depression & mood disorders
UNDERSTANDING DEPRESSION & MOOD DISORDERS
Depression is a collection of unpleasant emotional and physical symptoms that can be disabling. The underlying issues that contribute to depression are different in each patient and must be identified to effectively treat the disorder. Potential contributors include: sleep disorders, toxic chemical exposure, poor digestion, food allergies/ sensitivities, nutritional deficiencies, immune reactions, hormone levels, oxidative stress, inflammation, and the psychological and spiritual state of the patient. Mood-altering drugs are being dispensed at record levels. Unfortunately, antidepressants do not work for everyone and many have frequent, unwanted side effects.
Integrative psychiatry is a method that treats both the mind and body. Treatment begins with an analysis of the patient's biochemical profile, focusing on any abnormalities that may be contributing to symptoms. Test results can help medical practitioners create a treatment plan designed to restore balance and optimize function through nutritional support and diet. This integrative approach can enhance and reinforce traditional treatment methods, increasing the chance of recovery.
WHAT TESTS CAN I DO?
ORGANIC ACIDS TEST
Nutrient deficiencies can result from poor diet or malabsorption in the gut, and affect mood as it does overall health. The dramatic increase in depression may result from nutritionally deficient overly-refined, processed foods. The Organic Acids Test (OAT) detects underlying nutritional deficiencies, fatty acid metabolism, neurotransmitter production, and microbial levels that may cause depression.
The more the toxins and food allergens enter the bloodstream, the weaker your immune system becomes and the more "sick all over" you feel. When the Candida toxin acetaldehyde reacts with the neurotransmitter dopamine, it can cause mental and emotional disturbances such as anxiety, depression, poor concentration, and feeling spaced-out. Organic acids testing will reveal levels of Candida in the patient.
The Organic Acids Test also measures metabolites of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, as well as vitamins C and B6, important cofactors in neurotransmitter production.
The OAT includes a major bacterial metabolite (HPHPA), which causes dopamine excess and is associated with schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, hyperactivity, depression, and chronic fatigue.
METALS HAIR TEST
Exposure to even small amounts of lead and mercury are associated with increased hyperactivity, depression, criminal activity, and panic attacks.Metals testing screens for all common toxic metals, including lead, as well as for essential elements that can be toxic at high levels. Toxic chemicals, including organophosphates, benzene, toluene, and many others may impair brain function and cause psychiatric disorders.
COPPER / ZINC PROFILE
Low zinc is associated with depression and anorexia. Copper is required for synthesis of the norepinephrine and dopamine neurotransmitters, which are essential for mental health. Low blood copper can lead to symptoms of depression, while abnormally high copper has been associated with aggression, paranoia, and anxiety.
GLUTEN / CASEIN PEPTIDES
About 60% of children with autism have shown adverse reactions to proteins found in wheat (gluten) and dairy (casein) products. The Peptides Test measures small protein fragments called neuro-peptides that bind to opiate receptors in the brain. These opiate peptides are partially digested proteins that have the potential to interfere with neurotransmission, resulting in cognitive difficulty and speech impairment. Worsening neurological symptoms have been reported in autistic patients after consumption of milk and wheat. In one study, the behavioral symptoms of most patients greatly improved after a period of 8 weeks on an elimination diet.
IGG FOOD ALLERGY + CANDIDA
Most of the time, food reactions are IgG-mediated. These sensitivities tend to create problems because they stress the child's immune system, compromising digestion and resulting in inflammation and increased behavioral issues. IgG food allergy testing can identify the specific antibody reactions not commonly tested by allergists. Eliminating offending foods strengthens the immune system and may help significantly reduce autistic symptoms and GI problems. The use of probiotics may also be beneficial in alleviating GI dysfunction, inflammation, and potential behavioral symptoms shown by some children on the autism spectrum.
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COMPREHENSIVE FATTY ACIDS TEST
The human brain is 60% fat, and omega-3s are the fatty acid of choice for the structure of certain parts of brain cell membranes and brain intercellular nerve connections. Lack of dietary omega-3 forces the brain cells to utilize other fatty acids on hand, resulting in cells constructed with inferior building material, and is associated with cognitive and emotional disorders. The Comprehensive Fatty Acids Test is a good way to determine if there is a deficiency.
Epidemiologic and treatment evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in the prevention and improvement of mood disorders, particularly depression. Most epidemiologic studies evaluating the association between depression and seafood consumption have reported statistically significant inverse association.
ADVANCED CHOLESTEROL PROFILE
Cholesterol is essential to brain development, and is one of the healthy fats required for myelination of the brain and for the health and repair of cell membranes. Cholesterol supports adrenal pathways and sex hormone production, and is also critically important in improving the efficiency of oxytocin receptors in the brain. The majority of kids on the spectrum have a problem with oxytocin function, which can result in problems with socialization and cause symptoms of anxiety. Identifying and treating low cholesterol levels with cholesterol supplementation can significantly improve the symptoms of autism.
- Berk M, et al. N-Acetyl Cysteine for Depressive Symptoms in Bipolar Disorder A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Jun 4.
- Douglas London, MD, Research Associate in Psychiatry at the Psychopharmacological Research Laboratory of McLean Hospital and medical faculty at Harvard Medical School; Barclay, L. (2007, October). Fighting depression and improving cognition with omega-3 fatty acids. Retrieved fromhttp://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/oct2007_report_depression_01.htm
- Freeman, MP, J Clin Psychiatry, 2009;70(suppl 5):7-11.
- Lesperance, F et al., J Clin Psychiatry, 2010.
- Partonen, T, et al. (1999). Association of low serum total cholesterol with major depression and suicide. British Journal of Psychiatry, 175, 259-262.