November 12, 2007
Many of those who live with depression as part of their daily lives want to use something other than antidepressants to help them. Many depression sufferers are looking to natural alternatives to a lifetime of taking medication.
One popular natural alternative to pharmaceuticals is St. John's Wort. Many studies have been conducted using this natural supplement. While the results of these studies have been inconclusive, there is agreement that St. John's Wort seems to have some positive results. Many of those who choose to use it swear by it, often claiming that they get the same if not better results than using Prozac. They say that when they take St. John's Wort regularly they need nothing else.
The reason for this natural plant's positive results is because it works on all three of the neurotransmitters that affect depression: serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, by slowing down the body's rate of absorption. This allows the body more time to use them to send messages to the brain. The only negative aspect of this supplement is that is may interact with other medications a person takes and so a person should confer with their health care provider before trying it.
There are also others that have some good results. For example, omega-3 fatty acids, which are found mainly in fish oils, are having some success as well. Similar omega-3 fatty acids are found in walnuts, canola oil and hemp as well as fish, but it seems to be only the omega-3 fatty acids that are found in the fish oils that act as an antidepressant. These fatty acids have in them DHE fatty acids that are used by the brain as nourishment. Depressives are known to be low in these acids and so by taking the omega-3 fatty acids they are able to replenish what the brain requires.
Several of the B vitamins are recommended for those who must deal with depression. Research has found that too many adult depressives are low in their levels of folic acid. Tests have shown that those whose levels are particularly low can suffer from long depressive episodes, and may find that their bodies do not respond well to regular antidepressant medications because of this missed vitamin. It has been proven that when the folic acid levels are upped the person's mood improves.
Thiamine, also known as Vitamin B1, has also been shown to affect mood. B1 even improves the mood of those who are not depressives.
Menopause can particularly affect moods in women going through that phase of their lives. Menopausal moods can be lifted by Vitamin B12 levels. Once a woman reaches the age of fifty her levels of this vitamin have greatly diminished to the point where she often has only half what she should in her system. Vitamin B6 is also important and is known to help premenstrual depression, called PMS. Using any or all of the Vitamin Bs can greatly improve mood. It seems worth trying them all.
Article Source: Alternative Medicine: Try Something Natural Against Depression