Depression classed as either moderate or severe affects around 1 in 6 adults in the UK.
Depression is a mood disorder characterised by persistent low mood. It’s distinct from feeling upset by stressful or upsetting events and from feeling temporarily down.
- Low pain threshold
- Mood swings
- Craving for sugar
- Sleep problems
- Low self esteem
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Loss of interest in food, sex, life and daily activities
- Slow thinking
- Poor concentration
- Weight fluctations
- Lack of energy
- Crying spells
- Aggressive thoughts
- Suicidal thoughts
- Violent impulses
- Alcohol and drug dependency
- Family history of depression
- History of abuse
- Loss of parent at a young age
- Use of hormone medications (contraceptive pill, HRT, fertility treatment)
- Persistently stressful life
- Lack of support
Imbalanced brain chemistry: depression is often accompanied by lower than normal levels of the brain’s “happy chemicals”. Imbalances in brain chemistry can be caused by many factors including a lack of the correct building blocks in the diet or a lack of the nutrients needed to help the body make these vital substances.
Deficiencies in these building blocks can be determined via an Amino Acid Test. Smart Nutrition can also assess your diet for the correct amino acids and give you practical tips on how to increase them in your diet, helping to enhance your brain’s ability to make all its essential messengers.
Poor diet: recent research highlights the role specific nutrients play in helping to manage depression. If your diet is poor or not very nutrient-dense, it’s possible that you could be lacking in one or more of the nutrients known to be key players in managing this condition.
A NutrEval MOT Health Test highlights deficiencies and can be used in conjunction with a Smart Nutrition consultation to help address any imbalances.
Heavy metal toxicity: accumulation of toxic metals from pollution, pesticides, mercury fillings and tap water can cause all sorts of psychological symptoms and imbalances.
Toxic metal accumulation can be tested using hair or urine.
Allergy or intolerance: these can often exacerbate or cause the symptoms of depression.
If you think you have a food allergy or intolerance that may be affecting your mood, a Food Allergy or Intolerance Test can give vital insight. Smart Nutrition can also use the results to design you a diet that supports your mental health – please use the button at the bottom of the page to find out more.
For women; the hormones that control our sexual urges and run the menstrual cycle can also affect the levels of happy chemicals in the brain which are also affected by the stress hormone cortisol. Fluctuations in stress and sex hormones are known to affect moods.
Stress and hormone levels can be measured using a Female Hormone Test.
For men: the hormones that control our sexual urges can affect the levels of happy chemicals in the brain which in turn are affected by the stress hormone cortisol. testosterone is the most widely talked about hormone affecting men and mood but other hormone imbalances are also worth testing to look at overall balance.
Sex and stress hormone levels can be measured using a Male Hormone Test.
Imbalanced blood sugar: a diet high in sugars and refined foods can make us feel great one minute and really low the next. This can lead to uncontrollable mood swings, cravings and weight gain.
If you have any of these symptoms, an Insulin Resistance Test can identify how well your body is coping with sugar. Smart Nutrition can also give you expert advice on the practical diet changes to balance out the rollercoaster.
People with depression or other mental health disorders often have high levels of Kryptopyrroles in their urine when tested. Kryptopyrroles rob the body of vitamin B6 and zinc which is well known to be important for stable moods.
High homocysteine: homocysteine is a chemical naturally produced in the body. When levels are kept within check it doesn’t pose any health risks. However, if the body’s ability to break homocysteine down is compromised, it can gradually accumulate.
High homocysteine is linked to mental health problems, cardiovascular disease and many other conditions.
If you identify homocysteine levels as a factor in your depression with a Homocysteine Test, it can be easily treated with a specially designed diet and supplement programme.
Lack of essential fats: the brain is made up of about 60% fats. Some of these are essential and have to be provided in the diet – however, several scientific studies show that people with depression are prone to deficiency.
Deficiencies can quite easily be corrected, so it’s worth having an Essential Fatty Acid Analysis to see whether this is a contributing factor in your condition.