What Works Better than Antidepressants?

You’ve been programmed to believe that serotonin deficiency causes depression. If SSRI antidepressants actually cured people, we would not see escalating rates of suicide, agitation, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

The secret sadness that people carry is not always apparent to the rest of the world. For example, I went to lunch with a new friend who has a picture perfect life by most standards. She confided to me that she has tried to kill herself three times and suffers with chronic depression. More than 2 decades has passed and not one psychiatrist or physician has ever suggested magnesium to this lovely lady. Not one! Unbelievable considering the studies that suggest magnesium plays some role in depression, even with suicidal tendencies.

Depression is just a word to most people, until it tries to kill you. The depth of suffering is hard to understand, especially if you are not sensitive to the clues … the mood swings, the comments, the degree of chronic pain, the fear of a new diagnosis and the fear in general. Many people with depression mask it by drinking alcohol, alcoholism is very commonly tied to this disorder and it makes it harder to treat. Smoking cigarettes and relying on coffee are two other temporary mood boosters (that don’t work in the long term).

If I help one person, even one person with this article, I will rest easier tonight because what I’m about to tell you about prescription medications is not what most pharmacists will tell you. (Basically they don’t work very well, and they don’t work for very long).  They are mood Band-Aids, you have to dig deeper to get to the root cause of depression, as well as anxiety, mania, hypomania, panic attacks and other hard-to-diagnose personality disorders.

Millions of people, especially women take SSRI and related antidepressants. They require a prescription and cost anywhere from $50 to $400 US dollars per month. They are not risk fee. Studies suggest that cardiac problems may occur in the fetus when mothers take SSRI drugs during the first trimester, yet one in four women trying to get pregnant are taking an antidepressant. I would be remiss if I didn’t share the popular brand names of some SSRI drugs so you know if you take them: Zoloft (sertraline), Prozac (fluoxetine), Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro (escitalopram), Paxil (paroxetine) and fluvoxamine (Luvox). That last drug Luvox, is often used for OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder.  There are two other very popular antidepressant medications that are not exactly in the SSRI class, but they are similar enough to mention here: Wellbutrin (bupropion) and Cymbalta (duloxetine).

Antidepressants target various neurotransmitters, usually epinephrine, dopamine or serotonin. But there are about 100 different brain chemicals involved in making you feel “happy” so targeting just those three is silly. The medications work for some, but not for everyone because it depends on the type of neurotransmitter imbalance that individual has. No wonder there were nearly 37,000 suicides in 2009, and about a million attempts according to the CDC. It’s ideal to get information about your body, since there isn’t a one-size-fits-all antidepressant. It’s important to journal and track your symptoms and as well as what you ate, and what supplements and medicine you took on your good days and bad days. This type of information can help you if you have any chronic illness, especially if you have severe depression.

Below, I’ve outlined some important lab tests.
I’m recommending these so you can do to get a better picture of what’s happening inside your body. If you find that you have low levels (or high levels) of one of the following compounds, you can target that compound. Some of the nutrients and herbs I mention below, might work better than antidepressants. Many of them can be taken along with your drug. Of course, ask your physician what is right for you. Here goes:

Interleukin 10 or IL-10. A blood test will measure this cytokine.  Reduced IL-10 is seen with depression, feelings of helplessness, insomnia and migraines. Lift your IL-10 with resveratrol, vitamin D and exercise. Please don’t naively think that you’re getting adequate and pure resveratrol from red wine, it’s the supplement I’m suggesting not a bottle of wine every night! One more thing, too much resveratrol is bad. It’s a drug mugger for copper. Copper deficiencies can cause low white blood cell (neutrophil) counts, and anemia that is unresponsive to iron supplementation (but responds to copper).  I need to move on, that whole conversation can take place in a future article. As for testing IL-10, ask your physician for this blood test, any lab can do it.

C Reactive protein. You’re more likely to be depressed when it’s elevated. Vitamin E and C, probiotics and CoQ10 can lower this. As for testing, any physician and any lab can perform it.

TNF alpha. This cytokine (measured in the blood) is high in depression, narcolepsy, bowel disease and psoriasis. Reduce TNF (tumor necrosis factor) with probiotics, magnesium, lipoid acid, curcumin, boswellia and essential fatty acids. Any physician and any lab can perform it.

Thyroid hormone.  Evaluate your Free T3. If it’s low, it’s a slam dunk for depression, fatigue and weight gain. I suggest you get this between 3.5 and 4.3 using thyroid medicine or supplements. The topic of low thyroid and depression is huge, and it’s tightly correlated. I wrote an entire book on thyroid and have a chapter related to depression in there my book is called, Thyroid Healthy. Check it out, it has over 200 awesome reviews (and thank you for those!!) The point I want to make is that you might be hypothyroid or “thyroid sick” or resistant, and this can be the underlying cause of depression. No amount of antidepressant medication will fix that. The biggest problem is that there are still many physicians who don’t know how to test correctly, or who disagree with the method of testing that I personally recommend. Proper testing can uncover thyroid disease, whereas improper testing can leave you tired, overweight and depressed while your physician says, “Your levels are normal, it’s not your thyroid.”  To me, it’s not your thyroid til you’re tested correctly! By that I mean, getting free T3, total T3, reverse T3 and T4 levels. I don’t care too much about your TSH levels.  Any physician and any lab can run the tests but if you experience resistance, I’ve made it easy for you. Buy the test yourself, and take the results with you to your physician. (You order the test, then take the kit to a lab for your blood draw).  Instead of paying over $1,000, I have it available to you for $239.00. It’s called “Thyroid Panel Complete + Thyroid Antibodies” and you can click here to buy it directly without a physician.  Now, remember, the point here is that undiagnosed thyroid is a common, if not epidemic cause for depression and standard lab tests don’t pick it up! It’s up to you to find out if you have low thyroid.

Neopterin and biopterin. This is a urine test and these two compounds are by-products of chemical reactions involving tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) which is required to make epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. This ratio is important if you have depression, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression or autism. I did a private poll on some people who I knew were suffering with depression. Of the 7 people I asked, not one of them had their neopterin/biopterin levels measured, not one. Increased neopterin formation, enhanced tryptophan (from protein like turkey) degradation is commonly seen in autoimmune diseases and chronic infections like Lyme disease. I’ve written extensively about Lyme because my husband Sam has it. You can read one of my articles here. Enter key words in my search box for more information. Anyway, disturbed metabolism of tryptophan affects your ability to create the neurotransmitter serotonin, increasing your susceptibility for depression. Elevated neopterin low tryptophan levels even correlate with neuropsychiatric disorders. It’s something you need to check out if you have bipolar disorder, severe depression, schizophrenia, personality disorders, aggression, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and any kind of of dementia. One more thing, the ratio is more important than either level alone.  Let me outline proper levels for you here:
Neopterin                                    0.15 – 0.79
Biopterin                                     0.04 – 0.35
Neopterin/Biopterin ratio       0.04 – 8.67

Magnesium. 
I mentioned magnesium earlier in this article. Studies prove it enhances mood, and as a side benefit it reduces muscle pain. It’s easy to become depleted in magnesium, especially if you drink lots of coffee. Hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter medications ‘mug’ magnesium from your body. They are what I call drug muggers. Among the worst offenders are antacids, acid blockers, steroids, antibiotics, antivirals, loop diuretics, thiazide diuretics and cholestyramine. Poor magnesium levels can lead to methylation problems, and that increases depression, whether or not you have the A1298 or C677T snp (polymorphism). You should read my article on methylation to get a handle on this. Testing for magnesium is not ideal in conventional medical settings. I really prefer you get an “RBC mag” level. That stands for Red Blood Cell Magnesium. This shows you what is inside the red blood cell, as opposed to other areas. You can ask any doctor to order this for you, or buy the test kit yourself (and take it to your local lab).

Now, the type of magnesium you take matters. By no means am I suggesting that magnesium is a cure for depression, but I definitely think it could help. It’s simple and it’s cheap. You have to agree that magnesium is way safer than SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) drugs. You can buy any brand you want, except the form of magnesium oxide which tends to cause diarrhea. I offer my own type at www.ScriptEssentials.com

Preferred forms of magnesium are “chelated” or they have “glycerinate” or “malate” which is easier on the tummy and has added health benefits to you. If you are giving this to a young adolescent, or someone who can’t swallow capsules, the brand “Calm” is nice because it is fizzy and tastes good. This is sold everywhere, and on Amazon.

Have I made the case yet? 

I hope I’ve made the case now that severe depression requires more than 1 pill a day.  Healing depression takes time, and requires relaxation, and a good counselor and hitting the nail on the head.  By that last one, I mean finding out the exact mechanism for the suppression of key neurotransmitters. We didn’t even talk about this but adrenal function matters too. Cortisol levels are important, too much or too little affects mood. Breathing deeply reduces cortisol, a stress hormone which makes you tired, overweight and sad! Balancing estrogen levels, raising progesterone, thyroid or testosterone can help. Deficiencies of magnesium, vitamin C, B12 or folate are often involved. Methylation difficulties, definitely involved! You can buy that test all by yourself if you want to at my link, www.directlabs.com/SuzyCohen.

Microbiome anyone? Yes, your gut health is huge, yet so overlooked. SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) impacts your mood. Probiotics improve your microbiome and positively influence your ability to deal with stress and make neurotransmitters. There are tons of probiotics available today, many of them are high-quality, however your body has to mesh well with them. You should not ingest a probiotic strain that is foreign to your own system. The brand I prefer and keep coming back to is Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotic but you can certainly take what you like.

Please don’t give up on life.

The cause of depression differs for everyone, that’s why medications require trial and error. That’s also why some medications don’t work at all … or they work for a while then they stop. Just so you have this handy, 800-273-8255 which dials right into the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline center. You are loved and needed by someone. I love you! I study every day to help you. I have other articles here, use my search box to read those.  And finally, don’t let anyone dismiss nutrients, that is some of your best mood food.

Here are my other columns related to depression and possible help.  Click Here to see more.  I don’t recommend self-treatment, I am only educating you here, so please ask your physician about any supplement or drug change that you want to make.  Below this article, you can now comment on my forum. I’m proud to offer this because it allows you to share your own personal journeys and thoughts. Please keep comments short and general, and also be gentle to others, you have never walked a day in their shoes 😉

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2015-01-18T02:46:35+00:00

200 Comments

  1. pete nohnson January 18, 2015 at 3:36 am - Reply

    I just want to thank you for your wonderful emails. You are loved too!

    • Sandy Kay January 18, 2015 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      Is there any correlation between sinusitis and hypothyroidism?

    • Donald westbrooks January 18, 2015 at 7:16 pm - Reply

      Can’t remember when I signed up for you column, but I’m sure glad I did. Have forwarded it to friends and family many times. Thanks for who you are!

      • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 7:27 pm - Reply

        I appreciate YOU Donald, your trust means a lot 🙂

    • ellen January 19, 2015 at 3:02 am - Reply

      Thank you for all your information and help. I also recommend L-theonine (Invite Health)
      along with the magnesium. It reduces anxiety and nervousness and supports mental health, its a derivitive of green tea, I think.

  2. liz January 18, 2015 at 3:41 am - Reply

    Suzy, you really care – thank you! You share valuable information, and you share from your beautiful heart.
    Thank you.
    Liz

  3. helene January 18, 2015 at 3:44 am - Reply

    as usual, the residents of New York cannot get self-ordered lab testing. This highly populated state is never thought of when authors write about getting labs drawn. Remember us, trapped here in mini-Russia!

