Best Food for Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction

Best Food for Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction
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The spice saffron may not only work as well as SSRI antidepressant drugs like Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft without the side effects, but it may even be able to treat the adverse sexual side effects that occur in up to 70 percent of people taking the drugs.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

What’s the latest on treating depression with the spice saffron? Years ago, I covered this head-to-head comparison of saffron versus Prozac for the treatment of depression; it seemed to work just as well. In the years since, there’s been five other studies that found that saffron beat out placebo or rivaled antidepressant medications.

It may be the red pigment in the spice, called crocin, since it alone beat out placebo as an adjunct treatment, significantly decreasing symptoms of depression, symptoms of anxiety, and general psychological distress—perhaps in its antioxidant role “preventing free radical-induced damage in the brain.” The amount of crocin they used was equivalent to about a half-teaspoon of saffron a day.

If the spice works as well as the drugs, one could argue that the spice wins, since it doesn’t cause sexual dysfunction in the majority of men and women, like most prescribed antidepressants do—with drugs like Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft causing “adverse sexual side effects” in about 70% of people taking them. Physicians not only significantly underestimate the occurrence of side effects; they “tend…to underrate” how much they impact the lives of their patients.

Not only is this not a problem with saffron, the spice may even be able to treat it. “In folk medicine, there’s a widely held belief that saffron might have aphrodisiac effects.” So, men with Prozac-induced sexual impairment were randomized to saffron or placebo for a month. And, by week four, saffron resulted in significantly “greater improvement in erectile function…and intercourse satisfaction.” More than half of the men in the saffron group regained normal function. They conclude that “[s]affron is…[an] efficacious treatment for [Prozac]-related erectile dysfunction”—and, female sexual dysfunction as well.

Female sexual function increased by week four, “improv[ing] some of the [Prozac]-induced sexual problems, but not others. So better, perhaps, to try saffron in the first place for the depression, and avoid developing these problems, since sometimes they can persist even after stopping the drugs, potentially worsening one’s long-term depression prognosis.

This includes unusual side effects such as “genital anaesthesia”—where you literally lose sensation. It can happen in men and women. More rarely, antidepressants can induce a condition called restless genital syndrome. You’ve heard of restless legs syndrome? Well, this is restless between-the-legs syndrome. These PSSDs, these Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunctions—meaning dysfunctions that appear or persist after stopping taking these antidepressants—can be so serious that “[p]rescribing physicians should mention the…danger of,” for example, the risk of genital…anesthesia [for] every patient prior to [starting them on the drugs].” If you’re on one of these drugs, did your doctor warn you about that?

All hope is not lost, though. Evidently, “[p]enile anesthesia…responds to low-power laser irradiation.” After 20 laser treatments to his penis, one man who lost his penile sensation thanks to the drug Paxil partially regained his “touch and temperature sensation.” However, he still couldn’t perform to his girlfriend’s satisfaction, and she ended up evidently leaving him over it, which probably didn’t help his mood any. But, before you feel too bad for him, compare a little penile light therapy to clitoridectomy—clitoris removal surgery—or another Paxil-related case, where a woman’s symptoms only improved after six courses of electroshock therapy.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Yazmin Alanis from the Noun Project.

Image credit: ulleo / PIXNIO

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

What’s the latest on treating depression with the spice saffron? Years ago, I covered this head-to-head comparison of saffron versus Prozac for the treatment of depression; it seemed to work just as well. In the years since, there’s been five other studies that found that saffron beat out placebo or rivaled antidepressant medications.

It may be the red pigment in the spice, called crocin, since it alone beat out placebo as an adjunct treatment, significantly decreasing symptoms of depression, symptoms of anxiety, and general psychological distress—perhaps in its antioxidant role “preventing free radical-induced damage in the brain.” The amount of crocin they used was equivalent to about a half-teaspoon of saffron a day.

If the spice works as well as the drugs, one could argue that the spice wins, since it doesn’t cause sexual dysfunction in the majority of men and women, like most prescribed antidepressants do—with drugs like Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft causing “adverse sexual side effects” in about 70% of people taking them. Physicians not only significantly underestimate the occurrence of side effects; they “tend…to underrate” how much they impact the lives of their patients.

Not only is this not a problem with saffron, the spice may even be able to treat it. “In folk medicine, there’s a widely held belief that saffron might have aphrodisiac effects.” So, men with Prozac-induced sexual impairment were randomized to saffron or placebo for a month. And, by week four, saffron resulted in significantly “greater improvement in erectile function…and intercourse satisfaction.” More than half of the men in the saffron group regained normal function. They conclude that “[s]affron is…[an] efficacious treatment for [Prozac]-related erectile dysfunction”—and, female sexual dysfunction as well.

Female sexual function increased by week four, “improv[ing] some of the [Prozac]-induced sexual problems, but not others. So better, perhaps, to try saffron in the first place for the depression, and avoid developing these problems, since sometimes they can persist even after stopping the drugs, potentially worsening one’s long-term depression prognosis.

This includes unusual side effects such as “genital anaesthesia”—where you literally lose sensation. It can happen in men and women. More rarely, antidepressants can induce a condition called restless genital syndrome. You’ve heard of restless legs syndrome? Well, this is restless between-the-legs syndrome. These PSSDs, these Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunctions—meaning dysfunctions that appear or persist after stopping taking these antidepressants—can be so serious that “[p]rescribing physicians should mention the…danger of,” for example, the risk of genital…anesthesia [for] every patient prior to [starting them on the drugs].” If you’re on one of these drugs, did your doctor warn you about that?

All hope is not lost, though. Evidently, “[p]enile anesthesia…responds to low-power laser irradiation.” After 20 laser treatments to his penis, one man who lost his penile sensation thanks to the drug Paxil partially regained his “touch and temperature sensation.” However, he still couldn’t perform to his girlfriend’s satisfaction, and she ended up evidently leaving him over it, which probably didn’t help his mood any. But, before you feel too bad for him, compare a little penile light therapy to clitoridectomy—clitoris removal surgery—or another Paxil-related case, where a woman’s symptoms only improved after six courses of electroshock therapy.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Yazmin Alanis from the Noun Project.

Image credit: ulleo / PIXNIO

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

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