By Kobe Taylor, PharmD.
What nutrient deficiencies could cause my depression?
This is the question I asked myself 7 years ago and I think you might be surprised, as I was, to realize how important nutrients are in providing balance and a state of wellbeing. I have been a pharmacist for over 20 years and have dispensed thousands of prescriptions of antidepressants. In fact, I have taken several myself over the years. I personally found that antidepressants did provide some relief from the constant sadness, low mood, oversleeping, weight gain and anxiety that I felt every single day, but often also found that they muted my emotions, caused weight gain, disrupted my sleep– and decreased my desire to have sex.
“I tried several different medications”
Over the early days in my career, I tried several different medications in the hopes to find one that provided relief without any of the side effects. I was unsuccessful in that adventure, each medication I used provided some relief, but never completely eliminated the depression without also causing side effects. Seven years ago, I begin asking the question above, “What nutrient deficiencies are associated with depression”. A light bulb went off and I realized no one is actually Prozac deficient. So, what is really going on in our bodies to cause us to have low levels of Serotonin? Well, to tell you the truth there are several factors and most of them link back to missing nutrients. So often I see patients with severe depression and anxiety with numerous medications, trying to alleviate the symptoms of their disease. Often medications will stop working or even cause more side effects when we are depleted of vital nutrients like B6, B12, tryptophan, vitamin C, magnesium, and iron. I love medicine and there is definitely a time and place for medication, but I hope to help people understand the importance of having good nutritional support.
What is Serotonin?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates our mood, our sense of wellbeing, our happiness, our sleep, how full we feel after a meal, maintains our memory and our gut motility. It is our happy hormone and without it we can feel miserable. Low serotonin can present as depression, chronic anxiety, obsessive thoughts, paranoia, anger, low self-esteem, migraine, fibromyalgia, TMJ, constipation, hard time going to sleep or staying asleep. Can you imagine a life without the above symptoms? I need to tell you that it is possible, and it all starts in our digestive tract. Making sure we get the nutrients we need is critical to our ability to make Serotonin.
Ways to Increase Serotonin:
- We can eat more tryptophan from foods like turkey or salmon. Eating a small amount of carbohydrates will help tryptophan you eat cross the blood brain barrier.
- Exercise causes tryptophan to be released in the blood stream.
- Spending 10-15 minutes per day in the sun can increase serotonin production.
- Taking a supplement of 5-hydroxytryptophan (5HTP) and/or tryptophan. This increases the amount circulating in the blood stream and increases production.
- Increasing good bacteria has also been shown to increase serotonin production. Eating fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi and sauerkraut can also increase serotonin.
Do I Have Symptoms of Low Serotonin?
Our bodies are in a protective mode called fight or flight. It is exhausting to live in a state of anxiety all the time. Severe anxiety can trigger a panic attack and can even make you feel like being a caged animal. If you are in a social setting looking for all the ways to exit the room or purposely looking for ways to avoid people, you know what I mean. Depression can also make us want to stay in bed and feel like what is the point to life. So many people just push thru these feelings hoping that tomorrow will be different. When we are deficient in a neurotransmitter, we will often crave sugar, chocolate or a whole host of other substances or behaviors. Our body will try to replenish what is missing. Low serotonin can lead to obsessive compulsive behaviors as well. If you map out your day and become angry or frustrated when things do not go as planned, these are signs to pay more attention to and become more aware. When serotonin is low it can also make it difficult to go to sleep and stay asleep. One cannot go many days without sleep before it affects all aspects of life. Lack of sleep is one of the most frustrating experiences. Knowing you have a deadline tomorrow or needing to be at your best, only to be devastated and exhausted the next day can take a toll not easily described with words. Although sleep can be difficult to fix there are wide array of solutions.
Is it Just Me?
There are lots of people walking around with symptoms of low serotonin. Most of the medications we use to treat symptoms listed above use medications that reuptake, modify, or activate serotonin receptors. Being aware of the signs and signals your body is sending you is the first step to being able to heal and give your body what it needs to successful improve or eliminate symptoms.
Can Amino Acids Really Help Me?:
Absolutely YES! At our pharmacy we have seen numerous people show improvements in several disorders including mood, sleep, focus, depression, low blood sugars, improved energy, mental health, and inflammation. We have helped people improve their muscle recovery, and prevention of muscle breakdown. We have also helped people with depression, ADD, ADHD, insomnia, hypoglycemia, cravings, and addiction. You want to learn more, reach out, make an appointment, and ask more questions. There are solutions and a path to wellness. We would love to help, book an appointment today.
To learn more about amino acids and these health conditions check out our website www.fusionspecialtypharmacy.com. We have several case studies and you can book a consult or stop by Fusion. We don’t just take care of your prescriptions, we take care of your total health and that is why we believe Fusion is Better Medicine.
Fusion Pharmacy also compounds ketamine for Satori.