depression

  1. Effects of depression speed aging of your cells

    How depression makes you older

    Depression isn't just a recipe for misery. It's a recipe for getting old before your time, with the effects of depression aging you on a cellular level and increasing your risk of chronic disease and an early death.

    And if you let depression go unchecked now, you could lose as much as six years later on, according to new research showing how the condition damages your telomeres.

    Those are the little caps that sit on the end of your chromosomes.

    As you get older, your telomeres shrink. And as they shrink, your risk of disease grows -- especially the diseases we associate with aging: heart disease, cancer, dementia and more.

    Shorter telomeres are even a risk factor for death itself.

    But time alone isn't the only condition that can cause telomeres to shrink. The effects of depression can do the job, too -- shrinking your telomeres so much that it's equal to six extra years of aging, according to a new study in Molecular Psychiatry.

    And the more severe your depression -- or the more chronic-- the faster you can expect those telomeres to shrink.

    Now, it's true that depression often comes with other bad habits known to speed aging and shrink telomeres, including poor diet, smoking and heavy boozing. But even after adjusting for these and other risk factors, the study still finds a link between the effects of depression and cellular aging.

    In other words, it's not just the bad habits that come with depression. It's the depression itself -- and that's why it's critical to make sure you take control over any battle with the blues before it turns into something that takes control of you.

    While there are a number of ways to beat the effects of depression, the best approach for you will depend on the cause.

    If your depression is the result of one of life's sad events -- like the loss of a job or the death of a loved one -- than all you may need is time, prayer and the support of friends and loved ones.

    But many cases of depression -- especially the severe and chronic depression that will age your cells and shrink your telomeres -- have other causes, such as nutritional problems or hormonal imbalances. And in those cases, time, friends and prayer probably won't be enough to get over the hump.

    (But whatever you do, don't fall into the antidepressant drug trap. Not only are they often not effective, they've been linked to diabetes!)

    Instead seek the help of an experienced holistic physician who can test for these and other causes and work with you to correct them naturally.

    I can run those tests here in my clinic outside San Diego. If you're in Southern California, contact my office to make an appointment.

    Not in the area? I'm also available for telephone consultations. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a call.

  2. Benefits of exercise prevent depression

    Exercise away the blues

    Exercise isn't just great for your body. The benefits of exercise are also terrific for your brain -- and if you get a little movement today and every day, you could slash your risk of battling depression in the years ahead.

    And you barely have to break a sweat.

    Get just 20 to 30 minutes a day of light activity -- even something as simple as a stroll through the park -- and your risk of developing depression as you get older will plunge, according to a new review of the research on the benefits of exercise.

    The link is so clear that of the 30 studies used in the analysis, 25 found a benefit -- and the benefit was found across all age groups. And while this study focused on the long-term mental health benefits of exercise, we know from other studies it's not the only benefit.

    Not by a long run.

    If you happen to get depressed, exercise is actually an effective cure -- so much so that studies have found it works as well as some medications, but without any of the risks.

    Along with fighting and preventing depression, regular exercise can help your brain in so many other ways. It can lift your mood, beat anxiety and even fight stress -- including the chronic stress that can damage your immune system and boost your disease risk.

    The benefits of exercise can even slash your risk of dementia.

    Part of the brain benefit of course comes from overall good health that comes from exercise. And part of it comes from the feel-good brain-healthy endorphins unleashed by exercise -- the same reaction that produces the so-called "runner's high," although you don't have to actually run to feel it yourself.

    Just put your body through the paces with some movement. Walking, gardening, swimming, biking, skiing -- it all counts, as long as you do it regularly and do it often.

  3. Different types of depression boost Parkinson’s risk

    Depression can triple your risk of Parkinson's disease, according to the latest research.
  4. Beat depression with the benefits of acupuncture

    Acupuncture can work against depression as well as counseling and perhaps even better than meds, according to the latest research.
  5. Curcumin, one of the natural depression remedies

    Curcumin, a compound in the spice turmeric, can fight major depression as effectively as Prozac, according to a new study.
  6. When mild depression isn't depression

    Nearly two-thirds of all depression cases aren't depression at all, according to the latest research.
  7. Benefits of probiotics can improve your mood

    A probiotic supplement can improve your mood and reduce your levels of anxiety, according to a new study.
  8. Psychotherapy as good as antidepressant drugs

    Psychotherapy works about as well as antidepressant drugs, according to new research -- but even that's not the best way to cure the condition.
  9. Depression increases signs of hypoglycemia

    A new study finds a link between depression and increased blood sugar control issues that could land you in the hospital.
  10. Feeling depressed doubles stroke risk

    A new Australian study finds that depression may double stroke risk in women... even younger ones in their 40's and 50's.
  11. Anticholinergic drugs linked to dementia in seniors

    A new study finds that anticholinergic drugs like Tylenol PM and Benadryl could boost your odds of cognitive decline or dementia in as little as two months.
  12. Different types of depression in heart patients

    Common mood disorders such as depression and anxiety can increase the risk of death in heart patients.
  13. Omega-3 fatty acid adds years to your life

    The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can add 2.2 years to your life and slash your risk of serious heart problems, according to new research.
  14. Soda drinks in new depression link

    People who drink soft drinks have a higher risk of depression -- and people who drink diet sodas have the highest risk of all.
  15. Beat the causes of depression

    Many cases of depression are really just cases of poor nutrition -- and fixing the diet can also cure the depression.
  16. Dealing with depression using fish oil

    A new study on senior women shows again that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can help ease depression.
  17. SSRI drugs can increase stroke risk

    Some of the most common meds used to treat depression can increase the risk of stroke by up to 50 percent.
  18. Work stress can kill you

    Work-related stress -- including the kind of stress that comes from a bad boss -- can dramatically increase your risk of heart attack and death.
  19. Natural ways to beat stress

    New studies show how stress and anxiety can actually be deadly. Learn the easy ways to beat stress and live longer instead.
  20. New numbers show gluten allergies are badly under-diagnosed

    Close to 2 million Americans have celiac disease, but most don't know it -- and tens of millions more have undiagnosed gluten sensitivities. Are you one of them?

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