Search Term: " bipolar disorder "
Accumulating evidence suggests curcumin and turmeric can treatpsychiatric disorders
January 28, 2019 08:10 AM
There are so many people out there that are suffering from mental disorders. There have always been these types of people and the treatment for them has remained largely the same. They go and they talk to people who try to help them deal with their inner demons. However, it is really tough. Now, there are studies that are showing that curcumin and turmeric can actually help treat these individuals who have these disorders. This would be massive for them.
"Thankfully, researchers have discovered that a compound in the popular Indian spice turmeric has the potential to effectively treat psychiatric disorders like bipolar disorder and depression."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-06-accumulating-evidence-curcumin-turmeric-treat-psychiatric-disorders.html
What Is Taurine? Separating Myth from Reality
June 03, 2017 09:14 AM
Taurine is is an amino acid naturally found in meats and dairy products. If a person consumes a normal balanced diet, they are probably meeting their daily taurine requirements. It is regarded as safe to consume, as long as it is used responsibly in moderation.
It does have numerous health benefits, including improved heart health, sedative effects for those afflicted with neurological disorders, lowering of cholesterol and blood pressure, combating gum disease, and improvement of athletic performance (although there seems to be some disagreement on this point).
A growing source of Taurine is in energy drinks. While usage of energy drinks has resulted in a rise in emergency room visits, the amount of taurine used within should pose no health risk and is not considered a contributing factor.
It should be noted that taurine is not completely understood at this time. Its effects on pregnant/breast-feeding women are unknown at this time, and the safe decision would be to avoid usage. It is also theorized that taurine may be detrimental to those battling bipolar disorders. Only further scientific studies will clarify the benefits/risks associated with taurine.
"The only amino acid with its own zodiac sign, it’s falsely been associated with the myth of coming from bull urine or bull semen, probably because its name stems from taurus, meaning bull."
Read more: https://draxe.com/what-is-taurine/
Rewires Your Brain and Slashes Anxiety Levels, but Beware
March 14, 2017 03:59 PM
Thedocumentary, Ride the Tiger: A Guide Through the Bipolar Brain, focused on current concepts treatment. Drugs available don't work in all patients and lifestyle changes are recommended when possible. It's recommended that bipolar patients and people suffering from other disorders There has been some positive outcomes from devices using light and magnets to stimulate the brain but a healthy diet, exercise, vitamin supplements and probiotics can address these disorders. Patients have also received benefits through exercise and proper sleep patterns. Doing all this, patients have found they can slowly get off their drug treatment regimens.
""By seeking to understand how the bipolar brain malfunctions, researchers believe they can get closer to understanding the inner workings of the brain, potentially unlocking treatments for other types of psychiatric problems as well.""
Marijuana could help treat drug addiction, mental health, study suggests
February 19, 2017 10:59 AM
Marijuana may become legal in Canada as early as next year. With that in mind, researchers are trying to determine if the drug might have more implications than just for recreation. They have been reviewing all studies available on marijuana to see if there is a link between the use of cannabis and health. What they found is that the substance may be helpful in getting addicts off of alcohol and opioids. It may also reduce symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety. More research needs to be done, but the possibilities are promising.
"Research suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication"
Your Mood and mental health
September 20, 2016 11:52 AM
bipolar disorder is a terrible mental disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by periods of severe depression, followed by periods of extreme euphoria. It can be rapid cycling, which means the person with the disease goes through many moods a day.
Once you figure out what the underlying cause such as brain chemistry, then you can take a natural approach to help boost serotonin or dopamine.
Always remember to be careful if on MAO inhibitors or SSRI inhibitors before taking natural remedies like 5-htp or dopabean to mess with serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain.
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.
The Tremendous Health Benefits Of Omega- 3 Fatty Acids
November 10, 2012 11:53 AM
Omega-3 vs Omega-6
Several sources of information and clinical studies have revealed that the ratio between these two essential fatty acids in our diet have over a period of time played a significant role in making humans prone to certain diseases that the early humans were not afflicted with.
The raging debate in finding the right ratio arises also from the fact that modern foods preferences lean heavily toward the consumption of omega-6 rich foods . This fatty acid has been linked to the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases, cancers, inflammatory diseases, immunodeficiency, artherosclerosis, hypertension, blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes and obesity. In the last ten thousand years our genetic structure has remained the same, but with the onset of the Agricultural Revolution radical changes in food habits have created a lopsided diet. The western diet is heavily oversubscribing to the use of the polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFA, and going low on Essential Fatty Acids or EFA. Living in the industrial societies that we do and in a kind of nutritional environment that we live in, we need to make informed choices about the food we consume is important considering how high- risk western societies are to many kinds of ailments.
Both omega-3 and omega -6 fatty acids are essential for us, but have to be obtained from food as the human body does not have the ability to produce it. Clinical evidence has shown that the Mediterranean diet is more focused on fresh fruits, vegetables, fats from olives, fish, nuts, garlic and whole grains. It has the requisite amounts of healthy fats to combat numerous diseases like coronary condition, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, high cholesterol, schizophrenia, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, bipolar disorder and colon cancer. Astounding also is the finding that our body possesses a certain enzyme that can be linked in its structure and function to these essential fatty acids. These are called prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins are the end products of a chain reaction that begins with the release of unsaturated fatty acids from the cell membrane. It was first isolated from human semen and has found great use as an enzyme based treatment for menstrual problems, childbirth and many other medical conditions. Its ability to increase blood flow has resulted in its use for inducing abortion in troubled pregnancies. However, its over secretion in the body is related to numerous inflammatory conditions and has been found to increase in the body due to the overbearing presence of 0mega-6 fatty acids.These facts can not be taken lightly for a civilization reeling under the onslaught of devastating ailments. Its time to take heed .
Lecithin And Its Brain Boosting Properties
March 02, 2012 07:10 AM
Lecithin is a group of fatty substances, which occur in the tissues of plants and animals. It composed of fatty acids, choline, phosphoric acid, triglycerides, glycolipids, B vitamins, glycerol, and phospholipids. Liver produces this substance daily if you follow a complete nutritional diet. Lecithin is also inevitable for all cells in your body,protecting your cells from oxidation, and it is a major building block of cell membranes. It also supports the circulatory system of your body because it is a fat emulsifier too.
The first isolation of lecithin was done by a French pharmacist and chemist, Theodore Gobley in 1846 and he named phosphatidylcholine Lechithine in 1850. He isolated it originally from egg yolk. Today, lecithin can very easily be extracted mechanically or chemically from soybean, grape seed, and sunflower. However, in plants, the most common source of lecithin is soybean. This substance is used for medicinal purposes and as a food supplement. Sometimes, it is used as an emulsifier in cooking for preventing sticking.
Your body gets adequate amount of lecithin from your diet because it is naturally found in foods such as soybeans, egg yolk, peanuts, yeast, legumes, fish, wheat germ, grains, etc. It is also available in the market in the form of capsules, granules, and powder. This is also used as a supplement for promoting weight loss. Besides, you can also take lecithin in the form of pill or mixed in health shakes.
Health benefits of lecithin
It is believed that lecithin is beneficial for solving a number of health problems. So it is effective for:
* Cell communication,
Brain Boosting Properties of Lecithin
The major brain chemical for improving memory is acetycholine and the deficiency of this chemical is the major cause of declining memory. This chemical can be derived from nutrient choline. Fish is a rich source of acetylcholine. It can also be obtained from eggs, nuts, peanuts, soy beans, liver, etc. Eating more egg is beneficial for enhancing your memory.
There are lots of studies has been conducted for finding the effectiveness of lecithin in improving the memory. As per the findings of experts, lecithin is highly effective for improving concentration, memory, and for preventing Alzheimer's disease and maniac depression (bipolar disorder). Lecithin helps to run your brain smoothly by improving insulation around the nerves. A major part of cell membranes consists of lecithin and it is essential for the proper functioning and growth of nerve. Organ meats and egg yolks are rich sources of lecithin but the usage of these products is very less due to the fear of cholesterol. Experts think that this is the major reason for the increase of concentration and memory problems.
If you use lecithin properly, you can improve your concentration, memory, mind and nerves.
