesterone deficiency. Progesterone was designed by nature to inhibit many of the negative effects of estrogen. If progesterone levels do not balance out estrogen during the last two weeks of the cycle, PMS can become a problem. Dr. Lee illustrates this, saying: “A surplus of estrogen or a deficiency of progesterone during these two weeks allows for an abnormal month-long exposure to estrogen dominance, setting the stage for the symptoms of estrogen side effects.”11
Clearly, natural progesterone may be one of the most, if not the most effective, therapies to deal with PMS miseries. Unfortunately, many women are completely unaware of its action or availability.
SLEEP DISORDERS AND ST.JOHN'S WORT
July 15, 2005 09:28 AM
Among the many ailments that often accompany middle and old age are various sleep disorders: insomnia, intermittent waking, sleep duration, and an overall poor sleep quality. The medical world has produced numerous synthetic drugs to deal with these disorders; however, most aren’t completely effective and produce undesirable side effects as well. Recent research suggests that St. John’s wort may be able to improve one’s sleep, especially that of older persons. A 1994 double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology showed that Hypericum extracts gave the benefit of increased deep sleep during the total sleeping period of the patients. It explains, A hypostatic influence of the REM sleep phases, which is typical for tricyclic antidepressants and MAO inhibitors, could not be shown for this phytopharmacon [Hypericum]. Instead, LI 160 [Hypericum] induced an increase of deep sleep during the total sleeping period. This could be shown consistently in the visual analysis of the sleeping phases 3 and 4, as well as in the automatic analysis of slow-wave EEG activities. The study also makes an interesting connection between sleep and depression; that being many standard antidepressants and MAO inhibitors used to treat people who suffer from depression cause a decrease in deep sleep. As discussed earlier, St. John’s wort has shown great promise in treating depressed persons. So, besides helping people with sleep disorders, when used as an antidepressant, it gives antidepressant properties without the side effect of decreased deep sleep.21 This is certainly another valuable quality St. John’s wort has shown to possess.
July 15, 2005 09:16 AM
A recent study (August, 1996) exploring the effect of Hypericum perforatum on depression re vealed some fairly stunning results. The British Medical Jo u rn a l published the results of one major studies, which consisted of twenty - three randomized trials, including a total of 1757 outpatients with mainly mild or moderately seve re depressive disorders. Testing was conducted with single preparations and combinations of extracts of the plant, and with placebo and anther drug treatment. As just mentioned, the results were very promising. In all aspects of the study, Hypericum extracts were shown to be “significantly superior” to placebo and similarly effective as standard antidepressants. There were nearly twice the number, percentage-wise, of dropouts due to side effects from the standard drugs than those taking the Hypericum extracts. Side effects occurred in eighty-four patients using standard antidepressants, while only fifty patients taking the Hypericum extracts experienced side effects. And the scores on the Hamilton depression scale, which measures severity of one’s depression, showed those taking Hypericum treatments scored slightly higher than those taking the standard antidepressant and significantly higher than those taking the placebo. 9 This study provides some firm ground for St. John’s wort to stand on in the treatment of depression, both in sheer numbers and its quality of treatment.
Another contemporary study, carried out in 1995 by Witte, et. al, showed the Linde study to be accurate in its findings. This particular study, carried out as a multicenter, placebo-controlled double-blind trial, used a highly concentrated Hypericum preparation to treat ninety-seven outpatients. The course of the illness was assessed with the Hamilton Depression Scale, the von Zerssen Depressivity Scale and the Clinical Global Impression Scale. The authors of the study noted this in their abstract:
Treatment resulted in an appreciable improvement in the symptoms of depression, and the seventy percent response rate (n=43) corresponded to that of chemical antidepressants. The preparation also showed an anxiolytic effect. The substance [hypericum] was extremely well tolerated, and no side effects were reported by any of the patients.10 Again, this study’s findings correlate that of the Linde and other studies in that treatment with Hypericum is at least as effective as standard synthetic antidepressants without producing near the number of side effects.
