By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND
Are you singing the blue's? If you are, you are not alone. Doctors are handing out prescriptions for antidepressants like candy. Unfortunately, the number one noted side effects for these popular drugs is, believe it or not, depression.
Depression is a misunderstood, misdiagnosed and often mistreated condition. So, let's unravel some of the causes of depression and provide some natural alternatives to the prescription drug scene.
Once named "melancholia", shamans and sages felt that bad thoughts or demons caused the disorder. Our modern understanding of depression comes from research done on chemicals called neurotransmitters. Here's how these chemicals work.
The area where two nerves meet and exchange information is referred to as a "synapse". The synaptic region is filled with fluid in which neurotransmitters travel and transmit information from one nerve to another. As one nerve releases a neurotransmitter, the other nerve has its receptor that will then accept and process the information.
Once the receptor has been stimulated by this chemical message, the neurotransmitter may be returned to the originating nerve for recycling or it may be destroyed. Destruction of neurotransmitters involves converting them into substances that can be absorbed into the bloodstream and eliminated in the urine. Various enzymes, such as monamine oxidase (MAO) accomplish this task.
The nerves must replenish their supply of neurotransmitters in order to send the next message. This can be accomplished by reabsorbing the previously released neurotransmitters (a process called reuptake) or by manufacturing a new supply. Neurotransmitters are created from amino acids using vitamins and minerals.
Medical Approaches to Depression
Modern scientists believe that during depression there may be an imbalance of neurotransmitters, either a depleted supply or excess. Some of the neurotransmitters believed to be involved in depression include serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. When the supply of one of these chemicals is depleted, the nerve is unable to send signals properly. When the chemical is in excess, the message is "over-sent."
Today's antidepressant drugs are all designed to alter neurotransmitters in some fashion. In the 1940's, tricyclic drugs, better known as MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) began to hit the market. These drugs inhibited the enzyme we mentioned earlier that breaks down some of these neurotransmitters. Although this approach worked for some, it had serious side effects for others, including death. In some cases individuals who were depressed, ended up with anxiety and vice versa.
In 1988, Prozac, a SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake
Inhibitor) was introduced into the scene. Soon 22 million
Americans were taking the drug. With the fad popularity
of Prozac, soon more antidepressant drugs appeared on the
Natural Approaches to Depression
Amino acids are derived from vitalized protein. Over-cooked meat is not a good source of amino acids. Furthermore, many people have problems with protein digestion. Super Algae or Ultimate Green Zone can be beneficial here, along with protease and high quality vegetable or animal protein sources.
B-complex has remarkable results for many sufferers,
because the B-vitamins are critical to the synthesis Of neurotransmitters. Dr. Peter D'Adamo has successfully treated
depression, hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Disorder in
many O Blood Types With high doses of folic acid and B 12.
One should always make sure to incorporate a B-complex
when taking a single B vitamin.
Where depression is associated with anxiety, kava kava
or St. John's wort may help to eliminate nervous tension.
Nutri-Calm is an excellent source of B-vitamins and also
contains herbs and nutrients to help anxiety.
The thyroid plays an elemental function in this physiology. Hypothyroidism is often overlooked and the depression, a mere symptom, diagnosed. Depression is noted and is
sometimes the first diagnosed in 40% of hypothyroid patients. If a group of depression patients were tested, approxiately 10-15% of them would be found to have thyroid disorder.
A complete list Of possible therapies and remedies for depression follows.
Below is a list of suggested products. Those in bold are key products for the health issue explained on this page.
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