Depression is a serious problem for millions of people across the United States, but few medications have been shown to help people consistently manage their depression symptoms. Fortunately, bovine colostrum supplementation may help people treat many of the physical symptoms associated with depression, including those that impact the body’s immune function.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a medical ailment that can impact the way that a person feels, thinks, and acts, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The symptoms of depression may range from mild to severe, and common depression symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Feelings of guilt, sadness, or worthlessness
- Loss of interest in activities that a person previously enjoyed
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Also, there are many physical symptoms of depression, such as changes in appetite (weight gain or weight loss), increased purposeless activity (like hand-wringing or pacing), and loss of energy and fatigue. These symptoms may make it tough for an individual to perform everyday tasks at work and home.
There are several types of depression, and these include:
- Major Depression Disorder: This form of depression may cause a person to experience feelings of sadness or loss of interest in everyday activities, constant fatigue, insomnia or hypersomnia, and feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder: Also known as dysthymia, this disorder may cause a person to experience a low, dark, or sad mood that is persistent for the majority of a day or most days, for about two years.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: This disorder is an extension of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in women. It is a severe manifestation of depression and may cause a variety of physical and emotional symptoms.
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): A type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. Symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and may include low energy, loss of interest in activities, insomnia, changes in appetite, difficulty in concentrating, feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty or thoughts of death.
Many medical conditions can trigger depression symptoms in people. Endocrine and reproductive system disorders may be linked to depression symptoms. Additionally, Cushing’s syndrome is a hormonal disorder that results in above-average levels of cortisol, a hormone that frequently is associated with depression symptoms.
How Is Depression Treated?
The APA points out between 80% and 90% of people with depression respond well to treatment. However, there is no surefire solution to treat depression symptoms, and it may take several weeks, months, or years for people with depression to find the right treatment to help manage their symptoms.
An individual who experiences depression symptoms should consult with a medical professional. That way, this person can receive proper diagnosis and treatment.
Typically, a medical professional will conduct an in-depth individual assessment that includes a physical examination and interview. A blood test also may be administered to ensure depression symptoms are unrelated to a thyroid problem, chronic disease, or other medical issues. The assessment allows a medical professional to learn about an individual’s medical and family history and identify factors that cause depression symptoms to occur. Then, the medical professional will provide a diagnosis and treatment plan.
In many instances, an individual’s brain chemistry may cause depression. If a medical professional determines this to be the case, he or she may prescribe medication to treat depression symptoms.
Antidepressants are among the most common medications to treat depression symptoms. They may deliver results within one to two weeks of use, with full results becoming apparent after two to three months.
If an individual takes a medication but fails to achieve the desired results, the dose of the medication may be modified by a medical professional. Or, a substitute medication may be prescribed, or an additional anti-depression medication may be administered in conjunction with the medication that an individual currently takes.
Furthermore, psychotherapy, aka “talk therapy,” may be used to help treat depression symptoms. Psychotherapy often serves as a treatment for mild depression and may be administered in combination with anti-depression medications.
During psychotherapy sessions, an individual is encouraged to focus on the present and identify and solve problems. The sessions may involve an individual who is dealing with depression, along with his or her loved ones. Psychotherapy sessions may be completed at regular intervals and deliver meaningful results over time.
How Can Colostrum Help Treat Depression Symptoms?
Several recent studies have shown that anti-inflammatory drugs may be used to treat depression symptoms, according to The Telegraph. The studies indicated nerve cells in the brain are linked to the immune function. Therefore, the nerve cells in the brain can impact an individual’s immune function, and vice-versa.
The Telegraph also points out that some studies have revealed that about 30% of people who are dealing with depression symptoms experience rheumatoid arthritis or other types of inflammatory diseases. This figure is more than four times that of the average person – a sign that there may be a strong connection between the nervous and immune systems.
Kevin Tracey, President and CEO of the US Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, tells The Register that electrical stimulation may be used to change the signals between the brain and immune system. Electrical stimulation has even been shown to help the brain control the body’s production of TNF, an inflammatory chemical that can cause people to die of shock. Electrical stimulation may prove to be one of many treatments that provides a viable alternative to anti-depression medications.
With more research being done on the connection between the gut and the brain, the focus on mental health treatment is turning to the microbiome, the “garden” of bacteria within the gut. There is a direct connection between the gut and the brain; it’s called the vagus nerve, which provides the microbiome a way of communicating with the brain and vice versa. The hypothesis is that many mental health issues arise when the bad gut bacteria outnumbers and overwhelms the good bacteria and send “unhealthy” chemical messages to the brain.
If a person has Leaky Gut Syndrome, there is ongoing inflammation throughout the body which is likely to affect the brain. Just as the incidence of autoimmune diseases is on the rise due to pervasive intestinal permeability (leaky gut), so is the increase in mental illnesses. In the same way that the intestinal lining can be “leaky”, the blood-brain barrier can be “leaky” and allow the entry of toxic substances into the brain. According to Nicola Marchi of the Institute for Functional Genomics in Montpellier, France, “Escalating inflammation in the brain seems to be a common factor in neurodegenerative diseases. It’s a concept that can be applied to many brain disorders.”
Since we know significantly more about healing intestinal permeability than healing brain permeability, an effective strategy to address depression and other mental health issues may lie in utilizing the “fix” we already have. Individuals may be able to take bovine colostrum along with their depression treatments to help balance the immune system, protect and heal the gastrointestinal (GI) system and stomach lining, and potentially help heal the blood-brain barrier.
Colostrum-LD® has been shown to help improve the health of the gut microbiome by eliminating harmful pathogens that otherwise cause the overgrowth of bad bacteria and gut-based infections. Immune factors (natural antibodies, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase) destroy pathogenic gut bacteria and prevent pathogenic bacteria from colonizing. Proline-rich polypeptides modulate inflammation. Growth factors (epithelial and epidermal growth factors, IGF-1) help repair the tight junctions and keep the intestinal barrier strong.
Colostrum-LD® also contains special lipids that prevent the immune and growth factors from being digested as they transit through the stomach. It is a safe, effective nutritional supplement that offers the only clinically proven choice to heal and prevent Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS), a primary cause of autoimmune conditions.
When it comes to depression symptoms, it may help to look beyond traditional medications. If a person utilizes bovine colostrum supplementation in addition to anti-depression medications, this individual may be better equipped to combat depression symptoms and reduce the risk of other autoimmune conditions.