  4. kay January 18, 2015 at 3:50 am - Reply

    my sister has been on Paxil for approx 15 years and now wants to stop but the physical side effects have been life threatening I.e. fast heart rate pulminary embolism. any recommendations for getting off ssri drugs? thank you I truly find you articles and recommendations sound and helpful. Kay

    • Lynn Warlick January 18, 2015 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      I have been on an antidepresseive for many years, I too would like to quit. How do I do that? I do take probiotics. It a brand by Walgreens.

      • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 5:35 pm - Reply

        Doc has to work with you on that in case you get negative reactions from stopping. It is NEVER stopped suddenly, it is always weaned over the course of a few weeks to months, depending on the half life of the drug you take. There are herbal and medication adjuncts that can soothe you during your transition.

    • Ruth January 18, 2015 at 5:16 pm - Reply

      Taper..it is the only way…it took me 3 years and 20 days to taper off of Prozac….I learned the brutally hard way, after cold turkeying from A Benzodiazepine, Klonopin. Taper….it is the safest way….

  5. Maria January 18, 2015 at 4:11 am - Reply

    I love you too, Suzy! 🙂

    May I suggest a different Probiotic since Dr. O’Hira’s is derived from soy and soy is a thyroid supressor…and when dealing with depression, we certainly don’t want to inject anymore soy into the body causing hypothyroidism. 🙂

    I have MULTIPLE health issues (many of which you’ve mentioned in the article, including MTHFR, of which I’m compound heterozygous) and I have found that the BEST probiotics that are working for me are: Systemic formulas MBC, Prescript Assist, and Beyond Organics Terra Firma. I rotate amongst these since it’s good to get probiotics from a variety of sources.

    Those are my “two cents”…
    Humbly,
    Maria

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 5:10 am - Reply

      It’s fermented soy, that is different (and preferred) to refined soy like you might be thinking. Thanks for your two cents 🙂

    • Lynne January 18, 2015 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks for including other options for probiotics. I use various probiotics and also suggest my patients use them as well. And yes, I agree about rotating.

    • Alvin January 18, 2015 at 6:53 pm - Reply

      We’re rebuilding communities around whole medicinal foods in Minnesota. IMO) Your best probiotics are from whole foods like kvass, kefir and sauerkraut. Of course they should be from nutrient dense food sources and 100% grass-fed dairy. Find whole food prep info at westonaprice.org and find your farmer at farmmatch.com. Be well, Alvin

  6. Suzanne January 18, 2015 at 4:13 am - Reply

    Questions: “anemia that is unresponsive to iron supplementation” The iron could be from meat , correct? How much copper would you suggest? Are there any issues with taking a lot of copper?

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 5:08 am - Reply

      I would only take copper under the advice of a doc because even though it is over-the-counter, it does have side effects and can promote the growth of some tumors so you have to be careful taking too much. There isn’t a lot of iron in meat, I really meant supplementation. Some people (including myself) would take a supplement every day for months, if not years and the iron/ferritin does not budge… that is when you can suspect low copper among other things.

      • Diane Harmon January 18, 2015 at 6:21 am - Reply

        For iron, I was amazed to find that broccoli has more iron than meat!

  7. June Triplett January 18, 2015 at 4:22 am - Reply

    I am 58 and have taken about every antidepressant known to mankind. I have chronic depression, but still have bouts of feeling low and question why I am still here. (probably my menopause) I take 150 Zoloft and 150 Welbutrin. Been taking them for at least 8 years or so. I also have PTSD from childhood traumas, family incest, alcoholic and violent father, a predator uncle, an abusive stepfather who constantly talked sex and filth to me. I take magnesium daily and other supplements because of Crestor and Zetia being drugmuggers and my doctors are aware of them. I cling to my Bible and my hope and faith in Jesus Christ; I guess He is keeping me here for a reason.
    Thank you for this forum! Your articles are very helpful. God bless you!

    • Barbara Hazleton January 18, 2015 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      Joyce Meyer, a Christian preacher, also had a similar background. She is very open about it and has been able to overcome it. She now preaches all over the world.
      Check her out. http://www.joycemeyer.org

    • M January 18, 2015 at 4:25 pm - Reply

      June Triplett
      It is time to take all of your past negative experiences and the fear and anger associated with them and turn it all over to God……he is waiting to take them from you….have faith . You do not need to keep your past alive…that was never Gods plan…turn it over now

  8. Bob January 18, 2015 at 4:23 am - Reply

    Hi Suzy: I just took my Magnesium down in the kitchen and came up to check my e-mails and there was your
    mail saying take magnesium. Thanks always,
    P. S. My wife is from China she is on the way back home and i ask her to bring some-
    Reishi Mushroom, thanks for your wonderful info.
    Bob

  9. Wendy January 18, 2015 at 4:23 am - Reply

    Antidepressants are extremely dangerous and have a black box warning against increased suicide and violence while taking them. Witness the mass murder/suicides committed by so many young men in recent years. This never happened before these drugs became commonly used. Also, a majority of studies have shown antidepressants to be no more effective than placebo. So given the downside and no real upside, these drugs should never be used. I personally feel they should be banned. If one is on them and wants to quit, one has to go slowly since the drugs are very addictive and can have severe withdrawal symptoms. There are many doctors who have safe ways to withdraw from the drugs. Don’t try to do it without proper help.

  10. Dani January 18, 2015 at 4:35 am - Reply

    Thank you Suzy so much for this article. I lost my sister in law 2 years ago to this very deadly disease. I wish with all my heart I had known about some of the other not as well known causes for depression back then. It’s a shame that doctors don’t look just a little closer for the root of the problem before prescribing yet another pill.

  11. Luis January 18, 2015 at 4:43 am - Reply

    I have been suffering from Panic attacks, Anxiety, Phobias, Depression & Fear for over 25 years last year, I woke up one morning to hundreds of Heart Palpitations or the right term would be PVC’s and PAC’s, I have read your article about your friend that was suffering from palpitations and how he went to one Cardiologist and he wanted to operate on him instead of testing him for Mineral, Vitamin,Amino Acids etc…deficiencies, the Palpitations went away after suffering for about 9 months straight, my doctor put me on Zoloft and they just went away, I did suffer from side effects at first but they diminished after a couple of weeks, just a few days ago I ate something that didn’t agree with me and my stomach and intestines felt horrible with pain and discomfort, I tried everything to help my discomfort, then all of a sudden my palpitations started again and now I am suffering again, every time I feel a skipped heartbeat which is about 6 to 10 per minute I feel like my heart is going to stop at any given moment, I have been told before that these were benign but I don’t know now if they are, I have such bad depression and I feel so desperate to find a cure, I know I must have some sort of nutritional deficiencies or something is going on with me maybe adrenal fatigue I’m not sure, my Cardiologist wont even check my Magnesium levels he thinks this is all caused by my anxiety that I should see a therapist, I am at the end of my rope I wish these test and functional doctors would take my insurance but they wont its too expensive for me, so I see no hope for me and my depression and disparity is getting worse day by day, as of now I am bed ridden and I feel like there is nothing I can do anymore, Thank you for all the great article Suzy I wish there were more Doctors that would listen to you.

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 5:06 am - Reply

      Try http://www.FunctionalMedicine.org put in your zip code.

    • Connie January 18, 2015 at 10:53 am - Reply

      I too have suffered for years (am 71, depressed since age 15); dysfunctional family, post partum psychosis (back then they just thought I’d get over my “little depression.”). Then husband left me after 32 years of what I thought was a good marriage (he committed adultery). I have numerous health problems too; celiac disease, FMS, severe food sensitivities, arthritis, scoliosis, chronic pain, etc. I had heart palpitations so bad, the thumping was keeping me from sleeping. I finally got help from a cardiologist with meds that work; the alternative was going to be a surgery to zap the offending heart nerves (no, thank you).

      Years ago I realized dairy made me depressed. I’d eat ice cream to feel better, the next day was very depressed. Finally made the connection. Food allergy testing (IgG) showed allergy to whey (but not yogurt), giving up food allergens also helped other conditions. You can get the allergy testing from your Dr. They do the blood draw, then send it off, it’s about $90 for about 100 foods. I’d like to see a functional medicine doctor too, but the closest ones are too far for me to drive to. I have Dr. Mark Hyman’s book “The UltraMind Solution” which has excellent info we can use (Suzy Cohen has mentioned some of the same things, AND some new things I hadn’t read about before.) So there IS help out there, but it is an uphill battle. Forge on!

    • Linda January 18, 2015 at 5:42 pm - Reply

      HI Luis, I am sorry to hear of all the suffering you have been undergoing. As for the heart issue, you may consider seeing someone who does Integrative Manual Therapy. This hands-on technique gently works on many levels of a person but specifically for your heart, there are tools to help with encouraging proper lymph drainage from around the heart and the heart sac it sits in. This lymph congestions around the heart can create stickiness so that the heart sac can stick to the heart muscle in places and not only affect its ability to beat properly but also to drain waste materials in the area. There are other connections of the heart with the body that also, when these techniques are used, have been quite helpful long term in a few treatment sessions for similar symptoms as yours. These are all under the integrative manual therapy work which are post graduate courses for massage therapists, chiropractors, physiotherapists and osteopaths to take. You may want to see if there is someone near you who you could get a few sessions with to see if it doesn’t make a difference for you. All the best.

  12. Ranee January 18, 2015 at 4:47 am - Reply

    Thank you Suzy for all the educating you do! I’m 56 & have had depression my whole life. Thought it was my bad childhood. Tried every antidepressant on market without relief. Diagnosed with MTHFR defect A1298C six months ago & I’m taking Deplin & B vitamins. The difference is night & day, like the lights are finally on! Brain fog is clearing. I can feel joy & am hopeful for a better life.
    I discovered a gluten sensitivity 4 yrs ago & talk about spasms! Learned about magnesium & it became my bff. I used to take 8-10 caps /day for about a year. Now, just when I feel tense or have foot cramps. It helped keep me out of physical therapy.
    I take low dose thyroid, iodine, BHRT. Imitrex for migraines which I hope to conquer some day.
    Don’t give up. Blessings to all!

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 5:30 am - Reply

      Imitrex for migraines? Hmm, everything else seems like it is better for you. Maybe there is something I can teach you about migraines with my book. Did you know I had one on headaches/migraines?
      Click on my “shop” tab and see the cover “Headache Free” there? That’s the one. Kindle too.
      I’m so glad to hear that you are doing better and can feel joy.
      Suzy

    • TerryAnn January 18, 2015 at 2:54 pm - Reply

      Ranee, Deplin has made all the difference in the world for my depression. My desire to die has vanished due to Deplin. Unfortunately it is not covered by my insurance company. I just don’t understand why in this day and age depression is so easily dismissed by insurance companies.

      • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 5:36 pm - Reply

        Deplin is methylfolate. It’s really kind of like a vitamin, they don’t cover vitamins. This helps you to make happy brain chemicals.

    • Peggy January 18, 2015 at 3:49 pm - Reply

      I recommend to look into the MRT (mediator release test) and follow the LEAP diet protocol – many people with migraines/inflammation/etc have benefited from this. I hope to be a Certified LEAP Therapist in 2-3 months, just graduated with BS in Nutrition/Dietetics.

  13. Susan January 18, 2015 at 4:54 am - Reply

    I have hypothyroidism and mild bipolar. After reading your articles, I have given up alcohol, decreased my caffeine intake, added a probiotic, a magnesium and a thyroid supplement (zinc, selenium, kelp). It has only been 3 months but great results – thyroid medicine reduced, steady plesant mood, better skin, better digestion, more energy. I am feeling great! Thanks for your valuable info.

