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Draft SIGN non-pharmacological depression treatments guideline, 3rd post: herbs & supplements

This is the third in a series of blog posts on last Wednesday's SIGN draft guideline seminar on "Non-pharmacological management of mild to moderate depression."  The first session of the day was on "Lifestyle and Alternative/Complementary Therapies 1".  Yesterday's blog discussed the first presenter, Ian Ross's talk on the value of exercise in depression.  The second presentation was by Cliff Sharp, a psychiatrist from NHS borders.  He reviewed St John's Wort & Dietary Supplements.  He talked about the possible value of folate in treating depression when used to supplement conventional antidepressants.  He concluded that current evidence was insufficient to determine whether folate boosts response for those on antidepressants only if their initial folate levels are low, or whether it boosts response for anyone taking antidepressants.  See an

  • Alcohol & food

    “ God guard me from the thoughts men think in the mind alone.  He that sings a lasting song, thinks in a marrow bone. ” - W. B. Yeats

    Here are a series of information and assessment handouts on alcohol and food.  "We are what we eat" is bit over-simplified, but only a bit.  It's amazing how important what we eat and drink is for our psychological and physical health.  This site's blog posts  "New research shows diet's importance for preventing depression" and "Preventing cancer through life style choices" make this point well and also provide links with many other sources of information.  Searching the tag cloud brings up much recent relevant research and advice.  Try clicking, for example, on

    Fish oil and depression – take at least 1 gm of EPA daily

    A recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition (Rogers, Appleton et al. 2008) throws doubt on the value of fish oil supplementation as a treatment for depression. The authors stated " ...

    Common sense isn’t common

    Common sense isn’t common, at least with healthy behaviours. The vast majority of us know that we should eat sensibly, be a reasonable weight, exercise regularly, not abuse alcohol, and avoid smoking. Do you know what percentage of people actually follow all this obvious advice? A survey (Reeves and Rafferty 2005) of over 153,000 US adults in 2000 found that only 3% ticked all four boxes when asked if they didn’t smoke, were a healthy weight (body mass index, calculated as weight in kilograms divided by square of height in meters, 18.5 to 25.0), consumed 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables daily, and exercised in leisure time for at least 30 minutes, 5 or more times per week (this includes brisk walking).

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