Small Steps for People Struggling with Treatment Resistant Depression that Could Make a Difference

Hi everyone. Dr. Toni Harrison with Incredible Health. I just got done with surgery at the hospital so I’m stopping here at the clinic to work on some paperwork stuff.

But as I was driving, I was thinking about, you know, we had Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade in the news a while back, and they’ve still been bothering me. They’ve still been on my mind. I don’t know their situation, I don’t know their particulars, but I have taken care of quite a few patients with treatment-resistant depression and suicidality, and I’ve noticed some commonalities among them. So, if I can offer some help to you or somebody in your circle, I’d like to give some ideas that I’ve used. I would like to show some small steps that can make a huge difference for someone that is struggling with treatment resistant depression.

First off, I definitely believe in traditional medicine and I want people to make use of their healthcare providers, either their primary care providers of their psychiatrists, their psychologists, their medications, their antidepressants, you know, whatever works. The clients that I’ve helped have tried everything, been everywhere, and are kind of at their wits end and don’t know what else is available.

So just you know kind of picking my brains, some small steps that I can offer that make a big difference, the first one is sleep, it is so important. Your brain heals during sleep, so paying attention to your sleep, sleep habits, and getting into a good sleep routine, basically going to bed at the same time every night. I don’t mean to be condescending, but it’s kind of like when you were a toddler. You know, bath time is every night at the same time. Dinner is every night at the same time. We get into our pajamas, we get story time in bed, we go to bed, lights out. You know it’s the same routine every night.

And as adults, we also have that same need. Our brain needs those triggers in order to shut down and go to sleep, so sleep is really important. Avoiding blue light and any other kind of light, you can wear an eye mask so that your eye cannot perceive light through a closed eyelid.

The next thing I want to talk about is good protein sources. A lot of the medications that we use for depression now work on the serotonin system. Well, if you’re not making your own serotonin, the medications may be less effective. So in order to make serotonin, you need good sources of protein, and you also need vitamins. You need B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D. I start people on their vitamin D at 5,000 units a day, and I am trying to get their vitamin D level in the 60-to-80 range, so that’s kind of where my goalposts are.

Other providers take the vitamin D level even higher. I tend to be more conservative, but 60-to-80 is probably a good place to shoot for, a good starting point. So I start at 5,000 units a day and then I tailor that based upon what their lab work is showing me.

The next thing I want to talk about is how important iron is. We don’t get enough iron in our diet anymore, and then we’re not able to absorb it. So if you’re on anything that reduces the acid quality of your stomach, you’re going to have problems absorbing iron. I measure for a serum ferritin level and I want that greater than 100. So if you are less than 100, you probably need some iron support. Iron deficiency anemia is the last stage of iron deficiency, so the CBC, the complete blood count, is going to be normal until the very end. So, if you are iron deficient, you may not be making serotonin, and could still have a normal blood count. I’ve had some clients that once we replaced their iron, it was a dramatic improvement in their depression. So I want a ferritin level greater than 100.

Your primary treating provider or your psychiatrist can order that bloodwork for you. If you live in Arizona, you can order that bloodwork on your own.

Probiotics are proven to be effective with depression. My two favorite probiotics are VSL#3, which you do not need a prescription for. You can get that at the pharmacy. It’s going to be behind the counter in the refrigerator. They may have to order it in for you. It’s about 75 bucks for 60 capsules, somewhere in that neighborhood. The other one I like is Raw Garden of Life. That should be in the refrigerator also. You do not want to get that on Amazon because they do not ship them cold or with ice packs. This means that the heat can destroy the probiotics by the time they have arrived to you. Those are my two favorite probiotics.

I have probiotics available with the four supplement companies that I use, but as far as over-the-counter probiotics, those are my two favorite. You definitely need a probiotic every day. You definitely need to be in the sun every day, so as soon as you get up, go sit out on the patio, get exposed to morning sunlight. One thing you can do is take your morning coffee, if you’re a coffee drinker, throw in a scoop of chocolate protein powder and some MCT oil or coconut oil, blend that up and it makes like a really nice cappuccino. You are basically killing two birds with one stone here, you’re getting your protein, you’re getting your morning sunlight, and you’re getting some healthy fats.

