Friday, August 19, 2011

5 ways to fight Depression Naturally (Vitamin and Herb edition)

 5 Ways to Fight Depression Naturally

Everyone gets a little down sometimes. Below are some herbs and actions we can all take to help us stay out the sadness slump. Each item can be found at your local health food / vitamin store.

1. Exercise

Aerobic activity boosts the body’s natural pain-relief system, which can relieve depression as effectively as anti-depressant pills. Regular exercise works to fight depression by stimulating the release of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that affects mood. Exercise also works to boost levels of endorphins, the chemicals that are responsible for what’s known as the “runner’s high.” To make this work, you need to do a minimum of 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week.

2. Vitamins

More than 35% of people who suffer from depression are nutritionally deficient in folic acid and B-vitamins. Ward off the blues by eating food rich in vitamin B-6, such as chicken and potatoes. B-vitamins, particularly B-1, B-2, and B-3 work by converting the carbohydrates into energy, while B-6 helps release mood-enhancing brain chemicals. Vitamin B-12 keeps the body’s whole nervous system in shape. Take B-complex vitamins and 400mcg of folic acid daily.

3. Essential fatty acids

Studies reveal that omega-3 oils, essential fatty acids found in flax seed and deep-se fish, fight depression. Omega-3 oils keep nerve cell membranes healthy, so they can absorb the mood-boosting neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Unhealthy nerve cell membranes keep the brain from processing these neurotransmitters. Take 1 tablespoon of flax-seed oil or 5 oz. of deep-sea fish daily.

4. 5-HTP

Extracted from the seed of an African plant, 5-HTP is an essential building block of serotonin. A Swiss study compared 5-HTP with fluvoxamine, an antidepressant similar to Prozac, and found 5-HTP to be more effective. 5-HTP works by being converted directly into the serotonin in the brain, and helps boost endorphins and other neurotransmitters that reduce depression. To fight depression, the suggested intake is 50mg and 100mg three times daily.

5. St. John’s Wort

Nature has its own Prozac in the form of hypericum perforatum, also known as St. John’s wort. Clinical studies have proven that it has fewer side effects than Prozac. Hypericum slows the breakdown of serotonin in the brain, which helps maintain the proper chemical balance that is needed in order to combat depression. The suggested intake is 300mg (0.3% hypericin content) three times daily.

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