The Nursing Times also reported on recent findings dealing with Hypericum’s effect on depression. Stating that psychiatric medications are notorious for their undesirable side effects, and that the need for safer antidepressants is widely acknowledged, the blurb refers to a double-blind study, done by G. Harrer and H. Sommer (published in Phytomedicine, 1994 (1): 3-8), using St. John’s wort on 105 patients experiencing mild to moderate depression. They were aged twenty to sixty-four and had diagnoses of “neurotic depression or temporary depressive mood.” Patients were divided into two groups and monitored over four weeks, with one group receiving 300 mg of Hypericum extract three times daily and the other group receiving a placebo. All patients received psychiatric evaluations before the start of the study and after two and four weeks of treatment.11
The results of the study support the findings of other recent studies dealing with Hypericum and depression: 67 percent of the Hypericum group had responded positively to the treatment without any adverse side effects, whereas only 28 percent of the placebo group displayed any improvement. Harrer and Sommer state that the patients treated were experiencing strictly mild forms of depression; combining this with the study’s results and the results of other studies suggest that Hypericum treatment can be a very effective treatment for mild to moderate depression without severe side effects. The authors themselves even recommended that Hypericum should be considered as a remedy of choice. 12
These and other studies point to the strong possibility of using St. John’s wort, and specifically hypericin, on a wide scale to treat various forms of depression. Linde’s study suggests that St. John’s wort may have its most valuable asset in that of few or no side effects, something many sufferers of depression are very concerned about. The authors do note, however, that more research is necessary, especially in determining the severity and nature of depression, length of treatment, treatment dosage, preparation of Hypericum extracts, and occurrence of long-term side effects. Nevertheless, the results of this study and others are extremely promising for the millions of those who suffer from depression.
DEPRESSION—STANDARD AND ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS
July 15, 2005 09:13 AM
DEPRESSION—STANDARD AND ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS
Depression is a commonly occurring disorder; according to one recently published report, it affects nearly 17 percent of all Americans for the length of their lives.7 Because depression often involves a complex mixture of severity, length, and mode of treatment, it is often a difficult decision for doctors and patients alike to decide how to treat the depression. Many practitioners and patients are reluctant to use antidepressant drugs because of associated side effects. It seems logical, then that any additional forms of treatment with little risk, credible benefit, and moderate cost would be a useful addition to depression management.
Extracts of St. John’s wort have long been used in “folk” medicine for a range of symptoms and problems, including mood and depression disorders. Extracts of St. John’s wort are licensed in Germany for the treatment of “anxiety and depressive and sleep disorders.” In 1993, more than 2.7 mil-lion prescriptions of Hypericum were counted in the seven most popular preparations in Germany.8 In the past ten years, several randomized clinical trials have compared the effects of pharmaceutical preparations of Hypericum with placebo and common antidepressants, with nearly all showing favorable practical application of Hypericum treatments for depression and other related disorders.
Ginko: A Natural Antidepressant?
June 25, 2005 11:34 AM
Ginko: A Natural Antidepressant?
Several health practitioners are looking at ginkgo as a possible natural substitute for some pharmaceutical antidepressants. Be cause ginkgo stimulates the brain through increased oxygen availability, it may have therapeutic value in some cases of depression. Depression is viewed by some doctors as a condition of brain “sleepiness.” By increasing mental alertness, ginkgo may help to snap a depressed brain out of its mental patterns by stimulating biochemical reactions at the cellular level. Ginkgo may inadvertently work the same way that exercise does for people suffering from depression. Exercise helps to oxygenate the blood and by so doing, elevates mood. Ginkgo accomplishes a similar action by boosting brain blood flow. Ginkgo has also been recommended in combination with antidepressant drugs such as tricyclics and tetracyclics. It should be noted that tests using ginkgo to treat depression used higher than normal dosages of ginkgo. Learning disabilities may also benefit from the neuro-stimulation ginkgo provides, however, no one has studied its effects in this area.
June 13, 2005 01:18 PM
by Cal Orey Energy Times, August 2, 1999
Depression plagues the creative and the mundane. The disparate desperate driven to distress by depression include painters, poets, actors and musicians as well as truck drivers, clerks, electricians and physicists. The victim list encompasses Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Audrey Hepburn, Virginia Woolf and Ludwig von Beethoven, as well as millions of other sharers of melancholy misery.
