Tips To Naturally Reduce Depression
According to the Center for Disease Control, 9% of adults have depression some of the time, but 3.4% suffer From major depression. In adolescence, ages 12-17, the prevalence of depression is 12 to 16 percent. It is over twice as high in females versus males. This number has risen over seven percent in less than one decade. In teens, the percentage doubles between the ages of 14 and 17. About 40 percent of adolescents now take medication for depression.
Neurotransmitters are the brain’s messengers. The surge in hormones during different cycles of life effects the levels of neurotransmitters, which in turn effect different parts of the brain and its functions. This is commonly seen in the teen years, in women during post-partum, and in especially stressful times during anyone’s life such as a change of or loss of employment, loss of a spouse, or during a household move. The stress hormone cortisol depletes necessary enzymes in the body that help build serotonin, the king of neurotransmitters. It is also common for people to self-medicate with alcohol or drug use.
Why is serotonin called the king of neurotransmitters? It is the neurotransmitter most involved in the cause of multiple medical and psychiatric problems. Symptoms associated with low serotonin levels in the brain are headaches of all kinds, including migraines, extreme fatigue, anxiety, aggression, ADD, carbohydrate cravings (including alcohol), lack of satiety with food, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, epilepsy, hyperactivity, insomnia (an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep), muscle twitching, Restless Leg Syndrome, low pain tolerance, obesity and other eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, hyper-focus, panic disorders, premenstrual symptoms, schizophrenia, seasonal effectiveness disorder, depression, suicidal thoughts and behavior, and night terrors.
Inflammation reduces tryptophan, which is needed to build serotonin. Serotonin is also prone to disruption from mercury toxicity. It can also be disrupted by imbalance in the mucosal lining of the intestines. Serotonin receptors in the GI system play a critical role in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). There are cells in the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine called enterochromaffin (EC) cells. They hold 95% of the body’s serotonin. IBS and its symptoms of abdominal pain may be due to hypersensitivity of the GI tract to normal stimuli. Disturbances in the serotonin pathway and a direct impact on the central nervous system can create behavioral disturbances such as anxiety and depression.
There are ten neurotransmitters. Each one has a special function. Neurotransmitters that are in the brain are mostly made of amino acids. Amino acids are made from proteins, so eating protein foods will raise levels of neurotransmitters. Some good sources of protein are eggs, poultry (especially turkey), seafood, beans, and nuts.
Anxiety, stress and chronic pain can all lead to depression. A body needs good nutrient absorption, protein synthesis, and a healthy intestinal lining for a healthy mental state. What most people do not realize is that diet plays a big role. If your gut is not healthy, then your brain and the neurotransmitters that assist mood are not plentiful enough to do their jobs. This is commonly seen in children on the autism spectrum, with ADD, anxiety, irritability, and more.
Sadly, those who take medication often get worse, which can lead a depressed person to more depression, and sometimes even to suicidal thoughts. The good news is that there are natural supplements that work better than medication, and they are safe.
The supplements known to be most helpful for depression are:
- Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil)
- St. Johns Wort
- B vitamins (especially Methyl B12)
- Vitamin D3
Click here to learn more and read dosage suggestions.
It can take up to three weeks for natural supplementation to offer noticeable changes. If desired results do not show after this period of time, and healthy diet is in practice, you may need to increase your dosage levels.
Note: if you are taking antidepressant drugs or any other medications, consult your practitioner.
Take Action Against Depression
- Exercise: 30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise will increase serotonin levels in the brain.
- Help balance hormone levels with liver support
- Learn about candida.
- Eat olive oil, coconut oil and avocados
- Eat protein
- Reduce or remove processed carbohydrates and sugar from your diet
- Give and receive love to increase oxytocin, the feel good chemical, (loving your animals can be greatly helpful!).
- Increase indoor light in the winter months.
- Don’t watch scary movies or play anxiety provoking video games, especially before bed.
If necessary, seek the help of a naturopathic doctor who can test to determine hormone and neurotransmitter levels.
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This information is covered in depth in my book, Naturally Recovering Autism: The Complete Step-By-Step Resource Handbook for Parents. BUY HERE
Help your child get the optimum results in Karen’s step-by-step online program, The Autism Moms Mentor, working to improve the biological health aspects for better focus and concentration, improved sleep, calmer moods, and a lot more. Already in over 35 countries, this program offers you the natural resources I used to recover my own son. It is unique in that it walks you through not only gut healing and detoxification, but also the co-infections often left out of a recovery program. It also includes additional components such as muscle testing and emotional clearing to empower you to get the best possible outcome with support from a mom who has done it!
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