A 35 year old woman presented with ongoing depression for the last 5 years. She continuously experienced strong feelings of apathy and sadness, with a persistent belief that nothing good occurred in her life. She indicated that these feelings and her lack of energy inhibited her ability to improve her diet or undertake any exercise.
Her psychologist had recommended that she improve her diet, and she was seeking support in how to achieve this. The patient was not currently on any medications.
After the initial consultation, the patient was compounded a nervous system formula to support her neurochemistry. This was prescribed ahead of planned lifestyle and diet changes, to allow the patient to feel an elevated mood and state of energy.
- Magnesium Threonate – 2.5 grams (200 mg of elemental Magnesium per day)
- 5-HTP – 200mg/day
- DL-Phenylalanine – 3 grams/day
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After two weeks of treatment, the patient experienced a significant improvement in energy, stating that it was “just easier to get up and move about”. She said that she continued to experience sadness, however the feelings had significantly reduced and her increased energy allowed her to overcome these feelings and begin an exercise regime.
The patient continues therapy with her psychologist as well as work with her nutritionist in shifting more towards a whole-foods diet and regular exercise regime.
Mechanism of Action / Related Compounds
Suboptimal levels of Magnesium can often result in a range of nervous system abnormalities. Specific to depression, Magnesium deficiency is theorised to result in over activation and opening of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) coupled calcium channels, resulting in potential neuronal injury and neurological dysfunction – which may contribute to depression. Magnesium deficiency has also been correlated with lowered serotonin levels.
5-HTP is the direct precursor to Serotonin, a neurotransmitter with a diverse range of effects on mood, sleep, and appetite, among many other actions. Increasing low levels of serotonin has been the major form of treatment of depression by conventional medicine.
DL-Phenylalanine is a precursor to Tyrosine and the neurotransmitter Dopamine, the primary neurochemical compound that regulates motivation, focus and the reward centre in our brain. Dopamine has often been found to be low in patients with depression.