Sunday, January 25, 2009

Have a healthy, happy brain!!!


I recently posted this article on eHow.com about how to cope with depression naturally without prescription medication. The nice thing is, you don't necessarily to be full blown depressed or diagnosed by a doctor to get "the blues". In fact, everyone gets that way from time to time, and using all natural and beneficial supplements is a great way for ANYONE from the massively depressed to those just feeling a little down to get a great mood boost! I have tried most of these and they really are amazing! If you would like to know how to have a more chipper disposition, read on!!!


Depression is becoming one of the most popular medical conditions today. Nearly everybody has experienced depression in varying degrees throughout their life, but for some people, it can be absolutely devastating and life hampering. Depression can be brought about by my different things- chemical imbalances, death, divorces...
Signs may include insomnia, sadness, change in appetite, and even thoughts or attempts at suicide.
The are literally millions of people taking prescription medications to treat their mild to severe depression. Even kids now too! Drugs like Prozac, Zoloft, ****, Valium, and ****- all come with dangerous and unpleasant side effects. There are , however, many wonderful natural alternatives to these sometimes deadly chemical-laden drugs. In addition to any natural supplements, I recommend maintaining a healthy balanced diet to keep your body and brain running smoothly, getting plenty of exercise for the good endorphins, and finding some form of spiritual sustenance, whether it be meditation, church, or just a nice long bath.


Take a multivitamin! What an easy way to cover a ton of bases! Taking a multivitamin will help ensure that your body is getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs to function at it's best. (Often times, health conditions arise as a result in some kind of deficiency!)
Pick a good one though!!! Centrum and One-a-Day are sadly the most well known and consumed, but they are a HUGE waste of your money! They are cheap for a reason are ridiculously ineffective. Check out my blog for tips on what makes a good multi and how to pick one.

A multivitamin will also supply plenty of B Vitamins, which are important for healthy brain function. A deficiency in B vitamins (especially B12) can result in depression and irritability. Also, cocktail lovers beware!!! Alcohol destroys B vitamins, which can lead to a vicious circle of depression and alcohol.
If you choose to take a B vitamin complex in addition to your daily multivitamin, generally you should take one 50 mg tablet daily. Don't worry about getting too much B vitamins, because they are water soluble, meaning that whatever your body does not need, it will flush out!

Get your Omegas!!! Especially Omega 3 fatty acids which are critical to the proper functioning to many systems of the body especially the brain. You'll come across the terms EPA and DHA which are the acids that compose Omega 3 fatty acids. Eating more fish is an easy way to get more healthy fats in your diet, but you can also opt for a fish oil supplement. Exercise caution when choosing though, some are less potent than others and may contain mercury. Make sure they are purified and check for the total amount of EPA and DHA which ranges from 300 to 1000 per pill. Also, don't be scared of any fishy odor or burps- most supplements today are formulated better to reduce those unpleasant "side effects". One way to avoid this to throw your fish oil supplements in the fridge or freezer to keep them fresher longer.

Fish oil supplements are very beneficial for many other health conditions. Basically, if you can think of a health issue, fish oil most certainly will help it. Children suffering from ADD, ADHD, or any cognitive disabilities have been shown to have great improvements by taking a fish supplement because it is so beneficial to the brain. There are many kid friendly versions out there too so it is easier than ever to have a healthy and smart kid!

5-HTP helps boost serotonin levels. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. It is very effective in helping get a good night's sleep as well as treat any brain disorders. It is a fraction of the cost of prescription medication and has proven to be equally effective with none of the side effects.

Tyrosine is amino acid that plays a major role in mood control, mental function, and even sex drive! It aids in the function of the adrenal, pituitary, and thyroid glands which control hormone levels in the body. (Can you say PMS!?) Depressed people often have low levels of Tyrosine in the brain and many prescription medications are used to boost Tyrosine levels. It helps reduce stress, increase mental function and alertness, ease depression and anxiety, and to top it all off, Tyrosine can help you lose weight!!! It has been shown to possibly build muscle and burn body fat as well as help control appetites in some emotional eaters who turn to food when they are depressed! It is best to take this supplement on an empty stomach so it doesn't have to compete with other amino acids for absorption.

St. John's Wort is a fairly well known natural depression treatment. It acts the same way as MAO inhibitors do, but less harshly. Many people have used this supplement with great results compared to a placebo.



*WARNING* - Always exercise caution and consult your doctor before begining any supplements.

If you are taking prescription antidepressants, and want to switch to natural supplements, do not discontinue your prescription drugs without first consulting your physician.

TIPS-
  • Always eat a healthy well rounded diet to ensure you are getting the vital nutrients your body and brain needs to function properly.
  • Exercise! You'll do yourself a huge favor in so many ways. You'll look great and by releasing all those good endorphins, you'll feel great as well!
  • Drink water! A hydrated brain is a happy one!

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