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(02/13/2009) By Valerie Greguire,
Certified Herbalist, Natural Health Consultant

Balancing Moods Naturally - Part 2

Last week we talked about how high stress depletes the body of important nutrients such as B-Complex vitamins, 5HTP and GABA which then leads to low levels of serotonin triggering depression. We also talked about how taking these supplements can naturally help to build up serotonin levels, lift mood, and help in handling stress. The problem many people have with taking these natural supplements is that they are already on a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant drug. These drugs such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft, as well as a similar type of drug Effexor, all hold levels of serotonin in the brain. In contrast the natural supplements help to increase serotonin levels in the brain naturally. The combination of the two can cause an over abundance of serotonin to quickly build-up. What do we do if we want to get off these types of medications?

Our first step, as I mentioned last week, is to support stress with B-complex vitamins and adaptogen herbs like those found in the formula Nutri-Calm. This can be done even while on the medications. Secondly, we will look to the wisdom of Chinese medicine for another alternative to lifting the moods. Mood Elevator TCM is a Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal blend that relieves sagging chi and disperses stagnant chi. This formula increases something called shen in the body. Chi and shen are poetic descriptive names for the invisible energies which are created in the body when we are healthy and vibrant. When we don’t take care of our health and push our bodies too much, our chi and shen energy gets depleted. Think of this as your life force inside your body. When your life force gets depleted, you will suffer from sagging spirits, lack of motivation and illness. Unlike modern medicine’s approach to depression, which focuses on the neurotransmitter serotonin, Mood Elevator works in a holistic manner to relieve depression and sadness by balancing the liver, digestive, intestinal and nervous system functions. This result is restored vitality and life force energy in the body. Within a few days of trying this formula, I remember the distinct feeling of being in a good mood – “like the birds were singing all around me.” Besides depression, this formula is helpful for sadness, fatigue, insomnia, neurosis, hysteria, hypersensitivity and anxiety. It may be helpful for restless dreams and nightmares and for people who have hypochondriac tendencies. It is amazing the symptoms the body will exhibit when the liver and digestive functions are out of balance --disrupting harmony throughout the body. By restoring balance in the body, moods and a sense of well being increase. Chinese Mood Elevator formula can safely be taken while taking a prescribed anti-depressant. This formula is my choice to help people who want to get off their prescribed anti-depressant drugs. I have had people report very good success by taking one Mood Elevator in the TCM form (concentrate) twice daily for a couple weeks, along with Nutri-Calm to support stress. We would then ask the doctor’s suggestion for reducing the antidepressant dose slowly. Once the medication is decreased in half or more, ask the doctor to retest serotonin levels. If the levels are still low, discuss adding in the 5HTP and/or GABA in place of raising the medication. Often just balancing the body with Mood Elevator will be enough to lift the moods. This is primarily because the depression was caused by poor lifestyle habits more than low serotonin levels.

Another area to consider is the changes in the hormones estrogen and progesterone that women experience monthly. A woman’s monthly menstrual cycle, as well as entering peri-menopause and menopause, are accompanied by ever changing hormone levels. The ups and downs of hormone levels have to be balanced with the help of the liver. Problems arise when high stress, poor diet choices and lack of adequate water and exercise congest the liver and its ability to break down excess hormones each month. To further overload the liver, we are often bombarded with chemicals and toxins in our work place or home environment. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, when the liver gets overloaded and fails to do its job properly, we develop symptoms which include feeling depressed. The first warning signs come when the liver begins to get stressed such as “Flu-like” symptoms, nausea, diarrhea, stiff & aching muscles, cold hands and feet, headaches, gallbladder attacks, tenderness or swelling under the right rib cage, dizziness, puffy eyelids , skin eruptions, difficulty falling asleep (late night energy) followed by difficulty awaking in the morning. If we continue with a high-paced lifestyle and poor diet, the liver becomes more congested resulting in symptoms becoming more chronic in nature; such as chronic fatigue, blood sugar imbalances, hormonal swings, food allergies, immune system weakness, poor bowel elimination, gas and indigestion, feelings of depression and despair. Chinese Mood Elevator is a good choice to support these issues. In addition I would consider adding digestive enzymes with your meals, drastically improving your diet and lifestyle and adding in formulas to either cleanse or strengthen your liver function such as Chinese Liver Balance TCM or Chinese Blood Build TCM.
Approaching depression from the standpoint of improving and balancing overall health, you will be bouncing out of bed with vigor and enthusiasm in no time at all. Make a decision today to take the steps necessary to take charge of your health and change your destiny.

For more specific information or to have your questions answered, please visit Nature’s Remedy at 18 Monroe Street, Ellicottville, NY or call 716.699.HERB (4372).

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this publication is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose illness nor prescribe treatment. Rather, this material is designed to be used in cooperation with your nutritionally-oriented health professional to deal with your personal health problems.

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