Dieting Away Your...Depression?

Depression is debilitating. It is a disorder that invades and oppresses all aspects of your life. Where you once had joy and hope, there is none to be found.

Life not only seems meaningless but it’s painful both mentally and physically. Sometimes it takes everything you’ve got just to get out of bed.

Sometimes you don’t get out of bed.

Living with depression can be extremely challenging especially when anti-depressant medications offer little to no relief.

What should you do if you're suffering from depression and you feel like you haven't received much relief from medication?

One thing that may be beneficial is to examine your diet. The conventional theory is that depression is linked to a brain chemical imbalance, especially the neurotransmitter serotonin.

Serotonin is a feel good molecule that plays a role in everything from your circadian rhythm and bowel movements to your libido and cognition.

When you’re diagnosed with depression, your health care provider will most likely prescribe a medication called an SSRI or selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor.

SSRIs are intended to prevent the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain to keep more of this “happy-inducing” neurotransmitter around.

While the theory of “depression means serotonin deficiency” is the prevailing one in psychiatry at the moment, it really isn’t backed up by research.

It was based on clever and insidious marketing by the pharmaceutical industry to sell more drugs.

Many doctors are now speaking out against this flawed theory of “low serotonin causes depression” and are admitting that they really don’t know what causes it [2].

Depression is a complex disease with possibly hundreds of different causes involving both psychological and physiological roots.

The “chemical imbalance” theory of depression is incorrect and outdated.

So while research doesn’t support serotonin deficiency as the cause of depression, it also sheds an alarming light on anti-depressant medications.

In the 1980s and 90s, clinical trials showed that antidepressants helped reduce a whopping 70% of symptoms of depression while the remaining 30% was attributed to placebo. Then JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Asociation, stopped taken data analyses completed by pharmaceutical companies [1].

Unsurprisingly, the success rates of antidepressants dropped to 40% with placebo still at 30%.

While antidepressants may not be as efficacious as once believed and can even be detrimental, with antidepressant use linked to development of Type 2 diabetes [3], there is a body of research emerging that shows diet plays a huge role in reducing the symptoms of depression.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Since many with depression don't respond well (or at all) to traditional anti-depressants, a new theory suggests that people with depression have a large amount of inflammation in the body. Omega 3 fatty acids can help to reduce inflammation by increasing the amount of molecules called resolvins in the blood which are anti-inflammatory.

Omega 3 fatty acids come in the form of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha linolenic acid (ALA). You can find omega 3 fatty acids in foods like salmon, sardines, mackerel, walnuts, chia and flax seeds, and algae.