3 “Must” Supplements for Those Suffering from Depression
Up until now, Big Pharma has been pretty good at distracting us from the growing body of research on alternative treatment options for depression.
Stand aside, boys! There’s a new sheriff in town…and he’s armed to the teeth with data.
Yes, we can finally begin to breathe a sigh of relief. Alternatives to psychopharmacology are finally starting to make it into mainstream care.
So let me get right to the 3 most promising findings and the supplements each finding recommends:
1. Leaky Gut. There are other more clinical terms for the condition, but none paint the picture as accurately as this. The basic premise is that the foods like gluten, drugs like antibiotics, and other substances that the body was never designed to process, have eroded the lining of our GI tract, sometimes even punching holes in it. Instead of the waste in our gut getting carried safely out of our bodies, it’s literally leaking into our bloodstream.
Yes, poo. In your blood.
With that picture firmly in your mind, you can understand why you’d have a variety of inflammatory responses going on, right? Isn’t it possible that feces in the blood could cause the body to hurt all over? (Think “fibromyalgia.”) Isn’t it possible that the skin would react badly to such a toxin in the blood? (Think “psoriasis and eczema.”)
And can anyone guess what it would do to the brain?
Well, now you’re getting an idea of why these researchers are looking more closely at Leaky Gut as a potential contributing factor to mental health issues like depression. (Scientific American article on Leaky Gut research)
And not for nothing, 95% of the neurotransmitter serotonin is manufactured in the gut, not the brain–an even more compelling reason to get our gut back into tip-top shape.
How do we do this? Well, to state the obvious, getting off all grains and sugars and not taking antibiotics would make a huge difference, and have for many sufferers. But that’s not entirely possible, or even reasonable, for many.
And even if someone did make all those changes, that still may not make all the improvements necessary to feel better. After all, high levels of stress may cause leaky gut, just like leaky gut may cause high levels of stress.
Supplement: For my money, the best defense is to support your gut with really high quality probiotics. Don’t buy them at your corner drug store. Spend the money on high quality probiotics. I take one that has 30 billion colony forming units (CFUs), 15 strains (for good coverage) and is room temperature stable (doesn’t need constant refrigeration). After taking it for a month, I noticed that I was feeling better in general and that my GI tract had miraculously normalized after years of being just vaguely out of whack. No more gas, no more constipation. And my brain is clear as a bell. I’m a fan.
2. Exhaustion: One of the most debilitating symptoms of depression is fatigue. I’m not talking end-of-a-long-work-day fatigue. I’m talking about an I-don’t-think-I-have-the-energy-to-breathe fatigue.
Well, maybe that fatigue isn’t entirely due to depression after all.
Maybe the depression fatigue is being exponentially compounded by a Vitamin D deficiency (which requires a blood test to check.)
In a recent study (Low Vitamin D and Fatigue), they found that of the participants who were suffering from fatigue, a whopping 77% of them were suffering from low Vitamin D. They also found that once they had brought their Vitamin D levels up to normal, their fatigue improved significantly across the board.
Supplement: In every study I’ve read so far, the recommendation is always the same: 15 min of direct sunlight 3-4 times a week and oral supplementation of Vitamin D3. What is not agreed upon is the dosage. Some doctors prescribe 50,000 units weekly, some prescribe just 2000 units a day. When I found out my Vitamin D levels were at 27 (dangerously low), my doc started me on the 2000 units a day program…but after a month, I felt no different.
A medical librarian friend of mine urged me to go up to 5000 units a day for a month and then drop back to 2000 a day, and viola! I felt dramatically better within 10 days–better than I had in months. And the improvement has been sustained. I now take a total of about 10000 units a week, and that seems to keep my blood levels in the 40s, which is robust.
Just make sure that whatever dose your doc recommends, you’re buying Vitamin D3, not Vitamin D2. And be sure to take it with a meal that has fat in it, because the fat is what carries the Vitamin D into the cells.
3. Brain Fog. You know exactly what I mean by Brain Fog, right? Our brains feel fuzzy, muddled, and slow-moving…like they’ve become big Etch-A-Sketch boards that are constantly being shaken clean of all trains of thought. Half the time you feel like an idiot and the other half of the time you could give a shit.
Well, Omega 3s may not be the savior of all things cardiac, as was once thought, but the research on Omega 3 oil and brain function is still solid.(Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked to Brain Health) Given that the brain is made of 60% fat, this shouldn’t really come as any surprise to us. These fatty acids are thought to keep the brains cellular walls soft and permeable, allowing faster neuroconnectivity. In short, it keeps the brain humming the way it’s designed to hum.
Supplement: Well, obviously the antidote here is Omega-3. Eating more salmon is one option, but I prefer the supplement, because it delivers a steady dose on a daily basis. I doubt I’m going to eat salmon every day.
But once again, do not buy this at the corner store, because it is highly unlikely that those brands have been molecularly distilled, purifying them of any heavy metals that often contaminate our fish. And make sure it states it’s been tested by an outside agency for purity.
I haven’t read any specific dosage recommendation, but these usually come in 1000mg capsules. Experiment with different doses and see if your thinking, memory and/or mood improve.
Hallelujah that we finally have some new things we can do for ourselves.
Forget the OK Corral.
Welcome to the Better Than Ever Corral.