Actually, it's not depression that will break your bones. It's the drugs you take to treat depression.

That's right! Once again drugs are worse for your health than the problem they're supposed to treat.

In this case, the culprit is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Millions of people take these antidepressants. And a new study says SSRIs inhibit the absorption of calcium into your bones. Researchers found that daily use of SSRIs can cause a 4% reduction in bone mineral density in your hips. The lower spine lost 2.4% of bone density.

But that's not all these drugs do. They also can cause a drop in blood pressure, which increases your risk of falling. So not only do the drugs thin your bones, but they make you more prone to falls. A sure recipe for broken bones.

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The senior investigator, Dr. David Golzman noted that prescriptions for the antidepressants soared by more than 30% between 2000 and 2004. "And that puts a lot of people at increased risk for fractures over and above the risk that they already have as a result of the fact that they're
aging and are taking other medication, which may also predispose to osteoporosis."

National Institute of Mental Health director, Dr. Thomas Insel, says SSRIs don't work for 70% of patients. Only 30% of the healthiest, highly educated, currently employed, Caucasian women met the criteria for remission. He also said, "The gulf between research and practice has led to the unfortunate current state where too many research studies have little immediate relevance to practice, and too little practice is based on research evidence."

What that means is that you should avoid SSRIs at all cost. It's unlikely they will work for you. And even if they do, they may cause more problems than they solve.

Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives. While chemicals force changes in your brain, nutrients encourage your body to correct the problem. St. John's wort, amino acids like tryptophan and tyrosine, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, SAMe, and of course the Living Foods Diet are among just a few of the alternatives you should try. And none of them will threaten your bones - or your health.

Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:188-194.
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