Most “depression” is curable. The NIMH reports an astounding 26.2% of Americans have a “mental disorder”. Did God make 1 in 4 people mentally ill? The answer is no. The main causes of such epidemic rates of mental illness cannot be anything other than environmental. Pharmaceutical drugs mask symptoms of a disease and do not remove the underlying causes. Because of this, they are guaranteed (by definition) to never make a person well. Giving a name to someone’s set of symptoms does not explain anything.
Antidepressants have been shown to be scientifically fraudulent (all the studies that show antidepressants do not work were never published…the rest barely show any benefit). If a person can recognize that something isn’t right inside their body and mind, then that person is probably not really “mentally ill”. They are probably suffering from physical and mental symptoms due to physical causes. Find the causes, remove them, and then say goodbye to depression:
- Food Allergies
Everyone to some degree or another has food sensitivities. A person can eat a food, and inexplicably feel depressed an hour later. Or a person may get a reaction from a food he or she ate 4 days ago! Studies clearly show that food allergies cause depression. Allergy elimination diets, food allergy testing, and other digestive health measures such as digestive enzymes and leaky gut programs can dramatically change lives. There is debate regarding the best testing options, but we suggest the combined IgE and IgG antibody testing for 190 foods from Meridian Valley Labs.
- Heavy Metal Chelation
Mercury, lead, arsenic, and numerous other toxic heavy metals have been shown to cause just about any illness, including depression. Contaminated food and water, amalgam dental fillings, and vaccinations are some common sources of heavy metals. Numerous forms of chelation therapy have been shown to remove heavy metals from the body and cure or alleviate their associated illnesses. One common test used to diagnose heavy metal toxicity is a hair analysis.
- Chronic Infections
Lyme disease, bartonella, mycoplasma, babesia, many viruses, Candida, and many other pathogenic organisms are at the root cause of many epidemic diseases, including depression. “Brain fog”, gastrointestinal symptoms, difficulty finding words, learning disorders, lack of energy, poor short term memory, feelings of confusion, and aches and pains are all tip offs that increase likelihood of an infectious disease process. An “LLMD” (Lyme-literate medical doctor) is probably the best bet for finding someone who can properly evaluate your case.
- Candida Infections
An overgrowth of intestinal Candida is one infectious condition that can often be addressed at home. It can be the sole cause of many illnesses such as depression. A simple self-test that involves spitting in a cup can help determine if Candida is a problem. Regardless of the results, many people can still benefit from treatment anyway. One effective protocol is to slowly work up from 1 tsp to 4 tablespoons of raw organic coconut oil a day, and to continue for a few months. Coconut oil has several natural antifungal properties. A temporary worsening of symptoms known as a “herxheimer” reaction may occur as fungus is dying in large quantities. If this happens, reduce the amount of coconut oil until the reaction clears. During the protocol, supplement with probiotics. Avoid all sugar and refined foods. If following a raw foods diet, emphasize more nuts, seeds, and vegetables over fruits.
- Mold Toxins
At least one study shows that household exposure to mold is related to depression. Many integrative physicians have already long since known this. Mold toxins can irritate your brain and cause virtually any symptom ranging from depression all the way to violent behavior, seizures, and stroke. Online visual contrast sensitivity tests (VCS), certain blood tests, and home mold tests can all help screen a person or a family for mold problems. Treatment involves removing the sources of mold and removing the toxins from the body. A common prescription for this is cholestyramine. An over the counter remedy suggested by some doctors is called CholestePure.
- Raw Foods Diet
Raw foods diets incidentally avoid refined sugar, processed foods, pesticides, preservatives, and additives, all of which have been linked to depression. They are also dense in nutrients, which enhances wellbeing universally. Fruits and vegetables also tend to have lower degrees of food sensitivities than many other foods. Raw foods also help to balance low blood sugar, which is a major cause of depression.
- Hormonal Imbalances
Hormones are a tough subject to deal with, and getting help from an integrative physician knowledgeable about natural hormone replacement therapy (NHRT) can be a huge help. General rules about hormone balancing include supplementing with vitamins, minerals, glandular extracts, and adaptogenic herbs such as rhodiola, maca, licorice, ashwaganda, and Siberian ginseng. A common presentation of depression and hormonal imbalance is known as “adrenal fatigue”.
Magnesium deficiency has been shown to be associated with depression. There are a number of documented cases of patients recovering from major depression in less than a week by supplementing with magnesium.
