Five depression biotypes were discovered in 2014 by Dr William Walsh PHD, an internationally recognised expert in the field of nutritional medicine and nutrient-based psychiatry. Dr Walsh has worked with over 30,000 patients with mental health issues throughout his career and he participated in a study that has enabled him to identify five specific chemical imbalances that lead to depression, previously classified in one term ‘clinical depression’. Walsh was surprised to find whilst helping his patients, that as many as 95% of them had the biological tendency for correctable depression.
Walsh’s study has made it apparent that inexpensive blood and urine testing can identify the mechanisms and therefore the specific type of depression a patient is experiencing. The most suitable medication (if necessary) and a nutritional and supplement plan can then be provided to target the underlying cause.
Undermethylated depression: it was found that this type of depression occurred in 38% of cases. Undermethylated depression is due to a low level of serotonin activity at the serotonin receptors inside the brain. This low activity is not caused by a deficiency in serotonin but in fact by its rapid re-absorption once released into the synapse. Those experiencing this kind of depression are strong-willed, have a tendency towards obsessive-compulsive disorder, a calm exterior with inner tension, are often competitive and perfectionistic, are likely to have addictive tendencies, high libido and >75% suffer seasonal allergies.
Low-folate depression: found in 20% of cases can be corrected by taking folate and B12 supplementation and specifically suitable medications. Those experiencing this kind of depression taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are at a high risk of suicidal and homicidal ideation. The shooters involved in school shootings often fall into this category. A typical case has a high tendency for anxiety and panic, has a non-competitive personality type, food and chemical sensitivities, underachieves, suffers sleep disorders, low libido, constantly talks and can have a high musical or artistic ability.
High copper depression: this type of depression occurred in 17% of cases in the study. This is when extremely high levels of copper in the blood and brain cause an excess of norephinephrine and a dopamine deficiency. During pregnancy, copper levels are retained inside the body to enable the rapid production of blood vessels and capillaries for the foetus. If the mother is unable to efficiently eliminate the copper afterwards this can result in postpartum depression. Women suffering with this kind of depression experience excessive anxiety, panic attacks, oestrogen intolerance, tinnitus, sensitive skin and intolerance to certain metals.
Pyroluric depression occurred in 15% of cases and is caused by excess oxidative stress inside the body which affects neurotransmitter production. The production of pyroles increases with stress which decreases the important cofactors zinc and B6. This in turn reduces levels of serotonin (happy hormone) melatonin (sleep), acetylcholine (memory) and GABA (the relaxation hormone). Symptoms of this type of depression include mood swings, extreme anxiety and fears, minimal dream recall, poor reading ability and short-term memory, abnormal fat distribution and sensitivity to light and noise.
Toxic metal depression involves 5% of cases and is caused by toxic metal overload, most often lead poisoning. The occurrence is now lower due to the removal of lead from from paint and gasoline. Sever cases may require chelation therapy which should only be done under the supervision of a professional. Symptoms of this kind of depression include abdominal distress, anger, irritability, food sensitivities, metallic taste in the mouth and bad breath.
The science-backed identification of the five biotypes of depression show that it is not just ‘in our heads’, the right balance of nutrients, metabolic reactions and the removal of toxins from the body are paramount to support mental health. Nutritional therapy, supplementation and in some cases, medication have an important role to play. If you are suffering from depression and you see your own behavior in any of the above symptom descriptions, it might be worth investigating the nutritional therapy route with a professional.