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Serotonin and Depression: A Different Perspective

By Expert HERWriter
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In continuation of our previous discussion, I'd like to begin with the strong correlation between depression and serotonin levels.

Does that mean that everyone who is depressed needed to take medication to increase serotonin? No. However, as a naturopathic physician, I always want to look at all the variables that impact a health condition before I decide on a treatment plan.

While it is true that there are correlations between depression and serotonin, there are also correlations between insomnia and serotonin; fifty percent of people diagnosed with depression also have insomnia or sleep disturbance symptoms. Therefore, serotonin is an essential neurotransmitter in the sleep process as well.

Let’s look at how serotonin is related to the sleep process, as mentioned in my December 8, 2009 blog. I wrote about sleep and circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are cycles that directly impact our ability to sleep and the consequent quality.

Circadian rhythms are also known as our “internal body clock”. Circadian rhythm is responsible for our sleep and wake time. Other hormones are also required to fully wake us from our sleep cycle but serotonin is responsible for the arousal of our cerebral activity.

As I start to see patients that have several problems that can be linked to the same biological or chemical problem, I begin to create a holistic plan to revive their health. The first step in my treatment plan is eating healthy whole foods that contain all the ingredients required to create tryptophan in our bodies. We cannot get serotonin directly from our food so we have to produce it from its building blocks. The main building block for serotonin is an amino acid called L-tryptophan- found in high amounts in dairy products, nuts, chicken, turkey. It is also important to have appropriate levels of vitamin B-6, pyridoxine, to convert L-tryptophan to serotonin. All B vitamins are water-soluble and do not stay in our bodies for long so we must consume them daily.

Next we have to look at correcting any sleep problems, using sleep behavior techniques, exercise or supplementations. Working on foods choices and sleep have done quite a bit to help lift or lessen the severity of depression in my patients. There are also emotional components impacting the level of depression, so emotional considerations are included in the health placn.

Taking a naturopathic approach always includes looking at the chemical and emotional causes and treating whatever is present naturally.

Live Vibrantly,

Dr. Dae

Dr. Dae's website: www.healthydaes.com
Dr. Dae's book: Daelicious! Recipes for Vibrant Living can be purchased @ www.healthydaes.com

Dr. Dae's Bio:

“Dr. Dae" (pronounced Dr. Day) Daemon Jones is a Naturopathic Physician who completed her training at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine. She is certified as a General Practitioner by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE). Dr. Dae provides tailored treatment to meet the unique needs of every individual she sees in her practice. She also provides specialized support for persons challenged by nutritional deficiencies, weight problems, hormonal and reproductive system disorders, attention deficit disorder and those experiencing chronic diseases. Dr. Dae is an adjunct faculty member for Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts. She is the author of Daelicious! Recipes for Vibrant Living. Dr. Dae is a featured chef with www.myfoodmyhealth.com. Dr. Dae is a regularly featured writer for the Elite GoogleNews Website empowher.com where she shares her personal and professional vision for living whole and living well. To learn more about Dr. Dae, her products and services, please visit her on the Web at www.Healthydaes.com.

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EmpowHER Guest

Very good article.

September 16, 2011 - 4:56am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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