One thing that drives me nuts about antidepressants is how they talk about “depression and suicidal thoughts” being a side effect of the drug. This makes you think that by taking the drug, that some little demon just might pop in your brain and give you negative thoughts. Like as if the drug MADE you have those thoughts. Then when you have crazy thoughts, you freak out. No. Not true. No Demon. The awful side effects from these drugs…..insomnia, decreased libido, weight gain, lack of feeling, etc…THIS makes you more depressed. In my experience with synthetic drugs, they did nothing but numb me. They just did not allow me to react to anything. I was able to just focus on what I knew needed to get done, but had no emotion through the process. Yes, this did make me feel more down. And as time went by, I realized that these medications were not for me long term. I am currently in the process of being completely off of Lexapro, an SSRI. Some common side effects of drugs like Lexapro:
-Headaches and dizziness
-Insomnia and daytime drowsiness
Like….What the heck?
I know that I still struggle underneath all of the numbness, and I chose to find an alternative route, with emotional and physical gain, and no side effects. This may not be for everyone, but for me, when your are this fed up and this exhausted, everything ELSE is worth it. Let me share with you what works for me! And how/why your body will love you!
Sunlight is super important because just 30 minutes a day helps boost the levels of serotonin in the blood. This in an important neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, appetite, and sleep. In the winter, depression seems to affect more people because of the lack of exposure to sunlight from being indoors more often. GET YOUR SUNSHINE! Your brain will love you! Vitamin D and sunlight in moderate amounts have great benefits! And sunshine just makes you feel good!
Aerobic exercise. One of my favorite ways to exercise is Zumba, walks around my neighborhood, hiking, and running! Its takes about 30 minutes for the body to release mood-enhancing endorphins and increase levels of serotonin. Exercise is THE BEST natural mood booster. Every day that I don’t work 12 hour shifts at the hospital, I try my best to do at LEAST 30 minutes. Even if its just walking. It’s worth it. I look at it from the psychological benefit and focus less on the physical benefit of losing weight and such.
Fish Oil and essential fatty acids! Omega-3 fatty acids help form cell membranes, keep those membranes flexible, and regulate the flow of hormones and other chemical messengers, which may affect our mood. They can also help lower triglycerides, slow the hardening of arteries, regulate heartbeat, and lessen the risk of death in people with known heart disease. Love sharing this with my cardiac patients! Fish oil decreases inflammation in cells and promotes flexible cell membranes. Inflammation in cells can affect the brain by interfering with the production and release of serotonin. It can help aid with brain function and lower depression along side exercising, eating well, and treating our souls well. I take a Fish Oil supplement twice a day. A lot of people say that it leaves a nasty taste in their mouths. Shop around. There are some that will not leave that nasty fishy taste! I use Dr. Andrew Williams’ brand. Flaxseeds, walnuts, and lots of fish have AMAZING sources as well.
Tryptophan- Yah….that’s right. The sleepy turkey thing everyone talks about! Truth is, they think that the sleepiness is more related to the insanely large portion of food that you eat that makes you sleepy, and turkey just always happens to be a part of that staple meal. In order for your body to manufacture serotonin, it needs a good amount of the amino acid, tryptohpan. Supplementing with tryptophan can help with the production of sufficient amounts or serotonin, which ultimately will help with mood, sleep, and regulation.
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B-3. It it also important because it also binds to receptor sites that help regulate serotonin. Niacinamide also has other positive benefits. Niacinamide is proven to help regulate the function of your skin, digestive and nervous systems. It also helps with premenstrual headaches!!! This caught my eye when I was doing my research! The recommended dosage is 250mg daily.
Probiotics: see previous blog about gut/brain interaction. Probiotics are great for gut health and aiding with serotonin production. We need to keep them healthy! I take 20 billion CFU’s daily.
I have not started tryptophan or niacinamide yet, as I am introducing a new supplement every 3 months to make sure I do not have a funky reaction. This will allow me to identify which supplement is making me “off” if it does so.
I wanted to save the best for last. Zembrin. Sceletium tortuosum, a type of succulent plant found in dry regions of South Africa has been researched and put into a powdered form called, Zembrin. It has been successfully used by the indiginous population of South Africa for the treatment of anxiety and depression. It has a very quick effect with a 25mg daily dose. The only other natural botanical supplement that rivals Zembrin is St. Johns Wort, which takes weeks to build up in the blood and has multiple interactions with other pharmacologic drugs. Zembrin is still currently being researched, as it it a “newer” study. The results of this supplement are crazy-awesome! I can totally back them up and say that it has helped me in so many ways! And no side effects! I have felt so alert, up beat, energetic, and I don’t have as many “down” moments throughout my week. I am excited to follow these studies! Please do your research as well, but I still can’t believe this supplement is not being shouted from the mountain tops! Again, no monetary gain for pharmaceuticals and government= no publicity.
Benefits studied with Zembrin:
-Elevated mood and mental clarity
-Improved focus and memory
-Increased energy and motivation
-Lower stress hormone levels
-Decreased everyday anxiety
-Protection for heart health
-Support for immunity
-Reduced food cravings
I want to say this LOUD and CLEAR. I am not a doctor. I have no credentials to say this what you need to do. This is my own personal journey. This is my choice. Taking natural supplements that are not regulated by pharmaceuticals is a risk according to this world. Be smart. BE SMART. I feel equipped and competent to go this route, and it’s working for me. If you are taking any other medication at this time, I advise you to again, DO YOUR research and be smart.
THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY:
-Paint a Pot!
-Playing my guitar and singing!
-Cooking for my hubs!
-Thinking “out of the box” when it comes to taking care of my patients and entertaining them!
-Walking outside during fall!
-Drinking Coffee at the River
-Making my husband laugh
-Hanging out with my nieces and sisters!
Life is short yall. Life is precious. WE deserve a life lived with happiness and joy! Share the love. Keep your attitude positive. Too many poopy attitudes in this world. Be different.
Your heart is mine 🙂