Antidepressants may throw your heart off track

A steady beat isn't just good for dancing. It's critical to your heart -- but when you take antidepressant drugs, you can literally lose that beat.

New research finds that some of the most common antidepressant drugs of all -- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , or SSRI drugs , such as Lexapro and Celexa -- in some cases can actually interfere with the very process that keeps your heart beating.

One way to measure how your heart beats is called the QT interval. The longer the interval, the slower your heart -- and the slower your heart, the higher your risk of everything from abnormal heart rhythms up to sudden cardiac death.

And in the new study of 38,000 patients, nearly 1 in 5 of those on SSRI drugs had longer-then-expected QT intervals -- meaning they also had slower-than-expected hearts.

With close to 30 million Americans on SSRI drugs at any given time that means nearly 6 million people could be walking around right now with a potentially serious and undiagnosed heart condition.

This study hasn't made big news -- even though it should -- but it's led to a big response behind the scenes. And, in fact, the British government was so concerned by earlier findings that it actually already lowered the recommended dose for one the SSRI drugs.

But I've got a much better option than reducing the dose -- and that's to get rid of these drugs, because in most cases they're completely unnecessary.

Depression always has a cause. Sometimes, it's obvious -- like the death of a loved one, or loss of a job. But in many others, it's not as obvious -- and I've found that in those cases, it can be caused by nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, stress, chronic illness, low sun exposure, or even food allergies.

A skilled holistic physician can help identify that underlying cause. And once it's found, you can get to work correcting it naturally, without putting your heart at risk.

And if you're looking for something you can take right now, try fish oil -- one of the first supplements I recommend to people battling depression. But of course, that's not all fish oil can do.

Keep reading for the latest on how omega-3 fatty acids can make your children and grandchildren smarter.