Efficacy of Vitamin C as an Adjunct to Fluoxetine Therapy in Paediatric Major Depressive Disorder

A paper out in the Journal of Nutrition raises an interesting notion that augmentation of Fluoextine in paediatric patients may well enhance the clinical outcomes. Putting aside for one moment the increasing challenges faced by anti-depressants to be validated as a worthwhile therapy in mild to moderate depression, plus their numerous side effect it raises an interesting possibility.[1] A safe oral supplement of ascorbates may either biochemically or circumstantially enhance recovery in young patients and that is something worth considering.[2]

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Naturopathic Treatment Strategies for Depression

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.  According the World Health Organisation (WHO), depression affects about 350 million people.  Untreated depression can lead to suicide, and the WHO estimates that 1 million people worldwide commit suicide every year.    Their estimates project that depression will rise to second place in the global burden of disease listing by the year 2020.[i]

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A Nutritional Proposal For Improving “Mental health” with a focus on depression

At present no chronic disease has a greater drag on global function than mental illness.[1] A remarkable 40% of the European population is affected in any given year with depressive symptoms, and these numbers are rising.

Core symptoms include depressed mood, anhedonia (reduced ability to experience pleasure from natural rewards), irritability, difficulties in concentrating, and abnormalities in appetite and sleep (‘neurovegetative symptoms’). In addition to mortality associated with suicide, depressed patients are more likely to develop coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes. Depression also complicates the prognosis of a host of other chronic medical conditions. The chronic, festering nature of depression contributes substantially to the global burden of disease and disability.

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Teenage Boys Have Lower Incidence of Depression with EPA, DHA and Fish

A study published August 2010 in the Journal Pediatrics looked at a large cross-sectional study of Japanese teenagers and describes that a higher intake of fish, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is independently associated with a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms in boys but not in girls.[1]

Now whilst it is generally felt that the role of fatty acids is vital in terms of brain health and function there is a scarcity of substantive epidemiological evidence to support direct benefits in terms of inhibiting depression.

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B Vitamins Beat Depression

This month’s (August) American Journal of Clinical Nutrition presents a longitudinal study supporting the use of B vitamins in the management of mental health.

In Nutritional Therapy practice when we are faced with patients who seem to be struggling with depression and are finding recovery hard as well as trying to prevent recurrence after resolving their current symptoms we often think – B Vitamins

But what is the evidence for this apparently normal recommendation – is there anything of substance that supports the therapeutic use of these water soluble vitamins.

To date most studies have been conducted using a cross sectional approach[1],[2] (a class of research methods that involve observation of some subset of a population of items all at the same time, in which, groups can be compared at different ages with respect of independent variables) rather than the preferred prospective style investigations (an analytic study designed to determine the relationship between a condition and a characteristic shared by some members of a group). A prospective study may involve many variables or only two; it may seek to demonstrate a relationship that is an association or one that is causal. Prospective studies produce a direct measure of risk called the relative risk.

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PEA – a Natural Antidepressant

Phenylethylamine (PEA) is the compound found in chocolate that is thought to produce its positive effects on mood. Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) is a particular strain of blue green algae that has been found to have many times more PEA than chocolate. Numerous studies have demonstrated PEA’s efficacy for depression and ADHD, and some scientists say that it may even be responsible for the brain chemicals involved with love and monogamy.

AFA/PEA: Blue Green Algae Supercharged with Phenylethylamine

AFA/PEA is a concentrated liquid blue green algae aphanizomenon flosaquae (AFA) that has been found to have very high levels of phenylethylamine (PEA). PEA is the same compound that is found in chocolate and thought to produce chocolate’s pleasurable effects on mood; however AFA/PEA contains many times more PEA than chocolate. Studies demonstrate phenylethylamine’s efficacy as an anti-depressant, and its effectiveness for ADHD, as well as being involved with “runner’s high” and even the chemicals responsible for romantic love.

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Gluten May be Causing Your Brain Problems!

An interesting paper published in the Sept 2008 Annals of Neurology described a ‘new to science’ brain aggravating enzyme, triggered by reactivity to gluten, but acting independently of other coeliac symptoms.[1]

Most clinicians understand that overt gluten reactivity is classified under coeliac disease and the the classic constellation of symptoms and signs characterising  malabsorptive syndrome is a readily recognised manifestation  of  coeliac  disease. Frank malabsorptive symptoms include steatorrhea, weight loss or failure to thrive, bloating, and flatulence, with multiple deficiency states. More common but more difficult to recognise, however, are the other diverse ways in which coeliac disease presents.

Coeliac disease may also mimic many common clinical entities. These atypical modes of presentation include deficiencies of single micronutrients; nonspecific gastrointestinal complaints such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation, flatulence, secondary lactose intolerance, and dyspepsia; and non-gastrointestinal complaints such as fatigue, depression, arthralgia, milk intolerance, osteomalacia or osteoporosis, and iron deficiency anaemia.

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