An unshakable low mood that cannot be explained can plague our lives and those of our families until we are able to move forward. GP’s are unable to offer more than prescription anti-depressants and a promise of counselling, if resources allow. For those that are looking for an alternative to prescription drugs there is a way forward.
Sticking Plaster Supplements.
Supplements like 5HTP, L-Theanine or GABA are used by some as a way to manage mood disorders in the first instance. They can be an effective sticking plaster but they do not help address the underlying imbalances that lead to chronic depression. Please note that you should not use these alongside anti-depressants nor should you come of your medication without speaking to your prescribing GP first. If you are not taking medication these supplements could help in the initial stages of overcoming depression.
Possible Causes of Depression.
The cause of depression can be multi-factorial and working with a clinical nutritionist to uncover the key triggers for you is the best way forward. The causes can include sub-clinical thyroid function, adrenal fatigue, nutrient deficiencies or metabolic imbalances such as pyroluria.
Omega 3 fats, Inflammation and Depression.
There are a few simple steps that can make a huge difference to mood and ability to cope. The first step would be to look at your omega 3 intake versus your omega 6. Omega 3, in the right form, come almost exclusively from fish (or algae). Omega 6 fats are everywhere! Vegetable oils, packaged and processed foods, margarine, salad dressings, sauces, etc. The ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 oils is important. Too many omega 6 and you will succumb to the inflammatory conditions that plague us today – arthritis, back pain, any-‘itis’ and depression. Yes, depression has recently been added to the list of inflammatory disorders. Keeping our omega 3 intake high and our omega 6 intake low is the key to a lowering chronic inflammation and keeping our minds (and bodies) healthy.
Optimal Vitamin D Levels.
Always check your vitamin D levels and make sure they are within an optimal range of 125-150 n/mols. Conventionally, they are considered within range at around 50 n/mols but I don’t think that this is sufficient especially if this reading is taken towards the end of the year when levels are likely to fall further still. Vitamin D plays a vital role in lowering chronic inflammation that can contribute to depression.
The Role Of The Gut.
Removing foods that can cause reflux, stomach cramps or bloating will also help improve mood. Food intolerances can promote inflammation in the body via a compromised gut lining If you are in any doubt that the health of your gut can affect your mental health then watch this space. Research is beginning to highlight the importance of the gut microbiome in mental health revealing what nutritionists in this field have proposed for some time. For long term mental health this system needs to be in good shape.
The Brain Food Clinic has it’s own online course to help you to identify and rectify the imbalances causing your low mood. You can study at your own pace and it’s on special offer at the moment. Find out more about The Secrets to Mental Wellness.