What You May Not Know About Antidepressants

Mental Health

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

You likely have heard the saying: “Prevention is better than cure.” And in regards to a recent study about treating depression, we couldn’t agree more.

The study, conducted by researchers from McMaster University in Canada, found that taking antidepressants may increase the risk of death by 33%. On top of that, people taking these medications may have a 14% higher risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and stroke.

Why?

“It’s widely known that brain serotonin affects mood, and that most commonly used antidepressant treatment for depression blocks the absorption of serotonin by neurons. It is less widely known, though, that all the major organs of the body—the heart, kidneys, lungs, liver—use serotonin from the bloodstream,” according to notes from the study. “Antidepressants block the absorption of serotonin in these organs as well, and the researchers warn that antidepressants could increase the risk of death by preventing multiple organs from functioning properly.”

The study reviewed data from hundreds of thousands of people, which may mean their findings hold some significant weight. What is also concerning is that reportedly one in eight adult Americans take antidepressants.

On the other hand, the study revealed that antidepressants may not be harmful to people who already have cardiovascular issues.

“This makes sense since these antidepressants have blood-thinning effects that are useful in treating such disorders,” the study reports.

Clearly the issue we have to be mindful of is how certain medications we take can affect our bodies. Drugs may provide relief from certain symptoms. But they may have side effects, which can have serious consequences for our bodies.

Given the side-effects of certain drugs for depression, it might be important to focus on what we can do to avoid depression. And being nutritionally balanced is one way to be proactive about depression. We can determine whether we are nutritionally balanced by taking a nutrient test.

Also note the following:

  • Certain minerals, like magnesium and chromium, may help with symptoms of depression. To learn more about other minerals that may help, read here.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Don’t undo all the good you may be doing for your mind and body from eating healthy, nutrient-rich foods. Drinking too much alcohol may deplete critical nutrients from your body, which may leave you feeling tired and depressed. Alcohol is also a depressant, and several studies have shown that abusing alcohol may lead to depression and heighten symptoms of depression.
  • Consider visiting a therapist. Talking to someone, especially a person who specializes in mental health, may help relieve symptoms of depression.
  • Get moving. Several studies have reported that exercise releases “feel-good” chemicals in the body called endorphins.
  • Turn to nature. Stanford researchers found that people who walked for 90 minutes in a natural setting, like woods, as opposed to an urban area “showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.”

You may also want to consider integrative medicine approaches, like yoga.

Remember, there is no one size fits all approach to fighting depression. What may work for one person, may not work for another. This is why it is important to try a variety of methods, especially since it may help you reduce your need for medications that could have serious side effects.

And also remember, each step you take in being proactive about your health is intertwined. For example, you may get better results if you eat right and exercise, as opposed to doing just one or the other.

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.  

Newsletter