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 5:05 am - Reply

      Wonderful Susan, thank you for your kind comments 🙂

  14. Kristy K. James January 18, 2015 at 5:00 am - Reply

    I have, at times, dealt with depression. Unfortunately, I’m not big into prescription medication (or even OTC). After the death of a close family member near Christmas 2010, I slipped into a major bout of depression. However, I didn’t want to take the prescribed antidepressant. After finding my Vitamin D level was 12, I did some research, refused to take the prescription D. I bought D3 instead, found out it should be taken with a little fat for better absorption, added some melatonin with B6 (I don’t take it often), vitamin C, B-complex and coconut oil (for my thyroid). Those worked better than the antidepressant, which I only took for a couple of weeks.

    With a decent supplementation schedule – which includes the Natural Calm (since the Thyroid Summit last May), I find depression isn’t an issue anymore. Not even mildly or once in a while.

  15. Anne January 18, 2015 at 5:02 am - Reply

    Dear Pharmacist Suzy,

    I am on your list of recipients to receive your newsletters. I am just so fortunate that I found your web page (I think from another natural health proponent). I was very depressed a few months after I lost my husband after the period of shock wore off. I have followed your previous advice to try supplements for depression and they have helped. I have been taking 5HTP and Vitamin D for two years and I am so much better (practically no depression that I can put my finger on) and sleep amazingly and soundly since. I have lately started taking L-Theanine for times when I am anxious and when I am overwrought, the Neurotransmitter GABA as well but the 5HTP and Vitamin D have worked wonders for me. I would sooner take supplements than drugs. Thank you always

  16. Alan Simberg January 18, 2015 at 5:12 am - Reply

    Thank you Suzy for doing what you do. The value of the service you provide is priceless. I appreciate the balance you incorporate between medical science and nutrition. Especially the information you offer about lab tests not generally known by the public and your nutritional suggestions. My experience providing nutritional guidance to clients clearly mirrors the value of what you teach. The body truly appreciates receiving what it needs. Appreciate you adding to my knowledge base.

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 5:27 am - Reply

      Very kind of you Alan, the nice comments I receive from people like you really motivate me to research and write more. It gives my life meaning.

  17. Bonny January 18, 2015 at 5:29 am - Reply

    Suzy,

    You mentioned that your husband has Lyme Disease. Thomas Levy, M.D. says he’s cured Lyme Disease with I.V. Vitamin C.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpptUsJFCEY

    Hope this helps.

    Bonny

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 5:12 pm - Reply

      Hi Bonny,
      I’ve approved your comment b/c it may help others but I need people to understand that high dose vitamin C isn’t for everyone. If you have certain snps it can be harmful. Like for example, if I did that therapy, it would literally do me in. I don’t have any working SOD snps, superoxide dismutase. Most people don’t understand one mechanism of action of how vitamin C and other oxidative therapies like that (or like ozone or UV light) work. It’s a long story, but basically vitamin C readily donates an electron to produce transition metal ions. It’s like a split-second in this form. These ions readily react with O2, reducing it to superoxide radicals, which are harmful and supposed to be reduced to something less harmful with superoxide dismutase enzyme, but like I said some people are crippled by an SOD mutation. It’s really common to have a snp, and some of us have all 5 as homozygous! So you can’t just use high dose vitamin C as a wet blanket, it could dramatically worsen some, and help others. You don’t know unless you’ve tested all your genes through a place, such as 23andme.

      • Chris January 18, 2015 at 7:44 pm - Reply

        Since the FDA got on 23andMe’s case about health related DNA results, could we even receive information on the actual snps we carry? Or has 23andMe been reduced to a genealogical test site?

        • Susan January 18, 2015 at 10:13 pm - Reply

          Chris, yes they still provide all of the same genetic info, they just don’t translate it anymore. But there are 2 workaround options for this: 1) plug the data into genetic genie (online) to have it translated, or 2) work with a functional or integrative health practitioner who knows how to translate it. In my case I’m doing both.

          • Suzy Cohen January 19, 2015 at 5:46 pm

            When I got my results I paid $20 at http://www.mthfrsupport.com and it generated a beautiful report. I think they are fabulous. I haven’t tried genetic genie but I heard it is inferior from the people at mthfrsupport.

  18. Dorci January 18, 2015 at 5:41 am - Reply

    Great advice. Sugar is also a huge depressant. Ironically, I was relying on cookies and brownies and whatever else I could get my hands on to help me feel better, but it was only making things worse. Once I cut sugar out of my diet my mood changed drastically and the depression was much better.

  19. Amy Henderson January 18, 2015 at 5:52 am - Reply

    Hi, I am 39 years old and have battled suicidal thoughts and ddepression since I was 7 years old and possibly younger. I’ve tried just about every medication out there as well as chiropractic care, essential oils, yoga, breathing exercises, diet changes etc. Your article gave me a little glimmer of hope!! 4 years ago I was diagnosed with SLE overlapping with Dermatomyositis and Fibromyalgia. I’ve been off and on Prednisone and methotrexate ever since trying to treat them to reduce the inflammation. Here recently my depression and anxiety have escalated dramatically as well as a decline in cognitive function and short term memory function. Any advice?

  20. Christy January 18, 2015 at 5:54 am - Reply

    Suzy I really appreciate your dedication to helping people! The information you provide is priceless for this generation considering that many of the specialist we are sent too do not all have the same knowledge. I have been on compounded T3 for 8 years and it has helped tremendously with varying symptoms of hypothyroidism. My question is will that make one’s TSH go to <.01 because of the supplementation. I feel that the T3 has controlled all hypo symptoms but other physicians are concerned regarding the low TSH level. Is this a normal response with supplementation of T3? Thanks!!

  21. Joan Bassett January 18, 2015 at 6:02 am - Reply

    Your comments are very informative and helpful. Thank you

  22. Sue January 18, 2015 at 6:35 am - Reply

    It has been recommended to me to soak my feet in 2-3 oz. magnesium oil for 20 minutes – once a day for a couple months. Or rub it on various places up to 10% of your body. I order that from Health & Wisdom.com. It has a relaxing affect. I tend to have some adrenal fatigue, and prefer to use the oil rather than the pills. I do not have depression, but used to have anxiety attacks for 8 years w/o knowing what they were. I am 66. I went thru the CHAANGE program in 1984, and was able to change my life with behavioral and relaxation techniques. Since then, I have also taken .25 mg Xanax twice a day for about 29 years. Never increased it – but it takes the edge off. I don’t know whether to keep taking what has worked for me, or is it damaging something I’m not aware of? Thanks for all you are doing to keep us informed!

  23. Veronica January 18, 2015 at 8:39 am - Reply

    Thank you Suzy, all your articles are so helpful. Just thought I would add about Magnesium as it might help someone else. My blood glucose was rising a couple of years ago to diabetic levels. I couldn’t eat a slice of bread without going to about 240mg/dl etc, but funnily my fasting was still in the 75-85 bracket and I could swallow 75g of pure glucose in an OGTT with no problem, only very slightly elevated numbers but not diabetic. Started getting severe cramps last summer and as my doctors didn’t want to know, started investigating on the internet and came up with magnesium as everything else was fine. Started on 500mg mag per day and within a couple of days cramps had stopped, within 4 months all blood glucose readings were absolutely normal, and I do mean absolutely normal, nothing would take me over about 120mg/dl even eating a couple of pancakes with sugar. So its something else to consider especially if you don’t fit the normal type II conformation.

  24. sandra conley January 18, 2015 at 9:02 am - Reply

    Dear Suzy, I have followed you avidly ever since finding you on ‘Know the Cause” a couple of years ago. What a blessing you are! So many doctors either don’t have the time or knowledge to council patients on nutritional deficiencies. Using your information, I have been able to help myself and many of my friends solve many medical mysteries. I passed along your tip on magnesium and migraines and was able to help a friend who had suffered for years (and had spent a month and $50,000. at a famous headache clinic!) You are truly a godsend and we all intensely appreciate all of the hard study that you have done. Blessings.

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      Sandra thank YOU, this is sweet of you to post, and I’m so thrilled you gave someone else the gift of health.
      Feels good to pay it forward.

  25. patty January 18, 2015 at 9:49 am - Reply

    Suzy, The information that you share with us, I so much appreciate! Can I ask you (if you haven’t already) write and teach us about the Cipro, Levaquin, etc poisoning. There is a floxie page, (people who are affected) by the devastating side effects of these anti biotics. I think I am one of them. Thank you Suzy for all of your caring and sharing and for your kind words and compassion.

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      Hi Patty
      I’ve mentioned it a few times. Put “flox” in my search box. “Is your medication making you sick?”
      I’ll write more too, but please know I have posted extensively about this on social media 😉

  26. Glori January 18, 2015 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    I have had a traumatic 6 years. Now at age 45 suffer from PTSD, anxiety disorder and depression. My work snd relations with others suffer so much. I am not on meds try to exercise and take supplements. Lately super depressed and no energy to do the things that help. Woke up this morning and read your article. I have hope !
    Thank you. I am unsure of magnesium dose or other supplement that would b good? Thank you for this article..

  27. Lynne January 18, 2015 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Many thanks for again, another excellent article. As a provider who spends a good deal of time looking at alternative ways of helping people with MH issues, I always appreciate reading what you have to offer.

    With much gratitude,

    Lynne

  28. Kiki Kish January 18, 2015 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    Suzy, I think it’s a serious omission to not discuss the role MTHFR defects can play in depression as well as so many other problems. if 40% of the people have this defect you can bet the majority of people with depression are affected. This defect can seriously affect one’s neurotransmitters and is bypassed by the natural form of folate (NOT folic acid which makes the defect even more problematic) and the proper form of B12 based on your genetics. Check out the armchair genetics post and approaches to supplementing. Definitely, one needs the nutrient and mineral supplements you discuss above as the body needs many things to function properly. Great information, thank you!

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 5:13 pm - Reply

      Hi Kiki,
      I put a link to my methylation and MTHFR post within my article on depression, it’s in there. It’s highlighted in blue.
      See it now? You can also use my search box to see my other articles about it).

  29. Vj Khalsa January 18, 2015 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    I have found Meditation and Yoga to be incredibly powerful
    when it comes to eliminating depression.

    http://naturalmentor.com/meditation-combats-aging-fights-depression-and-more/

    Supplementation and exercise are also important but meditation helps
    to realign the brain with more desirable neuronal patterns, develops the
    gray matter of the brain and thus acutally CHANGES your mental patterns of depression

  30. Judy January 18, 2015 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Hi Suzy,
    I’m 69 and have been on generic Synthroid since age 45. Past 6 yrs, following death of my husband, I dropped 40 pounds rapidly, and I am now going between hypo/hyper on my labs. From 100mcg now 75mcg. I’ve maintained at, but now am on incline; I fight feeling normal. My Inturnal med Doc only treats TSH levels.

  31. Lori January 18, 2015 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    Thank you Suzy for opening up this forum for our comments! I am not on Facebook, etc, so you’ve opened up a whole new world for me! This is wonderful! I learn a lot from others comments and all your replies. It’s especially neat that we can ask you a question and get an answer. Thank you for being so ‘in touch’ with us and caring so much. You are one of a kind for sure!

    Can’t tell you the countless times I’ve shared your info, especially about astaxanthin and the dosage, etc. I use it for pain control and when your pain is less so is your depression.

  32. Peggy January 18, 2015 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    Suzy,

    How much magnesium are you suggesting we purchase? I have just gone off my anti-depressants and still do not feel too much better. I would consider magnesium but at what strength? Any brands you recommend that are pure?

