Born with epigenetic disorders, I struggled with depression for most of my life.
Over the years I’ve tried a variety of antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft, as well as amino acid therapy (5-HTP, etc.), and other herbal remedies such as St. John’s Wort.
Some helped a bit, which was a clue to my undermethylation status, but they had nasty side-effects and over time, actually made me feel worse.
Since most psychiatrists believe that depression is caused by low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, SSRI anti-depressants (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) tend to be the standard of care because they inhibit the removal of serotonin from synapses by transport proteins called serotonin transporters (SERT). Unfortunately, this is a very flawed approach because it doesn’t take into account the unique biochemical imbalances and symptoms of the individual.
Thanks to the amazing 40-year research by William J. Walsh, Ph.D., president of the Walsh Research Institute, and clinical applications by Drs. Albert Mensah and Judith Bowman of Mensah Medical, I was finally able to get to the root cause of my suffering and eliminate my depression for good. Today, I partner with them on nutritional therapy programs.
With a database of 300,000 blood and urine chemistry test results and 200,000 medical history factors from approximately 2,800 patients diagnosed with depression, Dr. Walsh and his team found that there are actually five major depression biotypes (I’ve added four additional types that can also create depressive symptoms).
What’s even more fascinating is that three of these forms of depression are not caused by fluctuating serotonin levels, which explains why some people experience relief with SSRI’s and others do not.
Keep in mind that each imbalance can produce a wide range of symptoms and outcomes. For example, copper overload and undermethylation are the factors that contributed to my depression, high anxiety, disordered eating, digestive, menstrual, and other health problems. This is why my work is based on biochemical individuality, meaning what’s good for your best friend, is often not good for you too.
The 5 Depression Biotypes
The most common biotype, these folks tends to see improvement with SSRI’s. The problem in these cases is low activity at serotonin receptors due to rapid reabsorption after serotonin is released into a synapse; as well as high blood levels of histamine, another neurotransmitter. It’s actually not so much a serotonin deficiency, but an inability to keep serotonin in the synapse long enough. For more detailed information, see this post.
This biotype also tends to see improvement with SSRI’s. Pyrolurics exhibit a combination of impaired serotonin production and extreme oxidative stress. These individuals have elevated urine pyrroles coupled with severe zinc and vitamin B-6 deficiency. Omega 3 supplements create more inflammation for these folks. Sensitivity to noise and bright lights, poor short-term memory, no dream recall, frequent infections, extreme mood swings, high anxiety, alcoholism, tendency to skip breakfast, poor growth, an affinity for spicy food, fears, and dry skin are all symptoms. This type is the fastest to respond to treatment. For more detailed information, see this post.
High copper folks cannot properly metabolize metals. Most of these people say that SSRI’s do not have much of an effect either way, but they report benefits from normalizing their copper levels through nutrient therapy. High copper affects women who are also estrogen intolerant. In copper overload, it’s not so much a serotonin issue, but extreme blood and brain levels of copper that result in dopamine deficiency and norepinephrine overload. High copper is indicated in cases of postpartum depression. Andrea Yates who drowned her five children in 2001 is an extreme example. For more detailed information, see this post.
Overmethylation (folate deficiency)
This biotype tends to get worse on SSRIs, while folic acid supplements help. A study of 50 school shootings over the past five decades showed that most shooters probably had this type of depression, as SSRI’s can cause suicidal or homicidal ideation in these people. For more detailed information, see this post.
Toxic Metal Overload
This type of depression is caused by toxic metals (not including copper), usually, lead poisoning. Over the years, this type accounted for 5 percent of depressed patients, but removing lead from gasoline and paint has lowered the frequency of these cases.
Other Clinical Factors that May Also Cause Depression
Food Intolerances (gluten, dairy, and naturally occurring plant-based chemicals such as salicylates and oxalates, to name a few)
Blood Sugar Dysregulation (hypo or hyperglycemia)
Gut pathogens (such as yeast and bacterial overgrowth)
Thyroid diseases and imbalances
If you know of someone who struggles with depression, please share this post. If you struggle with depression, please share your experience in the comments below. It is through sharing your story that we create community, eliminate guilt and shame, and bring about healing.