BY DR LYDIA THURTON
I have a secret to tell you. A whole bunch of Canadians are taking anti-depressants and almost no one talks about it. Some people take them for a short time, maybe while they are going through a divorce. And others take them for years and years. Either way, there’s a huge number of Canadians who take antidepressants to improve their mood, reduce anxiety and even treat issues like chronic pain.
Last month, in the super conservative journal of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) they discussed natural health products that can help your mood.
Any of these amazing products can be used in conjunction with antidepressants. Another huge win – many of these neutriceuticals work quickly. No waiting six weeks for a medication to start working. Big disclaimer here, when making any changes to your psychiatric medical regimen fill your doctor in on what you are doing. Safety first!
S-adenosylmethionine otherwise known as, SAM-e is a molecule our bodies make, and it improves neutrotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. It’s not new. We’ve known about it for thirty plus years, but after compiling the data the APA concluded that IT WORKS. I like SAM-e for older patients who are more likely to have adverse effects from antidepressants. SAM-e can help with the pain of arthritis. Big bonus. Anything that can treat pain and mood in one little package is a great tool. Chronic pain can make even a very happy person’s mood go sour.
Your body makes SAM-e, but not without vitamin B12 and folic acid. Which brings me to the next APA approved nutraceutical – methylfolate. This is a very specific form of folate, that is a cousin to folic acid. Folic acid, a common vitamin taken when a woman wants to have a baby, is not the active form of the vitamin. Your liver has to add a methyl molecule to folic acid and the enzyme that does that is slow and doesn’t work all that well in many of us. In fact, if you feel chronically slow, fatigued, sluggish it may be that your methylation pathway is genetically defective. There is testing. To bypass this whole methyl situation, take methyl folate. It is ready to go as soon as it is absorbed and it also helps the methylation process by donating a methyl molecule.
The last two suggested products were good old vitamin D and a fish oil. You’re probably tired of hearing me say this, but a dose of vitamin D and fish oil daily goes a long way in preventing almost every chronic disease. And there’s research to back that up. You can purchase a fish oil fortified with vitamin D. It’s all in one product! How easy is that?
All of these products work quickly, safely and in conjunction with each other to support healthy mood and neurotransmitters. Always discuss the addition of new supplements with your health care provider.