Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bust Out From Those Blues!

The statistics are, well to put it bluntly, depressing!  Nearly 14.8 million American adults experience the crushing emotional and physical symptoms of depression, and a majority of those who are diagnosed are women.

The reasons so many of us feels so sad at some point in our lives vary.  It may be due to:

Biological imbalances
Nutrition deficits
Not enough sleep
Even situational triggers

A constant that is found in those of us who get a bad case of the blues is: The body stops producing or effectively using the brain chemicals that regulate our mood.

Our brain chemical in particular, serotonin, is a neurotransmitter that is a key regulator of emotion, behavior and mood.  It serves as a messenger, jumping between neurons.  When not enough serotonin makes the leap, it can result in those feelings of depression.

With conventional medicine you may go to your doctor, and they will prescribe antidepressants such as as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil-these being the most popular.  These work by helping your body make the most of the serotonin that is already available in your brain.  The upside for many is brighter outlook, however common side effects include:

Weight gain

These don't sound fun...right?

In contrast however, natural remedies not only support the serotonin you already have, but ALSO help your body CREATE more of it, with fewer nasty side effects!

Here are some important and very effective natural remedies to help lift your mood:

Fish Oil 
The abundant stores of omega-3s in fish oil help your body make better use of the serotonin it already has.  Fish oil helps treat depression especially postpartum depression because during pregnancy, the mother's brain has to give up omega-3s so the baby's brain can develop, which can result in deficiency.  So it is important for pregnant women to supplement with fish oil during and after pregnancy.  A contraindication would be if you are taking heart medications, such as blood thinners, fish oil can interfere with their effectiveness.

How to use:  Take 2,000 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA fish oil per day.  

S-adenosylmethionine supports the production of serotonin.  It may work as well as, in addition to enhancing the effects of , conventional medications in treating major depressive disorder.  It is important to note, that i is energizing and may increase feelings of anxiety in some people.  

How to use:  Start at 400 milligrams, building to 1,200 or 1,600 milligrams per day in the morning.  Try taking it earlier in the day and midday because it can interfere with sleep.  Take the same dose for at least a week before adding more, stop increasing the dose if side effects occur.  

St. John's wort
St. John's wort helps your body make better use of the serotonin it already produces,  it is as successful as conventional antidepressants in the short-term treatment of mild to moderate depression.  Something to note however, is it can interact negatively with antidepressants and interfere with the effectiveness of other drugs, such as birth control pills.

How to use:  Dosages vary depending on the brand.   Generally, it is advisable to take one 300 milligram tablet three times a day.

B vitamins
B vitamins encourage the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin.  A deficiency in B vitamins can trigger or worsen depression.  B vitamins are water-soluble, so your body can quickly uses and eliminate them.  So it is smart to replace them on a daily basis.

How to use:  Take two sublingual tablets per day dissolved under the tongue.

Vitamin D3
The body produces more serotonin after being in the stronger rays of the summer sun versus winter sunlight.  So supplementing with vitamin D3, a form of D that is closest to what is created naturally in the body, may enhance serotonin levels.  It is especially important to check your vitamin D levels if you have darker skin or get minimal sun exposure.

How to use:  Take 2,000 to 5,000 IUs of vitamin D3 daily.  Taking 10,000 IUs or more of vitamin D daily can be toxic.

Over 80% of the population in the western world are deficient in Magnesium.  Magnesium helps your body create the serotonin it needs for you to stay in a positive mood.  It also encourages the serotonin that is already there to work more efficiently.  Magnesium can elevate your mood, relieve stress, and help you sleep.

How to use:  Start with a half teaspoon daily of a powered formula and gradually increase to two teaspoons per day.  You may also take magnesium in tablet form and try and take it about an hour before a meal or with a meal.  The dose varies between 300-900 milligrams daily.  Try and spread this amount out over 2-3 times a day.  You need to figure out you own exact dosages, which should be the highest dosage that doesn't not produce diarrhoea.  If that happens you need to cut back the dose.

Stop suffering from those blues and find relief with less harmful natural remedies that can help prevent and ease depression!

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