More News About Depression

By Jim Fain

Almost any time of the year can be emotionally tough for many people, so a column on depression is timely. While everyone feels blue or down every now and then, true depression is different. The symptoms are pretty broad with all patterns having a base of irritability, anxiety and reduced hope. Depression can have big cycles with very high highs and very low lows (bipolar), smaller cycles (cyclothymia), very low lows without cycles (major depression) or a chronic sort of having a wet-blanket-mostly-covering life (dysthymic depression). Seasonal changes due to the loss of sunlight can be a problem as well as not exercising enough. Depression has different sources.

There are physical and emotional causes of depression. Physical causes can be prescribed drugs, unintended drug combinations, recreational drugs, quitting coffee, quitting smoking, chronic aches and pains to list just a few. Emotional causes mostly have to do with turning the feeling of anger inward and beating yourself up by telling yourself you’re no good or that life is no good..

Sometimes, a gland may not be functioning properly such as your thyroid and when estrogens are out of range in both men and women depression and anxiety follow. Lab tests such as TSH (thyroid), estradiol, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone can be easily done to find out if there is a problem.

Some supplements like vitamin D and DL-Phenylalanine help prevent mood change, especially those connected to not enough sunlight. Several supplements are exceptional in lifting depression. The newest one I’ve found is Uridine which can lift mood and in many improves mood. The amino acid L-5HTP which when given in the proper amount is as effective for many as Prozac without the nasty side effects (just don’t use it along with Prozac or any of its prescribed cousins).

Studies have shown fish oil to be effective in reducing the degree of depression over time. L-theanine is found in wide use in Japan. Benefits include promoting relaxation without drowsiness, improved learning and concentration, reducing stress and anxiety that may set off depression. The newest data shows that supplementing with a quality probiotic daily helps, too.

There are many ways to deal with depression. No one needs to suffer endlessly, and life is too short not to feel a range of emotions including happiness.

The organics of prescribed drugs vs. supplements

By Jim Fain

In our nutty system which often pits medications/science against nutritional supplements, the bias supporting medicine is usually given top dog status.

Dire warnings abound that if you do this drug or that, then these supplements will interfere causing harm.

Rarely is there a balanced approach. Suppose the prescription medication bias with huge amounts of corporate money backing it is entirely backward?

Suppose the prescription drug is actually interfering with the absorption of the nutritional supplement. Suppose, it is well established that prescribed drugs often and commonly create new ailments by causing vitamin and mineral deficits … what would you do? Think about this as this is more often the case than we can imagine.

Consider the mineral magnesium. This all-natural gift is used in thousands of body processes each and every day. We simply have to have enough in our systems to avoid short-term or long-term illnesses due to deficit.

Did you know prescribed diuretics, blood pressure medications and statin drugs interfere with the benefits of magnesium. Other drugs do, too. Did you know, in fact magnesium can lower blood pressure along with reducing cholesterol as well as helping reduce atrial fibrillation, migraines, reducing calcium overload, helping muscle function, relaxing the body, improve breathing for asthma, reducing constipation … the list is very long.

Of course, if you take prescribed drugs and have symptoms, you’ll likely be prescribed more prescribed drugs. This sets up a vicious circle doesn’t it?

Blood testing can be done to measure magnesium levels but are likely to be imprecise at best in terms of measuring your need. You see a blood test just shows how much is in your blood but not in the tissues where it is needed. Additionally, it is thought that drugs processed through the liver may elevate amounts of magnesium in the blood as the body dumps stores in order to detox from the very effects of the drug.

What to do? First emphasize eating anything green like chard and kale adding nuts and beans to the recipe. If you’re using prescribed drugs I’d add 300-450 magnesium each day. Remember, magnesium is required for a long list of body processes yet we don’t get enough in our diet. Making this worse is that prescribed drugs like heart medicines, and others, decrease absorption of this very needed mineral. I like the chelated type and take 2 tablets daily. Supplement formulas typically named Blood Pressure Support have enough magnesium for most people.

Be aware your blood pressure (BP) may drop so keep a log of home measurements. If it was me then as my BP drops I’d start reducing my BP meds. Keep your doctor informed and keep him/her as your health partner.

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