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Archive for June, 2010

Having lived with someone who suffered depression for many years, and having researched the subject for a number of years I thought I’d outline here some natural anti-depressants that the body needs.

Tryptophan:

This is the amino acid precursor to serotonin, which is low in depression, insomnia, anxiety, OCD, a slow gut leading to constipation, a stomach in knots, IBS, aches and pains, including fibromyalgia, hot flushes, night sweats, a tight chest and more. It helps stabilise blood sugar as it’s involved with appetite control. Often a sharp drop in blood sugar causes depression/anxiety. This drop can also cause a hot flush. Studies have found tryptophan helps with these. Serotonin is the precursor to melatonin, our sleep hormone, so supplementing with tryptophan helps with insomnia.

Start with 250mg/day about half an hour before bed and away from food containing protein. Tryptophan, arguably the most important of the natural antidepressants, needs an insulin spike to push it into the brain, so take with about 1/4 glass of fruit juice or water and a biscuit. It also needs vitamin B6 and folic acid to convert it into serotonin, so if the tryptophan doesn’t come mixed with B6 and folic acid, take 25mg B6 and 300mcg folic acid with it. Increase the dose slowly in 250mg increments until you find the optimum dose, no need to increase the vitamins. If you find you wake during the night, have another dose ready by your bedside, together with some juice. Take it upon waking, without getting out of bed. You should drop off to sleep soon after. It is safe to go up to 5000mg/day.

Tyrosine:

This is another effective natural antidepressant. It’s the amino acid precursor to dopamine, which is often low in depression. Tyrosine also helps calm the mind down if it’s ‘buzzing’ too much, if thoughts won’t keep still and concentration is difficult.

Begin with 250mg/day in the morning, plus 100mg B3 and 300mcg folic acid for conversion into dopamine. Gradually increase the dose until the optimum is found, no need to increase the vitamins. It is safe to go up to 5000mg/day.

Caution: if more tyrosine is taken than needed symptoms can come back. If this occurs reduce the dose back down until they go.

GABA:

If the depression comes with anxiety and panic, then the amino acid GABA, our most calming neurotransmitter, can be taken as well. Start with 100mg/day, plus 25mg/day vitamin B6, a necessary co-factor. Increase very slowly till the optimum is found. It is safe to go up to 1000mg/day.

Caution: GABA is difficult to administer, as it’s easy to exceed what is needed and then symptoms come back, so increase extremely slowly. It’s far easier to use progesterone instead, as this activates the GABA receptor sites.

Taurine:

Another wonderfully calming amino acid, particularly for the heart. There is more Taurine in the heart than all other aminos combined. It’s a vital component of bile, which is how the liver excretes excess cholesterol, so taking taurine reduces cholesterol levels. In people who suffer from panic attacks, anxiety and chronic fatigue the heart rate variability is erratic, taurine helps to calm this. Take 500mg/day, increasing till the optimum is found. Take 25mg of the co-factor vitamin B6 too. It is safe to go up to 5000mg/day.

Progesterone:

This acts as a natural antidepressant as it is a natural monoamine oxidase inhibitor and works by increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. It also activates the GABA receptor sites making GABA more effective. Use between 100-200mg/day (3-6ml of Natpro). It is easier to use progesterone to increase the effectiveness of GABA than to use GABA alone.

All amino acids and vitamins are sourced from carefully selected organic resources in South Africa.

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