Monday, May 19, 2008

silent struggles

Aside from exercise, there are other ways you can combat anxiety and depression. In a recent personal battle of "medicate vs. unmedicate", alternative therapies have become a huge interest of mine. Along with Weight Watchers, I have found the following info (which I didn't write, but don't feel like citing) to be extremely helpful in my quest for stability.

* FISH – Fish oils have a stabilizing effect on moods. Studies using supplemental fish oils have shown success in treating depression without prescription medications. Healthy fish to increase in your diet include salmon, trout, sardines, arctic char, mackerel, herring, and sole. If you don’t care for fish, then fish oil supplements called EPA/DHA are available in most health food stores. I’d recommend 1000 – 3000 mg per day.

* B complex vitamins – B complex vitamins including B12, B6, and folic acid are important in the production of serotonin in the brain. These B vitamins can be taken as a supplement, but are also found in foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, fish, poultry, and whole grain cereals.

* Magnesium – Magnesium is also essential for mood stabilization. I would recommend 350-500 mg of magnesium daily. Foods rich in magnesium include wheat germ and wheat bran, nuts, tofu, and dark green leafy vegetables. If you don’t care for any of these foods, magnesium supplements, such as magnesium glycinate are available.

* FIBER – Increasing your intake of fiber helps your body to process and maintain stable hormone levels. Good sources of fiber include whole grains, fruits & vegetables, nuts & seeds, and beans.

* Reduce your intake of sugar – Although sweets, sugar, and carbs can provide a temporary “feel good” effect, they cause swings in the levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain that are unstable. A rule of thumb is to reserve carbs and small amounts of sweets for after dinner only – these foods transiently boost serotonin levels, which may help with getting to sleep, so they’re best avoided until evening.

* Consider a natural antidepressant – If your symptoms are not severe, under the supervision of your physician or therapist you might consider one of the natural antidepressants. These natural therapies have shown effectiveness of varying degree in helping mild to moderate depression. These include St. Johns Wort, and SAMe. Both are natural products that can be very effective, but they can have interactions with other medications, so please consult your physician before trying these therapies.

No comments: