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Some Problems of Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor Antidepressants

In her book, “Prozac: Panacea or Pandora”, Ann Blake Tracy Ph.D., quotes Dr. Candice Pert, Ph.D., the co-developer of the serotonin binding process; “I am alarmed at the monster that John Hopkins neuroscientist Solomon Snyder and I created when we discovered the simple binding assay for drug receptors 25 years ago. Prozac and other antidepressant serotonin-receptor-active compounds may also cause cardiovascular problems in some susceptible people after long-term use, which has become common practice despite lack of safety studies…”

“The public is being misinformed about the precision of these selective serotonin-(re)uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) when the medical profession oversimplifies their action in the brain and ignores the body as if it exists merely to carry the head around! In short, these molecules of emotion regulate every aspect of our physiology. A new paradigm has evolved, with implications that life-style changes such as diet and exercise can offer profound, safe and natural mood elevators” (Italics added)

Dr. Candice Pert is a research professor at Georgetown University Medical Center and the past Chief of the Section on Brain Biochemistry of the Clinical Neuroscience Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for 14 years. She is also the author of the book, “Molecules of Emotion”. She expressed her concerns about the seratonergic drugs in the October 20, 1997 edition of Time magazine and like so many research scientists before her, has been ignored.

In addition to psychotherapy, many scientists agree that people suffering from depression must also make efforts to:

  • Eat healthy
  • Exercise regularly
  • Sleep regularly
  • Reduce their stress level
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol

If you are suffering from depression there are natural herbal remedies, amino acids and other food nutrients  clinically proven to improve mood disorders without the heavy side effects found in common drugs.

In the early 1980’s, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Judith Wurtman discovered how carbohydrates and protein affect human neurotransmitters and mood. In a groundbreaking study, Dr. Wurtman found that eating carbohydrates without oils or protein dramatically increased serotonin. Serotonin is a calming neurotransmitter chemical that eases tension and stress, and enhances concentration. It is also converted to melatonin; the hormone that gets you to sleep at night.

Conversely, when protein is eaten by itself it increases L-dopamine and norepinephrine; chemical neurotransmitters that make us feel more attentive and mentally energetic. In the field of enzyme nutrition therapy, eating healthy is different for everyone because everyone has unique dietary stress factors in the form of carbohydrates, fats/oils and protein. Since carbohydrates and protein are at the center of brain neurotransmitter production, knowing which foods contribute to our dietary stress is important especially in neurological conditions such as depression. The 24-hour urinalysis reveals which foods are poorly digested and provides information for determining dietary modification and the appropriate digestive enzyme to be used.

Exercising regularly is one of the best non-drug approaches to resolving depression. Being active is essential. In the 1970’s, Seligman said human depression with its passivity and withdrawal might be due to “learned helplessness.” In other words, when one feels helpless or hopeless, depression can set in. We can feel helpless when we have tried on several occasions to change our lives to no avail. We may be in a bad work relationship or with a significant other and having tried to change the relationship and failed, we give up and turn the anger in on our self. Exercise can give us a feeling of being able o something for ourselves and help move us out of feelings of helplessness and depression. Exercise also increases all three neurotransmitter listed above.

One of the most difficult aspects of depression can be poor or excessive sleeping patterns. This again has to do with serotonin as it is converted to melatonin. Being active outside in sunshine causes the pituitary gland to produce more melatonin. Working with a health care professional familiar with sleep disorders and using special nutrients and herbs can improve sleep.

Reducing stress levels is essential. Knowing what those stressors are can be a bit challenging though. Stress comes in three forms; emotional/mental, nutritional and structural. We are all familiar with emotional/mental stress as it has an emotional/feeling associated with it. We are only aware of any structural stress if we experience pain. Aside form anorexia, bulimia and “comfort” eating, or unless we experience heartburn or indigestion, most are not aware of dietary stressors. Yet this one occurs every time we eat. Again, the 24-hour urinalysis is useful in unveiling the dietary stressors. Modifying our dietary stressors and using the appropriate digestive enzyme formula stops the dietary stressors.

Other ways of reducing your stress load can be achieved through acupuncture, massage, numerous meditation techniques, and Chinese martial arts like Tai Chi or Qi Gong. Placing your attention on movement forms or stillness of thought, you can experience peace of mind, tranquility and enhance neurological functioning.

Lastly, avoid drugs and alcohol. While these may give an immediate uplifting sense of pleasure and calm, the afterwards is always one of sinking further into depression. One then go back to using the alcohol or drug to get back to that feeling. It becomes a vicious cycle with you falling deeper into depression each time.

There are numerous nutritional products containing amino acids (the building blocks of protein), vitamins, minerals and botanicals that have proven clinical studies in treating depression. These are safe and natural and without the detrimental side-effects of pharmaceutical drugs.


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