  33. Scott January 18, 2015 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    Just wanted to say that reading this article brought déjàvu of my past. So I have to share my experience with depression medication. I suffered from PTSD. I was on a highly toxic mix of anti depressants, anti phycotics, and of course panic attic medication. I was taking13 pills a day prescribed by my dr. To make a long story short, I attempted suicide by stabbing myself three times in the chest cause I could no longer deal with the effects of the medication. By Gods grace I survived I was 5 minutes from death. After I woke up in the hospital 3 days later I felt like a new person. All the prescribed medication was out of my system. I was so happy to be alive and have a second chance on life. I know longer take medication for depression. They are very dangerous if prescribed like mine were. Just wanted to share with you and your followers my story so they have a first hand knowledge of the dangers if mind altering drugs. God bless

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 5:34 pm - Reply

      Wow, you are very lucky. Thank you for sharing this story with our growing communitys. That is truly a fascinating story, details details…

  34. Sheila January 18, 2015 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    All I can say is, “WOW”! Suzy, you’re a woman after my own heart! I love your emails, newsletters, and all the many different ways you continually keep us educated. Like you, I fee that education is key……when we know better, we do better……I’ve been a follower of yours for the past year, and will continue to be……you’re a God send! As someone who is also in the alternative health field, I will keep sharing your message with others, while I benefit from your education as well! I hope you and your husband have a healthy, blessed 2015!

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 5:32 pm - Reply

      I’m so touched Sheila, sniff sniff!
      THANK YOU 🙂

  35. Ms. Michal aka Mikiyah January 18, 2015 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    In my “Endless Attitude of Gratitude”
    the divine in me bows Deeply to the divine in You Suzy!!!
    Bear Hugs from me & most all of your clients. 🙂

    Blessings, Ms. Michal aka Mikiyah

    “Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present!

    May today’s gifts, bring more than what you dream and may they be superior to your innermost wishes. . . (!!!)”

    It’s my e-mail’s final thought that goes to all with every reply.
    May the Divine continue to bless you and all your work!!!!

  36. madeline January 18, 2015 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    I’m concerned about my son he’s depressed. Talks about it a lot. Isn’t on ant medications. Why do you suggest. He’s 23…lives on his own.

  37. kristin January 18, 2015 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    I have mag. citrate supplements. they are 250 milligrams each And it says to take two. my multivitamin has 50 – is 550 mg. too much? I have gastroparesis, hypothyroid and anxiety which causes PVCs, plus I think I’m in perimenapause. I was taking magox 400 which dissolves like chAlk instantly when you swallow them but read the oxide was not the best form to take.

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 5:30 pm - Reply

      Throw out the oxide form. Common dosages are 150 to 250 once or twice daily with food.

  38. Bonnie January 18, 2015 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    Dear Suzy,
    Thank you so much for the wonderful information you share. I’ve been following you for several years and have a couple of your books. Your input has always been very helpful and I so appreciate how caring manner. I have used your Marshmellow root recipe and it works well. Magnesium must be important for many functions of the body as my naturopathic dr just told me to try it in connection with my high blood pressure. Hoping to find a natural cure as prescription meds cause me to have bad reactions.
    Do you ever have any speaking engagements in the Boulder area. We will be living there come March. Also what is the name of the place you get your herbs? I believe you mentioned it in one of your articles or UTube videos?
    Thank you
    Bonnie

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      I haven’t scheduled anything for Boulder. I like to keep a low profile 😉
      Rebecca’s Apothecary on Spruce, one block off Pearl Street.

  39. Tamara January 18, 2015 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Aside from knowing what the neopterin, biopterin levels and ratio are, how do you manipulate them into appropriate ranges? Thank you!

    • Natalie January 19, 2015 at 1:22 am - Reply

      I would love more info on biopterin and neopterin as well. Great article, Suzy. I have Lyme and the depression I get from any die off even from TINY amounts of treatment is unbearable. I have horrible insomnia as well and will be testing the IL-10 and TN-Alpha. My CRP is a little high and I do take CoQ10. Vitamin C causes intense flaring of interstitial cystitis so I can’t do that. Magnesium helps a little and thyroid treatment has helped a little and I do take some things for methylation. I am going to try upping the doses of those to see if it helps as well. LDN gives me terrible nightmares even when taken in the morning! Treating has been such a catch-22 for me since I was sick for many years without knowing what it was. This disease causes such a mess in the body and it is depressing in and of itself because of how sensitive I’ve become to everything – I can’t handle treatment!! I take something called Neuroflam and will be working further on inflammation. Thanks for the comprehensive list here – very helpful.

      • Suzy Cohen January 19, 2015 at 5:15 pm - Reply

        Natalie, that is a tough situation.
        Sometimes severe insomnia is caused by HHV6 or other herpes-related organisms that get into the brain.
        Neuroflam is a good product, and it does something that is good.
        Yeast, bartonella or mycoplasm???

        • Natalie January 20, 2015 at 5:00 am - Reply

          Thank you for the reply, Suzy. I do have mycoplasma, probably Bartonella – haven’t been tested yet, and probably yeast although I’ve done the candida diet numerous times and it doesn’t do anything and do avoid sugar, dairy, etc. I should probably go back on anyway.

  40. Mariah January 18, 2015 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    Thank you. My only child (20 yo son), has suffered most of his life with tics, mood, depression, OCD, and all the bullying associated. After years of drs and therapy in which they couldn’t pinpoint exactly what was wrong but still diagnosed and prescribed for PTSD, depression, ADD….(medications which we did not use), he was diagnosed with Tourettes. As you may know, Tourettes in and of itself has so many other conditions related to it but it all seemed to fit and my son finally felt the diagnosis explained it all, and even had hope in the horrible drugs prescribed; these drugs did not help and caused other problems. By this point he blamed me and his dad for all this and refuses to listen to any more advice from us. At 26 I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and recently ankylosing Spondilitis and Graves’ disease (I’ve been taking many of the supplements you mention over the years with great results). His dad we are sure has undiagnosed Tourettes which he controls/hides very well. Anyway, I left a copy of this article out and my son read it! He even mentioned he was interested in getting bloodwok done. Thank you for your dedication to helping others, it’s so appreciated.

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 7:30 pm - Reply

      I’m sorry to hear about your long path, and the suffering. I really have compassion for you. People don’t think I understand because I am healthy myself, but I see sickness and pain all around me, since I was a little girl. I even worked in nursing homes for 7 years so I saw a lot of needless suffering there as well. And terminal patients. And illness within my own home… I guess what I’m trying to say is I understand and I care, and I will do my best to continue serving others and helping them. Please read my article on LDN.

  41. Chris January 18, 2015 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    Several years ago, a new physician told me to “stop taking Mg” because I had scored above the reference range on an RBC-Mg test. (7.5 compared to reference range of 4.2 – 6.8) I had been taking 250 mg of an amino acid chelated Mg oxide, daily. Without it, I would get palpitations.

    With Magnesium deficiencies common; what might account for a score flagged as “high” on an RBC-Mg test? Could it be that since “reference ranges” are determined based on those who are tested; that maybe I was actually in a healthy range, as measured against scores that are commonly way too low?

    Thank you Suzy for the opportunity to ask this!

    • Suzy Cohen January 18, 2015 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      Yes it could certainly be that way Chris. I’m not in love with the oxide forms, they are poorly absorbed but if it helps you then by all means.

      • Chris January 18, 2015 at 9:04 pm - Reply

        When I started noticing palpitations and depressed breathing after only two days of having taken just half of a low dose of captopril for HTN, I quickly bought some of the same amino acid chelated form of Mg that had apparently worked before. (There are still 29-1/4 tablets of the captopril left, which I am totally THROUGH with!)
        Recently I have switched to capsules of Magnesium Taurate-152 mg. Seems to be working fine, though I might consider taking it 2x a day.
        For several months I had tried CALM, but found the Mg citrate form to have too much of a laxative effect; even sneaking up on a divided dose.

  42. Fredan January 18, 2015 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the very informative and interesting article. Is it possible to send me more detailed articles. I would appreciate that.
    I have been treating patients with depression for more or less 24 years and i agree with you….one drug does not work for everyone.
    There must be more that we can do and i am sure that you have done a lot of research already.
    Thank you in advance.

  43. Lori January 18, 2015 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    Dear Suzy,

    I cannot thank you enough for your quality supplements. My son takes the Thyroscript and in general, says he is feeling better overall and only shortly after he started it. I purchased your magnesium for my brother who has RLS and he immediately is getting some relief and able to start trying to get off his prescription drug. I have your thyroid book and was able to prove to my sons doctor that he is thyroid sick. Just purchased your headache book since I have debilitating migraines

    You mentioned resveratrol for depression and my son takes 500 mg. Your article stated to not take too much so could you please tell me if 500 mg is too high of a dose?

    Thank you so very much. I have so much respect for your knowledge and cant thank you enough for your dedication to health.

    Lori

    • Suzy Cohen January 19, 2015 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      Thank you Lori! Wow, those are great testimonials for my supplements! I wish you would post it at THAT site one day.
      Resveratrol, 500 mg is high.
      I’d say 100 is plenty.
      Too much resveratrol, it can reduce copper.

  44. Maggie January 18, 2015 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    Suzy, this has to do with taking Glycine at night as you recommended in an article. I have been taking Glycine and wonder if I should ever stop taking it? Do I take it forever?

    • Suzy Cohen January 19, 2015 at 5:42 pm - Reply

      It’s not a forever thing, you should ask doc though.

  45. Julie January 18, 2015 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    i’m currently taking Fetzima because it’s the only antidepressant that doesn’t cause headaches. How much do you think it would cost to get the testing you talk about?

  46. Susan January 18, 2015 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Suzy, I have been very impressed by you over the past several months, beginning with the thyroid summit. I find your newsletters extremely informative and unique as compared to others that I receive. It is obvious that you care deeply about helping others and you are very generous to offer this type of comment/Q&A forum.

    I’ve experienced mild depression off and on since childhood, though I’ve never taken anything for it. I currently have SIBO. I do think that I am hypothyroid and have been for some time, but my functional doctor is focused on trying to fix the SIBO, dysbiosis and leaky gut issues first. I’m hoping that when my thyroid normalizes that I will feel more uniformly and consistency happy about myself and life in general.

    Thank you for delving into this area of nutrient deficiencies and other causes of depression. Too many people blame themselves and don’t realize that there are many other options rather than prescription anti-depressants.

  47. April January 18, 2015 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    As many of the others have said, I can’t thank you enough for all your easy to understand information; and for allowing us a place for comments and questions…and answering them!!

    I’ve read through all 75 (I think) comments as I need all the help I can get to hopefully someday get off the antidepressants I have taken for years. It’s going to be a very long process as I try to wean off with the help of the supplements. I do think (and hope) my doctor will help me.

    I haven’t seen any information on articles like this about Effexor. Is there any differences with this from other meds? Or do I treat it the same?

    Blessing to you for all you do!

    • Suzy Cohen January 19, 2015 at 5:42 pm - Reply

      Thank you April.
      Venlafaxine is an SNRI drug, not an SSRI drug.
      This means it is is a serotonin-norephinephrine reuptake inhibitor, so it blocks reuptake of these 2 neurotransmitters making them more available to you.
      Simply put:
      SSRI drugs increase serotonin
      SNRI drugs increase serotonin and norepinephrine or “norepi” as we abbreviate it.
      norepi is related to adrenalin
      Going off the drug might leave you tired at first. Never stop suddenly, these things have to be weaned, and no one says going off them is the right thing to do either. This is between you and your doctor/psychiatrist/practitioners.
      Blessings to you and yours 🙂

  48. Cheyenne January 18, 2015 at 11:57 pm - Reply

    I love your articles. You freely share so much detailed information to help others. Thanks for all the compassion you have for other people. It’s amazing how much health information there is to learn when one has an open mind. It also breaks my heart to know how much more help doctors could be giving people besides giving them dangerous medications. You are a gift to us all. Bless you. Keep writing your books.

