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Depression is one of the most common medical problems seen in primary care clinics. The combination of chronic high levels of stress, limited activity, low-fat diets, and poor nutrient intake are a perfect storm for causing depressed brain function, which leads to clinical depression. The classic signs of depressed brain function are:

  • Fatigue
  • Decreased concentration
  • Poor quality sleep
  • Decreased drive (for exercise and sex)
  • Nothing seems fun anymore

In my medical training, I was taught to offer people anti-depressant medications when these symptoms occurred, but I was never very impressed with their improvement from drug therapy alone. Recent studies have shown that anti-depressant medications are less helpful than we originally thought.

For several years, I have been offering a 30-day trial for people with depression of my lifestyle program to prevent and reverse heart disease, and the improvements I’ve seen have been pretty amazing. As a treatment for depression, I’ve recommended:

  • fish oil (1000 mg of good quality EPA and DHA)
  • a high-quality multivitamin with extra vitamin B12 and mixed folates
  • daily activity to rev up metabolism (30-60 minutes every day)
  • adequate sleep
  • eating more smart fats and nutrient rich fiber

At my 30 day follow up with these same patients who had suffered from depression, the vast majority who followed these recommendations had their depression symptoms melt away, and if they didn’t improve, we still had the option of adding a medication.

My colleague from the functional medicine world, Kelly Brogan, MD has a new book out, A Mind of Your Own. As a clinical psychiatrist, she outlines her story as to how she has shifted from treating depressed women with anti-depressant medications to lifestyle changes, and the dramatic results she has achieved without the typical adverse side effects from drugs. She also details why the current treatment plans I have used in my own clinical practice have been so successful. If you or a loved one have suffered from depression, I highly recommend her book. My only critique of her book is that in her sample recipes she is using the wrong oils to cook with, but apart from that item which you can easily change using the information from Smart Fat, Dr Brogan explores the root causes of depression and how to treat it.

To your mental health,

Steven Masley, MD


A Mind of Your Own, by Kelly Brogan MD is a ground-breaking book on how to reverse depression. Dr Brogan is board-certified in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, and integrative holistic medicine. She has successfully treated patients with depression with bold, holistic lifestyle changes that address the root cause for depression. If you or your loved ones have depression, then I highly recommend that you read her book and acquire the tools to restore healthy brain function.Brogan email banner


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Cal-a-Vie Health Spa

Cal–a-Vie is an intimate and luxurious retreat for the body, mind and spirit.

Dr. Masley will be speaking at this spa from May 22-28, 2016 during their heart week, focusing on how to optimize heart health and aging. Click here for more information if you’d like to be a guest at the resort.

Located near San Diego, California, the Cal-a-Vie Health Spa is situated on 200 acres of rolling terrain blanketed with wildflowers, lavender, vineyards and dramatic stands of oak, olive and citrus trees. It is a haven for guests seeking a break from the chaos of the world, to find balance and peace with goals of leaving healthier and recharged.

The rustic elegance of the 32 Mediterranean-style villas, combined with the beauty of the surrounding landscape, brings to mind a Provençal village. The natural environment is thoughtfuCal-a-vielly integrated into the retreat’s design to enhance and heighten the effects of both their therapeutic and fitness programs.

Visit Cal-a-Vie for details about this wonderful spa.