A new meta-analysis published in the Translational Psychiatry medical journal has found that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce symptoms of major depressive disorder. Examining 13 randomized placebo-controlled trials involving 1,233 participants suffering from the condition, the researchers noted that higher doses of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) were especially beneficial. With awareness growing of the important roles played by omega-3 fatty acids in the control and prevention of a wide range of diseases, the study provides further evidence that ensuring an optimum supply of these essential micronutrients can enhance and protect our health.
A common mental disorder affecting an estimated 350 million people worldwide, depression is described by the World Health Organization as the world’s leading cause of disability and a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. In long-lasting and severe cases, it can be a particularly serious health condition that carries a significantly increased risk of suicide. The second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds, over 800,000 people worldwide are believed die from suicide every year.
So unsuccessful have patented drugs been in curing depression that pharma companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Merck and Sanofi are all reported to have essentially stopped looking for new antidepressant treatments. As for those drugs that already exist, evidence strongly suggests they do more harm than good and that the antidepressant drug market has an underreported dark side the ‘business with disease’ would prefer patients weren’t told about. Studies show that through affecting the brain and altering the way people think, these mind-altering chemicals are capable of causing hostility, aggression, mania, violence, and even suicide.
In sharp contrast to the dangers of drug treatments for depression, the Translational Psychiatry meta-analysis is simply the latest in a long line of research studies demonstrating the benefits of micronutrients in fighting this health condition. In 2014, for example, a study published in the Phytotherapy Research journal provided clinical evidence that curcumin, the most abundant natural phenol present in turmeric, may be used as a safe and effective treatment for treating patients with major depressive disorder. A micronutrient with a wide range of health protective effects, in the past few decades curcumin has been studied extensively to evaluate its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune modulation properties.
Additional research has found that correcting vitamin D deficiency in depressed patients can improve their condition. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology and carried out in Iran, researchers found that, in a randomized clinical trial, a single injection of 300,000 IU of vitamin D was safe and effective in improving depression in patients who were vitamin D deficient. With vitamin D deficiency now recognized to be a worldwide problem, and low serum levels having been specifically associated with depressive symptoms, this finding has clear global relevance and importance.
In 2014, drugs for depression and other mental health problems were the seventh highest grossing global therapy area for the pharma industry. With a total annual value of over $39 billion, drug makers have a vested interest in attempting to defend this market and prevent us from learning about the effectiveness of non-patentable natural alternatives. But whether or not they get away with this depends upon us.
In the interests of a happier and healthier world, we owe it to ourselves, and those who are dear to us, to share the facts about the natural treatment of depression as widely as possible. Perhaps, if enough of us do this, we can bring the noble goal of a world of health, peace and social justice just a little closer.