Depression has been increasing by 33% lately. Many people say the cause of depression is just “a chemical imbalance in the brain”.
Ok, but what is the root cause of depression, of this imbalance? This should be our first concern. There are many factors that can lead to sadness and depression, from the well-known like grief over a loss or a severe illness to the seldom mentioned.
The root causes of depression can differ very much from person to person, so it is always beneficial to get an individual assessment and treatment plan instead of just “popping pills”.
Now, if you are seriously depressed and considering ending it all, please seek help immediately, call 911 or go to the emergency room. Don’t think there is no help. In such cases medication or even hospitalization can be life-saving!
Here are some of the lesser considered – or lesser addressed factors leading to a depressed mood:
In part 1 we are covering the first 5 hidden causes of depression, next week in part 2 the other 5.
So make sure you get on our list to not miss out…
Doctors often perform a TSH test to test for Thyroid disturbances. This test only finds typical under- or over-function of the thyroid gland and the Thyroid-Brain-Connection. There is a condition called Hashimoto (or autoimmune) thyroiditis. This is oftentimes not picked up by routine tests and requires special testing. All you may notice is thin, brittle hair and nails, dry skin and fatigue…
The – still – most common and hazardous toxin in our environment is cigarette smoke. The myriad of harmful toxins in smoke can cause chronic inflammation and nutrient deficiencies, which in turn can contribute to depression.
The same is true for other environmental toxins like pesticides, herbicides (like the infamous glyphosate), plastic-derived chemicals and more. Even your seemingly freshening room spray is extremely toxic. (Learn all about toxins at the website of the Environmental Working Group)
Nutrient Deficiencies can be caused by many factors, one of them being a one-sided diet.
The basics of varied and sufficient protein intake, enough healthy fats and vegetables and fruit polyphenols and other plant substances are essential for us (omega-3’s see below). Nowadays conventional foods are also lacking magnesium and trace minerals and contain less vitamins than they used to (since they are bred for shelf-life and looks only), so even eating lots of vegetables and fruits, although still good for you, can leave you deficient.
Additionally, toxins and also inflammation as well as certain medications can cause or aggravate nutrient deficiencies and therefore contribute to your “chemical imbalance” in the brain and be a cause for depression.
Although this is technically one of the nutrient deficiencies, I list it separately because it is so often neglected.
As our body can not produce omega-3-fatty acids from other nutrients, they are called essential fatty acids. The main Types of omega-3’s we need are DHA and EPA. These are only derived from animal and marine sources (small cold-water-fish, krill, marine algae, grass-fed beef ).
The brain needs especially DHA. (The brain consist to more than half of fat, so a low-fat diet makes brain disorders worse). Plant sources like nuts and seeds contain ALA, which our body can convert to the other omega-3’s. The rate of conversion can be a bottleneck in some, especially older people, so whenever possible substitute with animal-sourced omega-3’s.
We need other fatty acids like omega 6-9, too, but in our usual diet we are already getting usually enough – or too much – of these. This is why omega3-s are usually emphasized. Critical is the quality of fats (the more natural and less modified the better) and the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. This test, which can be easily done at home (finger-prick), is one of the best and emerging markers for longevity and health. (Contact me to have the test done) or email email@example.com
Even though you may be taking conventional medications to treat one issue, there is always the chance that you may be exacerbating another.
Depressive side effects have been linked to pharmaceutical products which treat acne, blood pressure, diabetes, insomnia, and menopause, as well as those used for contraception and acid reflux. If you’re prone to depression, research the medication you are on, and speak to your doctor about possible alternatives.
Watch out for part 2 of this blog, causes of depression 6-10, next week!
Get the advice of an experienced health coach, nutritionist, dietician, doctor or pharmacist to get help for your individual situation.
Dr. Christine Sauer, MD,ND(Ger), INHC, CBHC is a German-trained conventional as well as naturopathic physician, a Certified Brain and Mental Health Expert and Coach and a Certified Integrative Nutrition Holistic Health Coach. Through her own journey from successful owner of a large practice in Germany through the abyss of mental and physical health to complete recovery she discovered her unique process to help her clients achieve lasting health and wellness. Her mission is to change the world for the better, one life at a time. Her hobbies are science, learning new things, cooking, gardening and her backyard chickens and dogs.
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