Cure For Depression May Come From The Stone Ages

Statistics show that one in four Americans will become clinically depressed by age 75. Americans are 10 times more likely to have depressive illness than they were 60 years ago. Depression treatment often centers on talk therapy and antidepressant drugs. While the drugs have been lifesavers for many people, antidepressants aren't working as well as advertised, according to psychologist Steve Ilardi, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Kansas, and their side effects can go from bad to devastating, including suicide. In the last two decades, the use of antidepressant drugs has increased 800 percent, yet depressive illness continues to climb.

To confront the country's growing depression epidemic, Ilardi peered backward into human history, thousands of years and beyond. His research led to the the hunter-gatherer way of life, a time when humans lived in roving, close-knit bands. What he learned led Ilardi and his research team to propose a program to reclaim the disappearing lifestyle elements. They call it Therapeutic Lifestyle Change, intended to help modern humans deal with depressive illness. The team identified factors that are antidepressant but are compromised by contemporary culture:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids... The brain needs essential fatty acids, omega-6 and omega-3, for healthy function. The typical American diet provides a 16-to-1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. The healthiest ratio is 1-to-1. Omega-3 intake has dropped precipitously in the last 100 years, due in part to farm-raised meat and fish, Ilardi said. Studies have associated omega-3 deficiency with an increased vulnerability to depression. Learn More...

Exercise... While people in hunter-gatherer societies spend hours a day in physical activity, walking as much as 10 miles a day, a majority of American adults get no regular physical exercise. Clinical trials have identified exercise as an effective treatment for depression. One study found just 90 minutes of aerobic exercise a week to be effective.

Sleep... Americans on average get 6.8 hours of sleep a night. Just 100 years ago, they slept nine hours. Hunter-gatherers spend more than 10 hours in darkness, and some members of modern-day hunter-gatherer societies complain about getting too much sleep. Lack of sleep is a well-established health risk on many fronts, including an increased risk of depression.

Social Connectedness... Hunter-gatherer societies live in groups of 50 to 100, chiefly with close relatives and friends. American adults for several generations have grown socially isolated from other family members and from friends. Social support is a known safeguard against the risk of depression. "We're designed to be interdependent," Ilardi said. "We're designed to have lots of face time with those closest to us."

Anti-Ruminative Behavior... Rumination is the tendency to dwell on negative thoughts. Episodes of rumination occur most often when alone. Clients often don't realize the amount of time they spend engaged in such thoughts or the amount of distress it causes, Ilardi said. Hunter-gatherers spend almost no time alone. With nearly constant social activity, they have little opportunity for rumination. Americans spend much more time alone, including sitting in traffic and staring at unengaging TV shows.

Rapid cultural change is relatively recent, starting with farming, then city-building, then the technological explosion. So Ilardi asked: Are there built-in features of that ancient way of life that are antidepressant and that we need to reclaim? Hunter-gatherers walked for miles. They got lots of light exposure. They slept when the sun was down. And they ate differently. Many obesity experts think our appetite and our desire for certain tastes trace back to a time when food was an uncertain commodity.

According to a small study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers from Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus found a correlation between a higher omega-6-to-omega-3 blood ratio and the occurrence of depression, as well as the occurrence of inflammation-promoting compounds in the blood.

The researchers looked at fatty acid intake, inflammation and depression levels in 43 senior citizens. Six of the participants were found to meet the criteria for major depression. These six participants had a significantly higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids than the participants who were not depressed, an average of 18:1 compared with 13:1. Among those who were depressed, a higher omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio was found to correlate with the level of depressive symptoms. The study authors said that the average hunter-gatherer diet provides a ratio of two or three to one, compared with the modern Western ratio of 15-17:1.

Participants who were depressed also had higher blood levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-6 and other compounds known to cause inflammation. These compounds have been linked to arthritis, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other health problems. Researcher Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser calls them "all-purpose 'nasties' for aging."

Omega-3 fatty acids naturally occur in foods such as flax seed oil, walnuts and fish. Omega-6 fatty acids are the kind found in the refined vegetable oils most commonly used for cooking. The spike in omega-6 intake in the West dates to the early 20th century, when refined vegetable oil use first became common.

info from www.Seacoastonline.com (3/07) "Stone Age Solutions To Depression" by Edward M.Eveld (McClatchy Newspapers) and NaturalNews.com (3/08) "Omega-6 Fatty Acids Found To Be Dietary Cause Of Depression and Heart Disease." by David Gutierrez.

related products:
Services
Information
Tan Plus Products
Essentials Products
News
Disclaimer

Tanning & Natural Health News is a publication of Tan Plus /Essentials Of Life, Barclay Square, 350 Route 108, Somersworth, NH. This publication is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be presented as medical advice. Product statements made have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.

Copyright © 2015 • Ray Allard • All Rights Reserved

Tanning & Natural Health News
sun.gif
TANPlus
Essentials   of Life
Essentials   of Life
Tanning & Natural Health News
sun.gif
TANPlus
Essentials   of Life
Essentials   of Life