treating depression

  1. Don't worry--'B' happy

    The key to beating back depression might come in bottle... just not the one you're thinking of.

    A new study finds that common B vitamins--taken in supplement form--can help seniors lower their risk of battling the blues.

    Researchers followed some 3,500 Chicago seniors for an average of 7.2 years, asking them about vitamin B6 and B12 intake from both food and supplements. They were also assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale.

    And the researchers found what appeared to be a pretty direct relationship between those two B vitamins and depression: Every 10 milligram increase in vitamin B6 and 10 microgram boost in B12 reduced the risk of depression symptoms by 2 percent per year, according to the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

    The researchers say the association held even after they adjusted for smoking, drinking, the death of a spouse, disability, and other problems that might put seniors in the dumps.

    But what I found most interesting about this study is that the researchers didn't see any depression boost from increased B vitamins in food--just supplements. So while you should still strive to get most of your nutrition from your dinner plate, this study is a good reminder that supplements can pick up where your food leaves off.

    And that's not all these busy Bs will do for you, because another new study finds that vitamin B6 may help protect against cancer.

    The study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with the highest levels of B6 had roughly half the lung cancer risk of those with the lowest levels--and that the benefit held even after adjusting for smokers.

    Vitamin B6 has also been linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer and Parkinson's disease, and it may help boost the immune system and keep your blood-sugar levels in check.

    Its "B" partner, vitamin B12, is no slouch either. This critical nutrient can help protect you from major psychological disorders, including biggies such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It also plays a key role in memory, and can help boost your energy levels and ward off fatigue.

    The best sources of B6 include potatoes, bananas and garbanzo beans, while you can get B12 from meat (especially liver), fish and dairy. But as the new study shows, don't be afraid to get what you need from a supplement, either-- because sometimes, you really can find an answer in a bottle of pills.

  2. Another "F" for antidepressants

    A new study finds yet again that antidepressants--powerful meds used by millions--don't appear to help most forms of depression.

    Don't expect to hear about this one in the commercials.

    Researchers looked at data from six studies involving 718 adults suffering from depression, and found that the benefits of these meds over a placebo for patients with mild, moderate and even severe symptoms were "nonexistent to negligible."

    That's right--they simply don't work for the typical depression patient. The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that these meds may only help the minority of patients with the most severe forms of depression.

    Some 27 million Americans take antidepressants. I wonder how many of them know that these dangerous and expensive drugs are unnecessary and ineffective. I'm sure their doctors haven't told them.

    This isn't a shocking new study--but it might be news to you, because the drug industry does everything it can to hide the ineffectiveness of its biggest sellers.

    But there's a long trail of research here, and it's all pointing in one direction. One 2008 study found that three common antidepressants were no better than placebos. A 2002 review of 38 studies found that these meds were only ever- so-slightly better than placebos.

    A report last year in Wired magazine suggested that some antidepressants currently on the market would never be approved if they had to face new tests against a placebo.

    But there's one thing many antidepressants have that placebos don't: black-box warnings.

    Those are required by the FDA for drugs with the most severe side effects, and while antidepressants may not do much for depression, they've created some long and terrifying lists of side effects.

    These drugs have been linked to suicidal behavior, especially in teens--ironic for a prescription med that's supposed to cure depression. Side effects can also include nausea, insomnia, diarrhea and sexual side effects.

    Some are even addictive.

    And plenty of people who take these meds turn into real- life zombies, robbed of their personality by Big Pharma's human chemistry set.

    There's a reason placebos are so effective when it comes to treating depression: Many people eventually heal on their own anyway. Folks get the blues, folks get over the blues.

    In other cases, there are nutritional problems at the heart of the depression--especially amino acid deficiencies. Drugs can't help your brain make more serotonin or dopamine, but a good nutritional plan can get your body working the way it should.

    An astute medical doctor experienced in natural healing can help you diagnose depression--and overcome it the right way.

  3. Going online to battle the blues

    Nearly 10 percent of the nation is on some kind of antidepressant, which just shouldn't be the case – not when there are real, safe alternatives.

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