Search Term: " Depressive "
Omega-3s are a potent way to treat depression without resorting todangerous prescription medications
May 17, 2019 04:01 PM
One can treat poor mood and depression without using pharmaceutical drugs. One of these approaches involves using omega-3 fatty acid. Foods rich in this fatty acid can help. It has been shown by many scientific studies that the risk of having depression is reduced when one takes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid. Some of the means that have been identified as the pathways in which omega-3 fatty acids work is that they can make the CNS to release more serotonin, they can reduce the risk of an inflammation and also its severity, and they can stop phosphatidyl-inositol from releasing hormones that make a person to have depressive moods. The way omega-3 fatty acids do this has been found to be similar to the way anti-depressant drugs work. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to counter the release of serotonin in the brain that trigger depressive moods and they also have effect on the release of cytokines in the heart that relates to lowering the risk of one having coronary heart disease. And fortunately, heart disease is linked to major depressive moods. So, omega-3 fatty acid is a powerful compound that can be used to treat both problems. But what researchers have not agreed upon though is the required dosage of omega-3 fatty acid that a person should take each day to reap these benefits.
"The fatty acids achieve their natural antidepressant effects through several means. Omega-3s can raise the activity of CNS seratonin, reduce the risk and severity of inflammation, and stop phosphatidyl-inositol from sending signals that bring about depressive moods."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-15-omega-3s-are-a-potent-way-to-treat-depression.html
Curcumin found to be one of the best natural ways to alleviatedepression
May 15, 2019 02:07 PM
Curcumin has been known to be a silver bullet. It can be used to cure a host of diseases and conditions including cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Now depression can be added to the list according to new research. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that depression affects 16 million Americans every year. Although treatment for it is available, it usually comes with adverse effects. Therefore, there is compelling need for a safer means of treating people. Before this study, it has already been found from multiple studies that curcumin can have an effect on depressive conditions. It was reported to be well tolerated by patients with no adverse side effects. For their current study in Australia, the researchers looked at twenty years of data including current studies on curcumin. They then studied about 342 patients using curcumin and a placebo. From their results, there was a significant reduction in depression after treatment with curcumin compared with the placebo after six weeks of treatment. The researchers then concluded that compelling evidence exists for the use of curcumin in treatment of depression.
"The study also found that curcumin exhibited significant anti-anxiety properties, based on data from 377 patients."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-11-curcumin-seen-to-be-one-of-the-best-natural-ways-to-alleviate-depression.html
Depression has been linked to inflammation, consider trying CBD to boost mood, reduce anxiety, and reduce inflammation.
Traditional Pacific Island medicine, kava kava, found to alleviateanxiety
May 07, 2019 04:27 PM
Kava kava was found to alleviate anxiety symptoms by a study done at Gran Valley State University in Michigan. The study reported that it was safe if used for less than eight weeks. This medicine can be found in the Pacific and helps the many people suffering phobias and major depressive disorders. Approximately one in fourteen people suffer from some anxiety. The medicine was found to be harmful to the liver, and even toxic if taken longer than eight weeks. It was also found to be more effective for females and younger people. Longer term studies will be done to determine overall safety. In the meantime, other treatments include using skullcap, Valerian root, passion flower and Ashwagandha.
"A lot of people suffer from anxiety. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one in 14 people around the world has an anxiety disorder, making it one of the most common mental disorders."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-13-kava-kava-can-alleviate-anxiety.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
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
Major Depressive Disorder Treatment Looks to Role of Lipids
May 15, 2017 06:44 AM
People with major depressive disorder often have a hard time because it's not easy to treat it. There are many medications but they often have very unpleasant side effects or just don't work at all. Patients usually have to keep trying new ones or higher doses just to keep themselves feeling somewhat normal. The role of lipids in their treatment is now being looked at. Hopefully this will help those who suffer from this disorder.
Read more: Major Depressive Disorder Treatment Looks to Role of Lipids
Eat This One Food To Get Rid Of Brain Fog
March 18, 2017 06:44 AM
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in our health including anti-inflammation, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, maintaining brain function. ALA, DHA and EPA are 3 types of omega-3s that are most beneficial to our brain such as effects on Depressive conditions, post-stroke, neuropathic pain, migraines, neurodegenerative disease and improving cognitive performance. ALA comes from plants. DHA and EPA are found in fatty, cold-water fish and shellfish. A balance of sources from plants and seafood will help you to find the right balance of these essential fatty acids, which is fundamental to prevent inflammation. Make sure to consult with your healthcare provider to find out the amount that is best for your unique condition.
"A well-balanced diet with natural sources of ALA, DHA, and EPA is fundamental to maintaining a healthy ratio that prevents inflammation and promotes long-term health."
These May Be First Warning Signs for Depression in Kids
December 15, 2016 12:59 PM
Yes. Childhood depression is different from the normal "blues" and everyday emotions that occur as a child develops. Just because a child seems sad doesn't necessarily mean he or she has significant depression. If the sadness becomes persistent, or if disruptive behavior that interferes with normal social activities, interests, schoolwork, or family life develops, it may indicate that he or she has a Depressive illness.