The brain, if you were going to build muscle, you would need protein, right? Everybody knows that. If you’re going to build a brain, you need healthy fat. The brain is mostly fat, so MCT oil, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, a good multi-vitamin. You need vitamin C, vitamin D. You’re going to have to supplement the vitamin D and also the B vitamins.

Another thing that I’ve noticed with my patients that are struggling with treatment-resistant depression is they tend to have a genetic inability to add a methyl group to their B vitamins. The multi-vitamins that you buy over-the-counter typically have cyanocobalamin in it. I haven’t found one yet that does not have cyanocobalamin, which is B12 combined with cyanide. Your genetics determine whether you can take that cyanide molecule off and add the methyl group. So if you’re struggling with treatment-resistant depression, unless you’ve done your genetic work, assume that you might have that problem and get a good multi-vitamin that already has the methyl group added onto a B12.

So, on my website, I like to recommend Metagenes PhytoMulti, P-H-Y-T-O-M-U-L-T-I, probably with iron. You’re going to want to check that ferritin level to see if you need the iron support. But that PhytoMulti multi-vitamin is one of my favorites. It’s got the methylated B vitamins, and it’s got the phytonutrients that you would get from eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, so I really like that multi-vitamin.

The next supplement I want to talk about that could also play a huge role in your health is CoQ10. You’re probably going to need a CoQ10. Oh, the other thing I was going to say about the cyanide is it gets into the mitochondria and poisons them, so you’re not going to be able to produce energy. So you’re going to have more fatigue. You’re going to have decreased ability to heal. So, if we’re struggling with treatment-resistant depression, I’m trying to build a healthy brain, so we need good ATP, so I don’t want cyanide. There’s no good reason to give people cyanide except that it makes a product where the company can get more profit. It’s a cheaper product, so they increase their profit potential. That’s the only reason to give people cyanide, so it doesn’t align with my ethics.

Exercise is so important, but it can be really hard to exercise when you’re struggling with depression. Going along with that morning routine, maybe you take that cappuccino and just go for a morning walk for five minutes. It doesn’t need to be hitting the gym hardcore. Start wherever you’re at and build from there, but just take your morning cappuccino and go for a morning stroll for five minutes.

Meditation is hugely important. I use Headspace. I really enjoy that app. There’s a bunch of good apps out there. Drinking water is also important. Water gives you energy. You know, anytime somebody says that they’re like, you know, fatigued, they need a coffee in the mid-afternoon, well no, they really need water. It’s surprising how much water energizes you, and it doesn’t seem like it would but it really, really does because the water molecule is consumed in the reactions, the chemical reactions to make energy. So, drinking water can be important.

There’s an app for water consumption called Plant Nanny. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s kind of a game to keep people drinking their water. If you don’t drink your water, your plant dies. So that’s kind of a fun way to keep people in that habit of drinking water.

We also do low dose ketamine infusions here at the clinic. Low dose ketamine can take away people’s suicidal thoughts within an hour, and that gives us time to work on reversing their depression. Other things I’ve noticed are a need for bioidentical hormones. Without testosterone, men and women lose their ability to enjoy life. Another thing that I’m noticing is heavy metals in their system, so Metagenics also has a product called MetalloClear to help people clear heavy metals from their system, and Metagenics also carries a really good 10-day detox called Clear Change. So those are some of the favorite products that I’ve recommended to people to help with depression.

But, you know, it just breaks my heart to see people struggle with their ability to enjoy life and possibly committing suicide so anything I can do to help. I just thought those ideas might be helpful to you or somebody in your family.

I hope that you’re having a great day. If you need further help, we’re always here at the clinic. You can call 480-418-3679 and set up an appointment. I hope that helped. Thanks.

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