Most people don’t know the burden of mental health issues on the health care system, and most importantly, individuals. Mental health issues are the leading cause of disability worldwide. In fact, one in five people will experience and mental health concern this year. Patients are clearly being mishandled or missed altogether.
The current standard of care for mental health issues falls drastically short. The first line therapy is often drugs, sometimes with therapy, and these alone have very low success rates.
Many clients end up in my clinic because they don’t want to take medication, or have tried it and have not had success.
I cannot and do not tell my clients whether they should or shouldn’t take a drug, but I do educate them on the mechanism of action (how the drug works), the side effects, and the alternatives. This empowers them to make their own informed decision.
John: Anxiety and Mild Depression
John (not actual name) came to me seeking alternatives for treatment of his anxiety and depression. He had been to the doctor a couple of weeks prior and after a 5 minute visit, John was prescribed an antidepressant.
What John’s doctor might not have realized is that anxiety and depression are symptoms of an underlying imbalance in the mind and/or body. With John’s help, we worked to determine what might be out of balance.
Some of the root causes we considered were:
- Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
- Amino acid deficiency (amino acids are the material needed to make neurotransmitters)
- Poor digestion (inability to liberate amino acids)
- Sympathetic nervous system overstimulation (fight/flight/fright response)
- High homocysteine
John was already living a healthy lifestyle and his diet was well-balanced. After doing a full intake and gathering a detailed history, I suspected he might have trouble building important neurotransmitters such as serotonin, the “happy” brain messenger.
The Functional Approach
I explained to John that high homocysteine levels can indicate a decreased ability to carry out an important process called methylation. Methylation is required to make neurotransmitters and thus, poor methylation can lead to anxiety and depression.
John went to his homocysteine levels checked and his results were 9.4 umol/L. (See below)
As you can see, John was well within the normal reference range. However, John was not within the optimal reference range. The optimal reference range for homocysteine is below 7.0 umol/L.
We discovered a biochemical imbalance that was directly linked to his symptomatology. As a result, John went on a regimen of supplements that supported the biochemical pathways involved in methylation.
The next time we checked his homocysteine levels they had gone down to 7.9 umol/L (see below). The most important result was that John’s anxiety and depression improved by 50% without taking a single drug. We still have some work to do, but John is moving in the right direction, and that’s all that matters.
The Bottom Line
The smallest thing could sometimes make the biggest difference. In John’s case, a simple blood test indicated that he was not producing neurotransmitters adequately. By supporting John’s methylation pathways we not only improved his anxiety and depression but we also decreased his risk for Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, macular degeneration, and hearing loss (all associated with high homocysteine levels).
(Note: In the case study presented here I have outlined a snippet of what we address, to illustrate the importance of balancing biochemistry. The typical intake is 2-4 hours to assess all body systems, and protocol include dietary, lifestyle, and supplemental recommendations.)