Antidepressants: Bones at Risk

It’s always a bit unnerving when you read stuff like this, especially since so many people in this country take antidepressants. But according to a new study, many top-selling depression medications might increase the risk of bone breaks in older people. Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press reports:
People aged 50 and older who took antidepressants, including Zoloft, Prozac and other top-sellers, faced double the risk of broken bones during five years of follow-up, compared with those who didn't use the drugs, the study found…

…Research in animals suggests that the pills might have a direct effect on bone cells, decreasing bone strength and size, said Dr. David Goltzman, an endocrinologist at McGill University in Montreal and colleagues said.
Goltzman stresses the serious implications of these findings because millions of people take antidepressants, and, older people are already at risk for osteoporosis, a bone-weakening disease—quite the dubious double-whammy.

Now, this reminds me of all the reports from back in December linking acid suppression medication to heightened risk of hip fractures. Here's one from ScienceDaily:
Potent acid suppressive medications such as PPIs have revolutionized the management of acid-related diseases. Millions of individuals have been using these medications on a continuous or long-term basis, according to background information in the article. Some research has shown that PPI therapy may decrease insoluble calcium absorption or bone density in certain patients. These factors could increase the risk for hip fracture, which has a death rate during the first year after the fracture of 20 percent. Among those who survive this period, 1 in 5 require nursing home care and often an emergency department visit, hospitalization, surgery, and rehabilitation, with huge health care costs.
So, in case you’re worried about the potential dangers of acid medication, consider Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on the matter. From September 2005 edition of Healthy Times:
Bone strength is directly proportional to muscle strength, and bone health requires a lifetime commitment to regular exercise and physical activity. Inactivity or bed rest can be disastrous to the bones. Go to the gym, walk, wear a weighted vest, do back exercises, work in the garden, and stay involved with sports or fitness pursuits appropriate to your ability and health. Nutritional excellence is vitally important, and cannot be replaced by supplements. Taking supplements is merely an adjunct to other critical lifestyle factors that reduce risk.
Okay back to the issue involving antidepressants. Is there a safer way to help treat depression, one that doesn’t emphasize the popping of pills? More from Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times, this time the March 2006 edition:
Nutrition and Mood Disorders
With over a million prescriptions for antidepressants being filled each week and annual sales of 11 billion dollars at stake, it is unlikely that a new protocol for depressed people will emerge in America. Money usually dictates direction in the medical/drug/insurance industry. However, the conflict and controversy over the dangers of psychotropic medications used for depression, and the recent cardiac-related deaths from Ritalin prescribed for ADHD, are calling attention to the all-too-cozy relationship between government agencies and the drug industry. The public no longer can trust the validity of drug-related information that comes from even such formerly respected sources as medical journals and universities. These institutions depend increasingly on pharmaceutical dollars (advertising and grant monies), and this has led to numerous instances of inaccurate reports that conceal evidence and promote drug use.
Treating Depression Naturally
It is clear that people are more prone to depression and other diseases when their intake of high nutrient-containing plant food is low. It also has been shown that the response to medication and other therapeutic intervention can be suboptimal when antioxidant nutritional status is inadequate.1 Whenever we measure low levels of vegetable-derived nutrients, we find depression more prevalent. For example, low folate intake and low folate blood levels have been shown to correlate with depression.2 Low folate in the bloodstream is a marker for low fruit and vegetable intake. Deficiencies of folate, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and selenium tend to be more common among depressed than non-depressed persons.3

Natural therapies are surprisingly effective. Recent advances in non-pharmacologic treatments for depression can help people feel better—and even assist them in making total recovery—without dependence on medications. Researchers doing the studies in this field have been surprised to find that natural therapies can have very high success rates, rivaling those of drugs. Of particular interest is the fact that these non-pharmacologic treatments get results faster than drug treatments. Now is the time for all people with depression to give these safe, natural treatments a try. By combining the most promising facets of these approaches, the likelihood of improvement and recovery is greatly enhanced.
1. Khanzode SD, Dakhale GN, Khanzode SS, et al. Oxidative damage and major depression: the potential antioxidant action of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. Redox Rep. 2003; 8(6): 365-70.

2. Sachdev PS, Parslow RA, Lux O, et al. Relationship of homocysteine, folic acid and vitamin B12 with depression in a middle-aged community sample. Psychol Med. 2005; 35(4):529-38.

3. Bodnar LM, Wisner KL. Nutrition and depression: implications for improving mental health among childbearing-aged women. Biol Psychiatry. 2005; 58(9):679-85.
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Antidepressants - October 22, 2008 4:48 AM

I believe there are so many depressed people in our society because they aren’t happy with themselves. There are so many outside pressures——including the ones we let in through the media etc., that we are bombarded with how we should act, feel , work, play and so on. Come on people—-forget the status quo!!!

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