These blockbuster depression drugs were DOOMED from the start
This month marks the end of Daylight Savings Time—we’ll have to turn back our clocks and adjust to shorter days and longer nights.
But for many, this seemingly routine, annual event can trigger seasonal affective disorder (SAD)—a type of depression that tends to emerge during the dark, dreary months of late fall and winter. Some people with SAD resort to taking a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).
Of course, MILLIONS of Americans take these drugs in hopes of improving their depressive symptoms, no matter the cause.
The problem is, research is revealing this may be one of Big Pharma’s biggest SCAMS yet!
In fact, a massive, new review just found that SSRIs don’t actually work as promised for depression—because they were built on a completely flawed premise. Which means they were DOOMED to fail from the start. (That certainly helps explain why so few people with depression actually respond to them!)
I’ll tell you all about this new study in just a moment. Then, I’ll touch on SEVEN safe and effective solutions for combatting depression and SAD—no drugs required!
But first, let’s look at the origins of the “low serotonin” theory of depression… and why it’s so WRONG.
Long-held MYTH about depression dates back decades
Many people think of depression as a modern ailment. And it’s certainly one of the most common mood disorders in the United States today—with about 21 million adults experiencing at least one major depressive episode each year.
But truthfully, depression has been around—and tragically misunderstood—for thousands of years.
Of course, in the 1960s, a new theory emerged, claiming that depression is caused by a “chemical imbalance”—namely, low levels of a brain neurotransmitter called serontonin.1 And even though this new theory remained unproven, Big Pharma quickly took steps to cash in on it.
In fact, in 1987, the drugmaker Eli Lilly launched fluoxetine—the first SSRI approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of depression.
It was touted as a miracle drug that worked by thwarting the “reuptake” (or reabsorption) of serotonin by our nerve cells—essentially keeping more of the “happy” chemical floating around in your brain.
In the ensuing years, several other SSRIs flooded the market—including sertraline, citalopram, paroxetine, and escitalopram. And Big Pharma’s aggressive marketing of these worked so well that today, up to 90 percent of the public now believes that depression stems entirely from low levels of serotonin.2
But according to a massive, new review… that low-serotonin theory of depression is completely and utterly WRONG. And unsupported by science!
“No evidence of a connection”
For this new investigation, researchers with University College London reviewed 17 previously published studies into depression, serotonin, and SSRIs. Tens of thousands of participants were involved, and the research occurred over several decades.
Overall, researchers found ZERO evidence to support the low-serotonin theory of depression. In fact, they found no difference in serotonin levels between people diagnosed with depression and healthy controls used for comparisons.
In one particular study, participants followed a diet that deprived them of an amino acid required to make serotonin in the body. And even then, people with artificially induced low serotonin did NOT develop depression.
According to the lead researcher, Professor Joanna Moncreiff, “Many people who take antidepressants have been led to believe their depression has a biochemical cause, but this new research suggests this belief is not grounded in evidence.”
Instead, the investigators DID find a strong link between depression and stressful events. Specifically, the more stress a person experiences, the greater their risk of developing depression.
Of course, in addition to this new revelation about serotonin, other evidence links SSRIs to a slew of terrible side effects. These include suicidal thoughts, weight gain, libido loss, nausea, blurred vision, and headaches.
But really—that’s just the tip of iceberg…
One study found that taking ANY kind of antidepressant drug increases overall death risk by a staggering 33 percent.3
A larger review of 22 studies found that SSRIs can cause upper gastrointestinal bleeding.4 And a third damning study revealed that taking an antidepressant significantly increases your risk of brain bleeds! What’s even more alarming is, it doesn’t even matter which type of antidepressant you take… how long you’ve been taking it… or how much you take!5
So, with all of this eye-opening research coming to light, let’s go over some effective, science-backed ways to SAFELY find your way out of a depressive state…
SEVEN effective ways to lift the darkness
There are literally dozens of safe, effective, non-drug options to help you fight depression. But allow me to share the top seven, starting with one that has provided me with much success against SAD:
- Light therapy. This approach involves sitting in front of a medical device called a “light box” for about 30 minutes a day. It simulates exposure to strong sunlight by emitting anywhere from 2,500 to 10,000 lux (a measure of brightness).
Many people experience improvements in depressive symptoms within a few weeks, if not days, with this kind of non-invasive light therapy!6 (As an added bonus, as I explained on page 4, light therapy can even help you “feel frisky” in the bedroom!)
