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Psychiatric research conducted in 2010 has placed depression into a family of related conditions sometimes referred to as the “affective spectrum disorders”.  These may include migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and generalised anxiety disorder, among many others.

Source:  Gardiner A, Boles RG; Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Aug 5

Of further interest is the fact that depression occurs in up to 60% of patients who suffer from gastrointestinal illnesses including Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Crohn’s disease.

Source;  Whitehead WE, Palsson O, Jones KR.  Gastroenterology.  2002 Apr; 122(4): 1140-56

Another highly interesting finding regarding depression is that a child’s first six months determine that child’s later response to stress and likelihood of developing depression.  Proper population with good bacteria for your baby’s gut is imperative and highlights the need for giving your baby quality probiotics for the first year of its life, whether or not you are breastfeeding.  It also supports the need to introduce solid foods correctly and gradually so as not to imbalance their delicate digestive system.

Source:  Bienenstock J, Collins S. Clin Exp Immunol.  2010 Apr; 160(10:  85-90

The above research highlights the need to maintain a healthy gut in order to maintain a healthy mind.  Live blood screening is an invaluable tool to assess the health of your digestive system.  Arrange an appointment with Dagmar on 5530 1863 today or speak to your natural health practitioner about ensuring your gut is as healthy as possible.



Medical journals are now reporting a direct link between diet and our health.  In particular, the consumption of trans fats has been associated with increased risk of depression and ischaemic stroke risk.  It seems to take some time before the medical journals actually publish what has been known in natural health industries for over 20 years.  Consider the marketing drive to eat margarine instead of butter, and further consider that margarine is predominantly a trans fat.  Most baked and processed foods are also high in trans fats.  So why are these fats so bad for us?  Because their structure has been altered and our body is unable to recognise and thus eliminate them. 

If your brain does not have the nutrients to work properly, it won’t!  A simple concept that is overlooked yet without adequate nutrition, no other form of treatment will work.  See also Dr Delia McCabe’s work.

Further the link to impaired circulation (ischaemia), particularly to the brain, has been implicated in increased incidence of dementia and stroke.

Source:  Medscape – Sánchez-Villegas A, Toledo E, de Irala J, Ruiz-Canela M, Pla-Vidal J, Martínez-González MA. Fast-food and commercial baked goods consumption and the risk of depression. Public Health Nutr. 2012;15:424-432.

Yaemsiri S, Sen S, Tinker L, et al. Dietary fat intake and incidence of ischemic stroke in postmenopausal US women: the Womens Health Initiative. Stroke. 2010;41:e200-e253.


Depression as a chemical imbalance

Depression can be the result of a biochemical imbalance in the body.  Contributors to this may be stress,  severe physical or emotional trauma, hormonal changes, alchohol, nicotine, drugs, diet or lifestyle.  I would like to explain the biochemical factors involved in depression and anxiety states.

Most drugs used to treat depression/anxiety involve either sedation – these include sedative/hypnotic drugs such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates as well as major tranquilizers and anti-psychotic drugs – or regulation of neurotransmitters which include SSRI, SNRI NARI, Tricyclic, Tetracyclic, MAOI-A and B and mood stabilizers.  The latter group generally work by blocking the body’s reuptake of certain neurotransmitters or increasing these levels.

Antidepressant medications work differently and affect the body in many ways.  Some of the side effects are:

SSRIs: [Zoloft,  Arapax, Cipramil]    these work to inhibit the reuptake of serotonin thereby maintaining elevated serotonin levels in the system.

Side effects include:  dry mouth, blurred vision, urinary retention, oedema, sedation, weight gain

Tricyclics: [Deptran, Endep, Tryptenol]   increase levels of serotonin and norepinephrine

Also used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and neurogenic pain.

Side effects:  impaired liver/gall bladder function, sedation, low blood pressure, immune suppressant

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors:  [Nardil, Parnate, Clobemix]  prevent the breakdown of excitatory neurotransmitters.  These drugs also exert an anti-anxiety effect, especially phobias.

Side effects include:  drowsiness, dry mouth, orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure on standing up causing dizziness or even black out); constipation; tremors, euphoria, manic behaviour.  MAOs interact with lots of other drugs (common cold remedies) and with some foods (cheeses, red wine, smoked or pickled herring, beer, yoghurt) causing severe high blood pressure, headache, palpitations and nausea

So what are neurotransmitters?

Neurotransmitters are chemical compounds which transmit messages between nerve cells.  Some of the better known neurotransmitters are serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline, noradrenaline, epinephrine, norepinephrine.

These nerve messengers are produced by our body and are released when a message needs to be transmitted.  Once transmission has occurred, our body reabsorbs what’s left over and reuses these substances.  Our body doesn’t like to waste anything.  The drugs, block this reuptake thus maintaining elevated levels of the neurotransmitter.

Our body is constantly in a state of trying to achieve balance or homeostatis and to do this is constantly monitoring all kinds of chemical levels throughout the system.  If our body finds that neurotransmitter levels remain sufficient, it will reduce production.  This is one of the main reasons why you should never stop taking any type of antidepressant medication suddenly.

How does our body make neurotransmitters?True Medicine neurotransmitter production

Different neurotransmitters require different ‘ingredients’ – but generally speaking you need to have good levels of certain amino acids (derived from protein) and cofactors (mainly zinc, Vitamin B6, magnesium) to help manufacture the neurotransmitter required.


The role of digestion

While eating the right foods is imperative, so is good digestive capacity.  Insufficient stomach acid directly impacts not only on the breakdown of the food we eat, but also the absorption of essential vitamins, minerals and fats.

Can depression be treated ‘naturally’?

Anyone suffering from depression should consult their GP.  Even if your doctor prescribes anti-depressant medication, it is still important to have the underlying cause for your depression addressed.  This is where your qualified natural health practitioner can help.

I work with your doctor to monitor your progress while rebuilding the biochemistry that has become imbalanced.  In time, when the foundation has been laid and the body’s health restored, you and your GP may determine the best method to gradually reducing or even ceasing medication.

Once balanced biochemistry has been restored, depression and anxiety are generally things of the past.  During treatment I will also help you to learn how to maintain optimal health thereby preventing any relapse in the future

Basic Health Strategies that Can Address a Large Number of Health Problems

I agree with Dr Mercola when he writes about health versus taking drugs. There are many health conditions that can be prevented or effectively treated with lifestyle changes alone, yet if you go to a typical doctor, you’ll walk out with one or more prescriptions. Examples of health problems that typically don’t require
drug intervention include:

Take control of your health – Disease can only be resolved by addressing its root cause.
What many people fail to realise is that it is possible to maintain optimal health by understanding the fundamentals of good nutrition and exercise.  Remember you can Take Control of Your Health by:

  • Eliminating fructose and most grains
  • Eating unprocessed, high-quality foods, organic if
    possible, right for your nutritional/Blood type
  • Eating your food as close to raw as possible
  • Consuming enough omega-3 fats
  • Exercising regularly

Read the full report on the damage caused by prescription medications.