    • Suzy Cohen January 19, 2015 at 5:38 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much Cheyenne! Sweet of you (beautiful name too).

  49. shela January 19, 2015 at 12:09 am - Reply

    Thank you Suzy ☺☺☺ love all your helpful research and hard work you put into your website.

  50. Ann Hilburn January 19, 2015 at 1:37 am - Reply

    My question concerns having too much iron in the body. What is wrong when the body produces too much iron and a person has to keep giving blood to get the iron level down? How can this problem be corrected?

    • Suzy Cohen January 19, 2015 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      Please post key words in the search box above to pull up articles on iron, ferritin, hemochromotosis, Babesia, and so forth. You might find something in another area of my site, but not in this thread since we are talking about depression and other neurological disorders, not blood dyscrasias.

  51. Sandy January 19, 2015 at 2:40 am - Reply

    Hi Suzie: I have a 26 year old son that complains of not feeling well all the time. He is very moody and tend to be always depressed. All lab test including thyroid levels comes back ‘normal’ He is 5’10 inches tall and weighs about 125 pounds. He cannot gain weight no matter how hard he tries and will loose weight so easily even if he misses a meal. He goes to the bathroom immediately after he eats, sometimes has to stop eating to run to the bathroom.It makes me sad to see him this way. Any suggestions?

    • Suzy Cohen January 19, 2015 at 5:22 pm - Reply

      Doggie style eating then eliminating… classic gluten sensitivity or could be Celiac. Test him using Cyrex, Array #3 and #4
      You need a good doctor, no one can diagnose here, but that’s my suggestion (test him and clean his diet, eliminate grains, gluten, dairy, eggs and nuts).

      • Pam January 19, 2015 at 11:30 pm - Reply

        Hi Suzy – where can we get the urine test for Neopterin and biopterin?

        • Suzy Cohen January 20, 2015 at 5:06 am - Reply

          Hi Pam
          Labcorp offers it.
          Genova Diagnostics.
          Metametrix Labs

      • sara January 23, 2015 at 2:28 pm - Reply

        yes – food allergy testing! changed my life!

    • Rosemary February 11, 2015 at 10:51 pm - Reply

      Dear Sandy
      It sounds very much like Crohn’s disease. Please research that and try to rule it out but it most likely is Crohns which my family is very familiar with as our oldest son has suffered from this condition since 2007 and has been to many hospital visits and doctors. Your son will not get better on his own, you must take action and intervene.

      • Kelly April 2, 2015 at 1:02 am - Reply

        Ditto on the crohn’s – this sounds exactly like my son! You need to take him to a gastroenterologist and get him checked right away. I write this as I am sitting in the hospital for the 2nd time in 2 months with with my 21 year old son and his bowel obstruction. A lifetime of symptoms and pediatricians “you can’t miss school with a stomachache” – now he has permanent damage and will likely face surgery and is already on infusions every 8 weeks for the rest of his life. Couldn’t eat – would sit down to eat and then just couldn’t. Went from 180 to 130 lbs – that’s malnourished for a 5’10” male (same height as my son).

  52. Angela January 19, 2015 at 3:32 am - Reply

    Hi Suzy!

    Thank you so much for the wonderful information it has helped me and my family immensely. I can feel all the love and concern you send everyone and I say right back at you!

  53. Dored January 19, 2015 at 4:54 am - Reply

    Greetings, I need your assistance in regards to my wife. She’s being diagnosed with “URTICARIA”, her symptoms, body rash, body aches, some of the joints swell, especially the fingers, this happens in the evening hours, but after going to bed and waking up in the morning everything goes away, and later during the afternoon/evening things start coming back, this has been going on since 2005. Mayo clinic was unable to help her, they operated on her thinking she had Lymphoma, after the surgery, everything was negative. Her blood work reveals Vitamin D deficient, Anemic, high sedrate level. Mediations never help with any of her symptoms. What can we do to find cure? Thank you in advance.

    • Deborah January 21, 2015 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      Dear Dored, The first step is to heal her gut. This is not easy or fast, but it will really help her. Please see a functional medicine doctor or a naturopath who will work on this with you. good luck and God bless. Deborah

    • Mona January 23, 2015 at 8:37 pm - Reply

      Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead – its a documentary about fasting with juice and its a great story. Joe Cross has (had) what your wife has and is cured of it in two months. Good luck!

      • Suzy Cohen January 25, 2015 at 12:02 am - Reply

        Yep, wasn’t that GREAT! I watched it twice. Thanks so much Mona.

    • jeff February 5, 2015 at 1:04 pm - Reply

      Watch the movie “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” as the main characters have the same “urticaria” affliction and cure their outbreaks by changing their diet..

    • Kelly April 2, 2015 at 1:09 am - Reply

      Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria. Common in middle age females. Hives out of nowhere with no known cause and you may never find out why. You should find a good allergist/immunologist to get her on treatment. There is possibility of relief but you have to have the right doc. Here’s a pretty good description (I know it’s wikipedia but it’s not bad): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urticaria

      I have this an am currently hive free after being taken through the “the 2014 American practice parameters” outlined in the article (my doc followed them pretty closely). I am currently taking zyrtec/zantac twice daily, hydroxyzine, cyclosporine, and now xolair injections. Hope to try weaning off of the orals soon, but this can be a lifelong condition (crossing my fingers).

  54. Lawrence Gabriel January 19, 2015 at 11:06 am - Reply

    Suzy, You have educated so much, I can’t thank you enough. I have thyroid problems and depression. Numerous antidepressants haven’t worked,and I also get steroid injections in my spine every 3 months so thank you so much for this knowledge. When i read your articles it turns a light on for me.

    • Suzy Cohen January 19, 2015 at 5:20 pm - Reply

      Thank you Lawrence, kind of you to say.

    • nancy January 24, 2015 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      no wonder you are depressed…steroid injections in your spine every 3 months?? OMG!!! thAT TRAVELS through your entire system….brain barrier and all..FInd a differ means of pain reduction if that is indeed what you are using your injections for..That would explainit all to me..SOrry I hope you feel better,,,

    • Vanessa February 4, 2015 at 2:43 am - Reply

      Please, Google steroid injections. Dr’s often recommend them for back pain but they are not approved for that use and are potentially very dangerous. I hope you find relief from your pain and when you do, please pass that information along to me. I suffer from a rare spinal cord disease.

  55. Lawrence Gabriel January 19, 2015 at 11:09 am - Reply

    thank u for the knowledge, i suffer from depression,thyroid also receive steroid injections in my spine. your a great help

  56. Connie January 19, 2015 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Thanks Suzy. This is helpful. You are loved also! I don’t know you per say but you seem very genuine.

    • Randy January 19, 2015 at 7:30 pm - Reply

      HI Suzy
      I was in an Industrial accident about six and a half years ago where it left me with my face burned beyond recognition and all the flesh melted off both my hands from my wrist down. I was in deep depression until my Dr put me on Citalapram, and even now i have some bad days. Do you think that magnsium will work for me?
      Also, my son was over in Afghanistan for seven months on the front line and since he came back he developed severe PTSD. He refuses to take medication because his aunt nearly overdosed on it. Is there some other kind of treatment or herbal remedies he can try?
      Thank you so much for your time
      Randy
      Ab, Canada

      • Suzy Cohen January 20, 2015 at 5:22 am - Reply

        Hi Randy
        It is nice to meet you here, and I’m very sorry to hear of your suffering. I can’t imagine why a plain mineral like magnesium would be a problem, but of course ask your practitioners to be sure because I’m not a doctor. I feel that depression is tied to all sorts of things, it’s not just one single thing like a mineral deficiency. Your adrenals are probably taxed from the stress of your physical limitations. You can ask about adaptogens too, gentle ones like low doses of rhodiola, ginseng, licorice, shisandra or ashwagandha. I don’t know of herbs for PTSD, I think a professional therapist would be ideal, that is harder to treat.
        Here’s an e-hug.

        • gayle February 19, 2015 at 6:07 pm - Reply

          I am so grateful to find this site. Thank you. My daughter also suffers from PTSD from sexual assaults. Dr Mark Millar has a site called OperationSetThemFree actually is opsetthemfree.com and is having great results with returning soldiers using all natural supplement lithium orotate. Only approx. $15 per bottle of 100. Hope this offers hope! Thank you Ms. Cohen!

      • Brenda January 21, 2015 at 10:19 pm - Reply

        Try EMDR for PTSD

        • Suzy Cohen January 22, 2015 at 1:24 am - Reply

          Thanks Brenda. Some people may not know what you’re referring to, so I’ve defined it here: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

  57. Fay January 19, 2015 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    Hi Suzy

    Would you be able to tell me about this puzzle?
    I have very low blood pressure.
    Homozygous MTHFR C677t
    Low magnesium levels
    Depression
    Slight Hashimotos, doctors stoped even 12.5 mcg of synthroid
    YET when i take magnesium it makes me very depressed
    I suspect its because it further lowers my already low blood pressure
    Folate & B12 i can only tolerate for a couple days at a time n have to stop
    Can you state your stance on why magnesium makes me feel like i am dying.
    BTW its the type of magneseum u recommend
    Thank u in advance for your ever

  58. Khali January 20, 2015 at 12:42 am - Reply

    All labs ok but free t3 low and rt3 high, don’t take hormones. Tried Cytomel once gave me SVT heart rate went to 190 bpm [beats per minute]. Seen 7 endos [endocrinologists], all ignorant, feel hyper most of the time. Low cortisol, wake up at odd hours at night like 3, 4, 5 am, can’t rest well. Help!
    Thanks,
    Khali

  59. Megan January 20, 2015 at 2:21 am - Reply

    Thanks for this. I take 100 mg Haldol shots for a mental health disorder, it was just recently moved to every 3 months. Just recently my legs have been aching worse than they ever have after just a short mile walk. I walked 3 miles this summer about twice a week and was fine. I’m only 35 and feel like I’m getting arthritis in my joints. I stand all day on concrete at work too and this is painful. I drink over 8 cups of water a day and was wondering if this could deplete magnesium. I’m going to get some epsom salt to soak in and talk to a doctor about taking a magnesium supplement. Will also check into getting some of these tests done. Thanks again.

    • kevlynn January 21, 2015 at 7:45 pm - Reply

      Although I’m not an expert. Just adding my two cents…(from life experience) You need to be standing on a rubber mat, ask your employer to provide one for you! Hope you’re wearing thick soled shoes or work boots to absorb the impact to your joints from standing or walking on cement. Epsom salt soaks are good for temporary relief.

  60. Val January 20, 2015 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    Thanks Suzy for all you do!
    What do suggest for neurotransmitter problems after and opiate detox?
    My son was put on pain meds and became addicted to them. It makes me mad how they hand them out like candy! He detoxed from them and is on suboxone I hope short term. He is so flat and I know if he doesn’t feel normal he will go back to them or worse heroin! His doctor asked him if he wanted an antidepressant and he said no! I was so glad because I hate them! I do want to offer him alternatives though!

    • Suzy Cohen January 20, 2015 at 11:34 pm - Reply

      Hi Val,
      This is not something I can treat, or advise for online. I am glad he detoxed, that is a good step. His counselors and physicians should be keeping an eye on him though. When you say “flat” I visualize apathy… which is tied to low dopamine. Research dopamine deficiency. It is also tied to drug abuse. It is something his physicians should be targeting with medications, supplements and diet. I wish you all well.

