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DEPRESSION ~ How Low Will YOU Go? The Final Chapter

Posted Jul 26 2008 10:18am

While this is the final chapter on this segment, it is by no means the end of the discussion.  Depression is still one of the most debilitating and "life stealing" disorders today.

Clinical depression affects all aspects of a person's life. It impairs our ability to sleep, eat, work, and get along with others. It damages our self-esteem, self-confidence, and our ability to accomplish everyday tasks. People who are depressed find daily tasks to be a significant struggle. They tire easily, yet cannot get a good night's sleep. They have no motivation and lose interest in activities that were once enjoyable. Depression puts a dark, gloomy cloud over how we see ourselves, the world, and our future.

So lets look at a different perspective on treatment protocols.  As I mentioned in the earlier posts, the Chinese acupuncturists look at diseases in the body differently than we do. In America, we test and look for the symptoms of a disease and treat it accordingly.  If the tests come back negative for a specific disease, no matter what your symptoms, most doctors will choose to wait for the positive test results before treating your disease. 

Did you know that approximately 30-40% of a disease process must be present to even show positive on a blood test? So, if your disease has only progressed to 25% in size it may not show up on most blood tests.

The Oriental culture or more specifically, traditional Chinese Medicine doctors don't care what you name your disease, they treat the cause of the disorder.  They use tests like pulse diagnosis, tongue diagnosis, palpation of specific points called alarm points, visual clues, even smell to diagnose a condition.  Looking at Depression, in the previous post we talked about the liver being involved heavily. The liver would be examined for any dysfunction, and treated accordingly.

I also talked about neurotransmitters, specifically serotonin  as a problem with depression. If you recall I said that taking serotonin related medication will treat the symptom but not the cause. 

So lets look at some nutritional recommendations for Depression.

I must add here that if you are taking any medications I would recommend you talk to your pharmacist about any drug/nutrition interactions with these nutrients before taking them. I would also recommend finding a reputable acupuncturist to assist you with your care.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oils (not flaxseed) may be effective for treating depression.
  • 5-HTP is a close relative of tryptophan and part of the metabolic pathway that leads to serotonin production.
  • S-Adenosyl Methionine: SAM or SAM-e (pronounced "sammy") is a natural compound all mammals manufacture that may alleviate the symptoms of depression,
  • St. John's Wort:  this plant-derived herbal remedy may be effective for treating particularly mild to moderate cases of depression.
  • L-Tyrosine is the precursor to the biogenic amine norepinephrine
  • The amino-acid tryptophan is the nutrient needed to form serotonin,
  • Tryptophan to Serotonin - tryptophan —> 5-HTP —> serotonin
  • L-Phenylalanine, the naturally occurring form of phenylalanine, is converted in the body to L-tyrosine.
  • Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is the cofactor for enzymes that convert L-tryptophan to serotonin and L-tyrosine to norepinephrine.
  • Folic acid deficiency may result from dietary deficiency, physical or psychological stress, excessive alcohol consumption, malabsorption or chronic diarrhea.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency can also manifest as depression.
  • Vitamin C, as the cofactor for tryptophan-5-hydroxylase, catalyzes the hydroxylation of tryptophan to serotonin.1
  • Magnesium deficiency can cause numerous psychological changes, including depression.
  • Valerian root (Valerian officinalis)—may improve symptoms of insomnia associated with depression.
  • Damiana (Turnera diffusa)—may reduce sexual dysfunction associated with many antidepressant medications.

These are some of the nutrients that are helpful to the patient with Depression.  Each patient is individual and their needs unique to them. I highly recommend that you seek the assistance of a licensed acupuncturist who has experience with treating depression.

Abundant Blessings!

Only a Life lived for Others is a Life Worthwhile ~Albert Einstein

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