Health Bulletin Alternative Health Using Foods Instead of Drugs

A Natural Treatment for Depression

read more depression articlesInositol A Natural Treatment for Depression

Drugs most often prescribed for depression, also called "bi-polar disorder," are called SSRIs*. Some of these are; Citalopram, Fluoxetine, Fluvoxamine, Paroxetine and Sertraline. Formerly, the most prescribed type were the tricyclic anti-depressants, which include Amitriptyline, Amoxapine, Clomipramine, Desipramine, Doxepin, etc.**

The tricyclics were found to often cause sedation, an increase in heart rate and a decrease in blood pressure while standing. Also blurred vision, weight gain, confusion, and difficulty in starting urination.

The SSRIs' side effects are more often tolerated, but they include; nausea, diarrhea, tremor, weight loss, and headache. Long term use may cause additional side effects and withdrawal syndrome with its own side effects.

Other treatments include MOI*** inhibitors, lithium, psychostimulants and some newer drugs. Have we reached any optimum treatments? This is what scientists from the government's Nat. Inst. of Mental Health wrote. "While the task of developing novel medications for bipolar disorder is truly daunting, we are hopeful that understanding the mechanism of action of current mood stabilizers will ultimately lead 'to] clinical trials with more specific medications and thus better treatments for those who suffer from this devastating illness." 

Please realize that we do not diagnose or prescribe. We merely search the world of medical journals, frequently requiring examination of 80-100 journals to find scientific evidence (if any) of the effectiveness of foods, vitamins and herbs for health. 

We have had inquiries from our readers about the use of inositol for depression. This is a food extract, found most commonly in soy beans and brown rice, also obtainable in pill form. The following was gleaned from over 400 respected medical journal reports on inositol.

"Unlocking the Secrets of Cell Signaling

"My scientific life has been spent trying to understand how cells communicate with each other...'after my initial studies] the subsequent quest led to the discovery of inositol trisphosphate (IP3) and its role in calcium signaling...It 'IP3-Calcium signaling] pathway has been adapted 'by the body] to control processes as diverse as fertilization, proliferation, cell contraction, secretion and information processing in neuronal 'nerve] cells." This by the discoverer of IP3, M. J. Berridge, Babraham Res. Campus, Cambridge, CB2 4AT U.K. Emphasis added.

"High dose 'myo-Inositol] has...been shown to be clinically effective in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, as well as panic and depression..."  Emphasis added.

For the sake of brevity, we relate other studies without attribution though all are from respected medical journals.

Comparing inositol with fluvoxamine 'an SSRI drug]..."Twenty patients completed 1 month of inositol up to 18 grams a day and 1 month of fluvoxamine up to 1.50mg. a day...Improvements on Hamilton Rating Scale for anxiety scores, agoraphobia scores, and Clinical 'total] scores were similar for both treatments. In the first month, inositol reduced the number of panic attacks per week by 4.0 compared with a reduction of 2.4 with fluvoxamine. Nausea and tiredness were more common with fluvoxamine.

"Because inositol is a natural compound with few known side effects, it is attractive to patients who are ambivalent about taking psychiatric medication." Emphasis added.

Another report. "Among the 22 subjects who completed the trial, six (50%) of the inositol-treated subjects responded with a 50% or greater decrease in the baseline Hamilton Depression Rating Scale Score and Clinical 'total] Improvement scale score 'and reported a] change of 'much' or 'very much' improved, as compared to three (30%) subjects assigned to placebo, a statistically nonsignificant difference. On the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale, eight (67%) if twelve inositol-treated subjects had a 50% greater decrease in the baseline 'Montgomery...] Scores compared with four (33%) of twelve subjects assigned to placebo. Inositol was well tolerated with minimal side effects, and...'blood level characteristics] were unaltered." Emphasis added.

*SSRIs--Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors.
**Other names upon request.
***MAOIs--Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors.

A Natural Treatment for Depression Bibliography

Molecular Psychiatry, vol. 9, 2004, by Gould, Quiroz, Manji, et., al.

M. J. Berridge, Babraham Res. Campus, Cambridge, CB2 4AT U.K.

Metab. Brain Disorders, vol. 19, 2004. By: Brink, Viljoen, Harvey, et. al., Div. of Pharmacology, North-West U., Potchefstroom, S. Africa.


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