(NaturalNews) Currently 3 million people are diagnosed with depression in the UK, which affects most people to varying degrees, during their lifetime. Depression can be a common phase people can go through after major life events. It can be incredibly strong or relatively mild. Either way, it is uncomfortable and a hindrance to living life to the fullest.
Events that can Lead to Depression Include: - Loss of a job - Loss of a loved one - Contracting a chronic disease or illness - After an accident - Anything else experienced as traumatic by a person
Aside from mood, symptoms of depression can also include loss of sex drive, insomnia or excessive sleep, headaches and irritability. When depression continues for an extended period of time, it seems to have an inexplicable cause, or treatment by psychiatrists or psychologists seems to be ineffective. It is definitely worth looking at the nutritional imbalances below that are now increasingly being linked with depression. The mind and body are connected, and just as the mind and emotions can affect the physical health of the body, the imbalances in the physical body can also affect your mood, mind and emotions.
These Nutritional Imbalances May include:
-Essential fatty acid deficiency - Omega 3 fats have been found to regulate and improve the performance of neuro-transmitters in the brain, including serotonin. Neurotransmitters are used by the brain to send messages from one cell to another. Serotonin is a neuro-transmitter which makes people feel happy. Low amounts of omega 3 fats are associated with depression. Omega 3 has been found often to be deficient in the diet, due to modern day cooking methods and a change in food choices in the diet (i.e. there is less intake of oily fish, nuts and seeds).
-Under-active thyroid - An under-active thyroid is one of the most common causes of depression. Often, as a result of stress and poor nutrition, nutrients required by the thyroid gland to produce the hormone thyroxine become depleted. Thyroxine is a hormone which tells the brain and body cells to stay active. Nutrients including iodine, tyrosine and zinc and selenium are all important in supporting the thyroid gland.
-Amino acid deficiency - Amino acids such as phenylalanine, tyrosine and tryptophan provide the basis for the body's production of important neuro-transmitters in the body. These neuro-transmitters include serotonin, noradrenalin, adrenalin and dopamine. Adrenalin, noradrenalin and dopamine are associated with feeling motivated, happy and able to deal with stress. Stress and a poor diet can deplete the production of these neuro-transmitters in the body. Supplementing with tryptophan (or 5-hydroxy-tryptophan) keeps depression at bay.
-B vitamins, Vitamin C, magnesium, iron and zinc deficiency - Symptoms of depression have been linked to low levels of Vitamins B3, B6, B12, and C, Folic acid, magnesium, iron and zinc which are all needed to help the body change amino acids into neurotransmitters. Deficiencies in some of these vitamins also cause high homocysteine levels. High homocysteine causes inflammation in the brain and body, and has now been linked with depression together with other mental health problems.
-Blood sugar imbalance - A diet high in refined carbohydrates contributes to nutrient deficiency, which can lead to high homocysteine, and a low protein intake, resulting in deficiencies in neurotransmitters (as mentioned above), and blood sugar balance problems. According to Dr Joel Robertson, low serotonin has also been linked to a higher complex carbohydrate intake, and a fast drop in blood sugar; both of which are linked to a drop in tryptophan, (the precursor to serotonin).
-Food allergies and intolerances - There are a number of foods that are known to cause various mental health problems, including depression. The most common one is wheat, and others include: cow's dairy, oranges, eggs, non-wheat grains, foods which contain yeast, shellfish, nuts, soya and the nightshade family. When the body reacts to an allergen, it creates an immune system response. This can result in raised histamine levels, which in turn have been linked to depression.
-Adrenal Exhaustion - The adrenals produce a number of hormones including DHEA, adrenalin and noradrenalin which are all motivational hormones. Stress can cause the adrenals to become depleted. Eating a healthy diet and taking specific supplements such DHEA has been found to improve symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
-Pyroluria - Pyroluria is linked to depression and other mental health issues, and results from a genetically increased need for zinc and Vitamin B6. Stress can also deplete zinc. A healthy diet and supplementation of relatively large amounts would be required: 50mg zinc and 500mg of Vitamin B6 daily. People with pyroluria produce too many chemicals called "pyrroles," which deplete the body of essential nutrients.
-Heavy metals - Heavy metals from sources such as mercury, lead, copper and cadmium (even in relatively low levels), are toxic and have been associated with symptoms including anxiety, depression and fatigue. Increasing fiber, anti-oxidants and antagonistic minerals such as zinc and calcium can reduce metal toxicity.
-High histamine level - Some people are genetically programmed to overproduce histamine. Researchers at the Brain Bio Centre in Princeton, U.S. have found high histamine in a substantial number of patients with depression. They need extra anti-histamine nutrients including vitamin c, zinc, manganese and vitamin B6.
Alex Howard is author of "WHY ME? My Journey from M.E. to Health and Happiness" and founder of The Optimum Health Clinic, an award winning clinic specialising in M.E./C.F.S./Fibromyalgia based in Harley Street Clinic, London, UK. The clinic has treated over 5,000 patients with M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia in over twenty-five countries around the world, and is currently running a two year clinical trial in conjunction with two top universities. A free information pack, including a 75 documentary about the clinic and its work, can be ordered from www.FreedomFromME.co.uk