For an extensive discussion of this topic, purchase a copy of Brain Power: How to Fine Tune Your Brain Naturally by Dr. Verghese.
A growing body of mental health professionals sees anxiety and depression as symptoms of a single underlying condition. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is referring to it as mixed anxiety depressive disorder.
Symptoms that may manifest in all types of depression:
• Sadness, melancholia, weeping, despair, feeling forlorn
• Suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts
• Anhedonia (joylessness, indifference to formerly pleasurable
interests and activities), loss of motivation
• Lack of spiritual desire
• Feelings of inadequacy, loss of self-confidence
• Social withdrawal
• Difficulty concentrating
• Difficulty making decisions
• Mental dullness, brain fog
• Low self-esteem or feelings of worthlessness
• Hypervigilance and hyperscanning
• Fatigue or loss of energy
• Paralysis of the will, loss of self-control
• Anxiety, agitation
• Frustration, angry outbursts
• Mood swings
• Sleep disturbance—insomnia or hypersomnia; sometimes with reversal of the sleep/wake cycle
• Lowered energy, listlessness
• Decreased appetite or overeating, indigestion
• Back pain
• Lowered immune function, increased susceptibility
Causes of Depression
There is no single cause of depression. Many recent studies trace the causes of depression to nutritional deficiencies in the brain’s glial cells and other abnormalities in brain chemistry or structure. Thanks to recent advances in brain research, neuroimaging, and neurochemical tests, doctors now know that many types of debilitating depression are imbalances in brain chemicals. This discovery makes it easier to diagnose and treat various depressions. Severe prolonged stress can result in depression by upsetting the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Depression often runs in families, arising from genetic predisposition and/or neurotic character structure. Food allergies, hormone imbalance, the weakening and demoralizing effects of chronic illness, malnutrition due to poor diet, and insufficient exposure to sunlight can result in emotional and mental imbalances, creating depression.
Reactive Depression arises as a result of emotional trauma—loss of a loved one, tragedy, financial loss, sudden disability, or other painful disruptive life events. It is usually a mild-to moderate form that resolves with the passage of time. Unshakable faith in God and family and social contacts are important factors in mitigating reactive depression.
Recommended Supplements: Brain Food, Royal Jelly, Grape Seed Extract, Neuro Balancer, Enzymes, Super, Multiple for Every Man, Multiple for Every Woman, GTF Chromium, Liver Refresh and Natural 5-HTP at bedtime to promote restful sleep, Galantamine and Vinpocetine (Periwinkle Extract) (whole plant). Linden leaf tea may also be helpful.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are three types of depression and mood disorders:
1. Dysthymic Disorder and its bipolar variant, Cyclothymic Disorder;
2. Major Depression; and
3. Manic Depression or Bipolar Disorder.
Dysthymic Disorder has less serious symptoms, but is a chronic mood disorder. It can be considered a low-grade, more persistent version of major depression. The Greek word, dysthymia, means “bad state of mind” or “ill humor.” Cyclothymic Disorder literally means “circular spirit” and is often referred to as soft bipolar disorder. This affliction can be considered a mild, non-psychotic version of manic depression, with periods of relatively normal functioning or hypomania (elevated activity level) alternating with periods of mild to moderate depression. Recent research indicates that this common chronic type of low-grade depression often results from low self-esteem and negative thinking habits associated with lowered levels of activity of certain neurotransmitters, which may arise from an inherited predisposition or from negative, destructive environmental influences during the formative years. It is estimated that half of dysthymic people ever experience an episode of major depression. Its symptoms are: feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, poor concentration, difficulty making decisions, eating disorders and insomnia.
Recommended Supplements: Neuro Balancer, Royal Jelly, Brain Food, Natural 5-HTP, Brain Igniter, Grape Seed Extract, Liver Refresh, Multiple for Every Man, Multiple for Every Woman, GTF Chromium, Galantamine and Vinpocetine (Periwinkle Extract) (whole plant).
Major Depression is one of the most serious types, characterized by overwhelming and sustained bleakness, often disabling, sometimes with psychotic or borderline psychotic loss of contact with reality. Children and adolescents manifest many of the same symptoms. Although the prefrontal cortex of the brain may be the primary site of malfunction in major depression, the whole brain is disordered to some degree. The constellation of symptoms often found in children and adolescents with major depression are:
• Persistent sadness, pessimism, helplessness, hopelessness, guilt, despair, low self-esteem
• Insomnia or oversleep
• Mood swings
• Chronic indecisiveness
• Anxiety, irritability, agitation
• Inability to concentrate, make decisions, brain fog
• Fatigue, slow speech, slow movements
• Appetite loss or gain
• Weight gain or loss
• Crying fits for no obvious reason
• Suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts
Recommended Supplements: Brain Food, Royal Jelly, L-Taurine, Calcium, Bone Density, GTF Chromium, Grape Seed Extract, Multiple for Every Man, Multiple for Every Woman, Natural 5-HTP at bedtime, Neuro Balancer (*take Neuro Balancer with food, one hour apart from other supplements), Brain Igniter (if needed for mental clarity), Galantimine and Vinpocetine (Periwinkle Extract) (whole plant).
Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression
Manic depression is characterized by cyclical mood swings between elation and despair. It is a variant of major depression and most often has a large inherited (genetic) component. It is a serious illness, usually arising from an inherited predisposition. It is often difficult to treat; it may require years to cure. In addition to the recommended supplements, wholesome diet, plenty of exercise, solid spiritual guidance and support, probably the most effective curative intervention is a course of constitutional homeopathic treatment.
