Depression - Cures
Depression is very hard to watch or live through if you have experienced it
yourself. People who are depressed are just trying to survive and to function.
The tragedy is that while a depressed person is stuggling just with daily life,
they are unknowingly self-destructing physiologically. Depression is
extremely hard on the body and mind, arguably as hard as being overweight or
We've already covered how
Depression Can Lead to Erectile Dysfunction and I've even discussed how
depression lowers testosterone. The problem is that depression raises
cortisol and cortisol lowers this critical hormone. Of course, lowered testosterone
is bad for the male brain in general in and of itself, but you should all realize
that elevated, long term cortisol actually shrinks the brain.
It's true: individuals with long term depression actually have a shrunken
hipposcampus, the seat of memory for us human beings. I am bringing this up,
because depression is very, very serious stuff - I've been there by the way -
and should be treated with the highest priority.
CAUTION: Antidepressants are known for having erectile dysfunction as a
side effect. Even worse is the fact that evidence is mounting that they
are little better than a placebo at curing depression. Edronax was
recently found in the British Medical Journal to be ineffective (and studies
doctored).  A recent, more extensive meta-analysis of twelve different
antidepressants found the same thing: drug companies were not submitting
unfavorable study results leading to a misleading bias.  However, do not quit
an SSRI or antidepressant without discussing it with your doctor first.
Below I've written some of the ways that science has shown that depression can be
treated and helped. If you (or someone you love) has mild to moderate
depression, these may actually lead to a complete cure. (Please see your
doctor as well , of course, as depression is a serious medical condition.) I
am certainly not saying that one just make a few lifestyle changes, snap your
fingers and get over major clinical depression. No, we humans are very complex
creatures and some of us have had a nasty past.
However, I do want to help and believe that science has shown that the items
below will help almost anyone with depression regardless of severity. Some of you will be shocked at the results that can be achieved.
It is important to start right away, because depression is a
viscious circle: the lowered testosterone and erectile dysfunction often
lead to more depression which then leads to increased stress and cortisol and so
NOTE: Depression can have very deep roots. Childhood sexual
abuse, for example, leads often to adult-onset depression particularly in
females, but also in males as well. See my page on Dysregulation of the
HPA Axis for more examples.
Here is what the research has shown:
1. Weight Loss. Researchers just recently found that weight loss can
significantly improve depression.  A weight reduction of just 8%
resulted in a significant loss of depressive symptoms. In a 200 lb male
that's just 16 pounds.
2. Exercise. Numerous studies have shown that moderate exercise can very
significantly help with depression. The results have often been just a little
short of miraculous and every person with depression should consider exercise in
their arsenal.  Furthermore, one study on females showed an
improved hormonal - cortisol and norepinephrine - response thus demonstrating
that exercise combats the most degenerative aspect of depression. 
3.5 Magnesium Therapy. Know anyone with severe, untreatable depression?
3. Folic Acid and Vitamin B12. Folic acid (or folate) helps builds
a molecule called SAM that is imperative for neurological function. Low
folate levels are quite common and can be a major contributor to depression. One
study concluded, "There is now substantial evidence of a common decrease in
serum/red blood cell folate, serum vitamin B12 and an increase in plasma
homocysteine in depression...On the basis of current data, we suggest that oral
doses of both folic acid (800 µg daily) and vitamin B12 (1 mg daily) should be
tried to improve treatment outcome in depression".  Furthermore,
severe depression has even been linked to low folate levels based upon a
study of Finnish middle-aged men. 
CAUTION: You must be careful not to take too much folate as folate
is also used in DNA replication and repair, which is why it is so critical for
pregnant mothers. However, it also looks like too much folate stimulates
cancer in some case for this same reason and it has been implicated in various
GI cancers. The problem is that we are supplementing many of our (more
trashy) cereals and breads leading to, for some individuals that eat that kind
of food, over-supplementation of folic acid. You can also take too much Vitamin
B12 as well to where it actuallyis destructive to neurological function.
4. Fish Oil. The studies have been somewhat mixed, but study after study in the last few
years has show quite consistently that fish oil improves mood and often helps
with depression as well. For example, one study of heart patients found
significantly more patients with depression when comparing those with the lowest
levels of omega-3's versus those with the highest.  Furthermore,
children with major depression showed significant improvement when put on fish
oil compared with the control group.  And a 2009 study of menopausal
women found the same thing.  Please read these pages about
How Fish Oil Helps
How Fish Oil Helps Testosterone and
How to Buy Fish
5. Food and Seratonin. I also recommend that you read this link on
Boost Seratonin and Other Neurotranmitters Through Food for additional help.
Depression is often linked to seratonin receptors and many of the modern
medications target this neurotransmitter.
6. Sunlight. Scientists have recently found that sunlight has a significant
impact on cognition, especially in depressed individuals.  The lead
researcher, Shia Kent, pointed that light has actually been shown to affect not
only melatonin but brain blood flow. Bottom line: open the drapes
and go for a walk if you live in a non-sunny climate for the sake of your brain. Of course, sun exposure is
also a major source of
Skin Damage, so indirect exposure is best.
7. Moderate Drinking. This may be counterintuitive for some, but moderate
drinking, one to two drinks per day, is associated with decreased rates of
depression according to a recent study.  This backs up previous work that
showed that ending moderate drinking was tied to increased depression rates as
well. In other words, moderate drinking may be depression protective and
possibly curative as well.  Read my link on
Alcohol for more information. CAUTION: It may
be unadvisable for someone who is depressed to begin drinking and, of course, if
you have any history of alcohol issues, this will only make matters worse.
