Depression – general

Depression is a very common affliction that can affect most people at some stage of their lives. It can come about as a natural response to emotional disappointment, loss or grieving but can also be the result of hormonal imbalances, chemical imbalances in the brain, long-term stress, inflammation and/or pain or vitamin and mineral deficiencies and also by poor diet and/or poor digestion.

Dull, cold weather can make the situation worse and in this country November/December can be a very windy season which for a lot of people is disruptive and unsettling.
See page on ‘Seasonal Afective disorder (SAD)’.

Depression can cause sleep disturbances (that in turn often make the depression worse), fatigue, bouts of crying, emotional instability, loss of appetite or binge eating, weight changes, loss of pleasure in life and often loss of self esteem.

Don’t under estimate the importance of diet. Often even small changes in diet can bring about beneficial changes in mood.
For example, for some people cutting fast acting carbohydrates (sugar, white bread, cakes and biscuits) out of their diet can improve both mood and energy and get rid of feelings of confusion, irritability and aggression.

Serotonin levels can potentially be improved by eating more protein containing foods, especially poultry, oily fish, beans, nuts and seeds.
Serotonin is a neurotsansmitter which is responsible for mood elevation. Low levels can cause feelings of depression.
See page on ‘Antidepressants vs 5HTP’.

Dopamine and noradrenaline are two other neurotransmitters which are important for staying alert and active. These can also potentially be improved by eating more protein rich foods which contain tyrosine, such as meat, fish, beans, seeds, soya and cheese.

Omega 3 fats (oily fish) are especially important for mental and emotional health.

To combat depression it is hugely important to improve mineral levels in the body.
Zinc and Magnesium are two minerals that are extremely deficient in parts of NZ and often need to be supplemented. Iodine deficiency is also a problem.

A deficiency of Zinc can lead to symptoms of depression, lethargy, nervousness, poor immunity (often recurrent viral infections), acne, often poor taste and smell, loss of appetite, poor circulation, concentration and sleep and in some cases a tendency to faint. At times it can be recognized by white spots appearing in the nails which are often brittle, stretch marks appearing on the skin and slow wound healing that tends to leave scars. In teenagers there may be signs of sexual immaturity and in young women often irregular menstrual cycles.
Increasing Zinc levels can dramatically reduce depressive symptoms, possibly by increasing Serotonin levels.
See page on Zinc.

Magnesium deficiency can cause symptoms of anxiety, depression, irritability, behavioural disturbances, disorientation and confusion, depression as well as disturbance of heart rhythm, insomnia, premenstrual tension, twitching or muscles (especially around the eye) and cramping.

Deficiency in Iodine causes lethargy, sluggishness, lack of enthusiasm, often weight gain and a great tendency to not want to exercise or participate .
See page on ‘Hypothyroid’.
When Iodine deficiency is a factor in cases of depression often the supplementation of this trace element can make a huge difference to both energy levels and emotional well being.

These three minerals in particular need to increased but it is far
better to do this by the use of Colloidal minerals rather try to take them
individually which may cause further imbalances.

Evening primrose oil
is another wonderful remedy for depression, especially the type that appears premenstrually. It is also great for those bouts of uncalled for weepiness. The dose does need to be reasonably high, often 3000mg 2-3 times daily. Organic Evening Primrose Oil is available through this Clinic.

For depressive moods where negativity is paramount, St John’s Wort can be hugely effective. It has the effect of subtly bringing about a change in the pattern of thought from a tendency to be negative to a positive out look on life. It does not act as an ‘upper’ or cause a great uplifting the senses!

Homeobotanical remedies and/or Bach flower remedies for depressive symptoms can also be very effective.

In older people it is important also to increase vitamin B12. This is often done by injection as uptake can be poor if taken orally, but there are available sublingual tablets and other oral supplements that work well. In particular I have found that a combination of Vitamin B12 and potassium Iodide works well.
Go to On-line shop for ‘Tracel’. or organic Evening primrose oil.