(PART III) BEATING DEPRESSION NATURALLY
HOW TO BEAT MOST CASES OF
DEPRESSION WITHOUT SSRI MEDICATIONS!
SSRI's first appeared in 1988 with the release of Elli Lilly's PROZAC. By 2005, sales of SSRI's had rocketed Antidepressants into the stratosphere of drug sales --- number one on the "Best Selling Categories of Drugs" chart. But do you really think it's possible that such a huge percentage of Americans have the kind of organic brain dysfunction that requires an SSRI? I would hope that I have already proved to you that this is not the case --- not by a long shot.
The problem is that prescribing drugs is easy. Way too easy. It's just plain easier to write prescriptions while shooing patients out the door than it is to educate them, and insist on some potentially difficult lifestyle changes. This would mean that doctors would actually have to confront their patients, and even risk losing them to another doctor who will prescribe them whatever they want. Most physicians are not willing to do this; particularly when writing a prescription for Prozac, Paxil, Lexipro, or any of dozens of other SSRI's is so darn easy ---- and profitable.
But the truth is, if you want to have any chance of defeating DEPRESSION naturally ---- without drugs ---- you will have to buckle down and make some changes in the way you live. Some of these are relatively easy (getting outside in the sunshine more often, or having more sex). Some are more difficult and may involve making some radical changes in your lifestyle (eating differently, exercising). It really boils down to what you want out of life. Effectively dealing with most cases of Depression is really no different than dealing with most other health issues. Your doctor cannot do it for you. It is completely up to you. Many of you have already figured this out the hard way. For those of you who have not figured this out yet; I know what you're thinking.
You are just itching to learn about these special secrets and anti-depressive supplements that only I have ---- natural products that will "cure" you of your Depression. The first thing you must understand is that it does not work that way. There are no shortcuts or "Wonder Products" that are going to effectively deal with all the underlying issues working to cause (or at least contribute to) your Depression. To understand this (and to gain the foundational knowledge it will take to kick Depression's butt), you need to go back a couple weeks and read HOW TO CURE JUST ABOUT ANYTHING. Don't argue with me. Just read it. You'll see. Once you have some foundational truths under your belt, we can proceed.
Just understand is that although some of my suggestions are not easy to implement, they are simple to understand. There are things that you can do to help deal with Depression naturally and avoid all the crazy SIDE EFFECTS that go along with SSRI Antidepressants, but it's not as easy as simply taking a pill ---- even if the pill is "natural". If you understand a little bit about how the body works, you will begin to understand where I am going with this. And although there are a whole host of things that you can do to deal with Depression naturally, I am only going to cover the basics. Be aware that the last thing I cover will be the most important for most of you.
KICKING DEPRESSION NATURALLY
TIME TO GET HAPPY
- PHARMACEUTICAL GRADE FISH OIL: According to the most current medical research on the topic, Joe Average American (or "Jolene" as the case probably is --- Depression is far more common in females) is getting about 1 / 30th (that's one thirtieth) of the amount of Omega Three Fatty Acids they need. Lack of Omega 3's is a big driver of Inflammatory Processes in your body, and most diseases are known to be intimately related to these Immune System chemicals we collectively refer to as INFLAMMATION. The two active ingredients in Omega Three Oils are called EPA and DHA. Unfortunately, many of the good sources of Omega Three Fatty Acids (Flax Seed Oil for instance) contain negligible amounts of these two oils. This is why your sources of Omega Threes must come from wild game (venison for instance) grass-fed beef, free-range chickens / eggs, or wild, cold-water fish. When grain is introduced as animal feed (yes, unfortunately most salmon is farm-raised), the amount of Omega Three Fatty Acids these foods drops precipitously. Enter PGFO. PHARMACEUTICAL GRADE FISH OIL is being used by the most cutting-edge portion of the medical community to treat not only a whole host of common killers (DIABETES, Heart Disease, CANCER, etc) they are using it to effectively help people suffering with a whole host of BRAIN-RELATED DYSFUNCTIONS as well. Some of these include ADD / ADHD, Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar Disorder, OCD, and yes, Depression ---- the very things that most people are prescribed SSRI's for in the first place.
