For anyone who has had or has depression, or has lived with someone with depression, knows it can be a pretty awful way to live. The main thing you need to know is that depression generally comes from imbalances in brain chemicals and nutritional deficiencies. A few things that can cause this is poor diet, stress, hormone imbalances and toxins. While anti-depressant medications can help improve levels of brain chemicals, they come with a wide variety of side effects, and don’t correct the reason for the problem.
An example could be a 48 year old woman who is having very high stress in her life that is ongoing. Stress can cause the adrenal hormones to overproduce and eventually burn out and be too low. Now she is tired and fatigued and has difficulty sleeping. This can affect her hormones (since she is peri-menopausal or menopausal) and now her estrogen and progesterone could be out of balance, so on top of the fatigue and insomnia she now has hot flashes and night sweats. If she continues to spiral out of balance her thyroid could be affected, or may have been borderline low to start with. With all these hormones out of balance depression can develop and now, on top of all the other symptoms, she is depressed, lethargic, unmotivated and has no sex drive. In this example the typical medical approach would be to prescribe anti-depressants.
But did you know that there is a large body of medical peer reviewed research that show that depression can be successfully treated with natural methods by returning balance to the body? The only way she is going to regain her health is to know what systems are out of balance and heal them with changes in diet, lifestyle, stress, and adding in healing supplements and vitamins that her body is lacking.
Tips on Treating Depression Naturally:
- The adrenal hormones are key hormones in that they affect all the other hormones in the body. If you are tired or burned out, or have been under high or prolonged stress you should have your adrenal glands evaluated with saliva testing.
- Get your thyroid tested properly! Low thyroid can cause depression, and your primary care doctor may only run 1 test, when you need as many as 6 to properly evaluate the thyroid. To top it off the thyroid and adrenal hormones are intimately related and the thyroid cannot work right if the adrenals are out of balance, so getting both checked can help.
- Get your Vitamin D levels checked, this is a very important hormone (yes it is a hormone) that if low can cause depression as well as cancer
- Do you know what your blood sugar levels are? You could be hypoglycemic with low or fluctuating blood sugar levels, or pre-diabetic/insulin resistant with higher blood sugar levels. Both can cause depression as well as fatigue
- The most profound changes you can make are dietary changes such as eliminating sugar and refined carbohydrates, as well as grains and gluten. Eating protein, healthy fats, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds is the best diet you can be on. I highly recommend Dr. David Perlmutter’s book Grain Brain on diet and your brain
Does this sound confusing? If you are trying to figure it all out on your own it can be! It’s like a puzzle, a mystery to be solved, and you need a good medical detective. That’s why I can’t go into specific treatments because everyone is different and may need a different approach to treatment. This is not cookie-cutter medicine!
A good medical detective can be a chiropractor, naturopath, or medical doctor with Functional Medicine training. I do this in my office with a Comprehensive Health Analysis, a nutritional assessment, and basic to advanced diagnostic testing, and the goal is to get to the root of your health problem once and for all!
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