Depression and anxiety reduced naturally

Published: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 25, 2010 at 4:38 p.m.

Q: Last week, you gave a Dumb Award to "anti-depressant drugs and the doctors who prescribe them for every woman who is tired or tearful." I struggle with depression, and my medications don't help. Can you elaborate?

D.D., Tacoma, Washington

A: You and millions of other people will get shuffled from one psychiatrist to another, one drug to another, and you will remain on the "medication merry-go-round" until you feed your brain what it's hungry for.

My column left many readers curious about what they could be doing to improve their emotional health and ability to cope with stress.

Anti-depressants do help some people, but as a class, these medications are incapable of correcting underlying nutritional deficiencies or hormonal imbalances. Medications artificially - and temporarily - lift brain chemicals, and they have serious side effects. Never suddenly stop prescribed medications. With your physician's approval, you can try one or two of the dietary supplements below, or you can buy a combination formula for enhanced effects. I have limited space here, so if this information is important to you, or someone you love is feeling particularly hopeless, read the expanded version of this article posted at my Web site, I have more recommendations, dosages and testing options that can build a brighter future. Now, here are a few choices to consider:

Vitamin C: You need vitamin C to make two important "happy" brain chemicals, norepinephrine and serotonin.

5-MTHF: This B vitamin is the biologically active form of folic acid and 5-MTHF is worth hunting down. It helps make happy brain chemicals. Why not just take folic acid? Because many people have a genetic problem turning folic acid into 5-MTHF, and so they become deficient.

GABA: A brain neurotransmitter that helps us relax. Deficiencies of GABA could lead to trouble coping, feeling anxious, stressed out or depressed.

Tyrosine and iodine: These substances help you make thyroid hormone, and low thyroid is a common overlooked cause for depression.

Eleuthero extract: This adaptogenic herb helps the body cope with stress, while improving concentration and feelings of well-being.

Progeseterone: Natural cream versions (sold over-the-counter) may lift depression if it's related to estrogen dominance/progesterone deficiency. Apply only if you have been tested and found to have a deficiency.

Vitamin D: People with depression or SAD (seasonal affective disorder) usually are deficient in vitamin D.

5-HTP: Your body converts this to serotonin, a happy brain chemical.

Did you know?

A new injectable prescription drug, Actemra, has just been approved for rheumatoid arthritis.

For more information, visit

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