Top

Depression Is Not a Prozac Deficiency. . .

If you find yourself dealing with high stress, depression, anxiety or panic, it’s very likely that the major culprit could be your diet. Many people these days are taking Prozac to treat depression, OCD and certain forms of anxiety. But, to quote Dr. Hyman, author of The UltraMind Solution, “Depression is not a Prozac deficiency.” Simple, yet profound, Dr. Hyman’s scientific assertions about the correlation between mental health, diet, exercise and drugs are fascinating. Below is a compelling excerpt from his book and UltraMind.com website. Read it and consider the fact that diet, proper nutrition and exercise play a vital role, not only in our physical health, but also our mental health.

How can exercise and fish oil often be a more effective treatment for depression than antidepressants? Could it be because they are both potent anti-inflammatories? Could it be that depression is a low-grade inflammatory disease of the brain1?

Let’s look at the evidence.

  1. Proinflammatory cytokines IL-1, IL-6, and TNF α (molecular messengers that set off the inflammatory response) and bacterial toxins (produced in our gut) produce
    symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  2. Cytokines overactivate the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis (the stress response) just like we find in depressed patients.
  3. Cytokines increase the function of an enzyme (IDO) that breaks down tryptophan, leading to less serotonin in the brain3.
    Serotonin is the happy mood chemical that fights depression.
  4. The immune system is overactive in severe depression, producing brain inflammation.
  5. Using immune therapy like interferon (a cytokine) for diseases like hepatitis C or multiple sclerosis triggers depression.
  6. Depression is more common in inflammatory diseases like autoimmune and heart disease.

As compelling as these pieces of information are, they are not the only indications that depression is caused by an inflamed brain.

A new technique called vagal nerve stimulation is very helpful in depression4. The vagus nerve is your calming, relaxation nerve. When you take a deep breath, meditate, or do yoga the vagus nerve is activated, and it releases acetylcholine, which reduces the production of inflammatory cytokines.

There may be many reasons deep breathing and relaxation work, but certainly one of them is the fact that inflammation is reduced.

We also know that omega-3 fats help depression and produce remission5. They work by lowering inflammation and also through their effects on cell membranes and cell communication.

Similarly, we know that exercise is an anti-inflammatory and works better than Prozac in treating depression6.

Another example comes out of Harvard. A group of researchers there discovered an increased number of “white matter lesions,” or little white spots in the brain
that are seen in autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis in depressed patients. This correlated with low levels of folate, which caused high levels of homocysteine,
a molecule that triggers inflammation in the brain7. So being vitamin deficient produces toxic molecules that inflame the brain and cause depression.

Of course, we must ask, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Does depression cause inflammation or inflammation cause depression?”

The answer is yes. It is a vicious cycle. Inflammation leads to depression, which leads to more inflammation.

The message is that to adequately treat depression we must look for, find, and eliminate the causes of inflammation and then help the body create balance in the immune system turning off this vicious cycle.

For more information on depression, please see Dr. Hyman’s new book,The UltraMind Solution.

I am always searching for valuable information to help my coaching clients. Dr. Mark Hyman’s book, The UltraMind Solution is unquestionably one of the best resources that I’ve found for helping those who struggle with anxiety, depression and other mental issues. The truth of the matter is that the mind and the body are undeniably connected. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

If you find yourself dealing with high stress, depression, anxiety or panic, it’s very likely that the major culprit could be your diet. Many people these days are taking Prozac to treat depression, OCD and certain forms of anxiety. But, to quote Dr. Hyman, author of The UltraMind Solution, “Depression is not a Prozac deficiency.” Simple, yet profound, Dr. Hyman’s scientific assertions about the correlation between mental health, diet, exercise and drugs are fascinating. Below is a compelling excerpt from his book and UltraMind.com website. Read it and consider the fact that diet, proper nutrition and exercise play a vital role, not only in our physical health, but also our mental health.

, , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply