I was diagnosed with depression ten years ago.
Q. Dear Terry, “I was diagnosed with depression ten years ago. Some days I feel okay, but most of the time I just feel empty. I have tried numerous prescription medications but I think they made my symptoms worse. I’m at a loss and don’t know what to do. Do you have any suggestions? — A.K., United Kingdom
A. Dear A.K., Depression is a very complex disease that can be difficult to treat. I highly encourage you to discuss any supplementation with your primary healthcare practitioner. With that being said, I believe there are some natural ingredients that can help.
First, inflammation is known to play a major role in the development of depression. Therefore, it seems logical that the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin may be helpful. Second, curcumin is also able to modulate the levels of brain neurotransmitters (chemical messengers like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine), that influence mood, behavior, appetite, emotions, and even dreaming and memory. In a clinical study, patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) showed the highest response using a combination of fluoxetine (Prozac®) and a high-absorption curcumin enhanced with turmeric essential oil. The combination group saw a 77.8% response rate as measured with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD-17). Another clinical study demonstrated that high-absorption curcumin enhanced with turmeric essential oil showed antidepressant effects in people with major depressive disorder as early as 4 weeks after treatment. Keep in mind that standard curcumin is very poorly absorbed, so make sure the product you choose features a curcumin with excellent absorption that has been proven in published human studies. The best form I have ever found uses curcumin blended with turmeric essential oil in a patented process. I would take 750 mg twice per day.
I also think that omega-3s would be very beneficial. Omega-3s like DHA and EPA are healthy fats that are essential to the human body. Because they are essential, this means we cannot produce them and must obtain them through our diet. The benefits of omega-3s range from anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular and immune support, and elevating mood. I prefer to get my omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, naturally bound to phospholipids, as this is much closer to nature and how people were meant to absorb and use these nutrients. This is the way you’d get your omega-3s by eating fish – which means a big difference in stability and ability to transport omega-3s to where they are needed most. Therefore, you only need a small amount compared to the handfuls of fish oil capsules or spoonsful of fish tasting oils. I would take omega-3s twice per day.
For further support, you may also want to consider adding narrow-leaved coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia) to your daily regimen. Researchers have discovered that compounds in this unique type of coneflower can help reduce anxiety as effectively as certain prescription medications, without the side effects. These compounds have been shown to attach to certain brain receptors, which help to instill a sense of calm and relaxation. Make sure you look for a clinically studied, narrow-leaved coneflower root extract that is standardized for echinacosides. I would take this twice daily.
Terry . . . Naturally