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Posts Tagged ‘depression’

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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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I’m now studying acupuncture which has really extended my knowledge in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Having tried several acupuncture practitioners in the past, I’m now fortunate enough to have found a wonderful acupuncturist who treats me.

We all suffer from irritability and moodiness from time to time, but if you find that you suffer from a short temper and frustration on a regular basis then acupuncture may be for you. Irritability may often be the consequence of chronic stress in our lives. Over time, these emotions can escalate into more serious emotional conditions such as extreme anxiety and even depression which can then manifest into other health problems like digestive disorders, insomnia, and a low immune function. In TCM emotional disorders can be associated with a number of different patters of disharmony; however, anger, irritability and frustration are all signs that our energy, or life force (referred to as qi (pronounced Chi) inTCM) flow is hindered or not flowing as smoothly as it should. The liver is responsible for the smooth flow of qi throughout the body and for balancing our emotions. When the liver’s function of moving qi is disrupted, qi can become stagnant. This is referred to as ‘liver qi stagnation’. Liver qi stagnation is one of the most common patterns of disharmony seen in today’s patients. In addition to irritability and moodiness, signs and symptoms may include congestion in the chest, sighing, abdominal distension, nausea, sour regurgitation, belching, diarrhea or constipation, feeling a lump in the throat, irregular periods, PMS and breast distension.

Aside from the heart, the liver is closely related to the emotions. A lack of smooth flow of the liver qi will not allow the mind to ease. If liver qi is stagnant it will cause depression, anxiety and sadness. Acupuncture is excellent for relieving liver qi stagnation. Treatment for irritability and moodiness associated with liver qi stagnation focuses on unblocking and moving qi and supporting the liver and spleen organ systems with acupuncture, lifestyle and dietary recommendations along with herbal formulas. I suffer from liver qi stagnation from time to time and a couple of sessions of acupuncture always clears it up for me, (Liver 3, Large Intestine 4, and Four Gates) along with a good exercise regime and deep breathing exercise, eating green leafy vegetables which stimulate the liver and herbs like the Free and Easy Wanderer (Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan).

Please also see my posts and information on Natural Progesterone which  plays a vital role in stabilising moods and helping anxiety whether you are male or female.

Love and peace to you all.

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Research keeps unearthing one find after another that cites vitamin D deficiency as a major culprit in disease development.  New studies show that vitamin D is important to proper brain development, and that a lack of this vitamin may be a contributing factor in causing schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and depression.  Calcium and magnesium deficiencies often accompany vitamin D deficiency and are associated with seizures in infants and degenerative neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s in adults. 

The good news is that vitamin D:

  • Relieves the symptoms of seasonal depression;
  • Plays a critical role in slowing or preventing many types of arthritis;
  • Reduces the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes;
  • Improves the release of insulin and response of muscle and liver to insulin, which means that normal levels of vitamin D may help prevent diabetes;
  • Helps the development of healthy immune system during childhood; and
  • Plays a key role in regulating cell growth and differentiation which may prevent cancer.

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Having found out that my DHEA level was low I decided to look into this hormone. DHEA is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands and is known to ameliorate the effects of aging on many body functions. My research, however, led me to a safer alternative: 7 -Keto DHEA.

7-Keto DHEA is a safer and more potent form of DHEA. 7 Keto is NOT DHEA, rather it is a natural metabolite of DHEA which means that our bodies eventually convert DHEA into 7 Keto DHEA in the skin and kidneys.

Benefits of 7-Keto DHEA:

  • Reduces body fat
  • Strengthens immune function
  • Helps balance thyroid function
  • Enhances the liver enzyme catalase
  • Enhances IGF-1 (growth hormone) hormone production
  • Improves cognitive function and enhances memory
  • Helpful for overcoming insulin resistance in type II diabetes
  • Relieves depression
  • Has anti-aging benefits
  • Helps lower stress-induced high blood pressure and may be beneficial for other heart-related diseases
  • Increases muscle mass
  • Eases inflammatory conditions like lupus and arthritis
  • Boosts energy and relieves fatigue
  • Helpful for asthma
  • May be helpful in Alzheimer’s disease

The most fundamental difference between DHEA and 7 Keto DHEA is that 7 Keto DHEA is already converted DHEA, so, it will not dangerously spike oestrogen and testosterone as does DHEA. Studies have shown that DHEA can raise blood levels of testosterone by as much as 10 times above normal. Since 7-Keto does not convert into testosterone or oestrogen, it is a safe alternative. (Elevated testosterone can increase hair growth in women and cultivate prostate cancer in men).

7 Keto is non-toxic. Liver and blood hormone levels have shown it to be safe and without adverse side effects.

7 Keto DHEA has been proven to promote greater weight loss than DHEA. One clinical trial published in the Journal of Exercise Physiology Online looked at 30 obese people who took a placebo or 7-KETO. Both groups took three one-hour sessions of aerobic and anaerobic exercise per week. At the end of the eight-week study, the 7-KETO group had lost 1.8 percent of body fat, compared to 0.57 percent among the placebo exercisers. Their overall weight loss was 2.88 kilos, about three times the loss among those who took the placebo.

There are signs that 7 Keto DHEA imitates thyroid hormones which cause the body to make more heat and thus burn more calories and helps the body lose weight.

7 Keto lends greater support to the immune system by increasing IL-2 production in human lymphocytes. IL-2 is the key cytokine regulator of T-helper cells which helps activate the immune system against invading pathogens. It also helps to reduce cortisol – a hormone associated with stress as well as chronic mood disorders and aging.

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