"It can be hard to study depression in families."
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.
The Facts About Herb Dopa Mucuna
December 15, 2013 05:17 PM
What is Herb Dopa Mucuna?
Dopa Mucuna has become used as an aphrodisiac. Which is still used to raise and help libido in both women and men. However it's an alternative treatment peculiarity now is extremely popular used as it provides potential and valuable results in managing Parkinson along with conditions. Pots include seeds called velvet beans or mucuna beans, these are glowing brown or black. Dopa Mucuna is generally be able to recover soil fertility and decrease weed infestation. In society medicine seeds can be used healing different conditions and disease. Mucuna beans have been used as a coffee alternate (ground and roasted) in Brazil, Central America, and other countries.
The primary acts of the plant are following :
You've surely would not heard about L-Dopa, except if you are associated with somebody who carries body builder or Parkinson's disease, you might not be familiar with about it. L-Dopa is a precursor to dopamine. The seeds of Mucuna bean is rich in lipids, protein, ash, dietary fiber, minerals, and carbohydrates. Moreover they are very high in sterols, alkaloids, and saponins. Mucuna seeds (along with the seeds of every Mucuna varieties) include high level of L-dopa is an immediate precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
How does it works?
Low dopamine ranges are related to psychosis, addiction, schizophrenia, depression, and Attention Deficit Disorder. Because dopamine itself is unable to move the blood-brain barrier, it is transferred in a precursor condition is an outline that causes the brain to generate dopamine. L-Dopa is simply like a precursor. L-Dopa is located to work in improving concentrate, relieving Depressive disorders, and managing Parkinson's Disease.
Dangers of Rhodiola Rosea? First Lets Look at The Benefits
December 20, 2012 08:02 PM
Rhodiola rosea also referred to as golden root or roseroot grows in the extremely cold parts of the world. Although there are over 200 different species of roseroot rhodiola rosea is the popularly specie due to its health benefits. It is currently widely used in Asia and Europe to treat several health conditions.
Improves Depression and Mood
According to a study in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry Rhodiola rosea extracts helps improve mood as well as lifts depression. It is also known to help improve sleep, lower moodiness as well as lift mild to moderate depression. It is known to help relieve fatigue on the patients suffering from stress associated fatigue. It not only decreases fatigue it increases mental performance particularly concentration and reduces cortisol production in people suffering from fatigue syndrome. It is therefore important to note that supplementation with rhodiola rosea robustly cancels out physiological and behavioral changes induced by persistent exposure to gentle stressors.
Functions as an Adaptogen
It is also a known adaptogen meaning that it helps in strengthening your endocrine and immune nervous system, thus improves your ability to defend against internal and external stress. It works a little different from other adaptogens such as ginseng, it works on neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine which are associated with several illnesses such as seasonal affective disorders and fibromyalgia. It helps you to withstand stress as well as stress related diseases such as lowered immunity and hypertension. It has also been noted to increase the ability to exercise, reduces lactate levels as well as skeletal muscle damage mainly after vigorous exercise.
It is advisable that you consult your doctor before you start taking any rhodiola rosea supplement. Despite its numerous health benefits it has several negative side effects especially if high doses are consumed. The dangers include irritability, insomnia, dry mouth and dizziness. Pregnant women, breast feeding mothers and people suffering from manic Depressive and bipolar disorders should not take rhodiola.
This Herb is considered generally safe for most individuals with many mood boosting properties.
Herbs For Depression: Alternative Solutions To Improve Your Mood
February 17, 2012 07:29 AM
What Herbs Can Help With Depression?
Depression - Introduction:
Depression is brain system disorders that can make many people weaken from functioning normally during episodic events. Some types of depression actually paralyze people and prevent them from leading a normal life.
In addition, it is important for individuals who suffer from depression to realize, that they do not have to hide this condition and think that they suffer alone. In fact, many people have some form of Depressive disorder. Something must be done is to take action to reduce their depression treatment.
Depression - Herbs That Can Help Reduce:
Depression and anxiety are very common in the modern world, and there is no single drug offers an effective cure. However, there are many herbal remedies that can help you reduce depression:
1. St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum).
St Johns Wortis a eternalcompoundwith littleyellow flowers that originally came from Europe, but also widely used intoAmerican. It is used extensively by European physicians to reducedepression. Two compounds, hypericin and hyperforin, give St. John's Wort potencyto keepmood and fight depression. St. John's Wort also contains flavonoids and proanthoclanidin substances that can affect the peace and balance to the nervous system.
Valerian is the most popular herbs to relieve nervous tension. Sedative effect was first recognized in the seventeenth century, and since then enjoyed a long history of safe use effectively. Research believe that valerian binds to GABA receptors, which produces lower levels of anxiety. This does not completely eliminate anxiety, just change the way that the brain and your body reacts physiologically and give peace to the nervous system.
3. Kava kava.
Kava kava is a plant found in the Pacific Islands. The roots and bark are usually used as a slurry and then combined with cold water to drink. Due to the active compounds in Kava kava, a chemical known as kavalactone, destroyed by high temperatures, use cold or warm water is very important in its preparation. And studies have suggested a correlation between active ingredients and enhanced mood. To be specific, Kava Kava is estimated to have a relaxing impactand reduce fatigue in the human brain.
