Burnt Out? Rhodiola Rosea Supplements May Help

Burn OutData from a new study finds daily supplementation with Rhodiola Rosea Extract can improve the symptoms of burnout.

Over 100 women and men, between the ages of 30 and 60, who were suffering from symptoms of burnout, participated in this study. Participants took 400 mg of Rhodiola Rosea extract daily.  The study lasted 12 weeks.

Improvements in symptoms like “loss of zest for life”, “lack of joy”, “depersonalization”, “emotional exhaustion”, fatigue and “exhaustion” were seen.  Increases in sexual function and sexual interest were also seen.  Burnout has been known to impair sexual function.  Participants had a high rate of compliance during the course of the study and very few adverse events were reported with the supplementation of Rhodiola Rosea.

These results are encouraging and can be used as a basis for additional clinical trials.

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Low Omega-3 Levels Linked to Prenatal Depression

Omega-3 and Prenatal DepressionA new study shows an Omega-3 deficiency as well as increased inflammation may be associated with prenatal depression (PND).  Also an Omega-3 deficiency may result in longer episodes of depression.

33 women (17 women with PND and 16 healthy women) in their second and third trimesters of pregnancy participated in this study.  Their inflammatory markers, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) as well as their Omega-3 levels were measured.  The women who experienced PND had significantly higher TNF-a levels and significantly lower Omega-3 levels.

These finds confirm other observational studies that show higher levels of total Omega-3 (DHA  and EPA) seem to act as “protective factors” against major depressive disorder (MDD).  Also larger DHA levels found in breast milk and increasing the consumption of DHA rich foods, like seafood, have been shown as links to decreased risks of postpartum depression.  Omega-3 deficiencies seen during pregnancy may also increase the length of the depressive episodes which could last even into the first year after delivery.  This could lead to psychosocial dysfunction, suicide, poor mother-child relationships, and destructive behaviors like alcohol and drug abuse according to this study.

Future larger sample size studies are needed to replicate the findings in this study.

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Study Finds Magnesium May Ease Depression Symptoms

Anxiety restlesness and depressionIn this open-label randomized cross-over study, participants were adults experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of depression (scores of 5-19 on the Public Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)).  The enrollment in the study covered a period of over one full year.  This was done to minimize the number of cases of seasonal depression participating in this trial.  The study period lasted six weeks.  Participants supplemented with 248 mg of elemental magnesium per day.

PHQ-9 scores were reduced by a significant 6 points and Generally Anxiety Disorders-7 scores dropped 4.5 points. Reductions in PHQ-9 scores of 5 or more are considered clinically relevant changes in persons who are receiving treatment for depression.  The improvements seen, occurred no matter what gender, age or baseline depression score of the participant.  Additionally subjects taking pharmaceutical antidepressants during the study period saw even larger reductions in PHQ-9 scores.  Most participants taking the magnesium supplement saw some improvements in their scores within two weeks from the start of supplementation.

Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body.  The researchers hoped to see larger clinical trials that extend over a longer time period to verify the results of this study.

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Nestle`-Backed Study Links Probiotic Strain and Depression

gut health probioticsA new study backed by Nestle` shows a specific strain of a probiotic, Bifidobacterium longum, helped relieve symptoms of depression as well as alleviating gastrointestinal upsets.

Over 40 adults who had experienced Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in addition to mild to moderate amounts of depression or anxiety participated in this study.   Half the group took a dose of Bifidobacterium longum (B. longum) daily and the other half of the group took a placebo.  After six weeks researchers found 64% of the patients taking the probiotic experienced reductions in depression scores when compared to 32% of the participants taking the placebo.  Additionally functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), showed depression score improvements were associated with changes in multiple areas in the brain involved with mood control.  No changes were seen in anxiety scores however improvements in quality of life were seen in the group supplementing with the probiotic.

Although the results of this study are promising, larger scale trials are needed.

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Omega-3 and Perinatal Depression

Omega-3 Peri Natal DepressionA new meta-analysis has found a critical role for Omega-3 in decreasing pre and post-natal depression (perinatal).  This meta-analysis also found cases of depression might be associated with a higher Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio.  This translates into a potential new way to treat perinatal depression (PND) because of Omega-3’s neuroplastic, anti-inflammatory and safety effects.

12 eligible studies which became available in December of 2016 were analyzed.  Researchers found a significant reduction in the total of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids and a significant increase in the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratios in the women who were experiencing PND.  Researchers concluded that the results of this meta-analysis emphasize how important Essential Fatty Acids are in clinical depression.  They pointed out that the brain is enriched with Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids which regulate many biological processes like neuroinflammation, Neuroplasticity and neurotransmission and hence also regulate mood as well as cognitive function.  They further pointed out that both EPA and DHA and their benefits for reducing depression have been studied and recognized for many years, the imbalance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 as seen in this meta-analysis need to be examined more fully as a possible prediction of metal health in women during and after pregnancy.  Modern diets often show a profound imbalance between Omega-6 and Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids, as much as 10-20:1.  Anthropological studies indicate humans evolved with a dietary ratio of Omega-6’s/Omega-3’s of 1:1.

Clinical trials are needed to test the therapeutic effects of Omega-3’s in the treatment of PND.

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Could Probiotic Ease Depression? Mouse study suggests so…..

According to a new animal study using mice, Lactobacillus, a probiotic, could reverse symptoms of depression.  A combination of molecular and computational techniques as well as behavioral techniques were used to test the role these gut microbioata may play in behaviors associated with depression, since these disorders may run in families and the microbiome may be a causative agent or a factor of this disease.

Researchers using a mouse model looked for a biological process, which occurs in living organisms, which may influence mood.  Results of this study found a reduction in levels of Lactobacillus in mice under stress as well as increased levels of circulating Kynurenine levels, which is a form of inflammation that has been linked to depression and suicide risks.

By restoring intestinal Lactobacillus levels improvements in abnormalities in behavior were seen.  Researchers did stress however that the symptoms that they identified in the mice are “depressive-like” behaviors.  It is hard to determine if the mice are actually experiencing depression since mice have no way of communicating their feelings.  Researchers do feel confident that the findings from this study may open new opportunities in the treatment of depression and other conditions like anxiety.

The researchers plan to begin studying the effects of Lactobacillus in people with depression in individuals with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), because MS sufferers often experience depression.

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Probiotics Have A “Positive Effect” on Stress and Anxiety

stress anxietyAccording to a new meta-analysis and systematic review consumption of probiotics may have a positive effect on mental health by reducing the psychological symptoms of perceived stress, anxiety and depression.

The study reviewed the outcomes of seven previous studies with over 300 volunteers both prior to and post supplementation with a probiotic supplement.  The studies published before July, 2016 were randomized and placebo controlled.  The meta-analysis showed statistically significant improvements in the psychological symptoms of perceived stress when compared with a placebo.

A newfound interest in the gut-brain axis and new evidence showing intestinal microbiota’s ability to influence the central nervous system’s function have lead to the conclusion that probiotics may have a positive effect on mood and psychological symptoms like anxiety and depression.

Further studies to determine the benefit of probiotic supplementation and symptoms of diagnosed clinical depression are needed.

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