Why these depression treatments don’t get more notice

Because they’re cheap, easy, and safe is the short answer – especially cheap, which means no profit. Hence, no promotion or notice.

Take a look at some recent papers by Michael Maes (et al.), a pioneer in the investigation of depression and other mental disorders as organic illnesses characterized by oxidative stress and inflammation. Role of Immune-Inflammatory and Oxidative and Nitrosative Stress Pathways in the Etiology of Depression: Therapeutic Implications. This paper (available in full on the net) cites n-acetylcysteine, aspirin, omega-3 fatty acids, and curcumin as possibly important adjunctive treatments in depression. Costs are nil.

Curcumin for the treatment of major depression: A randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study. Curcumin showed some efficacy in treatment of depression, although more trials with greater statistical power are needed. Treatment is cheap.

Targeting the Inflammatory Pathway as a Therapeutic Tool for Major Depression.

In the last decades convergent findings from several lines of evidence has revealed a robust association between major depressive disorder (MDD) and inflammatory pathways. Despite this, the translation of these findings into new and better treatments for MDD has not occurred.

In my opinion, one reason these findings have not been translated into better treatment is money. So these ideas need to be widely disseminated so that, as with diet, people can make intelligent decisions on their own.

Sleep deprivation, also known as wake therapy (in its kinder, gentler version), is another practically cost-free treatment method for depression.


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Sam says August 4, 2014

I found, by accident, that flax seed oil helped depression. Two tablespoons flax seed oil, two tablespoons cottage cheese and add milk to one cup. Blend. I was also reading about the budwig diet when I started using the flax seed oil and…well couldn’t hurt so I added the cottage cheese and milk. If you like sharp cheeses it’s tasty.

Allan Folz says August 4, 2014

“one reason these findings have not been translated into better treatment is money”

I liked how the blogger Heisenbug summarized the perverse incentives for research and treatment between vet and people medicine:

You can’t make money off a sick animal, and you can’t make money off a healthy human.

Allan Folz says August 4, 2014

Sam, as the dearly departed Seth R. would be sure to say, do share more.

In what way was your discovery accidental? What makes you certain it was the flax seed oil and not something else, for instance, the increased dairy? How much of a difference did the treatment make to your depression? Are you still taking it, how much?

Cheers. 🙂

    Sam says August 6, 2014

    I was having a serious bout of depression (winter time, maybe seasonal) and took some of my dad’s flax seed oil capsules. It immediately relieved the depression somewhat. I had been reading Seth Roberts so I was paying attention to what I was taking and not mixing things up too much. I tried it again and it worked again so I purchased some solgar brand flax seed oil and I take it most every day. I won’t say it makes me happy just not deeply depressed. I would say that I went from a deeply depressed, where everything was dark and blue, to normal. I’m not saying the dairy and cottage cheese does anything. I want to stress that I believe it’s the flax seed oil. As I was deeply depressed, this is a little weird, I was reading about naturalish cancer treatments. So I just added the cottage cheese which is part of the Budwig diet. I have no idea if this works. I added milk just to make it easier to mix. I feel the milk and cottage cheese make it easy to drink and it can’t be bad for you. Straight flax seed oil. Bleech. Amount is as stated above. Maybe a little more flax seed oil sometimes. 2 or 3 tablespoons. I just pour into a blender.

Mangan says August 4, 2014

I am unaware of any specific research on dairy and mental health, but that does not seem implausible to me. Dairy is high in BCAAs and cysteine, and could increase glutathione and decrease oxidative stress, the latter of which is elevated in depression.

Baron says January 5, 2015

What do you think about Saffron:
Is there sufficient evidence for this, or is this just hype trying to sell supplements?

    P. D. Mangan says January 5, 2015

    Yes, I think there’s fairly good evidence. May be similar to curcumin.

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