4. Ginkgo Biloba.
Ginkgo Biloba is the oldest tree used by China to treat various diseases. In the 1700's it has been introduced in Europe. Ginkgo Biloba is mainly composed of active components such as terpene lactones and flavnonoids, which gives a positive effect on mental well-being. With capabilities that are known to increase blood circulation to the brain, this herb has also decreasethe amount of free radicals in the body and brain, so it appears relaxation that can reduce stress or depression.
5. Lavender Oils.
Lavender is a very popular herbal aroma is mainly due to growing importance as a beautiful and essential oils. The smell of lavender oil can stimulate the nerves that send signals to the brain limbic system, which spur the peace and comfort to the physiological function of human emotional. Lavender has been believed by experts to help relieve anxiety, tension, stress and fear that are part of depression.
6. Lemon Balm.
Lemon Balm serves to inhibit the production of thyroid hormones and can help treat primary or secondary brain diseases and to provide a stimulant for the antioxidant that gives relief to your brain space. Some modern studies have found that lemon balm is useful for promoting sleep quality and reduce the effects of depression tranquility.
Chamomile is a very popular herb in Europe and has been widely used for centuries agoas a treatment for some diseases, such as sleep disorders, stress, anxiety, and depression. Other active compositions including flavonoids and matricinid which gives a feeling of relaxation and regulate the nervous system. Now it has proven to be one of the safest herbs on the market to relieve stress.
Although the use of herbs for depression is widely spread, overall there is definitely reaction for the benefits of herbs for reduce depression disorders. Apparent when compared with normally drugs for depression that usually can not serve as the first choice of treatment options. However, when other treatments have failed more established, might have to be used.
How Does Lithium Help with Memory and Mental Disorders?
July 04, 2011 08:42 AM
Lithium And The Brain
Lithium is a chemical element whose ions have been observed to display pharmacological effects. It is best known as a treatment for mania and remains to this day an approved drug for mood disorders in several countries, including the US. It has been associated with countless scientific studies since the latter half of the 19th century. It is one of the most extensively studied of all drugs that alter mood.
Depression is an ancient disease of the mind that was referred to as melancholia in the ancient world. It has been noted in religious writings over the centuries. High energy levels and mental hyperactivity characteristic of bipolar disorder were once associated with supernatural causes. Religious beliefs have historically considered mental disorders as the work of the devil, and melancholia is not an exception.
Melancholia and mania were two separate mental conditions. The former was always tied to evil forces whereas the latter were thought to be triggered by other supernatural causes. Early Greek and Roman physicians noted that active behavior deemed to be pathological could be cured by drinking spring waters. Research have studied and reported that these spring waters actually contained lithium salts.
Manic depression was first posited in the 1950s to be a mental illness distinct from both melancholia and mania. It was in France when two psychiatrists independently observed the type of insanity that oscillates from between bouts of depression and mania. It was later categorized as a specific type of psychosis in that the condition was acute, and thus the patient functions normally after recovery.
Lithium was introduced as a treatment for manic Depressive disorder in the form of lithium carbonate in the first half of the 20th century. Its use was discovered when lithium urate produced tranquilizing effects on animal subjects. Lithium salts were used as tranquilizers shortly after. Human experiments have proven to be effective in controlling patients chronically suffering from bouts of manic disorders.
Bipolar disorder is now the widely used term in psychiatry, though manic depression is still preferred by many medical professionals. It was first used in the 1950s to describe oscillations between two polar behaviors: mania and depression. It is a subtype of depression, the other one being major depression or unipolar depression. Lithium remains a drug for mania amid its changing descriptions.
Medicinal concentrations of lithium are generally considered safe in that they produce no apparent psychoactive effects. Instead, they work as a therapeutic treatment. It has been widely established that lithium possesses properties that stabilize mood, though its mechanism of action is still a matter of controversy. It is believed that lithium rebalances brain chemicals and alters gene expression.
Lithium appears to have an impact on several neurotransmitters present in the central nervous system, such as glutamate and serotonin Inasmuch as these neurotransmitters are noted for their role in mood and memory, some sources have ascribed nootropic effects to regular intake of lithium supplements.
Lithium is a wonderful supplement available over the counter. Try some Lithium today and feel the difference!
Fight Anxiety Disorders Naturally
December 14, 2010 04:27 PM
Do you suffer from an Anxiety Disorder?
Before considering how to test for anxiety disorders and discussing natural supplements that can help we should first discuss what anxiety disorders are - what the term means and if there are degrees of anxiety disorders as there are of depression and stress. First, what is anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural reaction to stress and it is anxiety that makes you worry about the consequences of not studying for an exam - so you study. It focuses you on problems so that you will be more likely to solve them, and helps you to perform better whatever you are doing. However, it can get out of hand and these positive mental processes become negative anxiety disorders.
With some people, anxiety becomes a dread of situations that were once everyday occurrences and can make your life a misery. Here are some forms of anxiety disorder.
