A Novel Treatment for Subclinical Depression

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Many people suffer from subclinical depression which seriously impacts their quality of life. Combining these two little discussed but effective natural antidepressants may provide a safe, effective strategy.

Subclinical depression, or subthreshold depression, is diagnosed in the presence of 2 or more depressive symptoms for at least 2 weeks that don’t meet the criteria for depression. But, meet it or not, it can significantly impact quality of life.

Treating subclinical depression is crucial for two reasons. The first is that it comes with a risk of progressing to full blown depression. The second is that, progression or not, it is associated with poor quality of life and increased mortality.

The problem is, it is, treating it is not so easy. A meta-analysis of 6 studies found that antidepressant drugs were no more effective than placebo for treating subclinical depression (Br J Psychiatry. 2011;198:11-16). Furthermore, the drugs are associated with several very real side effects.

S-adenosyl-methionine, or SAMe for short, is an exciting natural antidepressant that has not received the attention it deserves after several studies showed its effectiveness. As a premier methyl donor, SAMe is needed by the brain to manufacturer serotonin and other antidepressant neurotransmitters. A 2002 review of 47 studies found that SAMe was better than placebo and as good as drugs for mild to moderate depression. And recently, with the important discovery of the gut-brain axis, there has been an explosion of research on probiotics for depression.

This new double-blind study combined 200mg of SAMe with probiotics and tested it against a placebo in people with subclinical depression.

The results were exciting. Scores on 2 depression scales, the Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD) and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), showed “highly significant” improvement. Scores on the HAMD dropped from 12 to 7; scores on the PHQ-9 dropped from 8 to 4, indicating an improvement from mild depression to absence of depression.

This new study provides exciting new hope for people dealing with subclinical depression.

Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. December 2022;156:113930.

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For much more on treating depression naturally, see our book The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia.

For comprehensive natural help with mental health, including depression, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven nowLinda’s clinic is now open for virtual appointments.

The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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