Some studies suggest that exercise may be as effective at treating depression as antidepressants. Exercise is also completely free and without side effects. Activity should start mildly and increase as desired. Exercise to feel good, and not to beat yourself into the ground. If even mild exercise always makes symptoms worse, this may indicate some other serious cause that must be addressed such as a chronic infection.
Research shows that meditation can alleviate depression. These results are hardly surprising, since the purpose of meditation is to gradually enter into higher states of consciousness and experience ineffable joy. If you reflect on your own life, you will certainly find that the most intense moments of happiness you have ever felt were when your mind was the most concentrated.
When learning meditation, there are a few critical points. Firstly, if should be done at the same time and in the same place every day, even if a person does not feel like it. Secondly, the duration of practice should start low and gradually increase. Thirdly, never practice past a point where it feels like it is making you duller or lazier.
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- Lithium Orotate
Lithium orotate is discussed in more detail with regards to beating addiction naturally. Lithium orotate is a very safe over-the-counter supplement that pretty much everyone can improve their mental health with. Lithium has demonstrated many neuroprotective actions. Lithium orotate’s toxic prescription relative- lithium carbonate- has been a mainstay of depression treatment for decades.
Sleep quality and quantity highly correlate with symptoms of depression. Imposing more routine in your day can acclimatize you to getting to bed and waking up at fixed times. Getting at least 8 hours a night is essential. Seeing how you feel after intentionally getting at least 10 hours of sleep for a few consecutive nights may reveal whether or not lack of sleep is a major factor in your wellbeing.
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- Essential Fatty Acids
EFA’s are especially concentrated in the brain and are believed to be used to make healthy cell membranes. Some studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids are more effective than Prozac, and can relieve about 50% of symptoms (1) (2).
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- Stopping Addictive Behavior
Coffee, junk food, smoking, drinking, and drugs are all addictive. Studies show the brain responds to junk food in the same way it does to heroin. Raw foods diets can help most of these problems. See my article on addiction for more serious difficulties.
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- Liposomal glutathione
A study showed significant improvement in depression by taking 1 gram of NAC twice a day for 5 months. Some studies indicate that selenium deficiency adversely affects mood. NAC and selenium are both precursors of glutathione, the body’s master detoxification molecule. These studies give additional credence to the other therapies in this article that in one way or another result in detoxifying the body (killing infections, removing metals, eating a pure diet, etc.). Be aware that selenium can be toxic if too much is taken long term. The most effective way to supplement glutathione is in a liposomal form.
At least two studies show that probiotics can reduce nervousness, anxiety, and depression (1). Probiotics are “good” bacteria in your intestines. They help detoxify, digest food, and modulate the immune, which in a sense is literally an extension of the brain.
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- Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic in the United States and may be a factor in depression. It is not uncommon for some patients to supplement with 5000 IU of vitamin D3 a day. Before starting a vitamin D regimen, it may be wise to test blood levels of both 25-hydroxy vitamin D and 1,25 dihydroxy vitamin D. There is some preliminary evidence stemming from a controversial treatment for many idiopathic diseases known as the Marshall Protocol that indicates that vitamin D may be dangerous for a certain segment of people. If 25-hydroxy levels tend towards the low side and 1,25 dihydroxy levels tend towards the high side, then this may possibly be indicative of an infectious disease process that supplementing vitamin D will only encourage.
- Outlook on Depression
A study of 2,400 women over the age of 65 showed that those who were mildly depressed had a 60% less chance of dying during any three year period than those who were not depressed (3). This is the first study that showed any indication that depression may be “good for you”. The authors of the study felt that such people learn to cope with harmful situations better than others. Perhaps a depressed person who tries to gradually win little battles like eating the right foods or taking a short walk (even when he or she does not feel like it) in some sense or another really does become a stronger person.
- Other Supplements
There are a number of supplements that might correct deficiencies, enhance brain health, balance neurochemistry, and relieve depression in several different ways. Some examples of these are niacin with flush, bacopa, ginkgo, vinpocetine, amino acids, phenylalanine, iodine, multivitamins, CoQH, d-ribose, 5-HTP, GABA, B vitamins, inositol, SAMe, and St. John’s wort.
Anecdotally, anemia is a real cause of anxiety and depression, and sometimes doctors have been successful in removing it by treating an underlying anemia.