      • Pam January 22, 2015 at 1:18 am - Reply

        Do you recommend Deprenyl for Dopamine Deficiency? I’ve had NAD IV treatments but they are expensive and wear off after a few months.

        • Suzy Cohen January 22, 2015 at 1:27 am - Reply

          Hi Pam
          I’m not a doctor, so I can’t make any recommendations for you. I agree that NAD infusions are expensive, and they are hard to get. Those are generally used for people with addiction disorders (for others reading this wondering what that is). And also, I’ve seen up close the extensive and long-lasting problems that high dose niacin can do to a person who didn’t need it to begin with. Undertake NAD IVs with caution, they are great if you need them, but terrible if you don’t. And thousands of dollars for each treatment. We wasted our money on that treatment for Sam.

          • Pam January 28, 2015 at 4:36 am

            Hi Suzy – thank you for responding – I’m curious as to what long lasting problems you have seen with IV NAD ? What kind of results or lack of results did Sam experience?
            Also – what are your thoughts on Deprenyl for increasing dopamine levels?

          • Suzy Cohen January 29, 2015 at 3:19 am

            When you get those 10 hour IV infusions of it, 4 days of row you will crash. It’s a coenzyme form of niacin. It’s used for addiction purposes, which he does NOT have, he was trying it for brain balancing and neurotransmitter help. Probably should’ve taken the tablets right, IVs are big giant doses!
            Deprenyl ok if it’s working for you.

          • Pam January 29, 2015 at 3:25 pm

            thanks Suzy for sharing – I’ve done as much research as I know how on the NAD infusions and I understand that approximately 10% of the population are genetically deficient in this – carried on mothers mitrochrondria and benefit from these infusions, I’ve done the 23 & ME and I do have some snp’s that reflect possible problems that NAD drips are successful for, only problem is the cost and availability of them – do you have a list of facilities that are currently treating with the NAD ?

          • Suzy Cohen January 31, 2015 at 2:08 am

            I don’t, unfortunately. I think the place Sam went to was in Baltimore.
            There maybe some place in California, in San Diego, and you can google this, with the word “addiction” because that is how they advertise their clinic.

  61. Elizabeth January 21, 2015 at 3:49 am - Reply

    Wow! My boss is always talking about trying to incorporate magnesium into our formulations and I used to wonder why, I guess he had an idea about what you are saying on the effect of magnesium in the body. Personally, I am and have always been a happy-chappy person, but I see a few depressed people from time to time and I think this should be a very good resource. Thanks Suzy.

    • Suzy Cohen January 22, 2015 at 1:15 am - Reply

      Happy chappy. Cute Elizabeth. I like that, I think I am basically that way myself!

  62. valerie January 22, 2015 at 12:42 am - Reply

    Hi Suzy, thank you for all you do. I greatly appreciate it. I was in a car vs. bus accident 10.5 months ago and since then my life has not been at all the same. I suffered severe whiplash which my muscles are taking sweet slow time healing. Also had a 3 level cervical fusion b/c of the 3 herniated discs in my neck that also was thanks to the accident. But the worst part of it all is that I can’t sleep at night due to nightmares of the accident and the tinnitus. My doctor put me on an antidepressant. I am not depressed, just very very tired b/c I can’t sleep without nightmares waking me up. This has been going on since the accident. Any suggestions? My functional medicine doctor has me taking Kavinase PM but that hasn’t been completely helpful either. Also, bladder control issues have been going on since the accident but have gotten worse since my surgery. Been on numerous kinds of pain meds all of which don’t completely take away the muscle pain. I do take magnesium (up to 600mg a day).

    • Suzy Cohen January 22, 2015 at 1:19 am - Reply

      Hi Valerie
      Hi Valerie,
      This is complex. He may be using that antidepressant to raise serotonin; adequate serotonin helps to reduce pain. Regardless if this is the reasoning, if it’s not helping I would tell him you want help weaning off it. You sound like you need something to help you with the underlying problems like the PTSD (nightmares) and the bladder issues.
      As for pain and muscle relaxation, you can ask about using something like a muscle relaxer. Also maybe something like curcumin, boswellia or another natural anti-inflammatory could help. Look up uva ursi, berberine and other herbs for the bladder. Good luck to you, hope something here pans out.

  63. Lindsey January 22, 2015 at 3:26 am - Reply

    Thank you for your wonderful article. I have Lyme Disease and have been suffering from some pretty intense depression lately. My Lyme Literate ND has me on Cholestyramine to help as a binder to get mold toxins out of my body (I have a mold allergy/sensitivity and candida overgrowth). I am worried about taking the Cholestyramine long term as I understand it can cause nutrient deficiency. I also take activated charcoal but the Dr. says it’s not potent enough. Your thoughts?

    • Suzy Cohen January 22, 2015 at 4:39 am - Reply

      Hi Lindsey,
      They both work well, cholestyramine is the drug of choice though for LLMDs. You wouldn’t need both, just one, especially because these cause constipation big time.
      I covered all the nutrient deficiencies for cholestyramine in my Drug Muggers book, so please look them all up in there. There are too many to go over here.
      It’s mainly fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, etc. When supplementing, you want to space away from your cholestyramine or it will bind it up.

  64. Kathy January 22, 2015 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Hi Suzy,
    Thank you for your time. I have taken Zoloft since 1998 and have tried to do without but can not. At this moment I take 100mg. daily. Do you have suggestions ? I have been told that I may never come off of Zoloft because I have been taking it so long.

    • kim January 23, 2015 at 5:48 pm - Reply

      Hi Suzy,

      Thanks for all of your straightforward great information. Question on the Thyroid – T3 FREE is 2.4 (you referenced an optimal 3.5-4.3). I take Tirosant 137mcg and Cytomel 5mcg. Suggestions on how to get this level up?

  65. Jenece January 23, 2015 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    One year since RAI for extreme hyper. PCP never offered up a thyroid panel after years of complaining of sypmtoms. Nodules on my thyroid were discovered at a free health fair with they did a sono on my cartoid arteries. Only then did my PCP do a panel which led to them sending me to an endo….one year later I’m still getting my dosage adjusted, gaining weight, still fatigued because I’m now hypo (but labs are “normal”) with TERRIBLE hip & leg joint & muscle pain. Started magnesium and D3 and stopped the Lexapro. I’m 48 and feel 80. I thank you for caring about us when our own doctors don’t.

  66. William rose January 24, 2015 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    my first advice would be to see a nutrioniis that will take care of the gut and the right nutrients must eat lots of fruited and Vegemite eat two bananas a day

  67. Lee Goldman January 25, 2015 at 4:07 am - Reply

    Dear Suzy: Thanks for the input re “Berberbine” supplements,…..however I cannot find a pharmacy, health food store, or nutritional center store that carries it let alone actual “heard of it”. I would so like to buy it and try it to help keep my blood sugar I am not diabetic) and cholesterol down. Also I am a post menopausal woman and fine it very annoying to have to get up from sleep 2 sometime 3 times a night to urinate…I do not have a problem during the daytime…I do not have to rush to the bathroom to urinate., also I do no drink a lot during the day so I’m really puzzled and annoyed having to wake up to go to the bathroom (I should mention that I take a prescription sleeping pill and STILL wake up …it takes me a while to fall back to sleep.I go for a physical checkup every year and
    my primary doctor has never found anything to back this up (even tho I have never mentioned i to him).
    This year when I go for my yearly check up (which includes several blood tests) I will certainly make mention of this bothersome problem. What is your take on this problem? Could it be age related? Maybe I’ve made mention of this before to you but I don’t remember your input on the subject.

    • Suzy Cohen January 25, 2015 at 4:42 am - Reply

      Hi Lee
      Look on iHerb.com here’s a link to the berberine page.
      Post menopausal urinary incontinence, urgency, cystitis etc… may be due to low estrogen. Your doctor is probably not testing your hormones, or testing them incorrectly. I would trust the Rhein urine lab test for hormones. Bio-identical ones are best, and that may ultimately solve your problem. If it’s not that, it could be tied to candida, or undiagnosed diabetes. You need to correctly rule all those out. Correctly is the key word, you need the RIGHT tests.

  68. Yvonne Mickelson January 25, 2015 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    Hi Suzy, Great article. Thanks for the info. I did want to tell you a bit about me. I am a 45 year old female and I have been diagnosed with PTSD from being molested as a child. I am obese (320 pounds) and have been put on Cymbalta and Wellbutrin for depression. I take a preventative for high blood pressure and metformin for blood sugar. A few months ago I decided to get off the antidepressants as I have been on them for years and feel like they were not doing anything. I stopped taking them and i feel no different from when I was on them. I don’t feel depressed. I am moody and I do feel alot of pain in my body now that I am off the Cymbalta. My muscles mainly. My thyroid is fine, been tested for it. My cholesterol is high and not on anything for that because I find when I do take something for it, I am in more pain in my joints. I find I have enough pain I do not want to increase it. Can you suggest anything I can do to help with my body pain? Can I be depressed still and just not know it? I find that a silly question but I am gonna ask it anyway. Any information you can provide would be great. Thank you in advance.

    • Linda B July 28, 2015 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      Yvonne, there is never a silly question.

  69. Karin January 26, 2015 at 2:25 am - Reply

    I want to be a wellness consultant in the mental health realm and need to know where to get best training with regard to these things. I have BA in Prev Health/minor nutrition. I have made connection with a facility who will give me an opportunity however I need more training. Can you make suggestions? I LOVE what you do! You are a TRUE inspiration! I have some ideas of how I can be of assistance to integrative practitioners and mental health practitioners but not sure how I can pull it all into a productive plan. Thank you for any insight.

    • Suzy Cohen January 26, 2015 at 6:57 am - Reply

      Hi Karin,
      It’s hard to say, it’s been 20 years of training for me in the natural arena, and 30 as a pharmacist. I would start at acam.org or functionalmedicine.org or online, and read and read and read 🙂 Bless you and good luck.

  70. Linda January 26, 2015 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    Suzy,
    Do you have a recommended range for Total T3? Mine is 1.46. Am on 60 mcg of Armour a day, but, feel really down. Been on Cymbalta but had to stop do to RLS at night. Am on bio-identical hormones but they won’t increase the estrogen due to a blood clot issue. I did well to find someone that would let me use what they do. Your thoughts on the thyroid issue?

    • Suzy Cohen January 27, 2015 at 4:16 am - Reply

      Yes, I have a list of all those labs and recommended values in Thyroid Healthy book, I think page 54.
      Sometimes RLS is due to dopamine deficiency. Or iron deficiency, or folate deficiency, and others.

  71. Vicki January 29, 2015 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    Thank you for hitting on this subjuct as I have had depression from little on, anxiety, panic attacks, stress that over takes me from an abusive childhood and life as an adult 57 and doctors have wanted to put me on drugs that are worse than what I now deal with, I refused!
    I went to all natural homeopathic medicines this has kept me sane. However, I am always looking for better ways to calm those fears. I also started working out again. If I can find a doctor to hear me I will check on these tests. Magnesium was something that I read about for another problem I fight with that of an overactive bladder/ leaking/ bladder pain to help calm and support muscles is that true and what is the best for that.

    • Suzy Cohen January 31, 2015 at 2:07 am - Reply

      Hi Vicki
      Please put “cystitis” or “bladder” into my search box to read what I suggest.

      • Vicki February 18, 2015 at 11:08 pm - Reply

        Dear Suzy;

        I thank you… I will… as Dr.s have told me I do not have Cystitis even though I am in pain 24/7…Whatever, Doc! I heading there right now! Thanks!!

