Treating Depression with Naturopathic Medicine

By Dr. Michael Morsillo, B.Sc., N.D.

Everyone experiences the occasional “down” day, and it may be unrealistic to expect to feel completely happy every single day.  However, an estimated 15% of Canadians (approximately 4.5 million people) will experience some form of depression, which can impair effective functioning for weeks, months, or even years.  Symptoms of depression can vary greatly, and while some may experience hopelessness, worthlessness, sadness, or low motivation, others may only notice fatigue, irritability, poor concentration, or trouble sleeping.

Many people continue to suffer from depression and other mental illnesses in silence due to a lack of awareness or knowledge about these conditions, but also because of a very large stigma that still surrounds depression.  Many fear being viewed as abnormal or different and may view depression as a sign of weakness.

Depression is most commonly treated using “psychotropic” medications that target neurotransmitter levels in the brain.  For severe forms of depression, these medications can be incredibly useful.  For many cases of mild-to-moderate depression, however, these medications may cause more harm than good and will not address the root causes of depression.  Antidepressants can cause a wide array of side effects including nausea, fatigue, headaches, weight gain, sleep disturbance, emotional blunting, agitation, and dependency.

Naturopathic Medicine can benefit anyone with depression, and our Newmarket Naturopathic Clinic will identify the root causes of depression and develop a comprehensive individualized treatment plan to address your condition naturally!  The following are some very useful natural medicines that can improve low mood and depression:

Exercise – This is quite possibly the simplest and least expensive “antidepressant” therapy that exists, and has been demonstrated to be equally as effective as most medications for the treatment of depression.  In addition to improvements in mood, vigorous exercise can help to increase your energy levels while also improving your blood sugar levels and cardiovascular health.

Healthy Diet – Our mental well-being has a lot to do with how well we are feeding our brain and as they say, “you are what you eat”.  Your diet should have a good balance of healthy fats, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that are all vital for optimal brain function and mental health.   We should also strive to avoid alcohol, high sugar foods and to be tested for possible food sensitivities, since all of these can negatively affect our mental health.

Omega-3s – These healthy fats are found in fish, flaxseeds, hemp, walnuts, and numerous studies confirm their importance for depression.  These healthy fats play a key role in the brain, allowing our nerve cells to communicate better, enhancing our mood.

A complete health history and specialized lab testing allows us to assess possible underlying causes of depression, including hormone imbalances, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and food sensitivities.  In some cases we will use blood, urine or saliva testing to accurately pinpoint neurotransmitter and hormone imbalances that cause depression.  These tests can also be extremely useful for anxiety, ADHD, and insomnia

Michael Morsillo is a naturopathic doctor who is passionate about helping others achieve their optimal level of health.  Michael maintains a clinical practice in Newmarket, where he focuses mainly on cancer care, hormonal conditions, anxiety & depression, digestive concerns, detoxification, and weight loss.   

For more information or to schedule an appointment:

Call 905-898-1844 (ext. 135) or email