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The Real Causes Behind Depression And Other Mood Disorders
Chances are pretty darn good that you, or someone you know well, is taking antidepressants. Mood disorders such as PMS, and depression are a severe problem in America today. All anyone needs to do is go to their doctor and tell them that they are experiencing depression or mood swings and they write you out a prescription for some “happy pills.” Despite that moniker, there is nothing happy about these brain altering chemicals.
Chemical drugs are not the easy answer they seem to be. These drugs have serious side effects that most doctors are not even aware of. Many side effects and health dangers of these drugs are downplayed, or simply left out, because drug company sales-reps are only interested in selling. They don’t give a damn about your health or mental well-being.
If you or loved one is suffering from a mood disorder or if you are suffering from depression, you might actually be suffering from a nutritional deficiency. Research studies have found that numerous subjects diagnosed with depression are simply deficient in one or more nutrients.
Could this be true for you as well? Keep reading and see if any of the following deficiencies ring true for you!
1. Amino Acids
Our bodies require certain nutrients to work properly. Some nutrients the body makes on its own, others must be consumed through our diet. There are nine amino acids that are called “essential” because our bodies do not make them. To get all of the amino acids that your body needs each day, you need to eat a wide variety of foods. Most of the essential amino acids are found in eggs, meat, fish, seeds, nuts and beans. Vegans are often found to be lacking in certain amino acids, which is why if you are consuming a vegan diet you should consider taking supplements. Amino acids are just one of the nutrients that the brain uses to make neurotransmitters.
What do neurotransmitters have to do with depression? The brain uses neurotransmitters to send information about feelings. Some neurotransmitters make us feel happy and excited, while others make us feel calm and peaceful. A proper balance of neurotransmitters in the brain creates feelings of stability in both your thoughts and feelings. Many mental and emotional problems are caused by an imbalance in these neurotransmitters. Just a few of the important transmitters are GABA, dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin. These are usually the most common culprits when it comes to depression and they can become imbalanced in the brain from a lack of amino acids.
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2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids, or an imbalance between omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids, can be a major cause of depression. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital to your brain function and mental outlook. Research has even found that many cases of ADHD can be solved with nothing more than omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Scientists have also found that subjects who are depressed have low levels of this essential fatty acid in their bodies. You can find omega-3s naturally in fish and flax seed oil. You can also consume a supplement but be certain that you are consuming a quality supplement that has been cold pressed and is free from contamination. If it doesn’t state this on the label, choose another brand.
The thyroid gland is a part of our endocrine system, which makes this one of the most important glands in our body. Your thyroid affects every single function in the body including your immune system, hormone production, body temperature, and brain function. Although most people believe that they are consuming sufficient amounts of iodine through table salt, this usually is not the case. You can get plenty of healthy iodine from natural foods such as potatoes, kelp, wakame, cranberries, and arame. By the way, those salty French fries, potato chips or pretzels? They don’t contain any iodized salt.
4. Vitamin D
If you listen to health experts today, they make it sound as if you will die from skin cancer if you spend more than 5 minutes in natural sunlight! The overuse of sunscreens and fear of sunlight has greatly affected our vitamin D levels. Vitamin D, which our bodies get from sunlight, is vital for everything from immune function to bone health to brain performance. One study, published in The Journal Clinical Nutrition in 2013 found that subjects diagnosed with panic attacks and depression had the lowest levels of vitamin D. This study used more than 18,000 subjects! Of course, too much of anything isn’t good for you either. Get sensible sunlight exposure. For most people, this means about 30 minutes of sunlight on your bare skin.
5. Zinc, Chromium, Iron, or Folates
Our modern day farming methods have depleted our soils of what used to be considered natural sources of the vitamins and minerals listed above. While we used to be able to consume natural foods and rest assured that we were getting complete nutrition, this is no longer the case. Be certain that you are consuming a wide variety of foods to ensure that you are getting all of these vital nutrients.
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6. B Vitamins
There have been numerous studies showing that a deficiency in B vitamins, especially B12, can lead to depression and other types of mood disorders. If you are on a vegan diet, then you will absolutely be low in vitamin B12. Since B vitamins work best when consumed in combination, look for a B-complex supplement that uses gel capsules rather than tablets. Also, read the label to ensure that you are getting at least 25mg of each of the B vitamins.
7. Healthy and Natural Diet
Are you eating a typical American diet filled with sugar, caffeine, sodas, processed foods, junk foods and fast foods? If you are, this could be the culprit behind your depression. Your shopping cart and refrigerator tell the story of your overall health. Is it filled with organic fruits, vegetables, water, oatmeal, nuts and seeds? Or is it filled with sodas, processed foods, chips, candy, microwave popcorn, and frozen dinners? Our nutrition poor diet is one of the main causes of not only our chronic health problems, but our depression issues as well. Try going on a “health nut diet” for just 60 days and be amazed by the results. Keep in mind that if you don’t feel better you can always go back to Mickey D’s, but we know that you are going to feel like a new person, filled with energy and ready to take on the day! Once you start giving your body the real nutrition it craves (and needs!) you will never go back to your old eating habits and you will wonder why everyone else doesn’t follow suit.
If you are currently taking antidepressants, these are serious medicines. Do not stop taking your medication without speaking to your doctor first about how you can get off them. Stopping your medication dramatically can cause you serious health problems so please do not see this article as an excuse for going cold turkey. Talk to your doctor first!
Now having said that, please realize that most doctors are not very well schooled in diet and nutrition. They rarely have time to talk to you about your diet and lifestyle habits. You might want to consider visiting a holistic doctor who can advise you further regarding your diet and nutritional needs that will better address your depression or mood disorder problems.