  72. Mari January 31, 2015 at 6:40 am - Reply

    So much great info here to pass on! Thanks Suzy! I have had surprisingly good results with Sam-e. I take a super low amount and it keeps my moods more stable. I also notice great joint pain relief. It has been a Godsend for me.

  73. Kathy January 31, 2015 at 6:43 am - Reply

    I understand the observation of “one size doesn’t fit all” for anxiety/depression/panic attacks. I’m 61 now and had my 1st serious depression in my early 30’s. Couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, just wanted to cry, terrified to watch the news and all along thinking “there is nothing going on in my life to make me feel this way”. Prozac returned me to feeling normal again, but had side effects I didn’t like (low libido), so I went off it and was good for a couple of years. Repeated the same type of cycle 2 more times over several years, only it took me longer to feel normal each of the next 2 times. I was sent to a psychiatrist for evaluation, but there REALLY wasn’t an issue to discuss and his assessment agreed. The last time, I went to my doctor and told him I was going off the Prozac for the usual reason but I wanted to stay on something. Zoloft was what we found that worked and I have been on it for well over a decade without a relapse. Quite honestly the depression seemed to come on so fast it was like catching a cold. I take it, you would still recommend that I go through the bloodwork, especially with probable new information on depression. Other family members have experienced this pattern and one daughter did have a thorough blood work up, but was still placed on Zoloft. So, is this pattern unusual? What kind of doctor should assess the bloodwork for medication changes? Is counseling mandatory? Because the fear and sadness didn’t seem to have a reason and went away on the medication. Please comment.

    • Suzy Cohen January 31, 2015 at 7:59 am - Reply

      Hi Kathy,
      Many people go through cycles of depression. I recommend a Functional Medicine doctor to assess bloodwork: http://www.functionalmedicine.org or acam.org
      Counseling? That’s very personal.
      You’re lucky the medicine helps, some people… it doesn’t even help.

  74. Theesa January 31, 2015 at 8:32 am - Reply

    what can be done for a racing heart and anxiety Suzy, my thyroid levels are normal and I have had this daily for 14 years I have had anti depressants but didn’t stop the symptoms x

    • Suzy Cohen January 31, 2015 at 7:51 pm - Reply

      Racing heart and anxiety for 14 years? I am so sorry to hear that… you need a better physician that can pinpoint the problem. I’m not a doc. Maybe it’s some kind of medicine you’re taking? Maybe you could try some of the supplements I talk about for anxiety (with doc approval)… and they are sold everywhere. Why don’t you take some time to read all my columns on the topic? Put the terms in my search box above and you can read all the remedies.

  75. Eleanor January 31, 2015 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Suzy, I’m smarter because of your books and articles like this. If you only knew how many people love and respect you, I’m sure you could walk on water! You change lives!

    • Suzy Cohen January 31, 2015 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      Thank you Eleanor, that is very kind of you to take the time to post such lovely comments.

  76. Kay February 1, 2015 at 5:26 am - Reply

    I was confused about testing urine for neopterin and biopterin. I understand that it has to do with tryptophan metabolism, but how is it treated when you have results that are abnormal. I don’t see a reason to test if there is no treatment.

  77. Marah Brown February 1, 2015 at 6:51 am - Reply

    I went and checked my free t3 and it was 5.8. What at that points does it cause with the health? I know I have a thyroid problem and no matter what doctor I go to including the endocrinologist they say my thyroid is the best they can get it. My tsh is 1.6. He would not give me a test for Reverse T3. He said it is not accurate enough. I am going to try again and if not then I will find another doctor that will. I appreciate all you say here. You have helped my husband and I to become healthier and that is much appreciated. It seems God uses you to answer our prayers. Thanks so much. You are so caring and sweet. I have been reading your book Thyroid Healthy and that is why I am trying to get these tests. I want my thyroid well like you did. I have been taking medicine since 1990 and I now take Armour Thyroid at 09 milligrams. That is not too long to get my thyroid better is it?

    I can use all the help I can get. I went from 134 to 217 pounds while taking thyroid medicine. I am so frustrated. Not use to being so overweight. It is miserable. I know you understand. I am 63 and a young 63. 🙂 For some reason the levithroxine quit working and before they got me straightened out on the armor thyroid I was heavy. I pray to God all the time to help me get my weight back down to 135 and I believe He will. I believe He will use you because after I prayed He helped me find your book. Thanks I pray you get this. God bless!

    • Suzy Cohen February 2, 2015 at 6:22 am - Reply

      Hi Marah
      I’m sure you will get better because you are perseverant and the reason the levothyroxine stopped working is because your body can’t convert that T4 drug to T3 or if it does convert it, then it doesn’t transport it into the cell.
      The questions you must ask are as follows:
      1) Are you under stress? If so, then your thyroid medicine won’t work as well, you need adrenal adaptogen support.
      2) Do you have any other clinical symptoms of being low in thyroid (other than weight gain)? If you do, then a medication trial of a higher dose may be in order (but only after your adrenals are nourished).
      3) Do you ingest food, even after you are full? If so, if you feel hungry all the time then leptin is out of whack. You can measure leptin with a blood test.
      Put any of these search terms in my search box to learn more, and read my articles on those.
      God bless you too!
      Suzy

  78. Bob February 1, 2015 at 11:32 am - Reply

    I’m not depressed but I am getting depressed about my wife’s depression and the response I am getting from family when I simply try to communicate these most difficult topics. You have done so well in being articulate about depression medications that I slipped up the other day and called them Drugs. Then I had the audacity suggest to them that my wife’s condition was due to “Drug Muggers”. I really can bring on the stress in the family now cause you have been labeled as a Voo Doo Doctor by the daughter. The Grandson is going to be a shrink so now I know why they are all defending the position. BTW all my vitamin supplements D3 , Mag, FishOil, and Multi vitamins are being called as Drugs so that they can attack my form of medicine. Knowledge cures naming conventions.

    • Suzy Cohen February 2, 2015 at 6:17 am - Reply

      Bob
      SOMEONE has to hold the flashlight in the dark room.
      Be strong and courageous like you are 🙂

  79. James February 1, 2015 at 11:59 am - Reply

    Suzy so I would love you to tell me which tests to tell my doctor to send me for in one paragraph so I can give it to him and go from there and get it done in one quick swoop thank you

    • Suzy Cohen February 2, 2015 at 6:15 am - Reply

      It’s in Chapter 4 I think, there’s a chart and description of the labs and my recommended reference ranges (which differ from standard ranges) and how to interpret these, and reasons you’ll be misdiagnosed… it’s all in Thyroid Healthy. I’ve posted the chart you request on Facebook several times, so you’d have to go down my timeline. I don’t have it here on my laptop b/c it was a pic I took off my iPhone and posted.

  80. Linda February 1, 2015 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    Hi Suzy,
    I purchased Thyroid Healthy as suggested but need a little clarification.
    My labs for total 4 are 9.3 ug/dl and for total T3 are 1.46 ng/dl. How does that compare to the values you have listed? My TSH is 3.16. I am enjoying the book very much and am learning quite a bit…
    Thank you so much for all you do in the thyroid fight.

    • Suzy Cohen February 2, 2015 at 6:11 am - Reply

      The list of recommended labs and values are listed in a chart in the correct chapter, so you can compare.
      Your TSH is def HIGH, meaning you are low in thyroid.

  81. Tina February 2, 2015 at 12:18 am - Reply

    Hi Suzy,
    My husband Rob and I have spoken to you in the past regarding our non- drug treatment for ADHD, learning problems and high functioning autism. We are totally on board with what you talk about here and on your website as well. Magnesium is a first-line treatment for our clients among other basics. We would love to hear from you again and get your support. You must understand what we are up against and any suggestions or support would help. Please be in touch. http://www.sparkcenters.com is our website.

  82. Kathy February 9, 2015 at 11:03 pm - Reply

    Hi Suzy —

    I am working my way through your Thyroid Healthy book and I had all the thyroid labs you suggested plus ferritin and vitamin D checked in my elderly mom. She has had chronic pain for many years, but the latest bout followed a compression fracture in 2009.

    It turned out that her ferritin level is very low according to the values you list in your book, her T4 level is high, and her T3 level is low. It’s taken awhile, but her latest CBC shows she is anemic. Her appetite is poor and she is intolerant of many foods; she has such a small list of foods she can eat. Until last year, she had been told that she had GERD, but after reading, I became convinced she doesn’t have enough stomach acid. It’s hard to reverse the thoughts that have been programmed into her over the years. I took her to a functional med doctor last summer and we are slowly working on healing her gut, but you’re right…it’s not fast and it isn’t easy to do this.

    Anyway, her (Innate Response) multivitamins now have iron in them, but I am concerned about the conversion from T4 to T3 which is apparently not happening effectively. Hopefully, over time, that will begin to happen as her iron stores are replaced, but in the meantime, I have been trying to get even a brief trial of T3 as adjunctive treatment for chronic pain as you suggest. I have been unable to find doctors who will do that, not even the functional med doctor she sees. The doctor says that functional medicine recommends against that, but you’re a functional medicine pharmacist, and you told us about it.

    That said, what is the research behind giving T3 for chronic pain? Maybe I could get a trial course of it for Mom if they could see that it’s evidence based.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Suzy Cohen February 9, 2015 at 11:31 pm - Reply

      Get her a doctor that is Functional Medicine go here: http://www.functionalmedicine.org
      It’s hard for me to post research here, just go to pubmed.com and search “thyroxine” or thyroid” with the word “pain” and if you tuned into my interview for The Pain Relief Project, there was a free hour talk I gave on it there.

  83. anna February 11, 2015 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Hi! I am 30 year woman whom since this autumn struggling with withdrawal from Prozac so great anxiety, hard to concentrate, depression, irritability etc ( would never had taken it if I knew how bad it could impact my system.). I got of cold turkey since psychiatrist clearly didnt know it should be done very very very slow so I got akatisia, nausea , lost weight, flu-feeling, emotial symtomes u name it! …so I had to go back on a minimal dose just to tyr to calm this down a bit. I am doing what I can taking D-vitamine, codliver oil and magnesium also tried different things for anxiety and increased concentration like theanine and valerian and taurine for anxiety… nothing feels really good though my system seems to be really sensitised 🙁 so as for now vitamine D, cod liver oil and magnesium is all I try but the anxiety and concentrationproblems are still very bad!

    Are you familiar with withdrawal anxiety and depression and can you give me some tips ? Supplements that might help ?
    Very grateful to your reply !
    and if you have further questions please ask !
    //A

    • Suzy Cohen February 13, 2015 at 2:04 am - Reply

      Your doctor may not know that long-term administration of SSRI drugs like Prozac (and others) will downregulate the post-synaptic receptors. Tell him this (or print it) and he will hopefully know what to do to help you. I can’t help you I’m not a doctor, just an educator and pharmacist. Ok, but any intelligent physician will know how to re-awaken those receptors. Tell him/her: Long-term administration causes down regulation of the serotonin (5HT1A) receptors, increasing the firing rate of neuron. In the presence of blockade of reuptake, more serotonin is available to act post synaptically. The brain adjusts to the excess of serotonin caused by the reuptake inhibitor effect of the drug by shrinking or destroying the serotonin producing pumps and receptors. Its a vicious cycle that makes users physically dependent on the SSRI to maintain serotonin levels.

  84. […] Read the full article here:  What Works Better Than Antidepressants? Suzy Cohen RPh […]

  85. Elisa March 6, 2015 at 7:50 am - Reply

    Dear Suzy, I have read that your husband had Lyme disease. We are two sisters, and we are both with and autoimmune disease, she has Lyme Disease really bad, I have Hashimoto but till now I control it very well, except for some periods of excessive tiredness. I would like to know your advices for my sister, who has been sick for 15 years, has done all kinds of treatments, and is now more than desperate.