Manic phase symptoms:
• Elation, euphoria (some manic individuals are often irritable); delusions of grandeur
• High energy episodes
• Feelings of invincibility
• Less need for sleep
• Hallucinations in severe episodes
• Obsession with alcohol, spending money, sex, travel, gambling, shopping sprees
• Suspicion; perceiving others as a threat
• Refusal to accept their abnormal behavior; impaired reality testing
Recommended Supplements, Manic Phase: Brain Food, Natural 5-HTP, Neuro Relaxer, L-Taurine, Grape Seed Extract, GTF Chromium, Calcium, Bone Density, and/or Coral Calcium Plus (with magnesium and vitamin D), Multiple for Every Man, Multiple for Every Woman, Natural Lithium from vegetable sources (not the same as prescription Lithium salt), Galantamine and Vinpocetine (Periwinkle Extract) (whole plant).
Recommended Supplements, Depressive Phase: Brain Food, Royal Jelly, L-Taurine, Calcium, Bone Density, GTF Chromium, Grape Seed Extract, Multiple for Every Man, Multiple for Every Woman, Natural 5-HTP at bedtime, Neuro Balancer (*take Neuro Balancer with food, one hour apart from other supplements), Brain Igniter (if needed for mental clarity), Galantamine and Vinpocetine (Periwinkle Extract) (whole plant).
Juvenile Bipolar Disorder
This deserves special attention because the presentation is usually quite different from the adult variety; often no periodicity of symptoms is discernable. A few of those with juvenile bipolar disorder may suffer from pyroluria, a genetic disorder causing abnormal production of kryptopyrroles, a waste product of hemoglobin synthesis which may worsen symptoms of depression. Improved diet and the recommended supplements Note: Do not take additional Choline-Inositol or Vanadium. SAMe is not recommended simply because it is seldom effective to address this problem. Some or all of the following symptoms characterize the disorder in children and teenagers:
• Persistent anxiety
• Uncontrolled anger, defiance, aggressive behavior, “affective storms”
• Impulsivity, lack of self-central, extreme willfulness
• Fearfulness, tendency to hide inner feelings from others
• Accumulation of copper in the brain
• Allergies, food and chemical sensitivities
• Cravings for carbohydrates or sweets
• Elevated lactic acid, especially in sedentary, overweight youngsters or those who consume a lot of sugar-laden foods
• Coated tongue with tiny red spots
• Apathy, fatigue
• Morning nausea
• Eyes sensitive to sunlight
• Stretch marks on skin
• Cold hands and feet
• Reduced head hair
• Thin finger nails with white spots on the nails
• Family history of mood disorders and/or alcoholism
Recommended Supplements: Take the following until symptoms go away: Brain Food, Royal Jelly, Allergy Control (1 or 2 tablets a day), Neuro Balancer, Multiple for Every Man, Multiple for Every Woman(1 capsule/tablet every 3 days), L-Taurine (500mg, 1 capsule a day), and Grape Seed Extract. If there is hypoglycemia, add GTF Chromium (200mcg, 1 tablet a day, as needed). If your child experiences low spirits and feelings of “depression” intermittently, she or he will recover after taking these supplements regularly. If supplementation and other suggested interventions do not suffice, or if your child feels suicidal, seek professional help. Bible-based psychotherapy or counseling, combined with the above recommendations, have helped many people and may be necessary for the child and family in difficult cases.
From a Christian Perspective
Assuming for the moment that depression is neither profound nor prolonged, a lapse into depression presupposes a loss of spiritual perspective and faith. That is to say, if you didn’t have depression before, it is difficult to succumb to depression of significant depth or duration if you maintain awareness of the overarching love, forgiveness, guidance, and presence of God, his son, the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in your life. Focus on what is good and worthy of praise. Don’t focus on what’s wrong and become consumed with a need to fix negative things. Speak to yourself in spiritual songs—filling your brain with beautiful music and lyrics (Ephesians 5: 10).
Note: Consume plenty of green, orange, and yellow vegetables and fruits. Avoid artificial sweeteners and all forms of concentrated or refined sugars, as well as foods high in saturated fats. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. If your child needs a mood lift, fruits, vegetables, fermented soy products, soy yogurt, tempeh, or miso-nut tofu, brown rice, and legumes can help. If you notice that your youngster’s mood deteriorates after eating wheat or other gluten-containing foods, add one capsule of Pure Super Enzymes- Chewables in a meal containing gluten; or include in those glutinous meals organic cow’s milk or yogurt made with soy, goat, or sheep milk. has a positive effect on the brain and mood.
Do you know that the indwelling Christ can give you peace in every situation? Feel His strong arms around you; let the peace of God fill your brain, body, and total being with His loving presence. Read Psalm 91 in the Bible and experience the supernatural place of safety and protection He provides (cf. Philippians 4:7). Frequent visits with friends and attending various social activities including Bible study meetings can keep you connected. When depression descends upon one of strong faith, it will usually be due to some disequilibrium in brain chemistry, possibly provoked by some adverse life circumstance. The supplements recommended can help your efforts to regain your equilibrium and spiritual vitality.
Note: You don’t have to order all the supplements listed for each health condition. Start with the first one to three products, based on your needs. Take supplements for a minimum of one month (in severe cases longer) until relieved of the symptoms. Then take supplements on and off for maintenance.
Information provided on these pages is given within the context of a wellness program. All materials provided or sold on this Web site, including herbs or other supplements, should not be construed as personal medical advice. The user must assume responsibility to seek appropriate health care from professionals prior to implementing the recommendations made on the program or using any product sold on Faith & Family Nutrition Web site. The user is solely responsible for the outcome. Any person, information, or product associated with this site cannot be held responsible for your actions, nor any conditions resulting thereof.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.