Dr. Holly
Dr. Holly
Dr. Holly

Okay, so I have gone down this road many times before. But if you or anyone you know is taking anti-depressants – read this. By the way did you know that 1/2 women and 1/3 men are now diagnosed as having depression at some point in their life? Further, as many as 1 in 10 Americans is taking an anti-depressant! No wonder a given anti-depressant can make a billion dollars a day.

I have told you repeatedly for eons, that anti-depressants are based on regulating serotonin levels. The few years they have added in other neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. But the fact of the matter is that low serotonin or other neurotransmitters have never been proven to cause depression. Nor regulating them with anti-depressants, ever been proven to resolve depression. Anti-depressants may work to some degree on severely depressed people, but they have virtually no effect on the majority of people who suffer mild to moderate depression!!

So, we will start with the bad news and finish with the good news!

So how did we get all these different anti-depressants on the market and how did we con everyone into believing that they actually work?

After WWII and in particular in the 50’s, an anti-convulsant medication was prescribed called Reserpine. It lowered, even depleted serotonin levels in the patients. The patients that suffered from lethargy and sedation.

Around the same time, researchers at an asylum in Switzerland found that while the drug, Imipramine, caused schizophrenics to have bouts of euphoria; it did help some of the major depressives. the drug was marketed as Tofranil. It was one of the first tricyclic drugs used for depression and dealt with a range of brain chemicals. But was quickly followed by several competitors. The problem with the drug was that is caused serious side effects: lethargy, weight gain and even a few deaths. Big hitters since that time were Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil but did things a little differently, they focused in on serotonin and these were called SSRIs. The drugs drove profits up hugely. But so, did the issues. Some people used the drugs in court as a defense against violent behavior and others became suicidal.

In the 60’s Dr. Schildkraut presented the ‘Catecholamine Hypothesis of Affective Disorders’: “At best, drug-induced affective disturbances can only be considered models of the natural disorders, while it remains to be demonstrated that the behavioural changes produced by these drugs have any relation to naturally occurring biochemical abnormalities which might be associated with the illness.”

The problem is that the connection was never proven! But it did open the doors for Big Pharma.

So, let’s look at some result analysis. There was a “famous” study published in the NEJM in 2008. They revealed that between 1987 – 2004, 12 different anti-depressants were approved based on 74 studies. That works out to a mean of 6 studies per drug. Further, only 37 of the studies were published – they had good results. Thirty-three were not published and they had negative results. Three that had negative results were published but with a positive spin that did not reflect the actual data.

Now, you thought that was bad…read this. A meta-analysis of 3000 patients (sounds like a good number) were treated with either: antidepressants, psychotherapy, placebo or no treatment. What do you think the results were? You are probably right. Only 27% of the results could be attributable to the drugs. Sounds pretty bad. But then another study was done that found that anti-depressants outperformed placebos in less than half of the studies! In fact, the difference between placebo and drug was a whopping 1.7 points on a 52-point scale.

Today, we have a number of drugs that are prescribed “like candy” that do virtually no good: statin drugs for the choelsterol myth; anti-biotics that actually depleted your immune system; and of course anti-depressants for depression.

Now here is really important informationDid you know that anti-depressants actually deplete the body of vital nutrients like CoQ10 and Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), B6, B9 (folic acid) and B12 (about 40% are deficient in B12) and Vitamin D (about 80% are deficient in Vitamin D3). Oh yeah, and let’s not forget Vitamin D and sodium! And you thought you had a problem before?

So that’s the bad news, what is the good news?

Well, today we know of all kinds of issues that can cause depression. Yes, it can be psychological. It can be about how you interpret and respond to the world. But did you know that the microbiota in your gut can affect your thoughts, emotions and behavior – it may not be you at all.

In addition, there are a variety of nutrients that the brain requires in order to function effectively – this was my big thing when I was a psychologist. Why are we not taught about the nutrients the brain requires and toxins that can impede the functioning? Well the brain needs about 20% of the body’s oxygen and 20% of the body’s fat. It also needs a huge amount of glutathione, magnesium (about 92% are deficient in magnesium), amino acids – the base of many neurotransmitters (it is estimated that 86% of Americans have deficient levels of neurotransmitter due to insufficient amino acids).

But it goes further than that. We now know that an imbalance or depletion of the microbiota in your gut can cause depression. If you have inflammation in your gut, you are at risk for depression.

Even dental issues are now linked with depression.

In addition, all kinds of metal toxicities can cause depression – oh dear, and we are rampant with metal and environmental toxins.

But let’s not forget another huge misdiagnosis in Conventional Medicine, hypothyroid. It is more often than not a problem with the liver or the adrenals as opposed to the thyroid itself! Even the WHO (World Health Organization) claims that over 80% of the people on Synthroid for hypothyroid should not be on it.

Unfortunately, there is another big cause of depression – medications. Over medicated, wrong medications, or just a medication can cause depression.

So, what do you do? You find a good Health Practitioner and find out what is really causing your depression and eliminate the underlying cause.

Here’s to your health.

For more information, contact: holly@choicesunlimited.ca

Dr. Holly is a naturopathic doctor that holds a PhD in Psychology and Biochemistry, specializing in balancing mind, body and energy of the system.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and is not a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or other health care practitioner.