- CLEAN UP YOUR DIET: This is nothing more than common sense. If we go back to our grade school days, we all remember the simple slogan, "You are what You Eat!". Although it is a cliche, it is as true now as it was then. But be honest; has your doctor ever said one thing to you about the relationship between the foods that you eat, your overall health, and / or your moods? Of course not. You were prescribed more drugs! A simple rule of thumb is that there are two kinds of foods --- foods made by man and foods created by God. Avoid the former and eat only the later (HERE). Just be aware that sometimes in our society, the line between the two can become really blurred. One of these is wheat, which we will discuss in a moment.
- AVOID SUGAR & HIGH GLYCEMIC INDEX CARBS: Avoiding SUGAR goes right along with cleaning up your diet. My most popular Blog Post ever pertains to this subject. If you have not read it, you really need to take just a moment and see why the scientific community is coming around to the fact that in the Westernized world, uncontrolled blood sugar is the number one root cause of more health problems than any other single thing on the planet. Along these lines, if Depression is an issue for you, it is important to stay away from alcohol which is itself a depressant. Conversely, for many people, sugar provides an emotional lift / high. The problem is the crash that comes shortly afterwards --- it makes people crave that sugar high. Do you see the potential for a vicious cycle here? It is only one of the reasons that sugar is as addictive as "crack" for a lot of people ---- particularly women (HERE). Just be aware that many people will tell you that carbs are a great booster of both Serotonin and mood. There is more to this than meets the eye (HERE).
- LAUGH AND HAVE FUN: Some of you seriously need to stop being so serious. Laugh! Have some fun. A great "Depression-Buster" is the old "Mr. Bean" series (like where he gets the Christmas Turkey stuck on his head (HERE); or the time when he drives his little yellow car from an Easy Chair tied to the roof (HERE). Not only are there lots of studies about the physical / emotional benefits of laughter, there are plenty of Bible Passages as well (A merry heart doeth good like a medicine).
- GET REGULAR EXERCISE: The web is flooded with studies from Harvard, Duke, and other prestigious research institutions showing that exercise has major Antidepressant qualities. Just understand that to receive these benefits, your exercise program will have to be "regular". "Regular" exercise does not imply that you have to become a power lifter, be training for a marathon, or doing an hour and a half of P-90X per day. It simply means that you have to be deliberate about doing some exercise every day (HERE is my favorite). Besides increasing several of the body's "feel-good" chemicals such as endorphins ('endogenous-morphine'), exercise also drives OXYGEN into the brain (no other tissue uses more Oxygen per capita). And while I am talking about exercise, it is as good a time as any to mention sex. SEX releases the same anti-depressive chemical mediators as does exercise.
- DEAL WITH CHRONIC PAIN: I do not know anyone who has not at least made the attempt to deal with their CHRONIC PAIN. In fact, most people struggling with CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES have already tried everything they know to try. They have been through every conceivable test, and seen every specialist there is to see. And just what do we know about the relationship between Chronic Pain and Depression? According to the September 2004 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, "pain is depressing, and depression causes and intensifies pain. People with chronic pain have three times the average risk of developing psychiatric symptoms — usually mood or anxiety disorders — and depressed patients have three times the average risk of developing chronic pain." Although I do not claim to be an expert on the subject, I have been treating Chronic Pain patients since 1991. I can assure you that Chronic Pain is far more likely to cause Depression than the other way around. On top of that, there are better ways to deal with Chronic Pain than taking drugs. If you want an idea of what I am talking about, just take a minute or two to watch a couple of our PATIENT TESTIMONIAL VIDEOS.
- SPECIFIC SUPPLEMENTS: I already mentioned Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil and will talk about another critical supplement at the end of the post. However, there are several supplements that are potentially quite effective for dealing with Depression. Some of the most common are St. Johns Wort, 5-HTP (a precursor to Serotonin), and SAM-e. WARNING: Supplements are no substitute for a clean, healthy diet! Let me say that again in a different way. I know people who want to eat whatever they want, and then take nutritional supplements in hopes that this will help "balance things out". It doesn't work that way. And if you'll be honest with yourself; you already knew that.
