Hormonal Depression – A depression is usually caused by a combination of biological, social and psychological factors that interact. In this Article, we will focus on the hormonal depression (biological factor). I also tell you what you can do to reduce your complaints. Before I do, I will give you a brief introduction about what is meant by a hormonal depression. Through the table of contents, you can directly go to the information you need.
What is a hormonal depression?
If you suffer from a hormonal depression, you often feel depressed and may have feelings of lack of vision. In women, hormonal depression occurs approximately twice as often as in men. A hormonal depression means that you have experienced at least one period of depression or loss of interest or pleasure, combined with various behavioral changes. This is caused by a disruption of your hormonal balance. There are three reasons for this:
- You do not take too much of a particular hormone (eg thyroid hormone);
- You take too much of a particular hormone (for example, the hormone insulin);
- The balance between two hormones is disturbed. There is too much of one and too little of the other hormone present in your body (for example, too little testosterone and too much cortisol).
Hormonal depression: behavioral changes
Below, I have listed some behavioral changes for which you can recognize depression. You do not have to worry about all of these things.
- A long-term negative mood;
- Sleep problems, especially sleep problems;
- Lack of energy and firm fatigue;
- Debt and inferiority feelings;
- Changes in your appetite or your weight;
- Concentration problems and difficulty experienced in making decisions;
- Reduced interest or pleasure in (almost) all activities;
- Physical unrest or inhibition;
- Returning thoughts of death or suicide.
Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Text Revision IV, American Psychiatric Association, 2000
Hormonal depression: hormones
When your hormone is not balanced this leads to a lot of problems which often causes health problems to disappear or disappear. A disturbed hormone balance can contribute to depressive complaints. This allows you to get hormonal depression.
Do you want to know which hormones can be responsible for hormonal depression? Check out the overview below.
Serotonin (your feel-good hormone)
Serotonin is also called happiness hormone. If enough serotonin is created, this will ensure a good mood. Conversely, it means that a shortage of serotonin leads to a less good mood. How is serotonin made? I’ll show you now.
First of all, tryptophan is needed. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that can be incorporated into proteins and enzymes and is the precursor of niacin (vitamin B3), 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), serotonin and melatonin (source: Orthokennis). Then tryptophan is converted to 5-HTP. To make this conversion well, calcium, folic acid, and vitamin B3 must be present in your body. Finally, 5-HTP is converted to serotonin. To make this conversion well, sufficient zinc, magnesium, vitamin C and thyroid hormone must be present in your body. In addition, it is important that you move sufficiently, see sunlight, have a good bowel function and a stable blood sugar level.
The thyroid gland affects your entire body. The thyroid gland regulates the metabolic rate, that is, the rate at which calories are burned. The thyroid gland stimulates oxygen consumption in the cells and protein synthesis. The more oxygen it uses, the more calories it burns. The thyroid gland ensures that enough heat is produced to maintain a normal body temperature. Thyroid hormone increases the delivery of digestive juices into the intestine and promotes the growth and maturation of bones, muscles and nerve tissue. A deficiency of thyroid hormone can lead to:
- Depressive complaints (feeling unhappy, missing the happy feeling of things, seeing everything negative, wondering what the meaning of things is, doing all without fun);
- Panic and stress sensations;
- Negative self-image;
- Mood swings, crying and irritation attacks;
- Concentration and memory disorders;
- Postponing things cannot perform anymore.
The hormone insulin
People who regularly have a high blood sugar level should produce a lot of insulin to lower blood sugar levels. Our body activates this mechanism because an excessive blood sugar level is detrimental to the nerves and vascular walls. How does this work now? First of all, insulin is produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. Then the insulin is transported by our blood towards the insulin receptors in our body. Hereby, the hormone insulin is considered to be the “key” and the insulin receptors as the “lock.” Muscle and fat cells contain many insulin receptors and take too much sugar from the blood. If a lot of insulin has to be made year to year in order to lower blood sugar levels, insulin receptors become increasingly insensitive to insulin.
Insulin resistance can lead to various complaints such as obesity, joint disorder, and depression.
The hormone testosterone
Testosterone promotes the development of male sexual characteristics such as:
- The growth of the penis, steel balls, scrotum, and prostate;
- Overall muscle development;
- Body Hair;
- Creation of sperm in the testes.
A shortage of hormone testosterone can lead to depression.
The hormone estrogen
Estrogen is a female sex hormone that plays an important role during menstruation. Estrogen causes confusion and stimulates cell growth and multiplication. A shortage of estrogen, for example after the transition, can lead to mental complaints such as irritation, depression, and anxiety.
8 tips for hormonal depression
There are several hormones that can lead to depressive complaints if you do not care enough. Now that you know which hormones can be responsible for this, I would like to show you what you can do.