Typical Anxiety Disorders
General Anxiety Disorder
Its symptoms include excessive sweating, worry, headaches, irritability, difficulty in sleeping, tiredness and tension in your muscles. It can lead to substance abuse and deep depression if left untreated.
These are three typical forms of anxiety, but how do you test for anxieties? Here are some tests that are used, beginning with the easiest - doing it yourself!
Testing for Anxiety Disorders
Many that believe they may have an anxiety disorder either tend to panic or go into a depression. It is far better to carry out a self-test. This anxiety test is very simple: simply tick which of the symptoms below you have experienced in the past six months:
I can't relax
I am always worried about something.
I get headaches for no apparent reason
I frequently sweat a lot and get hot flashes
I have no time for anybody and am easily annoyed
I find it hard to sleep and I often wake up during the night
My attention keeps wandering and I can't focus on anything
I sometimes get so worried I want to be sick or have a lump in my throat
If you have ticked more than three then perhaps you should pay your doctor a visit, or try some of the recommendations below.
b) Doctors' Tests
If you feel you might be suffering some form of anxiety disorder you should consult your doctor, particularly if you have tried the self test above and it indicates that you might be. Your doctor might carry out various tests for your general health, and if it is felt necessary you may be asked about your family history: is there any history of mental problems in the family, particularly with your mother or father.
Other questions may appertain to your own physical and mental background, such as have you been stressed for any reason lately, have you suffered anxiety or panic attacks in the past and what is your normal use of prescription and non-prescription medications and drugs. Do you smoke, drink or take any social drugs.
It is important that you are totally honest: the doctor is not judging you, simply trying to find the cause of your problem. Under the terms of their oath they cannot divulge anything you tell them to anyone else, so be honest and let them help you. Among the tests you will be given will be to declare all your history of anxiety-related symptoms. To achieve that, you will be asked a series of questions while the doctor assesses your mental condition.
Finally, you may be referred to a psychiatrist who will be able to help you more than your doctor. Psychiatrists have a good record in resolving anxiety disorders, but once you are diagnosed positively, what then? Chemical drugs? Or perhaps you would prefer something more natural such as herbal remedies.
Herbal Remedies for Anxiety
There are a number of herbs that can be used to treat anxiety disorders. Here are the more commonly used of these:
Passion flower contains the active substances maltol and ethylmaltol that your body's biochemistry uses to increase the concentration of GABA (gamma-butyric acid) in your brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that calms you and helps you to relax and forget anything that is making you anxious. It relieves muscle tension, can lower your blood pressure and some equate its effect to that of Valium: although it is totally different chemically it is similar in its effect. It offers a sedative effect and helps you sleep.
Kava Kava root
Kava kava. Generally just referred to as kava, comes from the Pacific and the kavalactones it contains increase the concentration of neurotransmitters in your vascular system, particularly serotonin, the feel-good substance. Its sedative effects have been likened to that of alcohol, and it can certainly give you a lift and certainly helps you worry less as it reduces the negative symptoms of stress and depression.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort is a well-known anti-depressant and it can also help reduce the symptom of anxiety. The hyperforin the plant contains helps to improve the brain's content of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine that make you feel good, and St. John's wort certainly washes away your anxiety. Not only that, but the napththodianthrone in another of its important components, hypericin, promotes a reduction in depression through the inhibition of monoamine oxidase, a pro-Depressive enzyme.
An extract of valerian root can help you to relax and sleep well, and this can often be enough to prevent your anxiety attacks. A lot depends on their cause, but if the attacks are mild and don't require extensive medical or psychiatric intervention, then valerian can help, particularly in treating stress-related anxiety. Make sure you stick to the recommended dose because valerian can be dangerous if taken to excess.
The four herbal remedies above should between them be all you need to treat your anxiety. One major problem is that, just like any chemical drugs, they only treat the symptoms and not the underlying cause which is something you and your physician will have to work on yourselves.
However, until then, the above herbal remedies for anxiety disorders are generally safer to use than prescription drugs and each has a well proven effect, both on the symptoms of anxiety and on depression.
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
June 26, 2009 12:15 PM
Depression affects 22 percent of Americans between the ages of eighteen and older each year. It is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. Depression affects both young and old, and women twice as much as men. Depression is an illness of the whole body. It affects the nervous system, moods, thoughts, and behavior. It also affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you react to and think about the people and things around you. Symptoms of depression can last for weeks, months, or years. There are various types of depression, which vary in the number of symptoms, the severity, and persistence.
People with depression generally withdraw and hide from society, losing interest in things around them and becoming incapable of experiencing pleasure. Symptoms of depression include chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, headaches, backaches, digestive disorders, restlessness, irritability, quickness to anger, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies, and feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. Many people who are depressed think about death and consider suicide. Things appear bleak and time seems to pass slowly. Someone with depression can be chronically angry and irritable, sad and despairing, or display little or no emotion at all. Some people try to sleep off depression, while others do nothing but sit or lie around.