February 15, 2012 06:58 AM
Ashwagandha is a popularly known dietary supplement that is commonly grown in India and North America. Also known by the name Indian Winter Cherry, ashwagandha is a product of the brown roots of a shrub that goes by the same name and which is believed to have a wide range of benefits for many ailments. Ashwagandha has always been considered as a very important herb in ayurvedic medicinal systems. This is particularly because of its wide application in curing a wide range of ailments, which has earned it a lot of respect in the eyes of traditional herbal healers. In fact, even modern science has started grasping the herb's potent abilities. Research has already confirmed that ashwagandha possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory as well as anti-stress properties. This article will hence discuss some of the benefits of ashwagandha to our bodies.
Ashwagandha is particularly recognized for it calming effect on the body. Some researchers have even indicated that it has the ability to induce sleep. Research has demonstrated that it calming and sleep-inducing effects or properties are much similar to that of the popular amino acid known as GABA.
Ashwagandha is also popularly recognized for its ability to ease restlessness or anxiety in addition to reduction of drug withdrawal symptoms. It has the ability to stabilize one's moods in addition to encouraging adrenal recovery which has made it very valuable among herbalists.
The benefits of ashwagandha extend far beyond mood stabilization as it also finds applicable use in helping elderly people to have a better cognitive ability, mental agility as well as enhance their memory and retention. Other than the above, ashwagandha is also known as a very effective remedy for fighting the symptoms of colds as well as coughs.
Recent research has also provided reliable prove that ashwagandha bears a lot of potential ability towards decreasing or inhibiting the growth of cancer cells without having any side effects on other healthy cells.
Ashwagandha is also an antioxidant that contains anti-aging properties and is traditionally recognized for its ability in the nourishment of muscles and the brain as well as strengthening the immune system. Studies have also indicated that the orange berries of the ashwagandha shrub can be tropically used in the treatment of skin ulcers, tumors and carbuncles. Ashwagandha also has anti-inflammatory properties that provide relief to swellings as well as restores blood supply.
It also works as a suppressant to any form of pain. This is due to its “ushan virya” potency properties that help in the eradication of pain in the body. It is also known as an effective remedy for diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, as well as sciatica. It use also has effective application as a remedy for goiter, lymphadenopathy, as well as healing any wounds or injuries.
As a powerful aphrodisiac, ashwagandha helps in the enhancement of sexual energy in addition to long lasting endurance in both men and women. In men, it improves sperm count as well as sperm quality.
Further research has indicated that ashwagandha is an effective treatment for diabetes, constipation, nerve problems, memory loss, impotency, bipolar disorder among a list of other endless physical ailments.
Ashwagandha, taken with a healthy diet as well as accompanied by healthy lifestyle choices is a great way of guaranteeing one's protection from minor ailments as well as promotion of physical strength.
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!
Control Cholesterol, Loose Weight, Regulate Blood Sugar, And More With Inositol
June 02, 2011 12:10 PM
What Does the B Vitamin Inositol Do for the Body?
Inositol is an organic compound that functions within the human body in the same way as nutrients. Its vitamin-like activities are believed to be similar to other B vitamins. It plays an important role in the upkeep of cells, breakdown of fats, effects of insulin, activities of serotonin, and regulation of cholesterol, among others. It is usually obtained from plant-based food products that contain lecithin.
Myo-inositol is the form most widespread in nature. It is also the form most active within the body as it has been associated with many physiological functions. It is no longer classified as an essential nutrient in that our body is capable of synthesizing it in adequate amounts. That being said, its vitamin-like activities and desirable health benefits have contributed to its popularity as a supplement.
Reduces Cholesterol Levels
One of the biological roles of inositol is to help regulate cholesterol levels in the systemic circulation. This nutrient even reduces overall lipid levels. It limits the conversion of very-low-density lipoproteins to low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol. In addition, it promotes the releases of high-density lipoproteins, or good cholesterol, which contains lower amounts of lipids. By so doing, it lowers free fatty acids and other lipids in the blood and protects the blood vessels from lipid peroxidation.
Modulates Serotonin Activities
Inositol is directly involved in the activities of what we refer to as the happiness hormone, which is the neurotransmitter serotonin. In fact, this nutrient has very visible impact on the effects of serotonin on mood, appetite, sleep, and muscle contraction. Healthy levels of inositol increases the overall tolerance of the human body to risk factors and creates a general feeling of physical well being.
