Depression is a serious mood disorder that affects millions of people every year. In some cases, the cause is something that happens in life — like the death of a loved one, a divorce, or illness. But in a majority of cases, we don’t know why depression develops.
And this is where a huge drug market comes into play — the antidepressants. Big Pharma believes that their drugs are the cure-all for depression and all of its potential consequences. But here’s an interesting fact: Less than 50% of patients prescribed antidepressants actually get better.1
That means that more than half of the people taking one of these so-called “cure-all drugs” are still left suffering from this debilitating mood disorder. In baseball batting 500 is considered a success, but when it comes to treating depression, we think this is completely unacceptable.
Conventional Medicine’s Failed Approach to DepressionAntidepressants for the most part work by preventing the removal of one neurotransmitter from the brain — serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. Studies have shown that higher brain serotonin is associated with a sense of well-being and low levels are associated with depression.
So naturally, Big Pharma focuses on serotonin. But their approach fails for two big reasons:
- The most popular class of antidepressants does not increase serotonin production. The drugs only prevent its removal from the synaptic cleft — the space between two brain cells. Do you see the problem? If depression is associated with low serotonin, simply preventing its removal doesn’t address the deficiency.
After taking the drugs, you still have low serotonin. It just hangs around between brain cells longer. This may help a little, but it doesn’t correct the serotonin deficiency.
- The “one mechanism” approach fails to recognize the complexity of the brain itself. There are probably several neurotransmitters involved, working within several brain centers to produce mood.
Brain Food for Treating DepressionSuccessfully treating depression is possible if you feed your brain the nutrients it needs to function properly. Here’s what we suggest:
- Optimize vitamin D — Studies show that low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression.2 So take vitamin D daily. Most people will need between 5,000 and 8,000 units a day of vitamin D3 to reach optimal blood levels.
- Take B vitamins — The research is inconclusive, but B vitamins seem to help certain populations, like preventing depression in patients who have suffered a stroke.3
- Supplement with Omega-3 fats — Omega-3 fats are essential to brain health, including mood. Although most of the clinical studies are small, omega-3 oils have shown benefit in treating depression.4
Do you battle with depression? Have you tried antidepressants? Please share your experience in the comments!
- Nature. 2011 Nov 15;479(7373):278.
- Psychiatry Res. 2011 Dec 30;190(2-3):221-5.
- Ann Neurol. 2010 Oct;68(4):503-10.
- J Clin Psychiatry. 2009 Dec;70(12):1636-44.
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