Nutrition and Depression
The following information is excerts from Dr. Ray Sahelian, M.D.'s book: Mind Boosters: A Guide to Natural Supplements that Enhance Your Mind, Memory, and Mood. To achieve the full benefits of his recommendations, we urge you to read his book completely. Also, please read our disclaimer before preceding further.
According to Dr. Ray Sahelian,M.D., pharmaceutical medicines are not necessary to help mild, and sometimes moderate, depression. Even severe depression can be helped by herbs and natural nutrients. Always consult your physcian or psychiatrist when using herbs and natural remedies. The herb most commonly used by some psychiatrists and doctors is St. John’s Wort. Here are some tips to help depression:
1.Stress, sleep, diet, and physical activity are all factors in depression. Having a pet can often help in depression.
2.Carbohydrates can often worsen depression by making people sleepy and slow. A lot of times vegetarians suffer from low moods, or even mild depression because they eat mostly carbohydrates instead of necessary protein and the right kinds of fat. To help depression eat a lot of small meals with a good balance between protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates.
3.Every morning for about a month take a B-complex vitamin that supplies five to ten times the RDA for the B vitamins. Also take a multivitamin pill that gives about a 100 percent of the RDA or PDV for most vitamins. After a month of taking the B- complex vitamin change the dose to two or three times the RDA. You could also take a multi mineral pill that includes 50 to 100 percent of the RDA for minerals.
5.Fish oil capsules taken with meals equal to about 2 to 4 grams a day of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, greatly helps depression. Lower the amount to 1 to 2 grams a day after a month. A teaspoon of flaxseed oil can be used instead for strict vegetarians. Flaxseed oil has also been noticed to improve alertness.
If depression has not been noticeably improved after following the above tips for two weeks, more nutrients can be added. A pill of St. John’s Wort at a dose of 300 mg (standardized to 0.3 hypericin content) can be taken at breakfast. Add another pill to be taken at lunch if no improvement occurs after a few days. Do not take three or more pills because the risk of insomnia increases.
If the above therapy doesn’t work after four weeks follow these tips:
1.In the morning, before eating, take a dose of 100 mg of tyrosine, a good substitute for caffeine. Do not take high doses of tyrosine while taking St. John’s Wort.
2.After a week take a nutrient that can increase energy levels, such as a dosage of 30 mg of CoQ10. To be taken in the morning.
3. TMG, DMG, SAM-e, or pantothenic acid at a dose of 100 to 250 mg) can be added during the next few weeks. All to be taken in the morning. Another nutrient that boosts energy levels is carnitine at 250 mg a day.
If you have tried everything listed for depression make sure your health-care provider carefully and closely supervises you because when nutrients interact the risk can increase significantly. Do not continue to add more nutrients if your depression lifts.
There are still more things you can do to help depression. For a sense of well-being and vitality take herb ginseng. The serotonin precursor 5-HTP can be used if your depression is related to anxiety. Take 25 to 50 mg of it an hour or two before going to bed, on an empty stomach, or take 25 mg of it anytime during the day. 5-HTP can also help you sleep better at night, but cannot be used more than four nights a week, and for no longer than two months continuously. After two months take a months break, then you can continue to take it for two more months.
Melatonin can be used for a deeper sleep when used once or twice a week(at the most!) At a dose 0.3 to 0.5 mg an hour or two before bedtime on an empty stomach. Do not use 5-HTP and melatonin together unless with low doses.
NADH is another supplement to consider. To be taken in the morning on an empty stomach two or three times a week at doses of 2.5 to 5 mg. Your mood and energy can improve. A good stimulant that can elevate your mood is acetyl L-carnitine . Best taken before breakfast or lunch with a starting dose of 100 to 250mg.
DHEA or pregnenolone adds hormones which can be helpful older people. Doses start at 2 mg a day, but for continual use do not take over 5 mg a day. Between each month of usage take a break of at least a week.
Summary- While combining nutrients be cautious and always start at low doses. Effects can be very powerful and the least it could do is allow pharmaceutical antidepressants to be reduced.
If you liked Dr. Sahelian's recommendations, we urge you to read his entire book: Mind Boosters: A Guide to Natural Supplements that Enhance Your Mind, Memory, and Mood. It is avialable at most book stores and at Amazon.com.
The top photograph was by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash. We are grateful.
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