Induces Weight Loss
Fat metabolism relies on the presence of inositol, the reason why this B-vitamin-like compound is commercially touted to aid weight loss. Inositol participates in the chemical reactions that lead to the breakdown of fats. Consumptions of foods rich in inositol have shown to increase effective utilization of fat reserves found in adipose tissues, such as the unwanted subcutaneous body fat. Proponents of supplementation believe that inositol induces breakdown of fats even while sleeping.
Regulates Blood Sugar
The hormone insulin is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels throughout the day. It sends signals to individual cells that promote the uptake of glucose from the blood. Glucose is of course what fuels cellular activities, and thus contributes to the metabolism of compounds utilized by cells. Inositol enables insulin to initiate signal transduction and communicate effectively with cells in the process.
Improves Mental Disorders
Inositol has long been linked to the improvement of mental disorders. It has been observed that individuals diagnosed with clinical depression have low levels of inositol in their cerebrospinal fluid. Supplementation appears to rebalance brain chemicals, enhance mood, and improve mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, major depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Improve Your Health with Inositol.
Grab some inositol today and improve your cardiovascular health naturally!
How Does Taurine Help the Brain?
May 13, 2011 01:09 PM
Taurine is an amino acid often added to energy drinks. There have been several theories on how taurine affects brain chemicals and improve cognitive function. For many years, it has been compared to caffeine due to its effects on the human brain that appear to enhance mood. Its exact mechanisms of action remain a mystery to the scientific community, but recent studies are believed to be closing in.
It has long been known that taurine crosses the blood brain barrier, allowing it to exert some effects on several neurotransmitters found in the central nervous system. It has been tied to the alleviation of many mental illnesses, such as epilepsy, post traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety, making it the subject of a number of studies in the past few years.
Rebalances Brain Chemicals
It has been postulated that taurine influences the activities of neurotransmitters in the brain, but only recently has brain scientists been able to actually track its activities in the brain. A team of researchers at Cornell University managed to find a site for the neurological activity of taurine, with initial results pointing to its relationship with gamma the neurotransmitter aminobutyric acid, or GABA. The researchers do not discount the possibility that taurine may even have a receptor of its own.
Whether taurine interacts with brain chemicals is no longer debatable as it creates homeostasis in the central nervous system. It acts on receptors that the researchers discovered to be the same receptors present in GABAergic mechanisms. That being said, scientists remain inconclusive as to how its interaction with GABA receptors provides energy-boosting benefits as it is marketed in the food and drug industries.
Prevents Neuron Damage
The scientific community is convinced that taurine has neuroprotective properties. High levels of taurine in the brain have been observed to protect brain tissues from cerebral ischemia. Taurine has been linked to many metabolic pathways that are known to promote neurological health, such as the activation of glycine receptors and the regulation of enzymes called cysteine-dependent aspartate-directed proteases.
In addition, taurine serves as antioxidants that protect nerve cells from cellular damage brought on by oxidative stress. The presence of taurine within cells reduces damage from calcium excesses and increases mitochondrial events. For decades, supplementation of taurine has benefited sufferers of brain ischemia, epileptic seizures, panic attacks, anxiety symptoms, and even alcohol withdrawal.
Enhances Cognitive Function
Taurine has already been associated with physiological functions the hypothalamus controls, such as sleep-wake cycle and responses to fatigue. In several laboratory studies, administrations of taurine by way of intraperitoneal injection have successfully induced social interaction in animal subjects. It is one of the amino acids that affect cognitive development, especially in children. While it is one of the most abundant amino acids in the brain, it is depleted as we age, making supplementation a good option.
Protect your brain with Taurine by taking it daily!
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
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.
Inositol And Choline
December 11, 2008 12:19 PM
Inositol is a member of the vitamin B complex family, being referred to as vitamin B8, but is not strictly a vitamin because it is biosynthesized in your body. Vitamins are essential substances that are not manufactured by your natural biochemistry, and must be taken in your diet. However, to all intents and purposes it works like a member of the vitamin B family.
