In this health video you will learn what natural products well work as antidepressants.
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Raena Morgan: Could you talk about natural products that help depression? Dr. Gary Kohls: Yes. Yeah, in my practice, I've had tremendous success with the amino acids that provide serotonin and allow the brain to manufacture serotonin. Serotonin probably is the most important antidepressant and sleep aid that there is. Serotonin is a brain chemical that makes us feel mellow; makes us feel relaxed. We're less anxious. We're less depressed. We sleep better, have less nightmares. Our bowels work better. We have less pain. People who are serotonin deficient because of inadequate ingestion of the amino acid tryptophan are more likely to then have more pain, sleep less well, be more anxious, more depressed, bowel problems. So, that alone is a tremendous help. So when I have somebody that isn't on a drug, I rejoice. You know, I don't have to go through all of this withdrawal stuff. You know, we can get right to the nutrition. So, that's my favorite patient because they invariably improve. I spose there's some exceptions. Maybe somebody is already eating well enough, so they aren't deficient. One of the problems, of course, is blood tests don't help. Raena Morgan: Tests don't help? DR. Gary Kohls: Yeah. We can't tell the serotonin supply in the brain by a blood test because the serotonin level varies with the last meal or the tryptophan level. You can measure tryptophan in the blood, but it's pretty hard to extrapolate that information, in my opinion, to what's going on in the brain. So, and they're very expensive. So, serotonin is important. If you're feeling sad or blue, then the natural antidepressant dopamine, or neuroepinephrine, needs to be supported. So, I often will prescribe tyrosine. These are both 5-HTP the precursor to serotonin, and tyrosine, the precursor to serotonin and neuroepinephrine are quite inexpensive. So, I use those. And, of course, in order for the brain to metabolize those substances, we also need a variety of minerals and vitamins, as well. Raena Morgan: When should you take these amino acids, these supplements? DR. Gary Kohls: A good point, yeah. Since serotonin tends to be sedating or calming, it's probably best and helps enhance sleep quality pry best to take the 5-HTP at bedtime. Raena Morgan: Okay. DR. Gary Kohls: Although, it's not that heavily sedating, so a lot of people take it in the daytime. By the way, 5-HTP and serotonin suppress appetite, so it's a good appetite suppressing natural appetite suppressant. It's impulse control, neurotransmitter. So if our brain is well nourished with serotonin, has plenty of serotonin, we can not eat that second donut. Raena Morgan: Right. DR. Gary Kohls: It's more easy to just resist the impulse or to do violence. It has an anti-violence effect to it serotonin. So when someone's depleted on that, or if we're having any of those symptoms, we can say maybe that person is serotonin deficient and let's give a therapeutic trial for that. Many times I do that. As far as the tyrosine is concerned, since dopamine is an energizing dopamine is the natural energizing antidepressant, we pry want to use that in the daytime because you don't want to be energized at night. So, the tyrosine I usually have them take in the morning and the 5-HTP at night. So, neither one of them are that potent. It isn't like taking cocaine, you know. As far as the vitamins are concerned, it pry doesn't matter too much when you take those. Although vitamins if someone is vitamin deficient, they're probably, fatigued and tired and sluggish and so when you start taking vitamins, people will say, "I feel a whole lot better and more energized." So, vitamins may be energizing and maybe should be taken on the day, but, again, a minimum effect. Raena Morgan: But there are no side effects from the 5-HTP and the tyrosine or? DR. Gary Kohls: No. The only 5-HTP, I think, sometimes if you take a large doses of it, it can probably cause nausea or indigestion. That's about the only side effect. That's the nice