Feeling down once in a while is normal, but a continuation of that feeling to the point where it interferes with day to day functioning, far from normal and may indicate that one is depressed.
Depression is one of the world’s vast illnesses. Yet the majority of people suffering with it, never realize they have it and, or, never seek treatment – even if they do know that have it.
The stigma surrounding depression often prevents people talking with their doctor about it.
I am no stranger to this.
In 2013, I was in a near fatal car crash. After spending 4 months in hospital, 3 weeks in a coma, and then recovering for the next 9 years (until I had my final operation), I was left in a state of depressive.
And even though I had been traumatized by so much surgery and a prolonged recovery, I had to almost fight with my doctor to realize the way I was feeling, was not normal for me.
He eventually prescribed me anti-depressants.
But I discovered after a few months of pill-popping, they were making absolutely no difference to the way I was feeling, and could be making me worse in the long haul.
You see, the same anti-depressants do not work to treat the many forms and conditions of depression – some do, MOST don’t.
But people carry on taking them believing they are helping. I wasn’t one of those people!
The Billion Dollar Lie?
Anti-depressants are a billion dollar industry that started with Prozac in the nineteen eighties.
Let’s be very clear – they do work for the right people; the ones who are living with dark emotions, feeling like the world is at an end for them.
But for vast majority of people, the wrong type of people – the pills they pop every day are only as good as a placebo (1)!
Potential Side Effects from Prolonged Use of Anti-depressants
- Lack of sexual performance/libido
- Pregnancy/birth defects
- Enhanced irritability
- Poor decision making
- Dulled senses
- Weight gain
- Depression again in the future
With the ease at which these pills are given out, no matter if they work or not, the torrent of these drugs which your brain receives, causes havoc with its chemistry.
This effect on your serotonin levels, fires off signals to your body that often result in side effects.
If the doctor had prescribed for me, a healthy diet, frequent (vigorous) exercise and to quit alcohol – he may have been closer to the mark, regarding a successful treatment.
Because the truth is, that is all I needed to bring my life back to normal!
Obviously there are worse and more serious cases than mine. Like when someone is diagnosed as bi-polar, a list of tablets (including sedatives), are usually prescribed to help someone through their dark times.
Effects of Depression and How Maca Can Help
Major depressive disorders can disrupt an individual’s capacity to eat, sleep, work, or take pleasure from the simple things in life.
While many people suffer from periodic bouts of depression, others put up with it all their lives.
But they don’t need to, maca could be a great benefit to them.
Maca is a natural alternative that may offer relief to people suffering from persistent anxiety, insomnia, nervousness and a host of other symptoms associated with depression.
A Peruvian plant belonging to the radish family, it has been used by the natives of Peru for thousands of years as a food source.
The Healing Power is in the Root
Medicinally, it is the root of the plant that houses its active nutrients. The tuber holds elevated amounts of protein, iron, iodine, potassium, magnesium, calcium and fiber.
Due to the high nutritional value it has often been called a ‘super-food’ and based on its healing properties, it is frequently referred to as the ‘Peruvian Ginseng’.
A study published in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal, found that consumption of maca can diminish the symptoms of helplessness linked with depression.
According to the researchers, the intensity of phytoestrogens, compounds that are responsible for balancing hormones in people are responsible for this.
Additionally, maca is associated with enhanced brain function and memory and it is a well-documented natural energizer.
This makes maca the perfect choice for people whose depression is linked with lethargy.
In a separate published study postmenopausal women were given 3.5 grams of maca a day for six weeks, while another group was given a matching placebo for the same time period. The preliminary findings showed that maca was effective in lessening psychological symptoms like anxiety and depression (2).
In animal studies, female rats given forced swim test after being given one gram of maca per kilogram of body weight found it reduced immobility. The study further found that while yellow and red maca applied the anti-depressant effect, black maca was even more beneficial (3).
While there aren’t many studies carried out on the safety of maca, those which have been conducted report no adverse effects. When used as a dried food product in levels upwards of 20 grams a day, there are no reported side-effects.
In human studies the use of up to three grams of maca a day has been tolerated well.
Additionally, the fact that maca has been used as a food source by the locals in South America for thousands of years, speaks volumes about its safety.
1 – http://www.psychologytoday.com
2 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18784609
3 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1534053/