The main function of myo-inositol (the commonest isomer of inositol) is in the health of cell membranes, particularly those that comprise the marrow, eyes, intestines and the brain. Without proper regulation of the cell membrane, the cell cannot function effectively. Some of its effects include healthy hair and controlling estrogen levels. It is also believed to help to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
A deficiency will result in hair loss, eczema, increased blood cholesterol levels and eye abnormalities. You might also suffer constipation, although this is not as serious a condition as those preceding. It is present at highest levels in the heart and brain, which indicates where it is mostly used, although it also helps the liver to break down fats and enables the nerves and muscles to operate as they should.
Those that are depressed are frequently found to have low inositol levels in their spinal fluid, so it is believed to play a part in that condition. It is known that the substance takes part in the function of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is known to play a part in depression, and initial signs are that its use in the treatment of depression could be effective. Neurotransmitters are responsible for passing messages across the gap (synapses) between nerve cells, their messages being decoded by the neuroreceptors. A healthy nervous system depends on healthy neurotransmitters.
For these reasons, inositol has also been tried on other conditions of the nervous system. These include bipolar disorder, bulimia, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder. So far, results have been inconclusive as to its effectiveness, but it is early days yet and field tests are continuing.
A test carried out in Beersheva, Israel, in 1997, found that treatment with inositol produced significant improvement in the depression of 28 patients after four weeks on the Hamilton Depression Scale1, and 21 patients tested with panic disorder (with and without agoraphobia) showed significant improvements in their condition, including agoraphobia. Results on 13 patients with obsessive compulsive disorder also showed significant improvement. These were all double-blind tests.
However, not all tests have been so conclusive, and a study on 42 people with sever depression who did not respond to conventional antidepressant, also failed to respond when inositol was added to their medication.2 Results are therefore not conclusive.
Four hundred people took part in a double-blind test that indicated a possible improvement in the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome when treated with inositol 3,4 and another that inositol treatment on patients taking lithium could help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis, a skin condition believed to be caused by a reaction of the immune system and nerves.5
The supplement has also been found to be just as effective as Luvox (fluvoxamine – similar to Prozac) after four weeks treatment. Although these results are good, they are inconclusive, and more data is need before any indisputable conclusions can be drawn. However, treatment with inositol might be worth considering if conventional treatment for these conditions has been unsuccessful.
The most common natural form of inositol is myo-inositol, an isomer of cyclohehexanehexol, a carbocyclic polyol that form the structural basis for secondary messengers in the cells of eukaryotes.
A secondary messenger system is one whereby a signaling molecule is released in response to a signal from a primary messenger such as a neuroreceptor, which then activates certain intracellular proteins known as effector proteins that exert a response from the cell. An example is cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) that is a secondary messenger that activates protein kinases and allows them to phosphorylated proteins.
Eukaryotes are organisms that contain cells composed of complex components contained within a cellular membrane, and that also contain a nucleus. Examples are fungi, plants and all animals. Examples of non eukaryotes include the bacteria family.
It is frequently recommended that inositol is most effective when taken with an equal amount of choline, although this might be due to the fact that when inositol deficiency is detected, choline is also frequently deficient. Both are vitamin B family like, and both are lipotropic, in that they aid the breakdown of fats in the body. It is not clear whether this is true or not, but taking both would certainly not harm you, and might be of great benefit.
Inositol is not essential, because it can be obtained from beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, cantaloupe, brewer’s yeast, liver and vegetables. Bacteria in the gut also act on the phytic acid (inositol hexaphosphate) contained in citrus fruits to form inositol.
However, be careful if you drink a lot of coffee. It destroys inositol, and if you are taking the supplement medicinally, steer clear of coffee during your period of treatment because it will lose its effect. Excessive coffee drinking can also result in a general depletion of inositol from your diet, and hence a deficiency. In such a case you are advised to take a supplement, preferably along with choline that might also be deficient.
Although there have been no adverse side effects reported, no specific longer term safety studies have been carried out on inositol. Because of the way it works, inositol should be avoided by people with liver or kidney disease, and also by expectant or nursing women. It should be avoided by young children until safety tests have been carried out, and it is believed that it can cause manic effects in those suffering bipolar disorder.
Other than for these specific cases, trials with many times the average daily intake of the substance, it currently appears safe to take inositol as a long-term supplement. However, as with all such supplements intended for specific disorders, you should seek the advice of your physician.
