Depression and other mood disorders are devastating health problems. When you go to your doctor, their answer is often a prescription for one of the various popular anti-depressant drugs. Many doctors do not investigate for metabolic or nutritional deficiencies that may be the ‘real problem’. Most people have no idea why they feel so awful or where to start looking for the answer. They expect their doctor to give them real solutions. Instead they get drugs as the easy fix. Drugs are not an easy fix because of the serious side effects that come with taking them which includes more nutritional deficits. The side effects and dangers of these drugs should always be considered.
There are 7 nutrient deficiencies that can cause symptoms of depression:
If you suffer from depression you may be deficient in one of the nutrients. Researchers have found that many people who suffer from depression are deficient in not just one nutrient but several, all contributing to the symptoms.
1: Junk Food Diet leading to Healthy Food Deficiency
Is your diet filled with sugar, junk foods, sodas, or processed foods? Do you often skip meals? If you suffer from depression, start a food diary of the foods you eat every day. You will find answers to your health problems. Your refrigerator tells the story of your health. There are very few fresh vegetables or fruit on the average American’s grocery list. This is why so many Americans are obese, depressed, and suffering from diabetes. If your life is not going well, eating junk food is not going to improve your outlook.
2: Omega-3 Fatty Acids Deficiency:
These are found in foods such as fish and Flax Seed Oil. A deficiency of Omega-3 fatty acids or an imbalance between Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids may be one of the contributing factors to depression. Omega 3 Fatty acids are important to brain function and your mental outlook. They also help people who suffer from inflammation and pain. Researchers have found that many patients with depression are deficient in Omega 3 Fatty Acids. It is important to buy fish oil that has been cold processed and tested for heavy metals and other contamination. It should state that on the label.
3: Vitamin D Deficiency:
Vitamin D is important to immune function, bones, and brain health. Sunlight is the richest source for natural Vitamin D. A deficiency of Vitamin D is often present in people with depression and anxiety. People who are deficient in Vitamin D are at higher risk for developing depression later in life. Most seniors are deficient in Vitamin D. Often people working long hours in offices are deficient as well. Get out in the sun. Take a walk during your lunch break or walk your dog. Play a game with your kids outside away from computers and the television. Get out of the house and into the sunshine. Don’t overdo it if you are sensitive to the sun.
4: Vitamin B Deficiency:
There is much research in Neuropsychiatry that proves the link between B-Vitamin deficiencies and mood disorders including depression. Buy gel capsules instead of tablets with at least 25 mg for each of the different B- Vitamins.
5: Zinc, Folate, Chromium, and Iron Deficiencies:
People with depression are often deficient in many nutrients including minerals. Processed foods are sadly lacking in these minerals and trace minerals.
6: Iodine Deficiency:
Iodine is necessary for the thyroid to work properly. The thyroid is one of the most important glands in your body. The thyroid gland affects every function of the body including body temperature, immune function, and brain function. Iodine is found in foods such as potatoes, cranberries, Kelp, Arame, Hiziki, Kombu, and Wakame. This problem was once solved by using iodine enriched salt. Today iodine deficiency is again becoming a problem with salt free diets. Salty chips, processed foods, and junk food do not contain iodized salt.
7: Amino Acids Deficiency:
There are 9 needed amino acids that cannot be manufactured in your body. You must supply them to the body by eating high quality food.
Amino acids are found in meat, eggs, fish, high quality beans, seeds and nuts. You need to eat a variety of different foods to furnish the body with all the amino acids needed to be healthy. Not all foods contain all nine amino acids. Vegetable food sources for amino acids include Moringa leaves. Your brain uses the amino acids found in the food you eat to manufacture neurotransmitters needed for optimal brain function.
Neurotransmitter balance is vital for your health and mood.
Healthy brain function needs the proper balance of neurotransmitters. Some neurotransmitters calm the brain and others excite the brain. Their balance in the brain creates stability of emotions and thinking. Often depression is caused by an imbalance in neurotransmitters. Dopamine, noradrenaline, and GABA are three important neurotransmitters often deficient in depression. Orthomolecular physicians have found that treatment with amino acids including tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine, and methionine can correct mood disorders like depression. If there is a nutritional imbalance such as an Omega 3 deficiency, you will be prescribed that supplement. Instead of treating with drugs, they treat the deficiencies that cause the mental symptoms with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
There are tests that detect nutrient deficiencies. The problem often is that your insurance may not pay for them and most people will not do something outside of traditional insurance. Most doctors are not comprehensively educated in nutrition and diet. They have no time to go over your eating and lifestyle habits in today’s healthcare landscape. The reality is a majority of people do not get quality preventive healthcare, especially those on Medicaid or Medicare. Visiting a holistic doctor can be effective and you may have to pay out-of-pocket for any tests and supplements.
Drug-focused therapy is the main reason that so many people never uncover nutrient deficiencies. Insurance plans will pay for drugs but not nutritional supplements. That is the state of our current health care system. Take control of your health and find a doctor whose goal is holistic and preventative medicine. Be sure to get the proper nutrition before you judge your mood.
This blog was great! I knew some of the nutritional deficiencies causing depression like sugar and junk food. Speaking with my psychiatrist was the first person EVER in my life that asked me about my sugar intake and how i dealt with with anxiety and depression. Since seeing him we have gone over this every time I see him. I feel progression now. If i wasn’t a nurse I would have never thought about or addressed them……..Until I read this blog!