Natural Ways to Beat Depression

By: Steve Kroening

If you suffer with depression, one of the best things you can do is to find ways to serve others. Selfishness is definitely a major cause of depression. But there are cases of depression that are caused by physical problems. A poor diet, for instance, can make you feel sluggish. And a mineral deficiency can rob you of your youthful vitality.

Unfortunately, medical science likes to throw drugs at the problem, instead of finding the root cause. Most drugs are designed to treat symptoms. And they can have fatal side effects in many people. Plus, they're not always effective (NEJM 3-23-2006).

Instead, here a few things you should try (I'm assuming here that you've dealt with the spiritual aspect of the problem, which is where you should always start).

First, take care of the obvious:

* Make sure you're eating a good clean diet with lots of vegetables and protein. A lot of people, especially those over 50, don't get enough protein (which can lead to sluggishness).
* Stop eating sugar. Some people say it doesn't have any effect on your body, but I notice a big difference in how I feel when I eat too much sugar.
* Get plenty of exercise. This one alone can fix many cases of depression.
* Stop smoking. Yes, many Christians smoke regularly. And it can depress your immune system and your energy levels.

Second, try these supplements:

* Take a good quality multivitamin. Most of the ones at your local grocery store don't qualify as "quality." Find one that you have to take at least twice a day and is rich in nutrients.
* Take additional vitamin B6 (100-200 mg) and magnesium (100-300 mg). Both of these help increase your body's serotonin levels -- a "feel good" chemical made in your brain.
* Studies have found that the nutrients St. John's wort (300-900 mg daily) and selenium (200 mcg daily) can fight depression as well as Prozac, without the side effects. (Findings reported at the 83rd annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.)

Finally, learn how to deal with conflict. Poor relationships can cause all kinds of health problems, including depression, cancer, and heart disease.

(Source: Second Opinion Newsletter; 64th Annual Scientific Conference of the American Psychosomatic Society in Denver, March 4, 2006.)

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