- GET SOME SUN & FRESH AIR: We live in a society where people either worship the sun, or they avoid it like the plague. Do not be afraid of getting outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine. Those of you who spend winters in cold or dark climates can use a lightbox. No I don't know. Just look online.
- GET PLENTY OF SLEEP: This can be a particularly difficult challenge with Depression. Your main sleep hormone, Melatonin, is actually made from Serotonin. Although Melatonin is a popular "natural" sleep aid, I usually advise people not to take it as a supplement. Healing the gut will help boost Serotonin production back to normal. Then you can watch Melatonin levels improve on their own. The result is usually much better sleep.
- AVOID EXCESSIVE SCREEN & TV TIME: Because the average American is watching something like 5-8 hours of TV a day, it is hard to know what one would consider "excessive". Although there are all sorts of studies linking TV viewing (particularly "late nite" TV viewing) with Depression, the one that caught my eye was published in a 2009 issue of the medical journal, Archives of General Psychology. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard Medical School teamed up to look at the screen habits of teenagers. They concluded that once you get past something like 2 1/2 hours a day, each additional hour of TV boosted the odds of becoming depressed by 8%. Numerous other studies have shown similar things --- not to mention the fact that TV viewing has been shown to dramatically increase hunger, diminish personal contentment, and decrease happiness.
- SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND: Yes, even though the idiots at Yahoo wrote an article yesterday saying, "there's good reason to think science will ultimately arrive at a complete understanding of the universe that leaves no grounds for God whatsoever," I for one am not buying it. The truth of the matter is that there are a bundle of studies from the medical-scientific field showing the benefits of regular prayer and a relationship with God as far as Depression is concerned. Go online and read them.
GUT HEALTH AND GLUTEN SENSITIVITY
What are some of the ways that we destroy our guts? Besides our poor diets, most of us are exposed to a wide variety of chemical toxins, including all sorts of VACCINES, from the time we are infants. On top of that, the average person living in America has been through dozens of rounds of ANTIBIOTICS over the course of their lifetime. And if you remember one thing about antibiotics, you must remember that they do not strengthen the Immune System ---- they weaken and destroy it (HERE)! Despite anything you may think about this statement, it is a cold, hard, medical fact.
You can combat this Antibiotic-induced destruction of the Gut's Immune System with Probiotics. Think of HSO PROBIOTICS as the exact opposite of antibiotics. If antibiotics destroy the Immune System & Gut, HSO Probiotics help restore them. But unless you are eating quantum amounts of homemade fermented foods (pasteurization and chemical processing are designed to kill bacteria in commercial foods), you simply cannot get enough good bacteria in your food sources to restore them from diet alone. Probiotics must be taken! Acidophilus is the most common product product used for this. The problem is, it is only made up of a single strain of bacteria --- acidophilus (this is why for some people, FMT might be the only viable solution). HERE is more information on this topic.
Now, I want you to recall the FIRST PART of this series (I warned you that there would be a quiz). Where is 90 - 95% of your body's "Happy Hormone" Serotonin produced? In the GUT! Due to antibiotic use / overuse / abuse, and unbridled SUGAR CONSUMPTION (sugar and high Glycemic Index starches are the food-of-choice for the bad bacteria, fungus' and yeasts we collectively refer to as DYSBIOSIS), we are destroying our Guts, and thus destroying our health. When it comes to the good bacteria that should make up our normal Gut Flora ----- we are "Running on Empty". And when you realize that 80% of your Immune System and 90-95% of your Serotonin-making capacity come from the Gut, you should begin to grasp just how critical this issue of Gut health really is (HERE)! And for many people (83% of all Americans carry the gene(s)), nothing is more toxic to gut health than Gluten.
