Weight Gain & Antidepressants
I take Anti-depressants. I have switched several times, but they always seem to make me gain weight. WHY?
Well, this is not a coincidence. A huge study tracked nearly 300,000 people for 10 years Those taking antidepressants were more likely to pack on the pounds then the control group who were not taking antidepressants . Those on the drugs reported gaining weight… up to 100 pounds in some cases…YIKES!
The people who started at normal weight became overweight, while those who were already overweight were more likely to become OBESE. The weight gain was most likely to occur after taking the meds for 6 months or longer.
The anti-depressants that were most likely to cause weight gain are Paxil, Prozac, Lexapro and Celexa. Patients are rarely warned about the weight gain.
What happens? There are 2 main theories:
1) These synthetic drugs trigger food cravings particularly carbohydrates which pack on the pounds
2) The drugs may also negatively impact your metabolism, causing it to slow down
Antidepressants are the 3rd most prescribed drugs in the United States. In 2005, the most recent study was published. Why is there not a more recent study? Do you think that the industry does not want us to know that it has gotten worse? ? At any rate, In 2005, 27 million Americans age 6 and older were taking antidepressants . Age six? Oh, MY!
Another concern is how many of these millions of people should be on in anti-depressants in the 1st place? A study published in JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association concluded that prescription anti-depressants may provide little benefit for patients with mild to moderate depression although they do help people with very severe depression.
Here is what I want to discuss today. Many natural antidepressants exist that are a great alternative. They often work faster, better and with fewer side effects. There may be a supplement that can jump-start you back to feeling like your best self. You have nothing to lose.
Here are 7 natural anti-depressant supplements. Choose the one that best matches your unique set of symptoms.
2) L-Tryptophan or 5-HTP.
Both are precursors to both serotonin and melatonin (the natural sleep hormone) There are controlled studies that show these can work as well as prescription anti-depressants. Besides depression these 2 can address ADHD, anxiety, insomnia, OCD, bi-polar disease and SAD. (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
A word of caution: Do not take supplemental tryptophan or 5-HTP along with an SSRI anti-depressant. When taken together, they can cause a potentially serious condition known as serotonin syndrome. You have to be weaned off your anti-depressant first.
Consider curcumin if you have depression along with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Curcumin is the main active component in turmeric Curcumin supplements are said to be as effective for depression as Prozac, one of the most popular drugs with doctors. Curcumin works by increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine. (Serotonin is the brain chemical responsible for happiness.) Dopamine is your “motivation molecule” and is also in charge of your pleasure-reward system.
3) Rhodiola Rosea
If your depression is accompanied by anxiety or fatigue, or is caused by seasonal affective disorder (SAD), Rhodiola may be the answer. It is an adaptogen which can increase physical stamina and reduce fatigue due to stress. It works by increasing activity of the mood-boosting brain chemicals serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. It can actually reduce depression faster than prescription antidepressants.
4) SAM-e S-adenosyl -L-methionine.
Choose SAM-e if you want to add something natural before you wean off your drug because it can be taken with SSRIs Or if your depression is accompanied by joint pain, insomnia and morning stiffness. In clinical trials, 50% of patients responded favorably, with 43% of those experiencing a remarkable remission of symptoms. It is believed by many to be more effective than many common antidepressants. SAM-e helps with depression by raising serotonin levels
5) EGCG (in Green Tea)
Drink green tea if your depression is accompanied by stress, anxiety, or problems with focus and concentration. Drinking green tea daily reduces the risk of depression by 44%. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), one of the main active compounds found in green tea, is thought to be responsible. EGCG increases your resilience to stress and is as effective for anxiety as anti-anxiety drugs. One way it works is by normalizing the activity of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) — a main relaxing brain chemical often referred to as “nature’s Valium.”
Another fascinating way EGCG works is by altering your brain wave patterns, putting you in a relaxed yet attentive state… similar to meditation. It is best to get EGCG via green tea and not as a supplement. EGCG supplements are very poorly utilized — as little as 1% of it gets absorbed!
And by taking a supplement you’d miss out on the synergy between EGCG, l-theanine, another relaxing compound found in green tea, and caffeine.
These three powerhouse compounds work together to improve memory, attention, and learning.
6) St. John’s Wort.
Be careful with this one. It has been one of the most popular natural antidepressants. However, St. John’s Wort is a risky herb with many side effects and negative interactions. It can increase blood pressure and cause nausea and dizziness. It can make dementia worse and trigger psychosis or mania in bipolar disorder patients. Ladies, it can make your birth control pills less effective. It reacts badly with many common substances, both pharmaceutical and natural. And SJW should NOT be taken with antidepressant drugs because it can cause serotonin syndrome. For the same reason, St. John’s wort should not be mixed with any substance that works by raising serotonin. This includes other natural remedies for depression such as 5-HTP and tryptophan. I believe that St. John’s Wort is just not worth the downsides unless you’ve exhausted all other possibilities.
7) Fish Oil
Depression has been linked to suboptimal levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids.
Dietary supplementation has proven to be an effective, natural therapy for basic depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, postpartum depression, and seasonal affective disorder
Deficiency of one particular omega-3, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is linked to depression, bipolar disorder,ADHD, postpartum depression, SAD and schizophrenia. Be sure to get a formula with EPA and DHA in a ratio of 720 / 480
As you can see, Nature provides a medicine chest of natural antidepressant herbs, amino acids, and healthy oils that have been studied and shown to work as well as prescription antidepressants. Some work better, faster, and almost always with significantly fewer side effects when compared to drugs like SSRIs.
I hope YOU can break free from being dependent on taking pharmaceutical drugs to help improve your mood and wellbeing. However, Do Not go “cold turkey” off antidepressants. You have to wean. AND, if you are severely depressed, you may need them.
A wise doctor once told me:
“If you are going thru a trauma like death of a loved one or some other traumatic event. , short term antidepressant drugs can be most helpful for a TIME. If you are generally feeling blue, with no get up and go, thoughts of suicide and no zest for life for a lengthy period of time an antidepressant may be for you to get you back on track.Then you can discontinue.
So… When you go to the doctor because your feel down or blue, advocate for yourself. Remember….doctors LOVE to prescribe & many prescriptions can become addictive to your brain.
Feeling like a “zombie” is not what healing should be like.