There are three main types of clinical depression: major Depressive disorder, dysthmyic disorder, and bipolar depression. There are variations in the number of associated mental symptoms, severity, and persistence within these types. Dysthmic disorder is a chronic, but less severe type of depresses ion. It is characterized by milder, persistent symptoms that may last for years. It usually doesn’t interfere with everyday tasks. Bipolar disorders usually begin as depression but progress into alternating episodes of depression and mania, characterized by abnormally and persistently elevated mood, energy, restlessness, or irritability. Bipolar depression is commonly known as manic depression. It has other symptoms including inflated self-esteem, a decreased need for sleep, and increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, distractibility, physical agitation, and excessive risk-taking.
The causes of depression are not fully understood. However, it is assumed that there are most likely many and they are varied. Depression may be triggered by tension, stress, a traumatic life event, a hyper-stimulated immune system, chemical imbalances in the brain, thyroid disorders, nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, the consumption of sugar, mononucleosis, lack of exercise, endometriosis, any serious physical disorder, or even allergies. Whatever the factors that trigger it, depression starts with a disturbance in the part of the brain that governs moods. Most people can handle everyday stresses, with their bodies simply readjusting to these pressures. When stress is too great for a person and his or her adjustment mechanism is unresponsive, depression may be triggered.
The following vitamin nutrients are helpful for those who are suffering from depression: essential fatty acids, 5-HTP, L-tyrosine, SAMe, taurine, omega-3, vitamin B complex, zinc, choline, calcium, magnesium, chromium, GABA, lithium, NADH, and vitamin C with bioflavonoids. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: lemon balm, ginger, ginkgo biloba, licorice root, oat straw, peppermint, Siberian ginseng, kava kava, and St. John’s wort.
Great vitamin supplements like the ones listed above are available at your local or internet health food store. When looking for natural vitamin supplements, always look for name brands to ensure that you receive a high quality and pure product.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, minerals, and herbs 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.
August 12, 2008 01:34 PM
Similar to everyone else, you probably have an occasional period where you’re down in the dumps. But don’t fret; feeling a little bit down every now and then is normal. But when these low feelings persist, you may be in trouble. If they deepen over time no matter what you’re doing to change them, then chances are that you are truly depressed. True depression occurs as a result of a loss of interest in nearly everything that once gave you pleasure. These pleasure feelings are replaced by an all-consuming feeling of emptiness and numbness which may be related to clinical depression.
Clinical depression is another matter, this form of depression is an intense feeling of sadness that lasts for long periods of time and prevents people from leading a normal life. It is a treatable medical condition and is characterized by persistent and sometimes severe feelings of worthlessness, guilt, sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness. There may also be disturbance in sleeping or eating patterns, anxiety, regret, shame, grief, diminished ability to concentrate, and repetitive suicidal thoughts.
Having five or more of these symptoms for a span of two weeks or longer is categorized as clinical depression. However, there are shades of gray when it comes to being emotionally down, from low moods all the way to major Depressive episodes. Dysthymia is a lot less severe than depression, but it lingers sometimes for years, allowing people to function adequately but consistently feeling unhappy. Bipolar disorder also causes people to have severe high and low mood swings, while seasonal depression is another form that rounds out the category.
According to a global study, depression may be the most disabling disease in the world. Researchers found that depression can worsen health more than angina, arthritis, asthma, and diabetes. Those who have depression and one or more chronic diseases are in the worst health of all. It is estimated that 19 million American adults are living with major depression, with up to 25 percent experiencing an episode of major depression at some point during their lifetime and women suffering twice as much as men do from major depression.
Suicide is strongly connected to depression and is the third-leading cause of death in 10 to 24 year olds, with most depressed people never seeking treatment. Those who are undiagnosed and untreated allow depression to worsen and last for years of untold suffering. About 15 percent of people with major depression die from committing suicide. Major depression is a life-threatening illness that should be treated by medical experts. There is no test that can diagnose major depression. However, it is important to rule out other medical problems that have similar symptoms as those of depression.
Depression is usually treated with medications and counseling. Natural remedies may also be effective in the treatment of depression, especially in those cases that are mild to moderate. Additionally, many nutritional, environmental, and lifestyle factors are involved and it is important to recognize that these factors are not only important for depression, but also for our total health. Getting people healthy gets them less depressed, generally speaking, and there are three supplements that can help ease the symptoms of depression naturally.
Lithium, which is a prescription drug for bipolar disorder, is a simple mineral with benefits for the nervous system to improve mood and cognition. Since patients with depression often have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA, proper DHA levels are essential for proper functioning of the neurotransmitters. Supplementing with essential fatty acids can help with depression symptoms.
Finally there is SAM-e, a molecule that naturally occurs in the cells of plants and animals, works well as an antidepressant without causing side effects for most people. Always consult your doctor if you suspect you may have clinical depression or when you start any new vitamin supplements with medication and never exceed the recommended doses on the bottle with out a doctors help.
July 03, 2008 08:58 AM
Serotonin has not only been shown to regulate sleep, but it also is responsible for controlling mood, including feelings of optimism, relaxation, general sense of well-being, and the ability to focus and concentrate. When serotonin levels drop, it can lead to a lowered mood, which is what people experience with seasonal affective disorder, premenstrual syndrome, and general stress. People who experience these conditions also have been shown to experience decreased levels of tryptophan, which is responsible for the decrease in production of serotonin. Tryptophan depletion has been associated with a lowering in mood of normal healthy men. In one study, women who had recovered from major depression and ended drug treatment experienced temporary but clinically significant Depressive symptoms after tryptophan depletion. In many studies that were performed in the 1970s, indications of trytophan’s ability to relieve lowered mood were found.
When shorter days begin in the fall and winter, negative effects on a significant percent of the U.S. population result. Some experience sadness, sleepiness, increased appetite, weight gain, and a loss of libido, which is what is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A key contributor to this is the increased synthesis of melatonin that occurs during the winter months. Daylight normally inhibits the conversion of serotonin into melatonin. Since the period of nighttime is longer in the winter versus the summer, there is a longer period of melatonin secretion. Increased synthesis of melatonin depletes serotonin levels, which, in turn, increase the symptoms of SAD. Those patients who experience SAD tend to crave starchy foods and sweets more, which happens when brain serotonin levels are low.
Tryptophan treatment may offer a substantial amount of help for people who are suffering from seasonal affective disorder. SAD patients who were treated with either light therapy or with tryptophan proved that patients with light therapy relapsed more quickly after the discontinued use, as apposed to those who were treated with tryptophan. Studies have also shown that SAD patients often feel better after being treated with tryptophan.
Serotonin also plays an important role in behavioral inhibition. Many studies have found that there is a decrease in aggressive behavior when serotonin is increased, while decreasing serotonin leads to impulsive aggressive behavior. Another study proves that healthy men who are depleted of tryptophan show more aggressiveness. When tryptophan supplementation was studied, participants who received the tryptophan significantly decreased their quarrelsome behavior and increased in sociable and agreeable behavior. Additionally, those patients’ perceptions of other participants’ agreeableness also increased.
Symptoms that are related to premenstrual syndrome include depression, cravings for foods that a rich in carbohydrates, insomnia, irritability, and hostility. More so, women with premenstrual syndrome dysphoria, which is a more severe premenstrual syndrome, have shown decreased levels of brain serotonin. This suggests that tryptophan may be involved, as premenstrual women who had tryptophan depletion have shown increased aggressive behavior. When tryptophan supplementation was studied on women who experienced premenstrual dysphoric disorder, mood swings, tension, and irritability, results showed that there were significantly greater improvements with l-tryptophan supplementation than with a placebo.
Research on SAMe....
October 26, 2005 12:49 PM
Two groups of researchers have conducted analyses of trials that utilized SAM-e for mood enhancement. One meta-analysis was published in 1994. The researchers analyzed the efficacy of SAM-e in oral or injection forms based on published trials dated between 1973 and 1992. The authors concluded that there was a significant improvement of 17 to 38% seen in trials of SAM-e compared to placebo response. They state that the efficacy of SAM-e was superior to placebo and its administration caused few side effects.5 A second review was published in 2002. The authors analyzed studies in which SAM-e doses ranged from 200 to 1600 mg daily. They also found a significant effect of SAM-e in comparison to placebo, with an evident rapid onset of effect at enhancing mood.6
Promotes Joint Comfort and Mobility*
As a sulfur donor to connective tissue, SAM-e plays a major role in protecting the integrity of cartilage tissue. An in vitro trial assessed the actions of SAM-e in cultured human articular chondrocytes. At a concentration of 10 micrograms/ml, proteoglycan synthesis and sulfate residue incorporation in chondrocytes was shown to be 60% higher than control levels. Based on these results, it was shown that SAM-e has a positive influence on the growth and health of cartilaginous connective tissue.7
In a double-blind trial with 734 individuals with compromised joint health. SAM-e given orally at a dose of 1200 mg daily for 30 days was shown to significantly promote joint comfort compared to placebo, with a high level of tolerability and low incidence of side effects. The researchers concluded that SAM-e is a highly effective supplement for enhancing joint comfort.8
Another trial evaluated the response of individuals experiencing discomfort in the joints to a regimen of 1200 mg SAM-e for 1 week followed by 800 mg for the second week, and then 400 mg for weeks 3 through 8. This open trial of 20, 641 people showed a strong ability of SAM-e to enhance feelings of comfort within the joints. The treatment was rated as “very good” or “good” in 71% of the participants, with an additional 21% rating the treatment effect as “moderate”.9
In a long-term trial lasting 24 months, SAM-e was given to 108 participants with compromised joint function. Individuals were given 600 mg orally per day for the first two weeks followed by 400 mg daily for the remainder of the trial. Individuals experienced significant enhancements in joint comfort, with dramatic improvements noted after 2-4 weeks of treatment. Improvements continued to 6 months and beyond.10
In addition to the above studies, a review was conducted in 1987 to assess the results of SAM-e supplementation in clinical trials for enhancing joint mobility and function. Over 22,000 individuals had participated in the clinical trials that were the subject of this review. The author concluded from his analysis that SAM-e was shown to be highly efficacious, rivaling or surpassing the effectiveness of other treatments, and also possessing a high level of safety.11 Because of this, SAM-e may be the treatment of choice for enhancing joint function.
