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Nutrients ease symptoms of major depression

Nutrients ease symptoms of major depression

Article by Don Goldberg

Good news: Nutrients ease symptoms of major depression

Curcumin improves rating scores
Major, or clinical, depression causes persistent feelings of sadness, lack of interest, as well as physical symptoms, and its cause is unknown. In this study, 60 people with major depressive disorder took 20 mg of the standard antidepressant fluoxetine per day, 1,000 mg of the anti-inflammatory curcumin per day, together or separately.
Those taking curcumin together with fluoxetine responded positively sooner and in greater numbers on a standard scale of depression symptoms than those who took either curcumin or fluoxetine separately. After six weeks, the average improvements were similar in all three groups.
Discussing their findings, doctors said curcumin is safe and that, “People with depression have higher levels of inflammation in the brain, and make fewer new brain cells than people with no history of depression,” continuing, “Curcumin is both a potent anti-inflammatory agent and powerful stimulator for new brain cells.”
Reference: Phytotherapy Research; July, 2013, Published Online

Fatty acid balance important in depression.
Doctors know that omega-3 fatty acid levels are lower in those with major depressive disorder, and wanted to know more about a link to anxiety.
In this study, doctors measured omega-3 and omega-6 levels in 18 participants with major depressive disorder, 41 with anxiety disorders, and in 62 healthy volunteers. Compared to healthy participants, those with major depressive disorder, and those with anxiety, had lower EPA and DHA levels as well as higher omega-6 levels compared to omega-3. Doctors increasingly believe that omega-6 is often too high in relation to omega-3, and that keeping these two fatty acids closer in balance is an important factor in physical and mental health.

Reference: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry; 2013, Vol. 74, No. 7, 732-8

If depression and/or anxiety is a concern, one should increase the level of omega-3 oils by eating more fish or taking EPA/DHA supplements while, at the same time, decreasing one’s intake of omega-6 oils, especially those found in meat and dairy fats.
A diet rich in omega 3 and monounsaturated oils, such as the “mediterranean” diet and lower in animal fats has been shown to benefit health in many ways.