Tip 1: Eat varied, organic and raw
Make sure you get enough calcium, folic acid, vitamin B3, zinc, magnesium and vitamin C. If you eat raw, organic fresh food sufficiently, you will come to a close. You can add accent by eating foods rich in the vitamins and minerals I have mentioned. Calcium is mainly found in sesame seeds, kelp, seaweed, cheese, canned cans, tea, agar-agar, feta, and cucumbers. Folic acid is almost everywhere, but good sources are whole grain products, vegetables, and fruits, meat and eggs. Vitamin B3 sources are meat, nuts, fish, dairy products, vegetables, and potatoes. Zinc is in meat, egg, cheese, whole grain grains, nuts, seafood, pumpkin seeds, egg yolks and oysters. Magnesium occurs in cocoa, wheat bran, wheat germs, almonds, cashew nuts, peanuts, vegetables, fruits, fish, bananas, berries and magnesium water. Vitamin C is mainly found in rosehip, red pepper, parsley, paprika, Brussels sprouts, black currant, kale and other types of fruits and vegetables.
Tip 2: Exit daily and move
Hormones get out of balance because of stress, insufficient movement, and insufficient sleep. By going out daily and moving enough (minimum 30 to 60 minutes), you reduce your stress level. Go for a nice walk or go cycling, at a slow pace. An additional advantage is that you see more sunlight, which affects your sleep positively. To sleep well, it is important to see enough sunlight during the day.
Tip 3: Provide good bowel action
In many people, the stool is not alright. To determine if this is the case with you, I’ve added the ‘Bristol Stool Chart’. Your stool should resemble type 4. In addition, the stool smells a bit but does not smell bad. Normally you do not need toilet paper to wipe. Your stool is not greasy.
Does your feces not meet these criteria? Then your intestinal function is not alright. This can have many causes. To help you get started I give several tips to make your intestines healthier. These are:
- Eat less starch;
- Ensure proper acid-base balance by eating more vegetables
- Eat more other fiber-rich products such as coconut flour, dried fruit, legumes and silver rice;
- Eat fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut;
- Beware of sugar and dairy, do not eat too much;
- First, do a breathing exercise before eating;
- Chew your food well and take time for food (this will be easier if you are relaxed);
- Move enough;
- In this way, consult a specialist for a number of supplements to improve your bowel environment;
- Drink water with Celtic sea salt.
Tip 4: Ensure stable blood sugar levels
Sugars and ‘fast’ carbohydrates make the blood sugar rise rapidly. This undermines the production of serotonin, which keeps your hormonal depression. Therefore, keep your blood sugar stable with the following tips:
- Combine carbohydrate-rich foods with proteins, fiber and fat, which reduces the effect on the blood sugar level;
- Eat as few refined carbohydrates as possible. They are mainly in sugar, (white) bread, pasta, white rice, flour, cookies, candy and other sweet;
- Eat unrefined and/or “slower” carbohydrates that are inorganic (sweet) potatoes, silver rice, oatmeal etc.
Tip 5: Eat enough omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are attributed to the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and depression. Omega-3 is anti-inflammatory, it improves the structure of your cell membranes and reduces allergies. Omega-3 fatty acids affect your hormonal balance in a positive way. This increases the chance that your hormonal depression becomes less strong. More information about the positive effects of using omega-3 in depression can be found HERE. Omega-3 fats are found in fatty fishes such as sardines, anchovies, tuna, wild salmon, mackerel, and herring. In addition, it contains vegetable sources such as linseed, chia seed, and hemp seed. If you do not like fatty fish, use a supplement with fish oil or curly oil.
Tip 6: Check your vitamin B12 and B11 status
Vitamin B12 and folic acid are necessary for the formation of red blood cells and the synthesis of DNA. Together with vitamin B6, they are important for normal cell division, well functioning immune system, normal metabolism of the bowel and optimal functioning of the brain and all nerves. If you have a shortage of these vitamins, it also often causes depressive complaints and fatigue. To determine if you have a shortage of these vitamins, I advise you to go to your GP for a blood test.
Tip 7: Check your vitamin D3 status
Vitamin D3 we mainly use via sunlight. Vitamin D3 is limited in fatty fish, cod liver oil, cream butter, egg, and liver. During the winter, the sun is too weak to make vitamin D. It’s October, November, December, January, February, March, and April. Therefore, it is wise to supplement vitamin D3 in these months. What is a good serum concentration of vitamin D3 in your blood according to orthomolecular insights? This must be at least 80 nmol / L, and most preferably 100 nmol / L. From experience, I know that many people do not get these values without supplementing. Besides, you can also determine your vitamin D status via your GP. A good booklet about Vitamin D, with more background information, you can find HERE.
Tip 8: Take a supplement in consultation with an expert
Research has shown that saffron can reduce hormonal depression. Meanwhile, a supplement is available containing this herb. It is not wise to purchase this on its own initiative because it can not be combined with everything.