Supports Liver Health and Detoxification*
SAM-e supplementation can have profound benefits on liver function. These benefits center around its function as the major methyl donor in the liver, as well as its lipotropic activity. SAM-e also enhances the production of the antioxidant glutathione.
A number of trials have been conducted showing the ability of SAM-e to support liver detoxification functions and enhance liver health in individuals susceptible to toxin-induced liver compromise. SAM-e has the ability to normalize liver function by increasing the activity of enzymes needed to upregulate liver detoxification. These effects are comprehensive and rapid. Dosages used in these studies range from 600 mg to 1600 mg daily for 2 months to two years.12,13,14 In these trials, significant benefits of SAM-e supplementation were seen over placebo.
SAM-e has an excellent safety profile and is considered well-suited for long term use based on multiple clinical trials. Individuals diagnosed with manic depression should avoid SAM-e supplementation, as it may aggravate the manic phase *This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Agnoli A, Andreoli V, Casacchia M, Cerbo R. Effect of s-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAMe) upon Depressive symptoms. J Psychiatr Res. 1976;13(1):43-54.
2. De Leo D. S-adenosylmethionine as an antidepressant. Curr Ther Research. 1987;41(6):865-70.
3. Kagan BL, Sultzer DL, Rosenlicht N,Gerner RH. Oral S-adenosylmethionine in depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Psychiatry. 1990 May;147(5):591-5.
4.Salmaggi P,Bressa GM,Nicchia G,Coniglio M,La Greca P,Le Grazie C.Doubleblind, placebo-controlled study of S-adenosyl-L-methionine in depressed postmenopausal women. Psychother Psychosom. 1993;59(1):34-40.
5. Bressa GM. S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAMe) as antidepressant: metaanalysis of clinical studies. Acta Neurol Scand Suppl. 1994;154:7-14. 6.Mischoulon D, Fava M. Role of S-adenosyl-L-methionine in the treatment of depression: a review of the evidence. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;76(5):1158S-61S.
7. Harmand MF, Vilamitjana J,Maloche E, Duphil R, Ducassou D. Effects of Sadenosylmethionine on human articular chondrocyte differentiation. An in vitro study. Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):48-54.
8. Caruso I, . Italian double-blind multicenter study comparing S-adenosylmethionine, naproxen, and placebo in the treatment of degenerative joint disease. Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):66-71.
9. Berger R, Nowak H. A new medical approach to the treatment of osteoarthritis. Report of an open phase IV study with ademetionine (Gumbaral). Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):84-8.
10. Konig B. A long-term (two years) clinical trial with S-adenosylmethionine for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):89-94.
11. di Padova C. S-adenosylmethionine in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Review of the clinical studies. Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):60-5.
12. Frezza M, et al. S-adenosylmethionine counteracts oral contraceptive hepatotoxicity in women. Am J Med Sci. 1987; 293(4):234-238.
13. Frezza M, Surrenti C, Manzillo G, Fiaccadori F, Bortolini M, Di Padova C. Oral S-adenosylmethionine in the symptomatic treatment of intrahepatic cholestasis. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Gastroenterology. 1990 Jul;99(1):211-5.
14. Mato JM, et al. S-adenosylmethionine in alcoholic liver cirrhosis: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter clinical trial. J Hepatol. 1999 Jun;30(6):1081-9.
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.
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.
Herbs in Perspective
June 10, 2005 10:25 PM
Herbs in Perspective by Phyllis D. Light, RH-AHG Energy Times, June 16, 2004
"I don't claim a cure...I just try to give people some ease," noted Tommie Bass, a traditional Southern herbalist whose life has been the topic of several books, including Mountain Medicine by Darryl Patton (Natural Reader Press) and Trying to Give Ease by John Crellin and Jane Philpott (Duke University Press). That philosophy reflects the perspective embraced by herbalists for eons.
The traditional use of herbs is incorporated into all cultures. Herbs were the first medicine and the origin of what we now call modern medicine. These plants have not been prescribed to conquer specific illnesses but instead nourish the body and aid in building overall health.
Observation, psychological need and human instinct form the foundation of traditional herbal knowledge and use. This knowledge has been passed down through generations based on practice and experience. The result: a depth of information about the safe and effective use of herbs that spans thousands of years.
The goal of a traditional herbalist is to bring the body into balance (homeostasis), prevent disease and support immune functioning. Unfortunately, any kind of therapeutic knowledge can be misused, and that has happened with some herbs, causing some people to question herbal medicine's safety.
As more people turn to natural therapies, scientists have begun to perform evidence-based research into their safe and effective use. The good news is that much of this research has validated the effectiveness of herbs and supplements.
Echinacea to the Rescue
Do the sniffling sneezes that herald a cold have you reaching for your bottle of echinacea? If so, you are in good company. Echinacea (Echinacea spp) is one of the top-selling herbs.
The colorful American prairie plant was extremely popular during the early 1900s, until the use of modern antibiotics relegated it to the back shelf. But a resurgence of interest in herbs propelled echinacea back into the mainstream in the second half of the twentieth century. And this herb boasts an impressive body of research and has an excellent record of safety.