    Thank you so much for your ongoing help.

    Best wishes,
    elisa

  86. Kim March 27, 2015 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    I read your Thyroid healthy book and was wondering if your recommendations for optimal ranges free T3, rT3, free T4 is the same for men, women and adolescents OR are there different ranges for it gender and age?

    • Suzy Cohen March 30, 2015 at 2:59 pm - Reply

      Hi Kim
      Those are just ballpark ranges. I would use them as a guide for everyone, not gospel. So if your 14 yo feels great but the numbers aren’t in line with mine, I would not treat. There’s a saying that goes something like this: You don’t treat to get to a number, you treat the patient. So I’d use my numbers for everyone, as a guide but go with clinical presentation first, and always. I’ve seen people with a TSH of 2.5 and they felt wonderful, see what I mean. One more thing, the thyroid numbers can be perfect, and in line with my guides and a person still feels “off” or bad, or tired, and this usually means it’s not the thyroid, rather it is the adrenals! Hope this makes sense.

  87. Lenny Szubinski March 27, 2015 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Another problem is if you have been on a antidepressant for a long time, and you want to get off of them, you have to wean yourself off of them! Withdrawl symptoms can be so overwhelming, you literally want to crawl out of your skin! What can you take to relieve these horrible withdrawl problems?

    • Suzy Cohen March 30, 2015 at 3:08 pm - Reply

      That’s a good point Lenny. I don’t recommend people get off their A-depressant drugs unless they have everything in place to support that change because the receptors are “numb” and if you go off the drug, it’s a big shock to the system. Some people need these drugs life-long, some don’t.
      Weaning has to take place very slowly over the course of months or a year if a person has been on them a long long time.
      They use all kinds of things and I don’t know what’s right for an individual in particular, but you often see them do any (or several) of the following things, over time:
      1) Use another antidepressant while weaning off the original (yes another drug)
      2) Passionflower or hops, or kava or some other natural sedative
      3) St. John’s wort but not with a medication, it enhances the adverse effect profile
      4) Lifestyle changes
      5) Diet changes (elimination of food sensitivities whatever those are, often corn, soy, gluten, etc)
      6) Vitamin D it has natural antidepressant action
      7) Adrenal adaptogens to support general feelings of well-being
      8) Deproloft a supplement for mood boosting by Thorne, not taken with antidepressants but afterward
      9) GABA for anxiety (for example, the supplement Kavinace is a good form of GABA)
      Ok, so that’s a lot of ideas, not recommending, just sharing my brain download with you. Always ask what’s right for you, or your loved one.

  88. Bernadette March 27, 2015 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    Ms. Suzy;

    I am fairly new to your newsletter and follow you on FB. I am very impressed and thankful for the many directions you help me and many, many others. Thank you for that.

    I am wondering if you have written about Fibromyalgia. I work with a support group for fibro and chronic pain and of course the complaints and comments on how doctors have treated some. Some good directions and some really bizarre directions. My theory is to work hard on not letting chronic pain beat you but for some, that’s easy for me to say and very difficult for them to wrap their mind around..

    If you have any thoughts that I can share with others, please let me know. What you say, to me, makes sense on so many levels in addition to making me really think about my health. I would like to share with others, with your permission. Too many do nothing but take meds because they don’t know what else to do. To me…that’s not the best direction when you want to be the best you can be with whatever your pain situation is so you can live life!

    Thank you in advance for your time. Please keep doing what you are doing. You are very good at it!

    Bernadette

    • Suzy Cohen March 30, 2015 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      Thank you Bernadette, it’s nice to find you here. You can use my search box and put in that term (right hand side).
      The best information on chronic pain is in my “Headache Free” book. As you read that (and I can give you one free chapter) you will soon see how to reduce pain and there are similarities of reducing pain wherever it is in your body. It is nice of you to want to share and pay it forward as they say. Please feel free to use my site and print articles and refer people to me. I leave these articles up for free, and access to my forum is free too.

  89. Marlize March 27, 2015 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    Hi Dr. Suzy,
    I am a South African and I am convinced that I have a thyroid problem. I tick all the boxes. HOW do I convince my doctor to do all those tests?

    • Suzy Cohen March 30, 2015 at 2:48 pm - Reply

      Print out some of my articles (or pages out of my thyroid book) and give it to her/him. You can also send any doc to my site, there is a search box available to look things up.

  90. Tiffany Verloop March 27, 2015 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    Dear Suzi,

    I find your articles very informative and thorough. I have been struggling with several issues (ie weight gain, depression, Thyroid, estrogen dominance, possible adrenal fatigue etc), but one of the main issues is weight gain not related to eating and exercise. I am 42, and I have struggled to stay on the thinner side my whole life. I managed to maintain a lower weight (127ibs) for about 6 years, but have in the last 1.5 years put on about 16+lbs. (not because of diet or exercise changes). It took VERY VERY VERY strict dieting to lose the weight after babies. I have always exercised hard and eaten well/clean(I know everyone says that, but I have a pretty fare knowledge of what is healthy). My naturopath has been treating me for subclinical hypothyroid for about 8 years with Armour Thyroid and says my numbers look good. I feel that I have tried everything short of completely staving myself which may not even work I am really losing hope, because I don’t have the energy to continue to try so hard with NO or even negative results. Please let me know what you think. Thank you for your time.

    • Suzy Cohen March 30, 2015 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      No don’t starve yourself.
      Estrogen causes women to be overweight, so it’s the estrogen dominance. Doesn’t matter how much thyroid you take, if your estrogen is high. Rhein lab and Precision Hormone lab are two labs I trust to accurately measure your hormones. Your doctor has to order those. If you want to order yourself, you have to use another lab to do that, and you get the results yourself. Write me back if that is your first choice, otherwise doc can order Rhein or Precision for you.

  91. Sarah March 30, 2015 at 3:53 am - Reply

    HI Suzy, I have a friend who has been diagnosed with PMD?? The doctor isn’t even sure of the diagnosis. She is experiencing weakness of her legs, throat muscles and even her eyelids. She has trouble swallowing and often chokes. She is also a former smoker. She sometimes falls and cannot get herself up without assistance. I am concerned she will have a fall and fracture a hip and be totally incapacitated. Do you have any suggestions as to what this may be or what she can take to slow the process? She was told that since they cannot give her a diagnosis, there is no cure or medication….. Is this of form of muscular dystrophy or Lou Gahrig’s disease? Thank you for all you do.

  92. Deb Moore April 20, 2015 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    16 year old daughter has been diagnosed through neuro-psychological testing to have depression. Plus she also has extreme fatigue (falling asleep sometimes in class, napping all the time, etc) The fatigue negatively impacts her life. She has issues with concentration now and not able to remember things (brain fog), pressure in back of her head, and dizziness/loses balance and sometimes her vision has short times of going black. Traditional doctor ran lots of tests and all come back within range (though TSH is trending down with her last read of 0.59 (lab range 0.50-5.20). Blood cortisol was within normal range, but a 24 hour saliva test showed very low cortisol throughout the entire 24 hours. She is seeing a functional metabolic nutritionist who said she is “parasympathetic”type so she s now eating mostly red meat, nuts and veggies – no sugar or wheat. She is also on an adrenal supplement, Vit D3, an enzyme for digestion, among a few others. Plus she drinks a lot of coconut water, as her leg muscles cramp up a lot. Her therapist and traditional doc all say she should be on an SSRI, but I keep feeling we shouldn’t. Do the low adrenals cause depression, or does the depression cause low adrenals? No clear answer. I have read pros and cons on functional medicine, and quite frankly we cannot afford the tremendous expense of such. And we can’t let her suffer for years as we try to find the right combination of supplements/testing, etc. Yet, I don’t want her on an SSRI, nor do I want her to lose her entire teen age years to depression and fatigue. Her depression is worse with school as she has so much homework – it wears her out totally. Can you offer us some direction and help. It is so difficult to watch your child go through so much pain.

    • Suzy Cohen April 20, 2015 at 9:23 pm - Reply

      Hi Deb
      This must be horrible t watch, I really understand where you’re coming from. Perhaps one of the physicians or other practitioners here can offer guidance about how to make an appointment with them, or where to begin. Read this whole thread, some people made recommendations for similar issues.

  93. Misty August 25, 2015 at 5:05 am - Reply

    do you know anything about RT3 and Pooling in Hypothyroidism?
    Finally got Ferritin B12 and D up now my other iron panel numbers are high.

    Also weaning myself off Cymbalta… Down to 5 beads each day. Is this adding to all my depression ? Can you help?

    My daughter also has hypothyroidism ( low in all her vitamins and minerals). She is 25 and lives in another state. She is so depressed and won’t take her supplements.
    How can I help when I can’t even help myself
    Do you take on clients?

    • Suzy Cohen August 25, 2015 at 4:59 pm - Reply

      I’m sorry I don’t, but thank you for trusting me. I just write articles and books, and I have educational webinars on youtube, and more coming that you can purchase. The discussion of antidepressants and rT3 and hypothyroidism and ferritin is COMPLETELY discussed in Thyroid Healthy. You need to get a copy of that if you ever want to understand all this and talk to a physician about what you need. Click on “Shop” tab and follow the link to Amazon.

  94. Laura Gilliland March 23, 2016 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    Hi Suzy-
    You have helped me with discovering I have Hashimoto’s in 2014 and have since changed my life and health for the better with all of the valuable info you graciously share. I now want to wean my self off of Wellbutrin- been on this for 13 years (after birth of second child). Tried going off before, but had huge hunger issues. Now I want to try again, but I have worked so hard to recently lose 25 pounds through diet change and exercise, I am scared of getting chubby again.(i’m 5’2″ so it’s hard to hide my weight gain) Any tips on how to combat the hunger side effect from Wellbutrin withdrawal naturally? I appreciate your help so very much if you have time to respond I’d be over the moon!
    I love your beautful smile and appreciate your generous advice!
    Laura G. from North Carolina

  95. Sanjay Hc March 31, 2016 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    Hi, I am 27 year male from India. I am professionally pharmacist.
    Since my chilhood i was very silent person. Only few friends. Occassionally I go out. Most time sitting alone. Some times aggressive. People say I am very silent. Very less social interaction. I have performance anxiety and social anxiety. I sweat a lot during social interaction and during writing exams.
    Because I always in low mood, dull face(people say you have crying face), less energetic and walks slowly. Already I attempted for suicide 2 times.
    Doctor find difficult to diagnosed that I am suffering from depression.
    Doctor done eeg it was normal. He prescribed me floxetine for one year, but no use. I was in same situation
    Then how can I find out that I suffer from depression and to get treated well.
    Please suggest me.

    • Suzy Cohen March 31, 2016 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      Hello Sanjay
      It is so nice to meet you here across the miles, and you are also a pharmacist like me. Please continue to search, you have much to offer.
      The fluoexetine will raise serotonin, but it does not help with dopamine which may be the hormone you need to target.
      I have written many many times on this topic. Would you use my search box at the top right and put in key words?
      You can also use this link, and it should pull up some articles: http://suzycohen.com/articles/category/depression-articles/
      And here’s one more on Tulsi, an herb that grows in your country, so a tea or supplement would be easy for you to find: http://suzycohen.com/articles/holy-basil-the-elixir-of-life/ This is an adaptogen, nourishing your body and soul.
      (but again my search box is best, type in a particular word like “depression” or “dopamine” or “anxiety” and it pulls up my articles which are enlightening. Stay in touch.

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