Rethinking Depression

Welcome to Spring!  What a chilly beginning though. Yesterday morning I was outside with my bare feet on the grass watering my plants (yes I am looking after them) and it was positively balmy.  By 10am we were back to winter. That’s Melbourne for you.  It’s lovely to see the blossom and the wattle though and the trees at Tunstall Square actually have a hint of green this week.   I must say that I love the Spring and Summer. And as much as I do my best to accept things as they are, in a Zen kind of way, I can be a bit of a sook about the cold, so bring on Summer, I say.    One of the things that people can struggle with through the winter is depression.  SAD, or Seasonal Affective  Disorder affects up to 6% of the population in countries where the nights become longer in winter.  A couple of factors that can explain SAD are the reduced vitamin D levels in the darker months and the reduced light which affects melatonin levels.  Ensuring you get enough Vitamin D and enough light are a couple of pretty common sense approaches to reduce or prevent depression in winter.      I actually have a very cool “Light Machine” which consists of a pair of glasses with flashing lights that take you into a very relaxed state while providing enough light to trigger the pineal gland to produce the chemistry of wellbeing. You are welcome to make a 30 minute appointment to try them out at any time.     I was intrigued by an article I read by Chris Kresser this week that gave pretty clear evidence that  depression is actually not caused by a lack of the “chemistry of wellbeing” at all but by inflammation.    Here is part of the article….  “The idea that depression and other mental health conditions are caused by an imbalance of chemicals (particularly serotonin and norepinephrine) in the brain is so deeply ingrained in our collective psyche that it seems almost sacrilegious to question it.   Of course Big Pharma has played a role in perpetuating this idea. Antidepressant drugs, which are based on the chemical imbalance theory, represent a $10 billion dollar market in the U.S. alone. According to the CDC, 11 percent of Americans over 12 years old take antidepressants, and they are the second-most prescribed medications (after cholesterol-lowering drugs). Doctors wrote a staggering 254 million prescriptions for antidepressants in 2010…… A large body of research now suggests that depression is associated with a low-grade, chronic inflammatory response and is accompanied by increased oxidative stress. In an excellent review paper by Berk et al, the authors presented several lines of evidence supporting the connection between depression and inflammation:

  • Depression is often present in acute, inflammatory illnesses.
  • Higher levels of inflammation increase the risk of developing depression.
  • Administering endotoxins that provoke inflammation to healthy people triggers classic depressive symptoms.
  • One-quarter of patients who take interferon, a medication used to treat hepatitis C that causes significant inflammation, develop major depression.
  • Remission of clinical depression is often associated with a normalization of inflammatory markers.”    CLICK HERE to read Chris’s full article including the references.

So, if inflammation is the cause of depression then that explains why it can be worse in winter when Vit D levels are lower.  Vitamin D reduces inflammation so that explains why Vitamin D is helpful in treating depression.   Getting the right type of Vitamin D supplement at the right dose is crucial and if you suffer from depression, regardless of what season it is, it’s important to get your Vitamin D level checked with a blood test.  If its low then I strongly suggest that you discuss the best way to increase it with our Naturopath. Anna has had a number of people tell her that they’re taking Vitamin D but when she’s checked their the dosage (and their blood test) her comment is often “That wouldn’t even touch the sides!”  Email me or call us to get a list of what else Anna recommende that your doctor includes in your blood tests.   The depression- inflammation link also explains why some people, including myself, find that taking sufficient antioxidants keeps their mood stable.  Minimising the foods and drinks (especially sugary soft drinks and alcohol) that create inflammation, eating plenty of fruits and vegies and taking a really good quality anti-oxidant could be a far better approach to depression than we’ve ever realised. And I’m sure you know that alcohol is a depressant….. Guess what? It increases inflammation!    I remember meeting a man who had been hospitalised 6 months previously with a heart condition, diabetes, arthritis and depression.  He was so unwell he couldn’t get himself out of bed.  He wasn’t expected to live much longer. Once he started taking enough anti-oxidants his health recovered and his depression cleared totally. He told that he just couldn’t feel depressed on the supplement he’d discovered.  It was a super-juice with a really high anti-oxidant count.   My favourite supplement increases your body’s own powerful, natural antioxidant levels by almost 300%. This antioxidant is called Glutathione.  There’s a very good little video by Dr Oz where he explains more about Glutathione  CLICK HERE  Please let me know if you’d like to try this supplement.      Anyway, if you or someone you know struggles with depression, then perhaps rethinking the cause and making an appointment with our Naturopath might be a life-changing approach. Now, one more thing I want to let you know is that our former Kinesiologist, Stephanie Leishman, is returning to Simply Natural Therapies. We are thrilled to bits to have Stephanie back on board. She’s available for appointments as of Friday, September 12th so please call us if you would like to book a session.  45 minute sessions are $100. Now take a look at the Right Hand column for lots of info on our other events, therapies and our exceptional practitioners  >>>>>>> Also scroll down to review us on Facebook and receive $20 off your next appointment, Have a happy, healthy week, Warm Regards, Alison Burton pioneering the future of healthcare Simply Natural Therapies 41 Tunstall Square East Doncaster VIC 3109 03 9842 7033 TAKE OUR HEALTH ASSESSMENT TAKE OUR 30 DAY WATER CHALLENGE SIGN UP FOR OUR FREE HEALTHY PREGNANCY AND BIRTH TOOLKIT VIEW OUR WELLNESS WEBCAST  on our Secret Remedy for Health