Depression is at epidemic levels. In the United States, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reports that major depression is the most frequent mood disorder currently, which affects 17 percent of the population at least once in their life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in ten people suffer from major depression or other depression at any given time. However, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation research indicates that this number may be much higher because, for example, men are much less likely to report their depression.
A study by Dr. Paul E. Greenberg and his colleagues, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, showed that the economic costs of depression in the United States exceeded $ 43 billion in 1990. A subsequent study, again by Greenberg and his colleagues showed that in 1996, the cost had increased to $ 52.9 billion. This study used a refined approach to estimate costs in the workplace. Dr. Greenberg conducted another study in 2000, finding that the cost had increased to $ 83.1 billion. This number took into account direct medical costs, mortality costs related to suicide and costs in the workplace, such as absenteeism.
The World Health Report of the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that depression is the leading cause of medical disability for people ages 15 to 44 worldwide. According to the CDC, it is one of the main reasons why people visit their doctors, along with hypertension, arthritis, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Depression comes in different forms. The most common form of depression is dysthymia, or atypical depression, a chronic low-grade depression that generally lasts more than two years and prevents us from feeling emotionally well or functioning effectively in our daily lives.
The most severe form of depression is major or clinical depression. According to the Stanford School of Medicine, this condition is evidenced by a combination of symptoms, including persistent negative moods, feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed, sleep abnormalities, memory and cognitive difficulties, and persistent physical symptoms such as headaches and chronic pain. Together, these symptoms cause significant distress and interfere with our ability to work, sleep, eat, study or enjoy activities that were once pleasurable. This form of depression can be dangerous because it incapacitates the victim and can lead to suicidal thoughts and actions.
In orthomolecular medicine, depression is addressed by observing biochemical imbalances. Depression is a multifaceted condition, and there are several physiological reasons why someone can get depressed. These may include heavy metal toxicity, decreased thyroid and adrenal function, food allergies, poor nutrient absorption, low tissue sugar or deficiencies in essential fatty acids, niacin, vitamin C, vitamin B6, zinc or other minerals and amino acids.
To identify the root cause of a patient’s depression, professionals would first identify nutritional deficiencies. Deficiencies in chromium, zinc, B6, GABA and L-tryptophan, which are involved in the manufacture of neurotransmitters, are clearly related to mood and behavioral disorders. Deficiencies in niacin and vitamin C, two anti-stress vitamins, are also related to depression and mood disorders. Therefore, orthomolecular treatment for depression may include these supplements:
• Omega-3 essential fatty acids
• Calcium / Magnesium
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin D
• Vitamins B
• Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
Most heavy metals act as free radicals in the body, inducing oxidative stress. These heavy metals, which include mercury, lead, aluminum and copper, can damage brain tissue and compromise metabolism. According to Raymond J. Wenzel, co-author of The Earth’s Gift to Medicine: Minerals in Health and Disease, these metals are related to depression and other mood disorders.
Since World War II, Americans have been heavily exposed to copper due to the use of copper pipes in modern homes. Mercury exposure has become widespread due to the use of vaccines and dental amalgams, which are 50 percent mercury, and the increase in electric power generation.
Lead in gasoline and paint was widely used, but it was removed in the 1970s due to serious health problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lead is still widely used in some commercial products and is a serious health problem for people living in urban areas, near factories or in older buildings.
According to Dr. Anita Pepi, DC, exposure to aluminum comes from over-the-counter medications such as aspirin and antacids, hygiene products such as antiperspirants and showers, food additives, stainless steel cookware and food cooked or stored in aluminum containers or foil. .
The toxicity of aluminum can cause nervous disorders, muscle aches, speech problems, memory loss, digestive problems, anemia and decreased kidney and liver function, says Dr. Pepi, and the Alzheimer’s Society has concluded that there is circumstantial evidence that links this metal with Alzheimer’s disease. . Aluminum has been exempted from safety tests by the FDA, and there are currently no restrictions on the amount or use of aluminum in commercial products.
Our body makes a protein called metallothionein, which removes these heavy metals from the body. In the process, the protein depletes zinc, compromising the manufacture of important brain proteins, including neurotransmitters. Zinc deficiency is associated with disorders of the mental and nervous system.
Orthomolecular medicine can be used to remove heavy metals from the body. This is achieved by stimulating the thyroid and adrenal glands, liver, kidneys and intestine. There are several ways to achieve this. A study published in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences showed that blue-green algae chlorella can expel mercury from the body and cleanse the liver, intestine and blood. Other detoxifying supplements include N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), trace element formulas, fiber, enzymes and probiotics. Antioxidants can also help prevent damage caused by free radicals resulting from heavy metal toxicity.
According to several studies, including one from 1991 published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, which is supplemented with essential fatty acids, particularly omega-3 DHA and EPA fatty acids, it was shown to benefit people suffering from depression, anxiety, ADHD and other mood and behavior disorders. These fats make up 60 percent of the dry weight of the brain and are responsible for the development of the modern human brain. They are important components of nerve cell walls and participate in the activity of neurotransmitters.
Most people have an unbalanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. A healthy ratio is around 3: 1, but it is estimated that up to nine out of ten people have a ratio of 10: 1 or even 20: 1. According to Dr. Gabe Mirkin, a practicing physician, host of programs radio and successful author of The Healthy Heart Miracle, this high proportion can cause inflammation, blood clots, constricted arteries and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. It can also worsen the symptoms of arthritis and psoriasis, and block our ability to respond to insulin, which leads to high blood sugar, obesity and diabetes.
According to Dr. Raymond J. Pataracchia of the Naturopathic Medical Research Clinic, in most cases of mental health, the adrenal and thyroid glands are compromised. In a depressed patient, both glands are less active and show common symptoms.
The adrenal glands are involved in the stress response, sugar metabolism, blood pressure regulation, electrolyte balance and sex hormone metabolism. Symptoms of low adrenal functioning include tolerance to low stress, lack of pleasure, addiction, dizziness, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, PMS, PMDD, phobias, post-traumatic stress and skin conditions.
Low thyroid activity is a common factor in mood disorders and often in psychosis. Our brains rely heavily on thyroid hormone to regulate the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Thyroid hormone production decreases or stops when we are under stress. Symptoms of this may include fatigue, depression, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, weight gain, poor memory, indigestion, impaired mental function, premenstrual syndrome and PMDD.
Orthomolecular doctors correct this problem by prescribing supplements that offer thyroid and adrenal support. These include iodine, iron, zinc, selenium, MSM, DHEA, digestive enzymes, vitamins A, C, E, B2, B3 and B6.
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