All Posts tagged depression

Depression helped by spice

In a placebo controlled clinical trial that tested curcumin vs. an antidepressant drug, curcumin worked just as well as Prozac. Curcumin matched the drug in alleviating moodiness, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, insomnia, and other depressive symptoms.

Curcumin side effects: Zero.

Prozac side effects: Ever watch a drug commercial on TV!

In addition to the higher risk of dementia for drugs in this category, Prozac’s potential side effects include behavior changes, anxiety, agitation, hostility, hyperactivity, tremors, and insomnia. And — as with most antidepressants — depression may worsen.

A curcumin supplement is the way to go. I also recommend curcumin as a natural anti-inflammatory for my chronic low back pain patients.  In the depression study, 500 mg per day was enough to relieve anxiety, moodiness, and other depressive symptoms.

I recommend Xymogen’s Curcuplex tablets. Click the Xymogen link on the home page to order.

Sources: “Spice Extract Relieves Depression Effectively as Drugs: Study” Kathleen Walter, Nick Tate, Newsmax Health, 10/18/13



Plenty of depressed patients respond using omega-3 fatty acids. Brain cells are coated with fats. And when the fats are omega-3 fatty acids, the cells simply function better. That includes brain cell receptors that process serotonin, the hormone that regulates our sense of well being.  I recommend at least two grams per day. I recall reading one studty that suggested one gram of EPA (an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil), taken daily, significantly reduced depression symptoms in patients who had been diagnosed with “persistent depression.”

And here’s the best part: Before the study began, all the patients had been unable to control their depression symptoms with SSRI drugs such as Prozac. If depressed patients followed the EPA protocol for 3-4 months — adding at least 2,000 I.U. of vitamin D3 and a good multi-B vitamin (especially B-12) daily –they often feel improvement without any side effects compared to the drugs.


Help depression naturally

Plenty of depressed patients HAVE omega-3 fatty acid deficiency.

Brain cells are coated with fats and need omega-3 fatty acids. Brain cell receptors process serotonin, the hormone that may help regulate our sense of well being.

For “persistent depression,” one gram of EPA daily significantly helps reduce depressive symptoms. If depressed patients followed the EPA protocol for two months — adding ample amounts of vitamin D3 and B vitamins (especially B-12) — you would probably feel better.


Chronic Pain News

Thinking of events as a catastrophe, fear, and being depressed appear to be major predictors of whether acute pain from surgery or injury will morph into chronic pain, researchers reported at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. For patients with low back pain, “castastrophizing has been found to be seven times more powerful than any other predictor in predicting the transition from acute to chronic pain,” said Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, chief of the pain management division at Stanford University.

Fear also appears to play a role, Mackey commented. “Those who had more fear during an acute low back pain episode were much more likely to ultimately over-predict the amount of pain they had, which ultimately led to significant increase in fear-avoidance behaviors, with subsequent worsening of symptoms, increase in duration of pain, and increase in disability,” he said.

Depression and anxiety also had similar effects. “About 30% to 65% of patients who have chronic pain also have comorbid depression,” Mackey added. 

Being optimistic was linked to better recovery and higher quality of life (Annals of Surgery 2007; 245: 487-494). 

As part of my chronic pain management strategy, I use therapeutic lifestyle changes including diet, nutrition, attitudinal discussions and gentle exercise. The laser modality is still very, very new to most clients and definitely needs to be tried by chronic pain patients.


Herbal supplement research

I don’t care about what you have heard or read lately, these are the facts about these herbal supplements:

Echinacea has “Good scientific evidence for this use”:

  • Prevention of upper respiratory tract infections (adults and children)
  • Treatment of upper respiratory tract infections (adults)

St. John’s wort has “Strong scientific evidence” for treating “mild-to-moderate depressive disorder.” 

Chamomile extract was better than placebo in reducing anxiety.

Milk thistle is effective in interfering with the life cycle of the hepatitis C virus.

Ginkgo biloba helps treat dementia, relieves claudication (painful legs from clogged arteries), and  improves blood flow to the brain to reduce cerebral insufficiency (defined as poor concentration, confusion, absent-mindedness, anxiety, etc.). 

Pcynogenol helps for treating asthma, and for relieving chronic venous insufficiency (leg swelling and varicose veins).

Ginseng boosts immune function, lowers blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics, and is a heart healthy antioxidant, which include the reduction of LDL oxidation.

Red yeast rice gets an A for lowering LDL and triglycerides.


Fight Depression without Drugs

1. Take vitamin D. Deficiency in this essential vitamin can lead to depression. Supplement with at least 2,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day.
2. Take omega-3 fats. Your brain is made of up this fat, and deficiency can lead to a host of problems. Supplement with 1,000 to 2,000 mg of purified fish oil a day.
3. Take adequate B12 (1,000 micrograms, or mcg, a day), B6 (25 mg) and folic acid (800 mcg). These vitamins are critical for metabolizing homocysteine, which can play a factor in depression.
4. Get checked for mercury. Heavy metal toxicity has been correlated with depression and other mood and neurological problems.
5. Exercise vigorously five times a week for 30 minutes. This increases levels of BDNF, a natural antidepressant in your brain.

I recommend Wellness Essential For Women or Wellness Essentials for Men by Metagenics to help fight depression. Order @


Lasting Weight Loss

Let talk about Fat:

My mother in law has cooked with olive oil her whole life. She was a very heavy lady until she had gastric bypass surgery. But she doesn’t have heart disease.  Her kids are healthy& robust. Her family appears to enjoy good health. My mom always cooked with butter instead of margarine. When the fad went to vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats, we tossed out natural saturated fats and embraced trans fats. This was a big, big  mistake.

