Q: My daughter was recently diagnosed with depression. I hate to see her suffer, but am concerned about the serious side effects of prescription drugs. Is there anything else we can try?
Dr. Wright: In over 30 years of practice, I’ve found that depression can almost always be cleared up with an individualized amino-acid supplement program.
Most patented antidepressants "work" by boosting the levels of mood-regulating neurotransmitters in the brain. Amino acids do the same thing — but without the unpleasant side effects like nausea, sleeplessness, and decreased libido. And since I’ve found that most depressed patients have low levels of amino acids, it’s always made more sense to me to put back what they’re missing, rather than give them an artificial "band-aid" solution.
Usually, when my patients add the specific combination of amino acids determined by their personal test results to their supplement programs, they start feeling better in just a few weeks. And it usually stays away for good.
You can have your fasting essential amino acids checked with a blood test. If your levels are low, make sure to use a blend of all eight essential amino acids (including tryptophan) individualized for you. And, just as importantly, make sure to look for the cause of your low levels. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that, quite often, that cause turns out to be hypochlorhydria, or low stomach acid.
If that’s the case, then add injections of vitamin B12 with folic acid to your program: These are always a good idea for anyone with low stomach acid. Individualized amino acids along with these injections can frequently help your depression clear up over a few weeks to a few months time. If this isn’t effective enough, you may want to consider adding the mineral rubidium.
As you can tell, all of this may be a little complicated, so it’s best to work with a physician skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional and natural medicine to help you coordinate it all. For a list of such physicians in your area, contact the American College for Advancement in Medicine (800-532-3688; www.acam.org).
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