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This Secret Cure for Depression Works Better than Medication
Depressed? Did you know that exercise is a more effective treatment for depression than most antidepressants? Scientific studies have shown that exercise is a powerful cure for depression. Learn how in the article below.
Depression is something that affects millions of people each year. It is likely that you have either faced depression yourself or know someone who has. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that depression will be the leading cause of disability in the world by 2020.
Why is depression so prevalent? There are many causes of depression, which is caused by a disruption of the brain’s neurochemistry. A combination of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine neurotransmitters control your mood and depression. Usually, misfires in the neurotransmitters controlling vigilance, motivation, energy, impulsivity, aggression, and appetite lead to depressive symptoms.
According to studies conducted around the world, unhealthy living contributes to depression more than anything else. Another common trigger is a family history of depression. It appears that certain genetic structures are more likely to have neurotransmitter issues than others.
Whatever the cause, it is apparent that depression is a growing condition. In the United States, Americans spend about 11 billion dollars each year on antidepressants. Although some mental health experts believe that sometimes antidepressants are prescribed too quickly, at least half of the prescriptions are necessary. This worrying trend indicates that the mental health of Americans is deteriorating rapidly.
Luckily, there is one secret cure that scientific studies have proven is more effective than many leading antidepressants and does not have any side effects. Read on to see how this secret cure can prevent your need for antidepressants and improve your mental health.
According to the American Psychological Association, health professionals prescribe antidepressants when they should be prescribing something else. Many people on antidepressants are not actually depressed. However, there are clear signs that do indicate potential depression. The test clinically used to assess depression level is the SIGECAPS test (sleep, interest, guilt, energy, concentration, appetite, psychomotor, and suicide). If a person has four or more of the concerning items, then he or she likely has major depression.
The above symptoms must also not be caused by mixed episodes, or due to substances (medications, drugs, alcohol), and are not caused by grief.
What is the best way to cure depression? Exercise.
How does exercise cure depression? Exercise can normalize insulin resistance and boost the hormones that affect mood. Basically, exercise is the best antidepressant in the world because it stimulates the neurotransmitters in your brain that lead to a healthy, happy mood. If you exercise outdoors, it can help even more to eliminate depression.
Don’t believe it? Take a look at these scientific studies on exercise and depression:
A study conducted by multiple hospitals and research institutes and published in the “American Journal of Preventive Medicine” in 2005 looked at 80 adults with milk to moderate depression. The researchers found that with exercise alone, the depressive symptoms were cut nearly in half for individuals who exercised at least 30 minutes a day with aerobic exercise for three to five times a week for twelve weeks. Participants who exercised using low-intensity workouts between 3-5 times a week had a 30 percent reduction in depressive symptoms. And participants who exercised with flexibility and stretching exercises three times a week for 15 to 20 minutes had a 29 percent decline in depressive symptoms.
In fact, a review of 25 studies on depression and exercise conducted by the University of Toronto in 2013 showed that across the board, moderate exercise could treat (and prevent) mild and moderate depression.
The studies did not look at severe depression, but it is likely that exercise will benefit individuals with severe depression as well.
These studies show that you don’t need to use potentially dangerous medications to treat depression. Simply staying active can help prevent depression from forming and heal existing depression. In fact, the effects of exercise can increase over time. This means that although exercise reduces symptoms of depression by around 50 percent at first, over time, it could help to completely heal all depressive symptoms.
According to research, exercise benefits the brain by increasing serotonin levels, endorphins, and dopamine levels. Exercise will also help you sleep better at night, which is beneficial for fighting depression without any of the other benefits of exercise.
Exercise can go a long way toward preventing and curing depression, but in some cases, faster results are necessary. As the research stated above shows, poor diet is a main contributing factor to depression. There are a few steps you can take that will increase the effectiveness of exercise and reduce your depressive symptoms.
The following three methods will ensure that depressive symptoms don’t linger for long without the use of antidepressants and other medications:
Your diet can have a big impact on how depressed you feel. Junk food leads to low energy levels, a sluggish immune system, and even hormone imbalances. For best results, avoid sugar, processed foods, empty carbohydrates, and ensure you get the following vitamins and minerals in your diet (ideally from food, but supplements can help fill any gaps).
Omega 3s (specifically EPA): EPA is an omega-3 fatty acid responsible for boosting overall mood. A study from 2003 published in the “Archives of General Psychiatry” found that giving depressed participants a daily dose of EPA was able to reduce depressive symptoms by about 50 percent in patients who were resistant to traditional antidepressants. You can find EPA in foods like salmon, shellfish, and tuna. Freshwater fish has less EPA than seawater fish.
Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is responsible for ensuring the body has enough energy and keeps the metabolism regulated. The vitamin is also responsible for boosting serotonin levels in the brain. Many Americans are deficient in vitamin B6, because it is found in foods like tuna, cod, mustard greens, mushrooms, and salmon- foods that most Americans do not eat regularly.
Folic Acid: Folic acid (another form of folate), is an essential B vitamin that can help fight depression. Ideally, folic acid should come from dark green vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, and mustard greens. In a study from King's College Hospital in 1990, study participants who took 15 mg of folic acid supplements for 6 months had fewer depressive symptoms than participants taking placebo pills.
L-phenylalanine: This amino acid is found in sources of protein (eggs, meat, dairy, some nuts and seeds, and soy products) and is responsible for triggers the creation of tyrosine. Tyrosine creates a variety chemicals in the brain, including norepinephrine. Because of this it can be effective in fighting depression. In one study from 1975, 23 subjects who didn’t respond to traditional antidepressants were given supplements of 50 or 100 mg of dl- or d-phenylalanine. 17 of the patients recovered from their depression between days 1 and 13 after taking the phenylalanine.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is probably the original cure for depression. When you step outside, even for a few moments, you probably feel more refreshed and better about your day. That is because sunlight is one of the only ways to stimulate the production of vitamin D naturally in the skin. Vitamin D is essential for boosting mood and preventing depression. In fact, one study found that individuals with low vitamin D levels were about 11 times more likely to be depressed.
In addition to cleaning up your diet, you may find that adding the two following herbs to your diet helps fight depressive symptoms faster:
St. John’s Wort: This herb has been used for hundreds of years to fight depression. Studies show that it is highly effective at fighting depressive symptoms. In numerous studies, the herb was able to treat mild to moderate depression significantly better than placebo pills with much fewer side effects than traditional antidepressants (18 percent versus 52 percent).
Ginkgo Biloba: This fascinating Chinese herb has been used for hundreds of years as a mood booster. Taking the supplement seems to boost mood and reduce depressive symptoms in both animals and humans.
Stress and negative emotions are responsible for many of the depressive symptoms that Americans face every day. By learning to manage emotions and stress, you can cut down on your risk for depression. Techniques like journaling, speaking to a therapist or counselor, breathing exercises, concentrated relaxing, or even emotional support from friends and family can all work together to help remove negative feelings from your life.
Yoga and stretching exercises are also highly relaxing and stress-fighting, and still provide some benefit in fighting depression (although not as much as aerobic exercise).
If you are trying to cure depression or prevent it, you should exercise using aerobic exercises for at least 30 minutes 5 times a week. You may find additional benefits from exercising for at least an hour a day (you can combine exercise types so you don’t get bored).
Weight-bearing exercises are more effective at treating depression than non-weight-bearing exercises. Exercises like weight training, walking, running, and even yoga and other home-based workouts can be beneficial in fighting off depression. Exercise during the day in direct sunlight will give you the mood-boosting effects of sunlight while you exercise.
However, if you have frequent thoughts of suicide, you should speak to a health professional right away. Exercise as a therapy option may not work fast enough to remove thoughts of depression. However, you can exercise in conjunction with prescribed medical treatments for additional benefits.
The pharmaceutical industry does not want you do know that exercise is such an effective treatment for depression. Since exercise is free, it cannot make money for the pharmaceutical industry. Since the medical industry makes so much money from antidepressants, it makes sense for them to prescribe antidepressants far more often than they are really necessary.
However, for most cases of mild to moderate depression, regular exercise combined with a clean diet, mood-boosting supplements, and emotional support can offer everything necessary to eliminate depression forever.
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