For instance, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy have found echinacea to be effective in supporting the body's defenses against upper respiratory tract infections and for reducing the duration of discomforts that accompany the common cold (Pharmacotherapy 2000; 20(6):690-7).
Although studies have not confirmed its ability to prevent colds, echinacea is widely used by many folks for just that purpose. Researchers have found that echinacea's effectiveness may drop if you use it for eight straight weeks (Am J Health-Syst Pharm 1999; 56(2):121-2). So if you take it for a couple of months, take a couple of weeks off before using it again.
St. John's wort is another herb with ancient origins that has experienced a modern resurgence. Named after St. John the Baptist, St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is generally in bright yellow bloom around St. John's Day (June 26). According to herbalist Michael Tierra, author of The Way of Herbs (Pocket Books), St. John's wort affects the liver and the nervous system. In 1984, the German Commission E, a recognized herbal authority, approved St. John's for Depressive disorders, and in topical form for acute injuries and first-degree burns.
Modern research has reaffirmed the use of St. John's wort in the short-term treatment of mild to moderate depression (Cochrane Review Issue 2, 2004). It has also been found to be useful in premenstrual depression (Int J Psy Med 2003; 33(3):295-7). (Researchers have found that the herb may alter how the body processes some prescription medications, so check with your healthcare provider before using such medicines along with St. John's wort.)
King of Herbs
" Ginseng (Panax) received the lofty title, King of Herbs, due to its reputation as a tonic and its ability to stimulate the body into healing," notes herbalism writer Darryl Patton. This plant was once so popular in China that it was worth its weight in gold.
In fact, ginseng is the popular name for two different types of ginseng, American and Korean (Panax quinquefolium and P. ginseng). Both are considered adaptogens, or substances that help the body deal with stress more effectively. And modern research has found that ginseng can be used to improve overall energy and vitality, and to help the body deal more effectively with chronic stress (J Pharm Sci 2003 Dec: 93(4):458-64).
Researchers have found that ginseng helps boost the immune system (J Med Food 2004 Spring; 7(1):1-6). This ancient herb is also a powerful antioxidant that confers protection on the heart (Biochem Biophys Acta 2004 Feb 24; 1670(3):165-71). In other studies, ginseng has been found to reduce symptoms of menopause, improve endurance and lower blood sugar levels. To avoid overharvesting wild ginseng, most of the herb on the market is now grown on farms.
Ode to Ginkgo
Known as the Living Fossil, ginkgo is the oldest known plant in the world. A native of Asia, ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is now found in many US cities, where it has been planted as a quick-growing shade tree. Traditionally, ginkgo was used for disorders and diseases of the lungs and the kidneys, as a remedy for bronchitis and to improve circulation in older people.
Ginkgo contains substances that act as potent antioxidants by scavenging cell-damaging free radicals, and it is thought to help reduce the risk of disease. By opening capillaries, ginkgo increases circulation, and enables nutrients and oxygen to move around the body, especially to the extremities.
Indeed, recent research indicates that ginkgo may ease pain associated with arterial disease in the legs (Am J Med 2000; 108:276-81). Other studies support the use of ginkgo for acute stress (J Pharm Sci 2003 Dec; 93(4):458-64) and some cases of hearing loss (Acta Otolaryngol 2001; 121:579-84).
In a UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute study on ginkgo, researchers found significant improvement in the verbal recall of people who had age-related memory problems. According to Dr. Linda Ercoli, lead author of the study, "Our findings suggest intriguing avenues for future study...with a larger sample to better measure and understand the impact of ginkgo on brain metabolism."
Traditionally, fiery ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been used to aid digestion, reduce nausea, relieve gas, reduce symptoms of arthritis and strengthen the heart. Modern researchers have started to validate these traditional uses; ginger has reduced the nausea and vomiting of morning sickness in studies (Aust NZJ Obstet Gynaecol 2003 Apr; 4392:139-44).
Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Minnesota have applied for a patent on a substance found in ginger, believing it to have anticancer activity. According to Ann Bode, "Plants of the ginger family have been credited with therapeutic and preventive powers and have been reported to have anticancer activity."
Ginger can be found in natural food stores as fresh or dried root. It often appears in small amounts in herbal formulas as a carrier herb-one that helps move other herbs around the body.
The best medicine combines the health support of herbs with the scientific rigor of conventional medicine. And as scientists continue to search for new medicine from ancient remedies, we can enjoy the best of both perspectives.
Glycerylphosphorylcholine -- Supports Cognitive Function in AD ...
May 24, 2005 09:52 AM
Cognitive Improvement in Mild to Moderate Alzheimer's Dementia After Treatment with the Acetylcholine Precursor Choline Alfoscerate: A Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial Maria De Jesus Moreno Moreno, MD Instituto Nacional de la Senectud, Mexico City, Mexico
in both men and woman they consistently improved after 90 and 180 days versus baseline with adiministration of GPC three times a day, whereas in the placebo group they remained unchanged or worsened. Statistically significant differences were observed between treatments after 90 and 180 days.
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