Depression is a state of mind that can be very detrimental to a person’s well-being. People who are depressed are much less motivated than normal, and experience intense feelings of anxiety, hopelessness and sadness. The combination of negative emotions with a reluctance to be productive can cause an immense amount of stress, which in some unfortunate cases leads to suicidal thoughts. The depression cycle is tough to break free from, but it is absolutely possible.

Unlike 20 years ago, depression is now appropriately being treated as a serious mental health issue. Thanks to modern medicine there are many ways to combat it, and our clinic offers a variety of services to help individuals regain control over their lives.

Below are some of my recommendations for dealing with depression – the best way to get into the right headspace is to make sure your body is getting the vitamins, nutrients and exercise it needs!

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has long been recognized as a vital vitamin for the human body. It is a powerful antioxidant and helps our bodies generate connective tissues. One of the more well-known side effects of drastic vitamin C deficiency is scurvy, which can be deadly if untreated.

Even with mild vitamin C deficiency, there are side effects on the body. A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found an association between low levels of Vitamin C and depression.

For those who have a vitamin C deficiency or aren’t getting enough from their diet, a fantastic solution is a vitamin infusion. Infusing vitamins directly into the bloodstream using an IV is beneficial both in reception and distribution of the vitamin, especially to those with allergies. Our certified Naturopathic Doctors at Cornerstone are equipped to perform a multitude of infusion services and are more than happy to answer your questions on this treatment. You can refer to our Infusions page for more information.

Personal fitness training

Regular exercise does wonders for your body and mind. A good workout gets blood pumping through our cardiovascular system, develops muscles, and it can help clear our minds.

Exercise’s benefits have also been widely accepted in the medical community – this 1991 study from the American Journal of Epidemiology found a direct correlation between physical inactivity and depression, and it advocated for exercise programs to be an integral part of community health programs.

The tough part about exercise though is finding the right amount for you – everybody is different, and a workout for some could be a warmup for others! Specific physical conditions such as tendinitis affect workout routines as well, and it’s why personal fitness training so important. A personal fitness trainer can not only create an intuitive program, but they also provide support to get you motivated and committed. Cornerstone’s certified Holistic Lifestyle coach Kenny White is always looking to help people find time for exercise, and is full of information on the benefits of fitness.

Omega 3’s

Omega 3’s have garnered lots of media attention over the past 10 years and most people now know that there is a benefit to taking daily Omega 3’s. Omega 3’s contain 2 different fats, EPA and DHA. A recent meta-analysis (one of the highest levels of research) showed that people who are currently suffering from Major Depressive Disorder who took Omega 3’s, (specifically Omega 3’s higher in concentrations of EPA) showed a significant beneficial overall effect in combination with their medications.

Another large benefit of prescribed Omega 3’s is it’s safety profile. Omega 3’s, taken even in high doses are quite safe unless you have a bleeding disorder or are currently taking blood thinners. When using a natural supplement such as omega 3’s to have a medical effect on the body, it will require a specific dose, so be sure to talk to a Naturopathic Doctor regarding a therapeutic dose for your body weight to have a beneficial effect on your mental health.

Gut-Brain Connection

A new field of study which is gaining a lot of attention and therefore more research, is the connection between our digestive tracts and its effects on the brain. This is being studied in many conditions such as obesity, diabetes and depression. A recent study released March 2016 looked specifically at metabolic response in patients suffering from Major Depressive Disorder who were prescribed probiotics for 8 weeks. It shows that probiotics had a beneficial effect on the patients Beck Depression Inventory as well as other beneficial effects on insulin levels, glutathione levels and CRP (C Reactive Protein is a maker of inflammation found in the blood which is considered a non-specific marker for disease).

The change in Beck Depression Inventory was not statisically significant, and this field is only starting to be researched. However, combined with research showing many other benefits to supplementation with probiotics and its safety profile, it may not hurt to supplement your diet with a high quality probiotic.  Afterall, gas and bloating, constipation or frequent diarrhea never makes anyone happy, therefore treating the gut and eliminating these annoying symptoms may help overall.

Having a down week is one thing, but having a consistent negative outlook on life is another. If you think you’re depressed, getting help is the best thing you can do – either from our clinic, or even just by talking to someone. Call 1-888-429-8167 (toll free) for Nova Scotia’s 24 hour Mental Health Crisis Line, or follow the link here for more ways to reach out. Cornerstone Clinic can be reached at (902) 820-3443.

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