References: 1. Levine J: Ministry of Health Mental Health Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev,Beersheva, Israel ur Neuropsychopharmacol, 1997 May, 7:2, 147-55
2. Nemets B, Mishory A, Levine J, et al. Inositol addition does not improve depression in SSRI treatment failures. J Neural Transm. 1999;106:795-798.
3. Gerli S, Mignosa M, Di Renzo GC. Effects of inositol on ovarian function and metabolic factors in women with PCOS: a randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2003;7:151-9.
4. Gerli S, Papaleo E, Ferrari A, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial: effects of myo-inositol on ovarian function and metabolic factors in women with PCOS. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2007;11:347-354.
5. Allan SJ, Kavanagh GM, Herd RM, et al. The effect of inositol supplements on the psoriasis of patients taking lithium: arandomized, placebo-controlled trial. Br J Dermatol. 2004;150:966-969.
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.
Barlean’s Fish Oils
November 22, 2007 01:48 PM
It’s usually a common fact that what is best for your body is also what is best for the planet. Eating organic foods instead of processed foods; eating less food overall; and using natural medicine from herbs and nutrients to heal illnesses instead of hazardous pharmaceuticals: are god for the environment and also good for your health. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. At first glance, one exception is eating fish and taking fish oil supplements. Although these fish oils are a huge benefit to the human body, the toll that fishing is taking on marine ecosystems is far less beneficial to fish populations. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, almost three-quarters of the world’s fish species are gone to a point of no return.
Fish oils are the only abundant natural source of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Because most modern diets usually contain abundant omega-6 fatty acids these fatty acids are very low in most people’s diets. Omega-3s work as anti-inflammatory and promote good nerve transmission, heart function, and relaxed, open blood vessels, while omega-6s tend to do the opposite. By using fish oil supplements to raise levels of DHA and EPA, virtually every system of the body is benefited and protected against disease processes. These oils are currently being studied for their use in treatments against high cholesterol, depression, hypertension, and bipolar disorder. The growing popularity of these amazingly healthy foods, along with the ever-increasing pollution and habitat destruction are, together, creating a dangerous depletion of fish in our oceans.
So should we stop eating fish oil? If we do, we’ll be depriving ourselves of one of the world’s most beneficial foods, which helps our cardiovascular system, bones, joints, skin, energy levels, healthy pregnancy, visual acuity, hormone balance, psychological health, thinking ability, and sexual and emotional health. Fortunately, there is an alternative in getting your omega-3s. The answer is through buying your fish oil from a company that is dedicated to sustainable fish practices. Omega-3 is found in fish oil and flax seeds. Some fish oil suppliers use a reef netting to catch Puget Sound salmon, which has been practiced by native people of the northwest for centuries using boats and nets made from cedar. Reef netting has been declared the “best sustainable fishing method in practice today” by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Reef nets mimic natural barriers that salmon routinely navigate, where they are caught and taken to a holding tank on the deck of the boat within minutes. Any by catch is then quickly and easily returned to sea unharmed. Fish oils should be made from anchovy and sardines that have been harvested from the coast of Peru, while their Cod Liver Oil is sourced from Artic cod off the coast of Norway, all of which have very healthy populations. A reputable company will make sure to choose where they source their fish oils, picking only the cleanest, purest fish to provide to consumers. After the oil arrives at a company, it goes through at least five different purification processes which eliminate any toxins and prevent spoilage before distillation.
An Alternative to Oily fish oil
Europharma has come out with Vectomega, a fish oil supplement in tablet form that provides the same great DHA and EPA health benefits that regular fish oil softgels do with out the oil. you have no fear of burping up oil with Vectomega fish oil.
Lithium Aspartate improve brain function
January 03, 2006 05:32 PM
Lithium has long been known to be an effective therapy for bipolar disorder (manic depression) when taken in high doses. However, recent research has shown that low doses of lithium preserve and renew brain cells. Eight out of ten persons given lithium showed an increase in brain grey matter of 3 % after only 4 weeks. By promoting brain cell regeneration and increasing brain size lithium can function as an anti-aging nutrient for the brain.
Lithium Aspartate may help increase brain function when taken daily. have you had your lithium today? :)
Omega-3 Fish Oils “Super Supplement of the Sea”
January 03, 2006 08:52 AM
*This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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.