• Chiara Saccardo

Depression, the hidden enemy

Updated: Oct 23, 2020

Depression is a disorder that affects 17% of the population at some point in their life. It is usually associated to symptoms that lead to impaired social role and mortality.

The most commonly used treatments for depression are antidepressants or a combination of medication and psychotherapy, but many of these prescribed drugs cause unwanted side effects.

So how can we fight this hidden enemy naturally?

Regular exercise has shown to reduce depression by stimulating endorphin production.

There is good evidence that St. John Worth is effective, but potential herb-drug interactions should be considered.

Acupuncture might offer other health benefits to motivated patients, however, it appears to have little effect on depression.

Dietary Advise:

  • Follow a low GL, Mediterranean diet- rich in vitamin B, in particular folate which you can find in legumes, nuts, many fruits and dark green vegetables.

  • Include Omega-3 sources and alpha-linolenic acid such as fatty fish (anchovy, mackerel, salmon, sardines), flaxseed, nuts (especially walnuts) and reduce all refined sugars.

  • Reduce stimulants like coffee, alcohol, refined sugars, energy drinks and illicit drug use which can trigger anxiety and make it difficult to sleep at night.

  • Increase tryptophan (precursor of serotonin, the happy hormone) foods in the diet – turkey, chicken, tuna.

  • Decrease saturated/trans fats in your diet.

  • Identify any nutritional deficiencies, especially of precursors or co-factors for neurotransmitter production - magnesium, B vitamins, tryptophan, vitamin c, glutamine, biotin, tyrosine.

  • Maintain protein requirements (0.8x 1kg of body weight) and the correct proportion of essential and non-essential amino acids

  • Look for underlying drivers and support as necessary (adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, drug use etc.)

Lifestyle Advise:

  • Introduce stress management techniques like meditation and breathing techniques.

  • Make sure you have enough sleep.

  • Use tools such as journaling, walking in nature, exercising and getting massages to help you relax.

  • Consider counselling and other behavioural therapies with these conditions, a standard treatment for depression

See you soon!



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