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Condition - Depression

By Nutri People

Depression is remarkably common and is believed to affect one in five adults in the Western world.  Common signs include poor appetite and weight loss, or good appetite and weight gain, insomnia or excessive sleeping, physical inactivity or hyperactive, loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, decrease in libido, lack of energy and poor thinking or concentration.  Not all people experience the same symptoms and it is important to seek medical guidance to rule out other conditions.

Contributing factors

  • Nutrient deficiencies: Depression may result from being low on vitamin B6 & C, chromium, magnesium and essential fatty acids. 
  • Medical conditions: hypothyroidism, chronic illnesses such as MS and cancer are often accompanied by depression.
  • Neurotransmitter imbalances such as low serotonin
  • Food intolerances: such as to wheat or dairy.
  • Hormonal imbalances.
  • A build up of toxins from the environment.
  • Substance abuse: excessive intake of tobacco, alcohol and caffeine.
  • Imbalanced blood sugar
  • Stress

Useful supplements

  • A good multi vitamin and mineral
  • Vitamin C  - used up during stress
  • B vitamins, especially B3 and B6 – support neurotransmitter activity in the brain
  • Essential fatty acids- fish oils and evening primrose oil – shown to balance mood
  • St Johns Wort– increases serotonin levels
  • 5HTP– pre-cursor to serotonin
  • Phenylalanine/tyrosine– help maintain motivation and drive

Dietary advice

  • Increase fibre-rich pulses and wholegrains rich in B-vitamins and chromium, enhancing mental processes and balancing blood sugar. Small regular fibre-rich meals with some protein are best.
  • Increase vegetables and dark green leaves rich in magnesium.
  • Eat oily fish rich in essential fatty acids at least three times a week.  Choose from salmon, herring, mackerel, trout, sardines, pilchards and tuna.
  • Avoid sugar and stimulants like coffee, tea and alcohol, which affect the adrenal glands and may contribute to leaching important nutrients from the body.
  • Eat regularly and aim to have three main meals and two snacks a day.

Lifestyle advice

  • Exercise regularly – this is a known stimulus for positive mental states. 30 minutes of sustained exercise, which can be as simple as a brisk walk, at least three times a week
  • Take 10-15 minutes out every day to practise relaxation/meditation techniques
  • Seek out humour in all forms, from banana skins to Gary Larson!
  • Go to regular counselling to share your concerns with a professional 

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