Depression can have any number of factors at its root. But, some common contributors can be nutritional deficiencies, blood sugar dysregulation, stress, biochemical imbalances, smoking, drinking, medications, and even caffeine. A nutrient deficiency can be caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the digestive system which can directly affect your mood. Depression can be caused by poor digestion and absorption in much the same way. Other common causes of depression include allergies, essential fatty acid deficiencies, low blood sugar, an under active thyroid gland, and a deficiency in protein.
I list all these because the common resource for depression is antidepressants. In fact, the last information I found in 2007 noted that antidepressants were the #1 prescribed drug. Many of these work to help depression by increasing the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain and preventing the destruction or recycling of neurotransmitters. Most neurotransmitters in the brain are formed from amino acids, the building blocks found in proteins.
Nutritional Options for Treating Depression:
Much research has shown that nutritional approaches to treating depression are as effective as using antidepressants for many people. Plus there are no side effects. And you get healthier.
One of the biggest factors is an over-indulgence of candy, refined foods, and other sweets. These can have a very strong impact on your brain chemistry. Foods such as candy, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, refined flours, and alcohol will interfere with the receptors in the brain for key neurotransmitters. For example, the brain identifies that the receptor for a certain neurotransmitter is already filled (with junk food), so the brain reduces the amount of neurotransmitters it produces. As the levels of the neurotransmitters drop you begin to have cravings. As the receptors empty, the cravings increase more. At some point you will no longer be able to fill the receptors with these “empty”, refined foods. Then you will begin to experience mood swings, depression, and even more intense cravings.
It becomes a vicious cycle / unfortunately a downward spiral.
Depression can be debilitating at this point. There are some steps to create balance in your life though. Eat a good, healthy diet low in refined sugar, high in fiber and essential fatty acids. It is important to include plenty of good quality protein, since the amino acids in protein form the building blocks of the neurotransmitters.
Identifying potential nutrient deficiencies can help reverse depression as well. Even if you’re eating the healthiest foods, if they aren’t digesting, it doesn’t do you any good. Combine healthy foods with proper digestion, add in some exercise and stress reduction for the best defense against depression.