Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety disorder affect about 17 - 40 million adults in the US. Several underlying causes ranging from genetics, nutritional deficiencies and environmental factors can be regarded as contributing factors.
Much has been written and researched about these disorders. Contrary to old beliefs, depression and anxiety are not just workings of the mind. Instead, strong biochemical correlation has been found between biochemically mediated inflammation and such disorders. For example, studies show that individuals with depression and anxiety often have,
Elevated C reactive protein
Lower omega-3 fatty acids
Lower magnesium levels
Higher incidence of thyroid dysfunction
Higher incidence of autoimmune disorders
Higher incidence of chronic viral infections
Once a diagnosis is made, a comprehensive and holistic approach can help achieve desirable goals and optimize health.
A few, non pharmacologic approaches are discussed below.
A whole foods plant based anti-inflammatory diet has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Essential ingredients of this diet include,
Green leafy vegetables
Fresh whole fruits
Condiments such as turmeric
Supplements with high ORAC values:
ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorptive Capacity) is a measure of anti-oxidant concentration. Underlying mechanism of anti-inflammatory diet and supplements is through it's anti-oxidant properties. Components of this diet are rich in anti-oxidant concentration and reduce inflammation and mitigate pathways which are involved in creating depression and anxiety. A few foods with high ORAC values are displayed here.
What not to do?
People often concentrate on consuming supplements and even foods which have shown to reduce inflammation but do not stop eating highly inflammatory foods. This leads to no results and is akin to filling a bottomless tank. Therefore, following must be avoided at all cost to see any benefits of anti-inflammatory diet and supplements.
Avoid junk , processed and sugary foods
Avoid sedentary lifestyle
Avoid smoking and other toxins
Additional Non-pharmacologic interventions:
Innovative technologies such as TMS (Transcranial magnetic stimulation) has proven to be extremely successful for treating moderate to severe treatment resistant depression. This treatment is FDA approved and has minimal reported side effects.