Canary In The Coal Mine for Depression

Have you ever felt a bit stressed, a little down, you’re having trouble sleeping, or you’re a little anxious?

If you go to your doctor, there’s about a 75% chance they’re going to prescribe you an antidepressant drug. And there could be an almost a 90% chance you don’t need it.

I’ve found a lot of recent research that gives us evidence on this.

  • The percentage of doctor visits where antidepressants were prescribed but where no psychiatric diagnosis was made is now up to 72.7 percent.1
  • Antidepressants are the fastest growing class of prescribed drugs. In 2010, doctors wrote more than 253.6 million prescriptions for antidepressants.2
  • Only one out of every three people prescribed an antidepressant fit the criteria for being depressed. In people over 65, only one in every 7 people taking antidepressants are clinically depressed.3

The mainstream is finally starting to admit this is a problem. A headline in my new issue of Family Practice News, sent to doctors by the biggest medical communications publisher, reads, “Depression Overdiagnosed and Overtreated in US Adults.”

But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to feel better. In fact I’m going to give you three recommendations you’ll never hear from a standard doctor that can not only help you feel better, but possibly better than you’ve ever been.

It’s a growing problem that antidepressants and other drugs are being prescribed “off-label” to people who are not necessarily depressed. Off-label means a drug was approved to treat one condition, but is being prescribed for a different use – without FDA approval.

For example, the drugs Seroquel and Risperdal are powerful anti-psychotic medications. They’re intended only for people who have schizophrenia, manic episodes or autism. But the evidence I just showed you tells me that doctors are prescribing them to patients who are probably not depressed.

And if they are depressed… well, those drugs are still not approved for that.

So if you are feeling stressed, slightly depressed, anxious, or you can’t sleep because of angst and worry, what can you do?

My first recommendation is to get some exercise… Physical exertion increases circulation to your brain, giving you fresh blood and oxygen, reinvigorating your mood. Exertion also releases serotonin – the “feel good hormone” – in your brain. Antidepressants can keep some of your naturally-released serotonin around for a while. But they can’t help you produce more.

Exertion gives you another psychological boost, too: a release of endorphins. They’re the brain’s natural morphine-like pain relievers. They also cause a sense of pleasure.

Try doing 10 minutes of calisthenics using your own body weight. That’s short enough not to wreck your body, and long enough to energize your brain leave you feeling energized.

My second recommendation is to get some sunshine. Sunshine enhances your health and well-being. You were designed to live under the sun. Sunshine also releases serotonin in your brain.

And here’s something most people don’t know. Many depressed people have trouble sleeping because they don’t make enough serotonin. Your body uses serotonin to make melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.

This is why it’s easy to fall asleep in the warm sunshine. It’s also why exercise and going outdoors are two of the best ways to avoid becoming depressed. And the feel-good effect is multiplied if you can exercise outside.

Third, you can feel better by using two completely natural nutrients. Sadly, doctors aren’t taught nutrition in medical school. So they’re usually not aware that many people who are depressed are deficient in vitamin B6. And that the more vitamin B6 you have, the less likely you are to be depressed.4 Especially for men.

B6 is vital to regulation of mental function and mood. Two of the best food sources are chickpeas and chestnuts. Other foods rich in B6 include bananas, tuna, turkey, eggs and spinach. I recommend 40 mg a day.

Even some doctors trained in nutrition have never heard of 5-HTP (5-hydoxytryptophan). This completely natural amino acid can increase serotonin because it converts to serotonin in your brain. A large number of studies have looked at 5-HTP’s effect on depression, and they show it’s very effective.5 And there are no side effects whatsoever. Start by taking the minimum dose and work up slowly, 20 to 50 mg a day.

Also, a lot of depression is misdiagnosed malnutrition and hormone imbalance. Your mood is like the canary in the coal mine. The first thing that stops working when you’re not in good health is your mood. And in most cases, it’s just that your brain is not in perfect working order. I have a report that can help you with this, and you can get it free by clicking here.

Everything has to be right for your mood to be good and antidepressants don’t address this problem. So download my free report on how to keep your brain in good working order.

1. Mojtabai R, Olfson M. “Proportion Of Antidepressants Prescribed Without A Psychiatric Diagnosis Is Growing.” Health Aff. August 2011 vol. 30 no. 8 1434-1442.
2. “The Use of Medicines in the United States: Review of 2010.” IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Accessed June 8, 2013.
3. Mojtabai R. “Clinician-identified depression in community settings: concordance with structured-interview diagnoses.” Psychother Psychosom. 2013;82(3):161-9.
4. Murakami K, Mizoue T, Sasaki S, Ohta M, Sato M, Matsushita Y, Mishima N. “Dietary intake of folate … in relation to depressive symptoms in Japanese adults.” Nutrition. 2008 Feb;24(2):140-7.
5. Shaw, K., Turner, J., Del Mar, C., “Tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan for depression,” Cochrane Database Syst.Rev. 2002;(1):CD003198