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Dietary changes could aid in treating depression

There are many treatments for depression 06/27/06 Depression is a disease that affects the thoughts, feelings and the ability to cope with everyday life for millions of people each year. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, women are nearly twice as likely as men to suffer from a depressive illness in a given year. Although many people think this readily occurs during menopause, in fact, the childbearing years are marked by the highest rates of depression.

Symptoms of depression can include, but are not limited to, the following:

o Persistent sad mood;

o Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex;

o Significant change in appetite or body weight;

o Difficulty thinking or concentrating;

o Thoughts of death or suicide;

o Changes in sleeping patterns, either insomnia or excessive sleeping.

There are many treatments for depression including prescription drugs, most notably SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. However, changes in one’s diet and lifestyle may also be effective.Researchers have found that a shortage of serotonin – a completely natural hormone manufactured by your body – is the likely culprit in many bouts of depression. Serotonin is not something that can be ingested in pill form as the hormone cannot pass from the blood into the brain. However, tryptophan, an amino acid found in many foods such as meats, dairy products and some vegetables, is broken down in the body to produce serotonin.

Some experts believe that increasing the supply of tryptophan to the brain will increase serotonin production. However, just eating all the tryptophan one can will not result in swarming levels of serotonin. The key is also consuming well-timed carbohydrate meals to allow the tryptophan to be readily absorbed. There are also supplements of L-Tryptophan available that can boost serotonin production. Before beginning any type of alternative treatment, consult with a doctor.
SOURCE:- © 2006 Home News Tribune.Online/USA TODAY

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