More than 17 million American men and women experience depression in one form or another every year, according to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) in Alexandria, Virginia. This includes the deeply destructive major, or clinical, depression, the wide mood swings of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and dysthymia, a milder, long-lasting form of emotional suffering.
Twice as Many Women In the depression scenario, women suffer twice as much: Two times as many women as men endure clinical depression, reports the NMHA. The mood-deteriorating effects of the hormonal disruptions women are heir to may be partly to blame.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one of 10 Americans wades through at least one depressive swamp sometime during his or her life.
The good news: Research shows that diet and lifestyle can lower your risk of depression.
Birth of the Blues
Nowadays, mounting evidence suggests that depression may result more from physiological factors than psychological woes.
Some of the hidden reasons why you may be depressed include: nutritional deficiencies, exacerbated by overdosing on too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol and high fat foods; allergies; anxiety and chronic stress; and a chemical imbalance in the brain's gray matter. According to the NMHA, people with depression often possess too little or too large a quantity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Changes in levels of these brain chemicals may cause, or contribute to, clinical depression.
The NMHA also reports that an imbalance of melatonin, a chemical made by the body's pineal gland (located at the base of the brain), contributes to a form of wintertime depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This hormone is made at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, the body may oversupply this hormone during winter's shortened daylight hours.
Since the B vitamins are often involved in the production of energy, and a large component of depression may encompass the inability to get out of bed and deal with the world, experts believe that at least some of the signs of depression are linked to B deficiencies. For instance, studies cited in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima) by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, demonstrate that folate deficiency and lack of vitamin B12 can compromise mental health (Drugs 45, 1993: 623-36; Lancet 336, 1990: 392-5).
Inositol: This vitamin is also part of the B vitamin complex, and it, too, has shown its ability to lift spirits. Research work in Israel shows that daily inositol given to 28 depressed patients for four weeks produced an overall positive effect. (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 7:2, May 1997: 147-55). Inositol is found in whole, unprocessed grains, citrus fruits (except lemons) and brewer's yeast.
NADH: Allan Magaziner, DO, in his book The Idiot's Complete Guide To Living Longer & Healthier (Alpha), reports that brain energizing NADH, a metabolite of vitamin B3, enhances the production of the key neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. "In a recent clinical trial," he claims, "nearly all patients given NADH for depression reported improvement in their symptoms and the absence of side effects or adverse reactions."
Another substance winning the spotlight for its effect on mood is SAM-e: S-adenosylmethionine. In New York on February 24, a symposium coordinated by the American Health Foundation met to hear researchers present information from studies of SAM-e's ability to possibly ease depression.
"SAM-e is a natural product. You and I have it but as people age it declines in production in the body. And that's why we believe supplementation in older people is a beneficial means of bringing that back up and helping people that have depression," said the lead symposium researcher, John H. Weisburger, PhD, MD, Director Emeritus, American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York.
Another researcher, Teodoro Bottiglieri, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Studies and Neurology, Director of Neuropharmacology at Baylor University reported: "SAM-e has been shown to enhance brain dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter metabolism and receptor function. It may also aid in the repair of myelin that surrounds nerve cells. These mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the antidepressant effect of SAM-e."
(Bottiglieri is co-author with Richard Brown, MD, and Carol Colman of Stop Depression Now, a report on the powers of SAM-e just published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.)
SAM-e was first touted as an antidepressant in Italy in 1973. It's been reported that nearly 40 clinical trials demonstrate its beneficial effects as a natural antidepressant.
For instance, an analysis of more than 1000 people suffering depression showed that the effect of antidepressants in patients taking SAM-e was 17% to 38% better than dummy preparations. Conventional antidepressants show a 20% effectiveness rate (Bressa G. Acta Neurol Scand S154, 1994: 7-14).
5-HTP: Another popular supplement to boost mood and relieve depression is hydroxytryptophan. "This medication is actually a brain chemical that is metabolized from tryptophan into serotonin," says Magaziner. And since low serotonin levels have been linked with depression, and certain prescribed medications may up serotonin levels, 5-HTP is in demand.
"One of the more impressive studies supporting the efficacy of 5-HTP for depression evaluated 100 people who had previously found conventional antidepressant therapy to be inadequate. Forty-three of these folks reported a complete recovery, and eight showed significant improvement," reports Magaziner. Not only has 5-HTP been shown to work slightly better than drugs known as SSRIs (these include Prozac), he adds, it has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants, too. DHEA: Medical experts also believe that levels of the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may influence mood. Ray Sahelian, MD, in his book All About DHEA (Avery) reports an interesting study conducted by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco. A group of six depressed middle-aged and elderly individuals who took DHEA found that within a month they had better memory and mood. (Biological Psychiatry 41, 1997: 311-18.) "In addition," adds Sahelian, "other studies have also found that DHEA increases energy levels and a sense of well being." But follow package directions: Some people complain of greater irritability and overstimulation with DHEA, when they take large amounts.
St. John's wort: still the most touted natural therapy for defeating depression. In Europe, 23 clinical studies, reviewed in the August 3, 1996 British Medical Journal, found that this herb, also known as Hypericum perforatum, can be helpful in alleviating cases of mild to moderate depression. The work, which included 757 patients, has shown that hypericum produced fewer side effects than conventional anti-depressants.
Although experts have never satisfactorily explained exactly how St. John's wort benefits the brain, some theorize that it boosts serotonin levels. And it can help SAD sufferers.
"In a recent study of 20 people with SAD, four weeks' worth of St. John's wort significantly alleviated feelings of depression. Those people who added full-spectrum lights to the treatment program gained an even greater benefit," notes Dr. Magaziner.
Valerian: Anxiety and stress, which can cause depression and insomnia, may be helped by this herb, says the prolific Dr. Sahelian in his book Kava: The Miracle Antianxiety Herb (St. Martin's). In 101 Medicinal Herbs (Interweave), Steven Foster reports that "Ten controlled clinical studies have been published on valerian...one of which suggests that valerian should be used for two to four weeks before daily mood and sleep patterns improve."
Amino Acid Help
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, may also help improve mood. (For more on protein, see page 65.) These chemicals are used by the body to construct neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that facilitate mental activity.
For instance, the amino acid L-tyrosine is necessary for the formation of transmitters adrenaline and dopamine. This substance, therefore, is given to alleviate depression and anxiety.
The substance L-dopa which is given to victims of Parkinson's disease is concocted from tyrosine. And several antidepressants alleviate bad moods by boosting the interaction of brain chemicals related to tyrosine.
In addition, since tyrosine is used to make adrenaline, this amino acid may be helpful for folks trying to cope with the mood problems related to stress.
Another amino acid that experts believe useful for better moods, L-methionine, is used by the body to make choline, a crucial substance for brain function. (Choline goes into the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.)
Methionine has been given to people suffering from schizophrenia and depression as well as to those with Parkinson's. Methionine plays a number of crucial roles in the brain and body since it helps form other vital proteins.
For those concerned about preserving a positive mood, researchers are positive that smoking worsens depression. A study at the Department of Behavioral Services at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan found that daily smokers run twice the risk for major depression compared to those who only smoked occasionally.
Unfortunately, the investigators found that not only did smoking seem to lead to depression, depression, in turn, led to more smoking (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2/99).
"Smokers who have depression tend to see their smoking become a daily habit and it may be because they use nicotine to medicate their depressed mood," reported Naomi Breslau, PhD, who headed the research. Over a five year period, the researchers looked at about a thousand young people aged 21 to 30. They found that daily smokers generally start smoking in adolescence, and those who report early depression are three times as likely to eventually become daily smokers.
If you're feeling down, don't give up hope. Although depression can prove to be a depressingly complicated malady, daily, healthy habits can offset its effects. Getting consistent exercise, dousing your cigarettes and turning to herbal and nutritional help to treat mild depression may defeat those blues.