Nutritional therapy offers a lot of promise for treating clinical depression that is triggered by chemical imbalances in the brain or nutritional deficiencies. Whereas allopathic medicine uses drugs to correct the brain's chemical upsets, nutritional therapy employs certain nutritional supplements to do the same thing.
Here's how the theory goes: The body requires certain building-block chemicals before it can make important biochemicals. For example, the amino acid tryptophan is needed for the synthesis of serotonin, a mood-regulating chemical in the brain, and the amino acid tyrosine is needed for the brain chemical norepinephrine. So, adding these amino acids should help reestablish a healthy balance of brain chemicals.
Many nutritional practitioners report positive results with this approach. In addition, researchers have found that some people with depression are deficient in one or more nutrients, several of which play a role in the function of certain brain chemicals. These nutrients include:
- ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
- cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12)
- folate (vitamin B9)
- niacin (vitamin B3)
- pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
- riboflavin (vitamin B2)
Depending on the deficiencies, supplementation is recommended. A nutritional treatment program for depression may also include an investigation into food allergies and low blood sugar, among other possible causes.
A high-potency B-complex supplement combined with one of two amino acids -- l-tyrosine or dl-phenylalanine -- can be an effective treatment. Take amino acid doses in the morning and afternoon, as they can cause sleeplessness.