Heavy drinking is associated with increased depression and even
shinkage of the
8. Concussions. A surprising number of guys have had several
concussions in sports such as football, soccer, biking accidents and so on. The evidence is coming out almost
monthly on the damage that this does to the brain. Concussions are very
a NeuroSurgery Today article
estimates that between 4 and 20% of football players will end up with a concussion during the course of a season for a total of
300,000 per year in American alone! Concussions, especially
repeated ones, create multiple kinds of damage including "neurofibrillary
tangles" that are found in NFL players who have problems with depression,
erratic behavior, suicide and quasi-dementia. If you've suffered a lot of
sport-related head injuries, depression can surface in later years as a major
issue. A recent
American College of Sports Medicine study found that 20%
of retired NFL players who had had three or more concussions were experiencing
Processed Foods. Processed foods have just been linked to depression. 
This is not surprising since they are full of excitotoxins, transfats, high
glycemic foods and who-knows-what-chemicals and low in vitamins, antioxidants
and minerals. Your brain, more than any other organ in the body, needs an
abundant supply of vitamins and minerals as well as protection from free radical
damage and poor blood flow. You will only get the opposite effect from
10) Low Fat Diet. A Low Fat (Ornish) Diet has been found to boost mood in multiple
studies. For more information, read this link on How to Control Appetite
and Boost Mood through Diet.
11) Saffron. An extract of saffron, the expensive yellow spice valued from
antiquity, has been found to be an antidepressant as powerful as Prozac. 
12) Potatoes. No one has shown that potatoes are a cure for depression, but
they may well help. Studies show that they actually stimulate seratonin production. 
13) Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency was recently found to increase the risk
of depression by 85%.  This is no wonder since Vitamin D is ties into
feelings of energy and alertness.
Light Therapy. Researchers have noted that light therapy helped with
depressed patients and a recent study verified the same.  If you're
depressed, light and lots of it, is your friend.
15) Low Testosterone. Testosterone profoundly affects the male brain and the lack
of it can lead to mood issues and depression. One research summary points out
that men with testosterone below about 290 ng/dl (10 nmol/l) are at increased
risk for depression.
15) Progressive Muscle Relaxation. A number of studies have shown this
simple relaxation technique can help with depression. For more
information, see this link on
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (#4).
16) Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Mindfulness Meditation is
incredibly powerful and, when combined with a form of cognitive therapy, results
in a clinically effective strategy called Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy.
And it has built up an
excellent research track record with depression. One meta-analysis
concluded that it prevented relapse into major depression at a rate of between
34-43%. Statistically, this are very good results for something as serious and
difficult to treat as major depression.  The authors also noted that "in two
studies, MBCT was at least as effective as maintenance antidepressant
1) Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, July 29 2009, Faulconbridge, Weight Loss Improves Mood In Depressed People, Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), July 28 - August 1, 2009.
2) J of Affective Disorders, 93(1):79-85, "Physical activity, exercise coping,
and depression in a 10-year cohort study of depressed patients"
3) The Eur J of Pub Health, 2006, 16(2):179-184, "Effects of physical exercise on
depression, neuroendocrine stress hormones and physiological fitness in
adolescent females with depressive symptoms"
Journal of Psychopharmacology, (2005), 19(1):59-65, "Treatment of depression:
time to consider folic acid and vitamin B12"
5) Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, news release, June 2009
6) Am J Psychiatry, June 2006 , 163:1098-1100, "Omega-3 Treatment of Childhood
Depression: A Controlled, Double-Blind Pilot Study"
7) Université Laval, Feb 1 2009, "Omega-3 Fatty Acids Ease Depressive Symptoms"
Environmental Health, 2009, 8:34 (28 July 2009), "Effect of sunlight
exposure on cognitive function among depressed and non-depressed participants: a
REGARDS cross-sectional study", Shia T Kent, et. al., Environmental Health (in
9) Addiction, Aug 3 2009, 104(9):1519-1529, "Anxiety and depression among
abstainers and low-level alcohol consumers. The Nord-Trøndelag Health Study"
11) The Brit J of Psychiatry, 2009, 195: 408-413, "Dietary pattern and
depressive symptoms in middle age"
12) Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Feb 2005, 97(2):281-284, "Hydro-alcoholic
extract of Crocus sativus L. versus fluoxetine in the treatment of mild to
moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized pilot trial"
13) Psychother Psychosom, 2004 Nov-Dec, 73(6):334-9, "Dietary folate and the risk
of depression in Finnish middle-aged men. A prospective follow-up study"
14) YourHealth, Mar 2009, p. 29.
15) International Archives of Medicine, Nov 11 2010, 3:29, "Serum vitamin D
concentrations are related to depression in young adult US population: the Third
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey”
18) Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(1), January 2011, "Bright Light Treatment
in Elderly Patients With Nonseasonal Major Depressive Disorder"
19) Asian Journal of Andrology, 2010, 12:136–151, "Androgens and male aging:
current evidence of safety and efficacy"
20) Clinical Psychology Review, Aug 2011, 31(6):1032–1040, "The effect of
mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for prevention of relapse in recurrent major
depressive disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis"