Seen at LAX airport en route back to Australia – this cover of Time magazine:
The Anti Antidepressant. Depression affects 16 million Americans. One third don’t respond to treatment. A surprising new drug may change that.
It’s scary to think that ketamine and ketamine-like drugs are being considered the solution to “treatment resistant depression”. I’ve never liked this term and in my opinion, what it really means is that the root cause of the depression has not been found. To me it looks like the mainstream medical mental health community is desperate!
It really is time to get all the well-researched nutritional psychiatry approaches to the forefront! They do work! The timing of this article is even more interesting since I was returning from the first international meeting of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research in Bethesda, MD.
Lead food mood researcher Professor Felice Jacka presented her SMILES paper where dietary changes from a junk food diet to a real whole foods diet reduced depression in 30% of the participants.
Microbiome researcher Professor John Cryan discussed the gut brain connection. This paper: Recent developments in understanding the role of the gut microbiota in brain health and disease, was published just last week:
recent preclinical and clinical evidence suggest that targeting the microbiota through prebiotic, probiotic, or dietary interventions may be an effective “psychobiotic” strategy for treating symptoms in mood, neurodevelopmental disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases
And research on sulforaphane for psychosis, and depression and anxiety was presented: Sulforaphane produces antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects in adult mice
these findings demonstrated that SFN [sulforaphane] has antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like activities in stressed mice model of depression, which likely occurs by inhibiting the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and inflammatory response to stress. These data support further exploration for developing SFN [sulforaphane] as a novel agent to treat depression and anxiety disorders.
I presented on the benefits of a gluten-free/grain free/Paleo diet for certain individuals for depression and anxiety, and did a poster presentation on GABA for eliminating anxiety.
As you can see from the TIME Magazine article the only approaches that have been considered (and have failed) are medications in various different combinations:
Every week, when Ian Hanley sits down with his therapist, he goes through a list of depression treatments he’s been researching online. The best-known treatments at the top of the list–half a dozen antidepressants and known combinations of those drugs–are all crossed out….
Most diagnoses do not come with 20-plus medicines approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat it–and yet with depression, more options don’t always mean better outcomes. Ever since the first antidepressants were introduced 60 years ago, doctors have had patients like Hanley–people who don’t seem to get better even after they’ve worked their way through the lengthy list of available drugs. About 30% of all people with depression don’t respond adequately to the available treatments. That’s a dismal failure rate for a class of drugs designed to improve a person’s basic ability to function.
According to this article in Time magazine:
The biggest development has been the rediscovery of a promising, yet fraught, drug called ketamine. It’s best known as a psychedelic club drug that makes people hallucinate, but it may also have the ability to ease depression–and fast. In a race to shape the next generation of antidepressants, Johnson & Johnson and Allergan are fast-tracking new medicines inspired by ketamine.
I encourage you to read the entire article and take note of the following: the side-effects seen with medications over the years and the fact that doctors “don’t know the consequences and potential side effects of taking tiny doses of ketamine over and over again”; “she tried nearly everything” (you’ll read this in all the articles advocating for ketamine but unfortunately they are only referring to medications); the ketamine effects are temporary and cost $15,000 per year (and are not covered by insurance); and ketamine “is thought to stimulate an opioid receptor in the brain” and is already known to be addictive.
When I shared this image and article on my Facebook page I discovered that is a pretty divided topic with a number of people feeling really strongly about the fact that this approach needs to be researched further and considered. I acknowledge their concern for the individuals who have not found a solution for their depression. BUT my question is this: have all the dietary and nutritional approaches been considered and looked into with these people who have not responded to antidepressants?
I strongly believe that ketamine is NOT the solution and that nutritional psychiatry is!
Have you used this ketamine approach personally or with patients?
Would you consider using ketamine personally if the antidepressants didn’t work for you? Or would you be more willing to work with a functional medicine or functional nutrition practitioner to find your true root causes and address them with diet, nutrients and a functional medicine approach?