By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
October 25, 2017
- Is depression making you sick?
- The test every with depressive symptoms should take
- 3 tips to boost your chances of rediscovering happiness
Depression isn’t anything to take lightly. That’s because it doesn’t just take an emotional toll. It also has a profound effect on your total health. In fact, depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide.
People who are depressed are much more likely to develop heart disease, arthritis, asthma, back pain, breathing disorders and migraines. They are also more likely to die at a younger age. Additionally, depression increases the risk of substance use disorders.
I urge you… if you suffer from depression… if you know someone who is depressed… take action now!
I’m not going to tell you it’s an easy road to recovery. But I do know that antidepressant medications often don’t work. They can leave you feeling lackadaisical, deepen depressive thoughts and increase suicidal ideation. These drugs are not the answer for everyone.
However there are several relatively simple steps you can take to rid yourself of day-to-day doldrums and rediscover the joy of living.
#1 Test for Anyone Suffering from Depression
One of the first things I will tell anyone who has depressive symptoms is to get their vitamin D levels checked. This is an absolutely necessary first step since there is a direct relationship to low vitamin D levels and depression.
All you have to do is ask your doctor for a 25-hydroxy vitamin D test. If your levels are low, you’re at risk of a shortened lifespan marked with depression, pain, illness and mental decline.
If your levels are 30 ng/ml or lower, take at least 6,000-8,000 IU of vitamin D3 in the cholecalciferol form (better if it has low dose vitamin K2 and even better with a bit of vitamin A too) each day and retest in three months.
If your levels are 31 to 40 ng/ml, supplement with a 5,000 IU daily combination for three months. Then retest.
If your numbers are over 40, you’re not deficient. Still, it’s a good idea to take 2,000-4,000 iu daily to maintain sufficient levels. Shoot for a total of 60-75 ng/ml, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune issue.
Food is also a big factor in depression. Many of the foods you think of as “comfort food” can actually send into a downward spiral. If you are already in a funk, these junk foods only make it worse.
Added sugars and refined grains are inflammatory and associated with increasing odds of depression. People who consistently eat croissants, doughnuts, hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza are over 50% more likely to develop depression. And as hard as it might be to change your eating habits when the only thing you want to indulge in is a giant pizza or bag of chips with a soda, change might be exactly what you need.
When people suffering from major depression receive nutritional counseling, about a third of them go into remission. The counseling includes some advice that might sound familiar to you…
Fill your diet with fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, fish and olive oil.
3 Tips to Boost Your Chances of Rediscovering Happiness
To give your upward battle an even greater chance of success, I recommend supplementing with curcumin. Supplementing with this nutrient for as little as six weeks can be just as effective as taking Prozac.
And I’ll be honest with you. I’d much rather prescribe a diet high in turmeric than place any one of my patients on Prozac or another antidepressant.
Look for a curcumin supplement that is standardized to contain 90 to 95 percent total curcuminoids. These can be taken in the amount of 250 to 500 mg. three times per day. At a minimum, take 500 mg. daily which is more than most people ever get. To boost your benefit, look for one that also includes piperine. This is a substance found in black pepper. And it increases curcumin absorption by 2,000 percent.
I would be remiss if I didn’t add that increased physical activity can improve your mood.
But yes, I know! Moving is the last thing you want to do when you’re down in the dumps. It’s much easier to hide in your pillow with the covers pulled up. So here’s a tip.
You can make it easier to get up and get moving if you partner with a friend. If they’re counting on you, you’re more likely to participate. Enrolling in structured class can help, too. If you’re expected to show up, it increases your desire to attend.
Study after study shows the positive results of exercise on depressive symptoms. So the sooner you get started, the more quickly you’ll feel the results.
And please! Don’t discount the benefits of emotional counseling. Sometimes it takes a little bit of talking and professional input to discover the root or your dissatisfaction with life.
Once you recognize the causes, it’s much easier to turn them around in your favor.
“Depression: let’s talk” says WHO, as depression tops list of causes of ill health. Press Release. World Health Organization. May 2017.
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Gangwisch JE, et al. High glycemic index diet as a risk factor for depression: analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Aug;102(2):454-63.
Jacka FN, et al. A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial). BMC Med. 2017 Jan 30;15(1):23.
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