I hear it all the time ---- "Jesus ate Gluten --- why can't I?". The wheat that Jesus ate is not the same wheat that people are eating today (HERE). There is a reason for the incredible growth of the Gluten Free section of the supermarket. People are beginning to learn the truth about Gluten. The recent explosion of Gluten Sensitivity is nothing less than the results of our genetic tinkering coming home to roost. I just heard about a yet-to-be-published Australian study saying that today's wheat contains 6 proteins in it that did not exist 20 years ago. This may not sound like a big deal, but these unrecognized proteins are labeled as "foreign" and then attacked by your Immune System. And the crazy thing is, once people start making antibodies to Gluten, they frequently start making antibodies to self. That's right; Gluten is being intimately related to the way that many people's bodies start to attack its own tissues, glands, and organs. This process is called AUTOIMMUNITY, and if you need an example, look no farther than America's THYROID EPIDEMIC. The vast majority of our thirty-plus million thyroid patients have Autoimmune Hypothyroidism that the medical community calls Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, and almost 100% of them are Gluten Sensitive (HERE and HERE)!
You can begin to see why with every passing day I am increasingly convinced that for most Americans, Gluten is toxic. And even worse, it's neuro-toxic. A 2005 issue of the medical journal Gastroenterology stated that, "Celiac Disease [wheat sensitivity that is seen in the Small Intestine] has long been associated with neurologic and psychological disorders including ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, epilepsy, dementia, and depression." Did you catch that? Gluten is linked not only to things like NEUROPATHY, but to Depression. But forget about Depression for just a minute. It is being linked to a whole host of other neurological problems that are arguably much more severe.
This past weekend, I attended another one of Dr. Datis Kharazzian's courses on the Brain-Gut-Immune-Endocrine System. We were shown, using the most current research available from the Bio-Medical research journals, that even though we refer to Gluten Sensitivity in the Small Intestine as "Celiac Disease", we should be referring to Gluten Sensitivity in the Brain and Neurological System as "PARKINSON'S DISEASE". "MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS". "Cerebellar Ataxia (chronic equilibrium issues)". "ALS". "EPILEPSY" "FIBROMYALGIA". Do you grasp how big this is? The most current medical research on the planet is saying that numerous Nuero-Endocrine problems (including Depression) are the result of Gluten-induced Gut Dysfunctions. Gulp!
By far, the most prominent / common of these "Gut Dysfunctions" is something known as LEAKY GUT SYNDROME. The medical journals are now touting Gluten Sensitivity as the #1 driver of Leaky Gut. However, just 15 short years ago, the medical community debated whether Leaky Gut Syndrome even existed. Now there are almost 10,000 medical studies on the subject. Just remember that if you research this topic online, you should be aware that the medical community refers to Leaky Gut Syndrome as "Increased Intestinal Permeability". Fortunately, I have made understanding GLUTEN fairly easy. Just search my blog and start reading.
Do not even think about going GLUTEN FREE without having a basic understanding of what GLUTEN CROSS-REACTIVITY is first. Yeah, I know. This stuff is nutty. It's crazy. In fact, much of it is downright scary --- especially if you have children or grandchildren! But here is the really cool thing about the suggestions found in today's post. If you follow them, you will not only dramatically affect most cases of Depression, you will dramatically affect almost every other health problem you happen to be dealing with as well. In other words, if you follow the steps I lay out in this blog series, your overall health will improve ---- probably dramatically! And thanks to a man who is arguably the most brilliant Immunologist on the planet (Dr. Aristo Vojdani of Cyrex Labs), there are now very accurate blood tests for the three things mentioned (Leaky Gut, Gluten Sensitivity, Gluten Cross Reactivity). The tests not only tell you if you if you have a problem, it will tell you on a scale of one to ten just how bad that problem is.
Hopefully you realize that the protocol I gave you, is suspiciously similar to the posts filed under HOW TO CURE JUST ABOUT ANYTHING. This is because the foundational principles of natural healing are the same universally. No, this does not mean that this protocol will fix every case of Depression (or anything else for that matter). The truth is, you may need some very specific testing & intervention to deal with the underlying causes of your health issues, including your Depression. However, the basic building blocks used to start the healing process are the same for virtually everyone. They're universal no matter what is wrong with you. So, take a few minutes today to sit down, write out a very specific plan of action, and get started (if you don't write it out, you won't follow through). You have everything to gain and nothing to lose!