No matter what you call it—down in the dumps, feeling blue, in a funk, bummed out, being a Gloomy Gus, or in low spirits—it’s time to start getting serious about depression.
Because a new study, presented at EuroHeartCare 2014, found that you might not just be dragging around feeling doomed, you very well could BE doomed if you don’t do something about those blues.
Researchers in Norway uncovered a dramatic link between depression and deadly heart failure. In a study that included almost 63,000 people, scientists found that moderate to severe depression could send your risk of heart failure skyrocketing.
The large, long-term HUNT study gathered a variety of data from their volunteers, including body mass indexes, physical activity levels, smoking habits, blood pressures, and depression levels.
During the 11 year study 1,500 people developed heart failure. And when the data was crunched, a glaring link between depression and heart failure was uncovered.
People with mild depression had a 5 percent increased risk of developing the potentially deadly heart condition, when compared to the volunteers with no symptoms of depression. But, if you’re in the midst of a moderate or major soul-sucking depression you might want to sit down for this next bit. YOUR risk for heart failure could jump by a staggering 40 percent, according to the study data!
In other words, the worse you feel the greater your risk. And being depressed could, quite literally, kill you.
To make matters worse, when you’re depressed you’re your own worst enemy. If you’ve ever had a serious case of the blues you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Depression makes it hard to care about anything, let alone our health. We stop watching what we eat. Getting up from the couch can seem like too much effort most days. And exercising? Forget about it. Bad habits, like smoking and heavy drinking, often make an appearance. And your weight can balloon.
But if you’re thinking these factors might be responsible for that 40 percent leap in heart failure risk you’re barking up the wrong tree. The researchers adjusted the data for factors like obesity and smoking before they reached that shocking figure.
No, for the real reason your heart failure risk skyrockets, you need to take a look at an old enemy… stress.
You see, when you’re depressed your body reacts by sending your inflammation levels skyrocketing and having your adrenal glands pump out a horde of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Your pulse rate rises, your breathing speeds up, your blood pressure climbs and your blood sugar spikes.
And the more severe your depression, the more severe your stress reaction is going to be. Eventually, the build-up of all those stress hormones triggers inflammation and a hardening and narrowing of your arteries (atherosclerosis) that could lead to heart disease, heart attack or stroke.
The truth is, ignoring your serious case of depression in the hopes that it might go away might not be just a costly mistake it may be a deadly one.
Beat depression naturally with supplements
Reducing your stress and reversing your depression is critical. But don’t become a victim of the failed mainstream medicine approach to the problem... heavy-duty antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).
Because, despite Big Pharma’s cheerleading—and the wildly positive promises they make in their billion dollar ad campaigns—most depression drugs have been shown to be no more effective than a placebo at best, and linked to serious (and possibly even deadly) side effects at worst.
Instead, turn to some tried-and-true natural approaches I’ve recommended before, starting with having your vitamin D levels checked. Running low on this important vitamin has been linked with depression. If you find your levels are subpar, top them up by spending more time outdoors and adding a D supplement to your routine. You can safely take up to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily. Your doctor can help you decide the amount that’s right for you.
Next, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Vitamin B12, often called the “energy vitamin,” is used by every single cell in your body, and B6 is needed to kick your “feel good” neurotransmitters (serotonin and norepinephrine) into action.
And low levels of vitamin B6 and B12 have been linked to depression. Make sure that you’re taking a good quality B-complex supplement daily.
If you’re not already following my advice to take an omega-3 supplement, you may want to start. Not only are omega-3s good for your heart health studies show they’re also linked to mood and may help reverse depression.(Bonus, they also help fight inflammation!)
And, finally, you might want to give curcumin, nature’s antidepressant spice, a try. Curcumin has long been used by opened-minded doctors as a natural mood booster. In one study, curcumin performed at least as well as Big Pharma darling Prozac in beating serious cases of depression. And of course the spice managed this feat without dangerous side effects.