- Vitamin D3. A recent review found that daily doses of vitamin D as low as 50 mcg (2,000 IU) can help alleviate depression symptoms.7 And that’s great news, as I often recommend a daily dose of 250 mcg (10,000 IU) year-round, to help you achieve vitamin D blood levels in the optimal range of 80 to 100 ng/mL.
- Vitamin B6. A brand-new clinical trial found that people who took high doses of vitamin B6 for just one month decreased their feelings of depression and anxiety.8 Vitamin B6 helps the body produce GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)—a chemical that essentially “calms” the brain by blocking impulses between nerve cells.
Of course, I recommend everyone take a multivitamin that contains at least 25 mg of B6. But the people in this study took 100 mg of B6 daily—so you may need that higher amount to get the most benefits. (Just don’t overdo it. There is too much of a good thing when it comes to this vitamin.)
- Exercise. Physical activity is another great, drug-free solution. In fact, a huge meta-analysis of 80 previously published studies found that exercise slashes depression scores by a whopping50 percent!9 As always, I recommend 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
- Probiotics. A daily dose of probioticsis essential, since your gut is basically your second brain. And—I find that a happy gut goes a long way in keeping your mood balanced all year round.
When choosing a probiotic supplement, look for one that features different strains of friendly flora—along with prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics. (Remember, when it comes to probiotics, more isn’t necessarily better. The key is diversity of strains over quantity.)
- Cannabidiol (CBD). This has all but eliminated any need for antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, or sleep medications in my practice. I personally like to recommend CBD oil because the dosing can be individualized. To find the dose that’s best for you, I recommend starting with a small amount under your tongue. Then, work your way up until you notice a marked improvement in your mood and motivation. (Luckily, CBD is safe and non-addictive—meaning you can’t overdose on it.)
- Diet. To truly transform your mood, you need to get serious about cutting the crud from your diet. First of all, we know that people who follow a diet filled with processed foods—like desserts, fried foods, and processed meats—are FAR more likely to develop depression than those who follow a diet filled with unprocessed, whole foods.10
In comparison, ketogenic diets, which specifically restrict sugars and carbs, pack a powerful punch against oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, both of which may play a role in the development of depression.11 This kind of diet may also help the brain produce more GABA (the chemical that essentially “calms” the brain).
In the end, with this new review, we finally have a solid, scientific explanation as to why the highly touted SSRIs never really worked for those struggling with depression. And, hopefully, it will steer more people (and their physicians!) away from these failed, toxic drugs… and toward the many safe, effective, non-drug options.
- “A brief history of the development of antidepressant drugs: From monoamines to glutamate.” Exp Clin Psychopharmacol, 2015; 23(1):1-21. doi.org/10.1037/a0038550
- “No evidence that depression is caused by low serotonin levels, finds comprehensive review.” ScienceDaily, 7/20/22. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/07/220720080145.htm)
- “The Mortality and Myocardial Effects of Antidepressants Are Moderated by Preexisting Cardiovascular Disease: A Meta-Analysis.” Psychother Psychosom. 2017;86(5):268-282.
- “Use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Risk of Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, January 2015; 13(1): 42–50.e3.
- “Antidepressant Use Is Associated With an Increased Risk of Developing Microbleeds.” Stroke. 2016 Jan;47(1):251-4.
- “How Does Light Therapy Treat Depression?” Healthline, 10/28/21. (healthline.com/health/depression/light-therapy)
- “Vitamin D supplementation may help reduce depressive symptoms, study finds.” Medical News Today, 8/18/22. (medicalnewstoday.com/articles/vitamin-d-supplementation-seems-to-alleviate-depressive-symptoms-in-adults#:~:text=Vitamin%20D%20supplementation%20may%20help%20reduce%20depressive%20symptoms%2C%20study%20finds&text=A%20new%20study%20has%20investigated,on%20depressive%20symptoms%20in%20adults.)
- “Vitamin B6 supplements could reduce anxiety and depression.” Science Daily, 7/19/22. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/07/220719091209.htm)
- “Effect of exercise on depression.” Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 1990;18:379-415. PMID: 2141567.
- “The Connection Between Sugar and Depression.” Healthline, 2/11/20. (healthline.com/health/depression/sugar-and-depression)
- “Does the Keto Diet Cause or Relieve Depression?” Healthline, 7/20/20. (.healthline.com/nutrition/keto-depression#:~:text=There%20are%20several%20ways%20in,decrease%20inflammation%20and%20oxidative%20stress.)