DEPRESSION is often describesd as a “chemical imbalance in the brain.” Each of us is different,we have different metabolisims and personalities, both of which play roles in depression. There is no naturally defined balance for the neurotransmitters in our brains. We should rely on our body to find the balance, given the right neutrients.
What depression is, is a complex subject. This is the main reason science has still not understood the mechanism for depression. There are a number of different types of depressions which very likely have different causes. Sufferers can have a range of psychological, social and physical feelings. We need to help our body heal itself at the cause of the depression, and not cover over the symptoms.
Major depression is an emotional condition that presents itself with symptoms such as feeling exhausted, low mood, anxiety, a loss of appetite, and a loss of interest in activities normally enjoyed. If left, this condition can become disabling.
Depression has for some time now been known to be associated with neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, and GABA. As reported in several studies, the amino acids tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine, and methionine are often helpful in treating many mood disorders, including depression.
Tryptophan, often sold as a supplement under the name 5-HTPis a precursor to serotonin and tryptophane is usually converted to serotonin when taken alone on an empty stomach. Therefore, tryptophan can induce sleep and tranquillity and in cases of serotonin deficiencies, restore serotonin levels leading to diminished depression.
Tyrosine is not an essential amino acid, because it can be made from the amino acid phenylalanine. Tyrosine and sometimes its precursor phenylalanine are converted into dopamine and norepinephrine. Dietary supplements that contain tyrosine and/or phenylalanine lead to alertness and arousal.
Methionine combines with ATP to produce S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), which facilitates the production of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Omega-3 fatty acids from fish and other sources has declined in most populations in the West, where the incidence of major depression has increased. Several mechanisms have been suggested to explain how eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which the body converts into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, have antidepressant effects in humans. Most of the proposed mechanisms involve neurotransmitters. The antidepressant effects may be due to EPA being converted into prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and other chemicals the brain needs. Other hypotheses state that EPA and DHA affect signal receptors and calcium, sodium, and potassium ion channels.
Epidemiological and clinical studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can effectively treat depression. Consuming omega-3 fatty acid dietary supplements that contain 1.5 to 2 g of EPA per day have been shown to stimulate mood elevation in depressed patients. It has been shown that depressed patients need more omega-3 fatty acids than normal.
Foliate (vitamin B), and magnesium deficiencies have been linked to depression, and treatment with folic acid and vitamin B12 results in decreased depression symptoms. In several case studies where patients were treated with 125 to 300 mg of magnesium (as glycinate or taurinate) with each meal and at bedtime, this led to rapid recovery from major depression in less than seven days for most of the patients.
The cause of much of depressions in the western societies may be the stressful lifestyle. We are all different personalities and are not necessarily suited to our occupation or to the lifestyle we are living. A change in either is difficult. However if the change can bring peace to our souls, then the price is worth paying.
Cognitive therapy has proved to be more effective over a long term than medication. The strength of Cognitive Therapy over medication is that the therapy gives coping skills which help the depression sufferer to change thought patterns and attitudes.
When it comes to making a lifestyle change, the least stressful and most value for effort is a healthy diet.
Bipolar Disorder is a form of depression where the patient suffers recurring episodes of debilitating depression, uncontrollable mania, hypomania, or a mixed state (a manic and depressive episode) which is clinically diagnosed as bipolar disorder. Some biochemical abnormalities in people with bipolar disorder include oversensitivity to acetylcholine, excess vanadium, vitamin B deficiencies, magnesium deficiency, iron deficiency, omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies, vitamin C deficiency, as well as a multiple hormone disorder.
Vitamin C has been shown to protect the body from the damage caused by excess vanadium, which bi-polar people tend to produce elevated levels of. A double-blind, placebo controlled study that involved controlling elevated vanadium levels showed that a single 3 g dose of vitamin C decreases manic symptoms compared to a placebo
Taurine is an amino acid made in the liver from cysteine that is known to play a role in the brain by eliciting a calming effect. A deficiency of this amino acid may increase a bipolar patient's manic episodes. In addition, eighty percent of bipolar sufferers have some vitamin B deficiencies (often accompanied by anemia). The combination of essential vitamin supplements with the body's natural supply of lithium reduces depressive and manic symptoms of patients suffering from bipolar disorder. Studies have also shown that taurine can be used as an alternative to lithium in blocks the effects of excess acetylcholine, which contribute to bipolar disorder.
Omega-3 oils are another well-known factor for mental disorders, as brain cells require these in order to be able to transmit signals that enable proper thinking, moods, and emotions. Omega-3 fatty oils are often present at very low levels in most Americans and especially bipolar sufferers. Numerous clinical trials, including double-blind, placebo controlled studies have been performed which show that 1 to 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids added to one's daily intake decreases manic/depressive symptoms.
Lithium orotate, a form of lithium which crosses the blood-brain barrier more easily than the more conventionally proscribed carbonate ion of lithium carbonate. This form can be taken at far lower doses than the carbonate form, and so avoids lithium's unpleasant side effects. Lithium orotate is available without a prescription, unlike lithium carbonate, which is considered a prescription drug by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Lithium orotate is generally marketed as a dietary supplement used in small doses to treat conditions including stress, manic depression, alcoholism, ADHD and ADD, aggression, PTSD, Alzheimer's and to improve memory.
No two people are the same, even identical twins differ after experiencing different environments. Our metabolisms, body reactions and needs are different. One person can be unaffected by coffee, while the next is highly sensitive. this list below is a suggestion showing what can affect a bi-polar susceptible person.
Bipolar disorder has been connected with:
choline deficiency (10-30 grams of phosphatidyl form in divided doses)
Omega-3 or omega-6 deficiency (1-2 grams/day)
Phenylalanine deficiency (initially 500 milligrams/day; can increase to 3-4 grams/day)
tryptophan deficiency (100-300 milligrams 5-HTP taken as divided doses)
S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAM) deficiency (800 milligrams)
melatonin deficiency (3-6 milligrams before bedtime)
phosphatidylserine deficiency (100 milligrams with food).
Numerous studies for bipolar disorder have been published that list specific lifestyle changes as well as amounts of dietary supplements that can be used to treat this disorder.
That is something to also consider. A change of lifestyle which accommodates the bipolar condition. Creativity has been linked to the hyper state of the bi polar condition. If the depressed state can be allowed to be a rest period, and there is an activity suitable for the mania state, then a lifestyle change is a radical option, but an option nonetheless.