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Epigenetic Mechanisms of Depression Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD

Growing evidence supports the hypothesis that epigenetics is a key mechanism through which environmental exposures interact with an individual’s genetic constitution to determine risk for depression throughout life. Epigenetics, in its broadest meaning, refers to stable changes in gene expression that are mediated via altered chromatin structure without modification of DNA sequence. According to this hypothesis, severe stress triggers changes—in vulnerable individuals—in chromatin structure at particular genomic loci in the brain’s limbic regions, which drive sustained changes in gene expression that contribute to episodes of depression.

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Assessment of Psychotropic-like Properties of a Probiotic Formulation Michaël Messaoudi

In a previous clinical study, a probiotic formulation (PF) consisting of Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175 (PF) decreased stress-induced gastrointestinal discomfort. Emerging evidence of a role for gut microbiota on central nervous system functions therefore suggests that oral intake of probiotics may have beneficial consequences on mood and psychological distress. The aim of the present study was to investigate the anxiolytic-like activity of PF in rats, and its possible effects on anxiety, depression, stress and coping strategies in healthy human volunteers.

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The Science and Pseudoscience of Women’s Mental Health Sharna Olfman, PhD

In this article, the interviewer speaks with Dr. Kelly Brogan, a leading voice in natural approaches to women’s mental health. With degrees from MIT and Weil Cornell Medical College, triple board certification in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine and integrative holistic medicine, and direct experience practicing within the parameters of conventional psychiatry, Dr. Brogan is uniquely qualified to challenge the pseudoscience of the chemical imbalance theory and the drug regimens that it spawned. This conversation addressed Dr. Brogan’s grave concerns about the recent rollout of Zulresso (brexanolone), a drug specifically designed, and approved by the FDA for the treatment of Postpartum Depression.

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Questions and Answers about the NIMH Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) Study — All Medication Levels

The overall goal of the STAR*D trial, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, was to assess the effectiveness of depression treatments in patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder, in both primary and specialty care settings. It is the largest and longest study ever conducted to evaluate depression treatment. Each of the four levels of the study tested a different medication or medication combination. The primary goal of each level was to determine if the treatment used during that level could adequately treat participants’ major depressive disorder (MDD). Those who did not become symptom-free could proceed to the next level of treatment.

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Chemical Biotypes of Depression and Individualized Nutrient Therapy William J. Walsh, PhD

Is depression really only about the psychological symptoms you feel? In a study completed in May 2014, researchers found that five major depression biotypes represented roughly 95% of the 2,800 patients that were part of the research study. Those biotypes included:

  • Undermethylation 38% of patients reporting depression, anxiety, OCD tendencies, perfectionism, and a positive response to SSRI antidepressants. Undermethylation of chromatin has also been associated with excessive gene expression of SERT and increased serotonin reuptake.
  • Folate deficiency represented 20% of patients reporting high anxiety, sleep problems, food and chemical sensitivities, intolerance to SSRIs, and benefits from folate therapy or benzodiazapines.
  • 17% of depression patients exhibited elevated serum copper. Most (95%) of this group were females and had a high incidence of post-partum depression, estrogen intolerance, tinnitus, and skin sensitivity.
  • 15% of patients exhibited pyrrole disorder and reported extreme mood swings, fears, anger explosions, poor short-term memory, partial improvements from SSRIs, and benefits from zinc and B-6.
  • The smallest group 5% involved overloads of lead, mercury, or other toxic metals.

This study emphasizes and supports the importance of advanced nutrient therapy, functional medicine, and more.

Read the Research Presentation from the Walsh InstituteWalsh Institute Presentation
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Zinc as a micronutrient in the treatment of depression Oregon State University, Micronutrient Information Center

A review of the Boston Area Community Health (BACH) survey reported higher odds of depression symptoms in women (but not in men) for those with low zinc intakes. It’s believed that zinc could (and we believe does) play a role for some individuals in preventing or alleviating depression symptoms. Two additional studies have been completed that show some therapeutic response to zinc in the treatment of depression for some adults – specifically in the first 12 weeks of treatment.

Beyond the treatment of depression, the Linus Pauling Institute’s Micronutrient Information Center has provided a great deal of research regarding the importance of Zinc as an essential mineral needed by the body for a number of functions.

Read More Information Regarding Zinc from Oregon State University's Linus Pauling Institute:Oregon State University
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