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Natural Alternatives To Manage Depression & Winter Blues

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Relieve From Depression Symptoms & Winter Blues With The Help of Natural Medicines


While standard approach to depression is antidepressant drugs, there are many ever rising concerns regarding to their side effects. In many occasions during treatment the effectiveness of the drugs fades and often patients are left to deal with their condition and side effects. Therefore, more practitioners and patients are looking for safer yet effective alternative treatments. Recent compelling number of studies and evidence indicate that nutritional and natural therapies are successful in preventing and managing mood disorders. This article has gathered information on some of the very well studied natural alternatives for mood disorders .

Amino Acid SAME ( S-Adenosylmethionine) has been found to be safe and as effective as some anti-depressant drugs without their unwanted side effects. SAME participates in synthesis of mood enhancing compounds in the brain as well as many other biochemical functions such as DNA repair. SAME is found in every tissue and fluid of the body. Based on SAME's vast involvement in multiple biochemical pathways, scientists suggest that it could be useful in prevention or treatment of conditions like Insomnia, Alzheimer's, Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, Inflammatory bowel disease, and liver ailments.

SAME plays a role in Methylation which is a process to metabolize fat, minerals, and gene expression. Methylation decreases by aging and that could result in autoimmune and neuro degenerative diseases like Arthritis, Dementia, and Parkinson disease. SAME is involved in production of hormones and Neurotransmitters' including Dopamine, Serotonin and Melatonin. SAME is also important in the Glutathione production. Glutathione is specially very important for liver function in purifying toxins.

Several studies found significant lower levels of SAME in patients with Alzheimer's as well as in cases of depression. In other clinical trials supplementing with SAME reduced depressive symptoms in short period of time in both types of patients with no respond to anti depressant drugs and those on specific types of antidepressant drugs. Human double blind studies show supplementing with SAME reduces pain and stiffness and improves mood in patients with Fibromyalgia.

To produce Serotonin, brain needs Amino acid Tryptophan; however, usually the amount of tryptophan absorbed from food trough the intestine is not even enough for the body's basic metabolism and as a result over time, the brain does not get enough Tryptophan to produce serotonin. Blood levels of Tryptophan in those with depression, sleep disorders, anxiety, stress, irritability, mood disorders, and obesity is often much lower than normal.

Body converts Tryptophan to 5HTP before being used to produce Serotonin. 5HTP is more stable in blood and can pass from blood to brain. Clinical trials suggest to start at the minimum dosage of 50 mg daily and increase it gradually to the adequate dosage with the health care practitioner recommendation. 5HTP or Tryptophan can't be used in combination with some antidepressant drugs, therefore before using this supplement consult with a health care practitioner.

5HTP and/ or Tryptophan is better absorbed when taken apart from other sources of protein or amino acid supplements, as they compete for the absorption. Also moderate amount of carbohydrates is necessary to increase the absorption of the tryptophan by the brain, therefore those who are on a low carb diet or no carb diet for the weight loss purposes are more prone to get low in Tryptophan resulting in even more weight gain. Other than supplementing with 5HTP, foods with higher Tryptophan are including Raw Cacao, Oat, Cottage cheese, Poultry, Spirulina, Almonds, Sunflower seeds, and Banana.

Folate or vitamin B9 is well known as folic acid. Recent studies suggest that Folate can provide antidepressant effects and/or can improve the body's respond to the anti depressant treatments. Folate deficiency causes irritability, sleeplessness, lack of concentration and poor memory. Folate is a crucial factor in SAME's production. Several researches reveal a direct link between low levels of the blood Folate and higher rates of depressive symptoms. Moreover, those on the antidepressant drugs, responded much better to the treatment when supplementing with Folate; 400 mcg recommended dietary allowance by FDA is only to prevent deficiency and it does not provide therapeutic effect nor does it prevent chronic diseases. Clinical trials suggest 5000 mcg to 7200 mcg dosage in conjunction with vitamin B12 for therapeutic benefits. 5-methytetrahydrofolate is the natural main circulating metabolite of folate in the body.

One of the effective botanical medicines to treat depression is " High Absorbable Curcumin". Clinical experiments compared the effectiveness of a widely used anti depressant drug "Prozac" at one dose of 20 mg with "high absorbable Curcumin" at two doses of 500 mg per day for the period of 6 weeks. Patients responded at the 62.5% rate to the Curcumin and at the 64.7% rate to Prozac; While, Those on both Prozac and Turmeric responded at the 77.8% rate. The results concluded that there was not a significant difference between the two groups; however, those on the Curcumin did not experience side effects. The key in the effectiveness of Curcumin is in its absorption. Body hardly absorbs Curcumin though the digestive tract, therefore the Curcumin with high extraction ratio and enhanced absorption should be considered for the therapeutic purposes. (This clinical study used Patented BCM-95 Curcumin).

Curcumin Inhibits the breakdown of the neurotransmitters such as serotonin, nor epinephrine and dopamine in the brain and it reduces the re-absorption of the produced serotonin by the brain cells. Thus, through these two mechanisms very similar to the antidepressant drugs, Curcumin maintains the serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain improving emotions, sleeping, learning, memory, mood and other neurological functions.

Several other studies confirm that the significant effect of chronic inflammation on the development of depression. Curcumin due to its potent anti inflammatory properties via different pathways ultimately will help in reduction of the depressive symptoms.

Omega 3 fatty acids provide a powerful protection against depression and also they improve mood of those who are already on the antidepressant medications. Series of clinical trials and studies provide strong evidence that supplementing with EPA and DHA not only enhances the cognitive function but also it reduces symptoms of clinical depression. Recommended dosage to support optimal health and improve mood and cognitive function is between 1000 to 4000 mg daily.

60% of the brain's structure is fat which more than the 3rd of it is from omega 3 fatty acids similar to those from fish oil. Scientists suggest that the deficiency in Essential Fatty Acids due to its importance in structure of the brain could contribute to mood and cognitive disorders. Omega 3 fatty acids improve circulation in the brain, plus they participate in production of Phosphatidylserine which enhances memory and fights depression. Since Inflammation and depression are directly related, Omega 3 Fatty Acids with their ability to lower inflammation rate by decreasing production of the pro-inflammatory compounds play an effective role in both managing inflammation and depression associated with that.

Studies show In average only 10 % of the plant Source omega 3 ( ALA ) is converted to the EPA and DHA in human body; therefore, only EPA and DHA sourced from the true cold waters Fish ( Triglyceride form not the synthetics version) provides the highest benefits.

As more studies reveal the benefits and effectiveness of the nutrients and phyto nutrients to combat depression and other mood disorders with far less side effects, It becomes more apparent that more patients and practitioners may consider them to complement a treatment or use them as an alternative to some antidepressant drugs.

Recent science suggest that in the majority of cases combination of proven effective yet non toxic therapies including diet optimization, lifestyle changing, relaxation techniques, and natural medicine can significantly improve wide range of mood and cognitive disorders including depression.



Articles and products featured by Health Palace are collected from a variety of sources and are provided as a service by Health Palace. These newsletters, while of potential interest to readers, do not necessarily represent the opinions nor constitute the advice of Health Palace. Presented materials are only for information purposes and do not intent to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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