Accidental Cure for Depression?

In All Health Watch, Cognitive Health, Featured Article

Most doctors treat depression with drugs… Others prescribe psychotherapy.

But emerging research suggests there’s an all-natural solution.

It was discovered by Dr. L. John Hoffer. He graduated from M.I.T. with a Ph.D. in nutrition. He is a Professor of Medicine at McGill University and heads up research for the Lady Davis Institute of Medical Research. He’s also a clinical investigator.

Stumbling on the Truth

His discovery was an accident.

Dr. Hoffer was working with cancer patients at Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. He was examining ways that vitamins and other nutrients might be used to treat their disease.

He noticed that one vitamin in particular was helping them… with depression. Cancer patients have good reason to feel “down”. And many become clinically depressed.

Dr. Hoffer began to look deeper. The more he looked into it, the more links he discovered. He didn’t cure cancer. But, he may have found a cure for depression.

Testing the Theory

Vitamin D has long been linked to depression. But Dr. Hoffer’s cure is vitamin C.

He put it to the test with a clinical, double-blind study. The results, published in the journal Nutrition, were even better than he expected.

For 7 to 10 days, he gave a group of acutely hospitalized patients vitamin supplements – either vitamin C or vitamin D. He found a significant statistical improvement in the patients taking vitamin C.

They felt happier and more engaged in life. They enjoyed better moods more often… for longer periods of time. They also felt able to deal with their negative emotions if they became depressed.

What about the patients receiving vitamin D? None showed any improvement.
“This looks like a true biological effect,” says Dr. Hoffer. “The treatment is safe, simple, and cheap. And could have major clinical practice implications.”

”Earlier studies, both in our hospital and other centers, demonstrated that the majority of acutely hospitalized patients have subnormal levels of vitamins C and D in their blood,” adds Dr. Hoffer. “But [they] are rarely given vitamin supplements.”

Now, he’s convinced that vitamin C offers genuine hope for those with depression.

Another Vitamin C Supporter

Dr. Hugh Riordan also supports using vitamin C as a treatment for depression. He teaches medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He received the Linus Pauling Award from the American College for Advancement in Medicine. In 1975, he founded the Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning – a world-renowned research facility and lab. He’s also authored over 150 scientific papers.

He believes that vitamin C is effective against depression because it increases serotonin production. That’s the brain chemical that improves mood and promotes relaxation.

“Medical text books [used] to indicate that one of the most common effects of inadequate vitamin C is depression,” says Dr. Riordan. “But we very seldom go to a psychiatrist who measures our vitamin C level.”

Dr. Riordan points to other studies that link depression to vitamin C. In one, 40 psychiatric patients were given one gram of ascorbic acid every day. Over the course of the study, researchers recorded major improvements in mood. Depression and manic symptoms decreased greatly. Most patients reported a big improvement in overall well-being.

Dr. Riordan has seen the same effect in his own practice.

One patient had gone to a psychotherapist for three years before coming to him. “[She] was profoundly depressed. She had fatigue. And was barely able to function at all,” says Dr. Riordan. “Our testing revealed she had no detectable vitamin C. We gave her 500 mg of vitamin C a day.”

Within just two weeks her depression had lifted.

“She thought a miracle had occurred,” says Dr. Riordan. “No miracle had occurred. She was low on vitamin C. And depression is the natural consequence of that.”

The Natural Way to Combat Depression

You probably know that oranges, strawberries, and kiwi have high concentrations of vitamin C. But the fruit with the most vitamin C – five times as much as an orange – is the guava.

It’s native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. You can eat the entire thing, but the rind is sour. (Careful with the seeds!)

Vitamin C is also available in supplement form. Dr. Riordan used just 500 mg a day with his depression patients.

Drugs aren’t the only way to deal with depression. They have bad side effects. In some cases, they even lead to more depression.

As usual, Mother Nature has a safer alternative.

To your best health,

Michael Jelinek,
Managing Editor, NHD “Health Watch”