How to Treat Depression And Anxiety With Natural Medicine
I am often asked if I treat anxiety and depression using natural medicine, and the good news is, that there are a number of ways that depression can be treated naturally that are quite effective.
Determining the right course of treatment is vital to helping people experience improved mood. This is one of the reasons that I do a thorough intake during a patients initial visit, and will often order a number of labs.
Some common physiological causes of depression, that can overlooked by many clinicians, include thyroid disease, hypoglycemia, diabetes, chronic fatigue, chronic viral infections, and the side-effects from various types of pharmaceutical medications. This is why first determining the cause of depression is the beginning of treatment.
In addition to ordering common lab work, I also order a neurotransmitter profile test by LABRIX. This test can give a better snapshot of what may be going in the brain, and allows me to better tailor the treatment options to the unique needs of the individual.
In addition to encouraging my patients to maintain a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle, I have found some supplementation can be quite helpful for many types of depression. Of course, to avoid possible dangerous interactions, we strongly encourage you to speak to your doctor before starting any supplements recommended here.
SeroSyn by Metagenics
This is my go to formula for people that are suffering from depression due to low serotonin levels. If a patient is already taking an anti-depressant, then this product should be avoided as it does contain 5HTP—a precursor to serotonin. I usually prescribe SeroSyn twice daily—before bed and before breakfast. I have found this product to be so effective in treating depression, that I usually start with SeroSyn by Metagenics before prescribing anything else.
Most naturopathic doctors understand the importance of magnesium in maintaining healthy brain function. Magnesium is needed for multiple processes in the body, and it is vital to maintaining a healthy brain.
Magnesium not only has a calming effect, it is required by the brain to create neurotransmitters — the chemical messengers necessary for healthy brain function. I like the Magnesium glycinate by Metangeics, and advice people take 2-3 tablets 1/2 before bed. Magnesium’s natural calming effect can help improve sleep, so taking it before bed is the best time to take it.
I also like Magnesium Calm powder by Natural Vitality. This product can be made into a drink that is consumed prior to going to bed.
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid responsible for making many different types of hormones and neurotransmitters—including dopamine, norepinephrine, and adrenaline. When prescribing tyrosine, I usually advice taking 2-3 capsules first thing in the morning prior to breakfast, or 1/2 an hour after breakfast, for best results.
Tyrosine is responsible for making a class of neurotransmitters known as “catecholamines” — the “pick me uppers” that are thought to improve mood and create feelings of confidence and optimism. Tyrosine is also an important amino acid for people who are in recovery from drug addiction because it can raise dopamine levels. And low dopamine levels are common in people struggling with sobriety.
This is one of the most common products that I prescribe to people who struggle with depression, as B vitamins are crucial to healthy brain function. My favorite B-Complex comes from Thorne Research, and I advice taking 1-2 capsules daily after breakfast for best results.
In addition to supplementation, I always talk to my patients about daily habits as well. Are they sleeping well? Are they eating a proper diet? Do they use recreational drugs? Are their relationships with others healthy or toxic? Do they have friends and family that can offer them support? Do they spend time in nature? Do they exercise regularly? Do they maintain a meditation practice? Are they involved in volunteer work? Sometimes helping others can lift us out of our own grief and give our lives greater meaning.
Depression need not be a lifelong problem, and the good news is, by making a few simple changes to your daily habits, and adding a few supplements, many people feel marked improvement in their mood.
To find out more about my work, or to schedule an appointment, please visit my website at DoctorWhimsy.com