Dear Dr. Douglass,
I’ve been fighting depression on and off for years now. My doctor put me on Prozac, but I stopped taking it because it made me feel like a zombie——and I was worried about some of the side effects.
When I asked my doctor for natural options, he sighed and told me to just keep taking the drug, but I don’t want to.
What do you recommend?
—Maureen T., Charleston, West Virginia
First off, it sounds to me like your doc needs to be kicked to the curb (and kicked in the pants), because this clown can’t be bothered to give you the time and attention you deserve.
And second, yes, there ARE safe nondrug cures for depression that won’t turn people into zombies or expose them to mind-bending, life-wrecking side effects.
I often recommend brain-boosting nutrients such as B vitamins and fish oil as well as herbal remedies such as St. John’s wort. But today, I want to let everyone in on another cure that may be even better than all of the above.
And, not coincidentally, it’s gone head-to-head with the very drug you just mentioned and come out on top. (Feel free to share that with your doc… right before you fire him.)
It’s called curcumin, and it’s a compound in turmeric, a spice used in Indian food such as curry, and it’s been tested repeatedly for depression.
Last year, researchers gave 60 patients with major depressive disorder either 1,000 mg of curcumin, 20 mg of fluoxetine (aka Prozac) or both. After six weeks, all three groups had the same level of improvement, statistically speaking.
Yes… all the benefits, and NONE of the risk.
This year, curcumin was tested for major depression again——this time against a placebo in a double-blind study (this is the very same “gold standard” research used to get drugs approved).
Do I even have to tell you how this one turned out? Patients given 500 mg of curcumin twice a day for 8 weeks did much better than patients on a placebo, with the benefits starting at the four-week mark.
That sounds like a long time. And if you’re fighting off depression, it can feel like forever. But it’s lightning-fast when you consider that some drugs take MONTHS to kick in.
Now, some people——especially seniors——fight off something called atypical depression. It’s depression with a host of other nasty symptoms——you eat too much, sleep too little and generally feel like hell day and night.
Meds are useless here——but in the new study, curcumin knocked it right out.
Atypical depression is often marked by inflammation in the brain (no, your head doesn’t swell like a balloon or anything). Curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory, can cross the blood-brain barrier and fight that inflammation.
And that’s not the only way it can help lift your mood. In fact, the researchers behind the new study identified at least FIVE OTHER WAYS curcumin can beat depression——including improvements in stress pathways as well as the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis.
In plain English, that means it works in ways that drugs never will, going into your brain and actually fixing whatever’s screwed up——and the benefits don’t end there. Curcumin can also improve memory and fight cognitive decline, protect your heart and even ease pain.
You’ll find it in any quality natural health store or vitamin shop, both on its own and as part of an antioxidant blend. For major depression, I usually recommend taking 500 mg twice a day (but as always, speak to a naturopathic doctor before you give this or anything else a shot).
With the REAL spice of life,
William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.