The Depression Epidemic

The Depression Epidemic

Between 1987 and 1997, the number of Americans treated for depression went from 1.7 million to 6.3 million, and that number has continued to climb.

The World Health Organization has estimated that by 2020, depression will become the leading cause of disability worldwide, second only to heart disease.
Discovered in the late 1940’s, serotonin, a neurotransmitter, made by the body from the amino acid tryptophan, was found to have calming and mood elevating effects. Insufficient serotonin produced feelings of irritability, anxiety, worthlessness and guilt.

Another neurotransmitter, norepinephrine (also called noradrenaline), made from the amino acid tyrosine, was found to generate feelings of excitement and motivation. Its deficiency led to an inability to feel reward and a consequent absence of motivation and craving for stimulation from sugar, alcohol, caffeine, or stress.
Antidepressant Drugs
The first antidepressant drugs appeared in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. Their primary function was to keep neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine from breaking down so that more would be available to the brain, However, these drugs had terrible side effects: dangerously high blood pressure, impotence, nightmares and anxiety, to name a few.

The SSRI’s like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox and others, were developed in the 1970’s and 80’s. SSRI’s have come to dominate today’s antidepressant market.

Initially touted as safer than other antidepressants, SSRI’s have been found to cause more than 45 troubling side effects including a “zombie-like” mood, and strong connections with student massacres like Columbine.
A Better Way
Deficiencies in neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine are only one cause of depression. There are many others: Allergies, chronic infections (such as candida and viral infections), deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Then there are food additives like MSG and aspartame, blood sugar disregulation, hormonal imbalances, sleep deprivation, stress, various other disorders and medications. The toxic load from any of the above can cause or contribute to depression.

Why are serotonin and norepinephrine levels so low to begin with? Let’s begin with diet. We need good protein sources to supply adequate levels of trytophan and tyrosine – non-mercury fish, chicken, turkey, omega-3 eggs, nuts, seeds and beans. Avocados and bananas are also high in both tyrosine and tryptophan.

Cofactors are needed for converting these amino acids into neurotransmitters. Tryptophan needs adequate Vitamins B1, B3, B6, biotin, folic acid and zinc. Tyrosine needs oxygen, and Vitamins C, B3, B6, folate, iron and copper. Many people are deficient in these critical nutrients. Even taking extra vitamins and minerals may not help if the supplements are of poor quality.

Nerve cell membranes need to be kept healthy and flexible so that the neurotransmitters can convey their messages. For this, omega 3 fats like Arctic™ Cod Liver Oil is essential.

The studies show that if we give the body the nutrients it needs, and don’t overload it with toxins, it will produce exactly the amount of neurotransmitters to do the job, so that harmony is maintained and side effects are non existent.
Self Relaxation and the Bigger Picture
Our human minds tend to divide everything into good and bad, right and wrong, day and night. Our lives, however, are not isolated events. Each piece of our life, each situation, each relationship, is connected – making our life a beautiful mosaic of experiences, thoughts and feelings. If we become too identified with one single piece of the mosaic, if we are standing too close to it, we only see that piece – we lose sight of the bigger picture. Any single piece – no matter how challenging or difficult it may be – contributes to the whole. Without that piece, the whole becomes something less.

Techniques of self relaxation, meditation and prayer allow us to step away from any single piece, and get a new perspective on the total picture. Trust in the process of life begins to develop, and the universe starts to feel like a safe place, no matter what challenges are thrown in our paths. Self relaxation, communing with Nature, meditation and prayer have been shown to raise neurotransmission levels, as well as inhibit autoimmune reactions. It is a valuable asset in dealing with the challenges of depression or anxiety.
Products for Re-building Neurotransmitters in Your Body
1. L-Tryptophan
L-Tryptophan is an amino acid naturally present in the body and essential for human life. Like certain other amino acids, it is called "essential" because the body
is not capable of producing it, so we must ingest it.

L-Tryptophan is used to assist in helping depression, anxiety, insomnia, aggression, and to curb appetite. Be sure to find an L-tryptophan that is free of EBT and is non-GMO.


GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), discovered in 1950, is the most important and widespread inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Excitation in the brain must be balanced with inhibition.

Too much excitation can lead to restlessness, irritability, insomnia, and even seizures. GABA is able to induce relaxation, analgesia, and sleep.

Look for a GABA that combines inhibitory neurotransmitters with N-acetyl L-tyrosine, a precursor of norepinephrine. The sublingual form is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, via the blood vessels under the tongue and in the cheeks, allowing for quick entry into the system.

3. SAMe

SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) is derived from the amino acid methionine and is one of the most important methyl donors in the central nervous system.

It is involved in more than 50 methylation reactions in the body, including the regulation of various hormones and neurotransmitters such as serotonin, melatonin and dopamine.

4. Cod Liver Oil

Clinical studies have found that people who suffer from depression who received a daily dose of 1 gram of an omega-3 fatty acid such as cod liver oil for 12 weeks, experienced a decrease in their symptoms.

All the patients had already tried prescription drugs such as Zoloft, Paxil and Prozac.

Previous studies have suggested that the balance of omega-3 fatty acids in the brain may be skewed in people with depression, and earlier studies have shown that cod liver oil and fish oil supplements can help alleviate the symptoms of depression and schizophrenia.

Cod liver oil from Norway is usually the best. Make sure it is molecularly distilled and free of heavy metals like mercury. It should have a high omega-3 fatty acid content with naturally occuring vitamins A and D.

Recommended: One thing we recommend for anyone who has issues with stress or depression, is to have a hair mineral analysis test done.

How can a hair analysis help one achieve better health? If we consider that diet is what we consume and nutrition is what we retain, then we can see that discovering what the body needs when it needs it is a valuable tool in creating health.

Hair analysis test report

A hair analysis can determine which essential minerals the body is needing more of and which toxic elements it needs to eliminate. It also provides valuable insight into the body's metaoblism and what dietary changes would be most helpful for recovery.

Visit our page on Supportive Natural Therapies for ALS.

Depression can often lead to substance abuse. If you know of someone struggling with any kind of addiction brought on by depression, don't hesitate to contact a drug and alcohol rehab facility for help.

If you're not sure which facility to turn to, just search for ratings for The Discovery House drug rehab and other treatment centers to make sure your friend or loved one gets the best kind of treatment.

Alternatively, Treatment Dynamics at Summit offers individual family therapy sessions in a safe, personal and confidential setting overseen by a multi-disciplinary treatment team.

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