An effective drug-free approach to depression

January 04, 2011
Volume 08    |   Issue 01

For years, we’ve known that many people can reduce their depression with regular exercise. Unfortunately, depression will often rob you of your motivation to exercise. So finding the easiest — and most effective exercise is very important. Many doctors recommend walking. But there’s an exercise that’s easier to do. And it’s more effective for treating depression than walking.

According to a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, walking is not the best treatment for depression. It doesn’t produce enough of the brain chemicals that improve your mood and make you less anxious. So if walking isn’t the answer, what is?

Try yoga.

That’s right. We’ve known that yoga improves a person’s mood, but not how or why until now. For this study, researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine compared the mood altering effects of walking vs. yoga. Study participants either walked for an hour or took a yoga class three times a week for four months.

They found that various yoga postures stimulate specific brain areas and increase GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA is a neurotransmitter (i.e., brain chemical). GABA actually calms down nerves when they’re over-stimulated. GABA does this by activating anti-anxiety brain receptors. It’s the same brain chemical found in some common antidepressant prescription drugs.

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If you tend to be anxious and a little depressed, it’s important to boost your GABA levels. But don’t look to medications first. Start by adding GABA through yoga or nutritional supplements to your program.

GABA is particularly helpful in getting a good night’s sleep, which is why many natural sleep formulas contain it. I’ve used it myself and find it exceptionally effective. It’s much easier to get to sleep and stay asleep when I’m calm and not anxious.

Advanced Bionutritionals has included GABA in its Advanced Sleep Formula along with L-theanine, magnesium, and other co-factors. There’s nothing better than getting your nutrients from your diet and lifestyle, so my first recommendation is to start doing yoga. If there’s no class near you, there are DVDs you can buy on the Internet.

But if yoga isn’t an option for you and you tend to be anxious and a little depressed, increase your GABA. Take it either as a single nutrient in the evening before bed or as part of a sleep formula. Begin with 100 mg and increase it to 200-300 mg as needed.

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,

Sources:

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/207739.php

Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, November 2010.

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