Fat is an important part of diet. The simple truth about fat is: you have to eat fat to lose fat. I just need you to eat the right kind of fat.

Fat fell out of favor at the end of the 70’s. Once the 80’s hit, the government told us that animal fats caused heart disease. The Government Guidelines recommended we limit our saturated fat to less than 10 percent of our daily calories. Americans started buying low-fat products. However, over the next two decades, we have seen an epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

Now in 2010 the latest science is supporting saturated fats again. In the March edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition researchers attribute America’s obesity and bad health to carbs – not saturated fats. I believe cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease is linked to too much carbs in the diet. Reducing saturated fat in the diet does not prolong life or lower the incidence of coronary heart disease. 

The real killer is trans-fatty acids, not saturated fat. Trans fat should be omitted from our diet, period.

I don’t care if my patients get about 50 percent of their fat intake from saturated fat. I want to see  “good” cholesterol (HDL) levels, and no problems with insulin resistance. High HDL is the most reliable way to prevent heart disease.

I recommend eating a diet with good-quality protein and good-quality fat.

Most of the nutritionist I talk to, recommend fats and oils for good health. Why?

Fats including the Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA-DHA 720) – a deficiency can lead to depression, dementia, lack of concentration and a host of chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Eat the right fats and you will:

  • Burn fat
  • Increase weight loss
  • Increase your metabolism
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Become more sensitive to insulin, which will balance your blood sugar

I recommend EPA-DHA 720 by Metagenics as a good source of omega 3 fatty acids


Hyothyroidism & lab tests

Taken from Biotics Research Newsletter April 2010: 

The test commonly used to screen for hypothyroidism is TSH. 

Many cases of hypothyroidism are missed because screening for TSH is not always done and because TSH is an inadequate test for thyroid function. As many as 13 million Americans may have an undiagnosed thyroid problem, according to a study known as the Colorado Thyroid Disease Prevalence Study. The study w a s  p e r f ormed  b y k n o l l Parmaceutical (makers of Synthroid).

Over 25,000 participants were studied in 1995. The researchers found that nearly 9% of the participants who were not on thyroid medication were hypothyroid and a little over 1% were hyperthyroid. If this number were extrapolated to the entire US population, the number of patients with an undiagnosed thyroid problem would number 13 million. The study also found that even “subclinical” hypothyroidism may raise cholesterol levels. Research appearing in Klin Wochenschr 636-40) looked at 85 hypothyroid patients, 114 normal subjects and the implications of merely using TSH to evaluate their thyroid status.

Researchers found that T3 and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) were lower in subjects with hypothyroidism compared to subjects with normal thyroid function. Treating the hypothyroid subjects with T4 gave them TSH levels on a par with the subjects who had normal thyroid function. Although the TSH level was normal, they tended to have lower T3 (which is the more active form of thyroid hormone) levels. The authors concluded that measuring TSH may not be the best way to monitor hypothyroid patients.


The British Medical Journal [BMJ 2000;320:1332-1334 (13 May)] published research examining t h e  f l aws  i n d i a g n o s i n g hypothyroidism. The authors concluded that there are indeed flaws with the way that we diagnose hypothyroidism. First of all, the research is lacking that shows us the relative importance of lab tests and symptomatology in diagnosing the thyroid. TSH production is affected by the level of thyroid hormone, but it is also affected by other things. We don’t fully understand how various illnesses affect TSH and the thyroid hormones. There is also a need to consider the possibilities of false positive and false negative results then looking at lab tests related to the thyroid. There are a lot of patients exhibiting the symptoms of hypothyroidism, but are told that their TSH is normal and that there is no problem with the thyroid.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include: fatigue (and lack of motivation), feeling cold when others do not, dry skin, constipation, depression, difficulty losing weight, brittle hair and nails that break easily, poor memory, muscle cramps, sadness or crying for no reason, high cholesterol, and frequent colds. (The patient does not necessarily have all of the  symptoms). In most medical offices, a TSH value of 6 is considered normal. The reality is that many people with a TSH higher than 3 (or even 2) exhibit many symptoms of hypothyroidism. The symptoms are the key. The lab results help, but are not a perfect way to diagnose.


Depression in Children Hepled With Fish Oils

A small, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry (2006; 163(6): 1098-100), looked at supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids and its
effect on childhood depression. The subjects of the study were 20 children between the ages of six and 12 suffering with depression. They were randomly assigned to receive either an omega-3 fatty acid supplement or a placebo. The children were evaluated using the Children’s Depression Rating Scale, the Children’s Depression Inventory and the Clinical Global Impression. Evaluations were taken at the beginning of the study and at weeks 2, 4, 8, 12 and 16. At the end of the study,
70% of the supplemented children showed at least a 50% reduction in depression scores.

I recommend EPA-DHA 720 from Metagenics or Xymogen’s Omega Pure 780EC. Both are tested to be free of dioxin and mercury. Quality is vital when choosing a fish oil product.

Omega 3 fish oils are part of a cardiovascular health program. Benefits include Blood Pressure; Lipids and Clotting; reducing inflammation of joints and skin; reducing back and neck pain;
support for mental health/behavior; support for the reduction of allergic-type response; glucose and insulin.