Once again, we’re entering the realm of taboo subjects. The information I’m about to reveal today is so hush-hush that your doctor probably doesn’t even know about it.
A new study from Canada reveals something very disturbing for those over the age of 50 who take a certain class of drugs.
Antidepressants: Something to be Sad About
We are a sad nation, apparently…a sad continent, actually, given that Canada has joined the antidepressant drug craze. Data suggests that 1 in 10 Americans are on some sort of antidepressant medication, and antidepressant prescriptions have increased more than 350% in Canada between 1981 and 2000. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report1 in 2011 that showed a dramatic increase in the use of antidepressants in Americans from 2005 to 2008. The CDC report claims that 11% of Americans over the age of 12 take antidepressant medication.
In addition, women are far more likely to take antidepressant medication than men at all levels of depression severity. The CDC data also revealed that 23% of women in their 40's and 50's take an SSRI. This is higher than any other age group!
That’s what I call sobering news, especially given the effect of antidepressants on your bone density.
Antidepressants and Your Bones
The Canadian study2 revealed something alarming about a particular kind of antidepressant – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs – and the damage it does to the bones of people over the age of 50.
The patients in the study took commonly-prescribed SSRIs, including Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and Celexa, on a daily basis. Even when factors such as hip bone mineral density, age, and estrogen levels were taken into account, researchers concluded that the risk of “fragility fracture” actually doubled when these SSRIs were taken daily.
This is shocking news, considering that fragility fractures were already considered a problem among this age group.
What’s Going On?
How do SSRIs raise fracture risk? As their name implies, SSRIs inhibit the reuptake (reabsorption) of the brain chemical serotonin. According to the study,
“Functional serotonin receptors and the serotonin transporter have been localized to osteoblasts and osteocytes, and serotonin seems to modulate the skeletal effects of parathyroid hormone and mechanical stimulation.”2
In other words, SSRIs keep you from forming bone by inhibiting serotonin, which plays a role in bone formation.
And Antidepressants Don’t Even Work!
Not only are these drugs harming the bones; alarmingly, a study3 published in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes that antidepressants don’t even help depression. The study exposed Big Pharma’s brazen cover-up of actual data that shows the ineffectiveness of antidepressants. Not surprisingly, drug companies selectively published only those studies that showed the benefits of antidepressants, but suppressed almost all of the studies that showed clearly that these drugs are ineffective.
Even the studies that showed apparent benefits of antidepressants were presented inaccurately. Reviews of the actual data from those studies indicate that the antidepressants were only 20% more effective than a placebo. In other words, 80% of the participants in the studies found relief from depression with just a placebo.
And let’s not forget the side effects of antidepressants. Besides increasing fracture risk, SSRIs can have side effects that range from unpleasant (nausea, dry mouth) to unhealthy (weight gain, insomnia) all the way to life-threatening (increased risk of suicide).4
It looks like we’ve been deceived again.
Drug companies are preying on some of the most vulnerable among us. Depression clouds decision-making, and presents its own set of physical health problems as well, such as exacerbating bone loss.
Even Unmedicated Depression Hurts Your Bones
Interestingly, those who suffer depression may be more at risk for fractures even without taking medication. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine has shown that depressed menopausal women had a greater fracture risk. The study also showed less bone mass in the hips (specifically, the femoral neck) of 17% of women with depression, compared to only 2% of women without depression. And in 20% of depressed women, low bone mass was observed in the lumbar spine, compared to only 9% of non-depressed women.5
The study participants had identical risk factors, sharing similar lifestyles and habits. The only difference was depression. Researchers explain that depression leads to an overproduction of IL-6, an inflammatory body marker. As Save Our Bones readers know, chronic inflammation has a significant negative impact on your bones.
And now we find out that depressed women who take SSRIs have increased fracture risk. So depression itself harms your bones, and so do the antidepressant drugs.
Natural Ways to Fight Depression
Overcoming depression without drugs is possible. If you suffer from depression, by all means seek help. But that help does not have to involve ineffective, dangerous drugs. There are plenty of natural, drug-free things you can do to alleviate anxiety and depression – this list is only a partial one:
- Check with a qualified herbalist and explore some of nature’s antidepressants, such as St John’s Wort.
- Homeopathic remedies are also a possibility you can discuss with your herbalist or homeopathic practitioner.
- Get out in the sunshine!
- Drink plenty of water.
- Nutritional supplements such as fish oil and B-complex vitamins can help.
- Practice good nutrition and eat a healthy diet.
- Professional counseling and therapy can work wonders.
- Learn to accept yourself without judgment.
- Music therapy.
- Engage in prayer or meditation.
- Exercise regularly, including aerobic exercise.
Various studies support the role of exercise in treating and managing depression. A 2005 study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine showed a depression remission rate of 42% in those who engaged in aerobic exercise 5 times a week.6 And yet another study, this one published in Psychosomatic Medicine in 2000, showed that regular exercise prevented a relapse into depression. In fact, participants in the study who exercised were less likely to relapse than those who took antidepressants.7
The Osteoporosis Reversal Program recommends aerobic weight/bearing exercise for bone health, so improved mood is another great “side-effect” of following the Program. And to really get your bones in top shape, there’s Densercise.
The Osteoporosis Reversal Program and Densercise are uniquely designed to show you how to meet your nutritional and exercise needs, which can help you reach optimal health for your bones and your mind.
To your health and happiness!
1 Pratt, Laura A., et al. “Antidepressant Use in Persons Aged 12 and Over: United States, 2005-2008. National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief. No. 76, October 2011. www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db76.htm
2 Richards, J. Brent, et al. “Effect of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors on the Risk of Fracture.” Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:188-194.
3 Turner, Erick H., et al. “Selective Publication of Antidepressant Trials and Its Influence on Apparent Efficacy.” The New England Journal of Medicine. January 2008; 358:252-260. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa065779
4 Stone MB, Jones ML (2006-11-17). “Clinical review: relationship between antidepressant drugs and suicidal behavior in adults” (PDF). Overview for December 13 Meeting of Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee (PDAC). FDA. pp. 11–74. Retrieved 2007-09-22.
5 Farideh Eskandari, MD, MHSc, et al. “Low Bone Mass in Premenopausal Women With Depression” Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(21):2329-2336. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/91132.php
6 Dunn, AL, et al. “Exercise treatment for depression: efficacy and dose response.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine. January 2005; 28(1):1-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15626549
7 Babyak, Michael, PhD, et al. “Exercise Treatment for Major Depression: Maintenance of Therapeutic Benefit as 10 Months.” Psychosomatic Medicine. September 1, 2000. Vol. 62 no. 5; 633-638.
Comments on this article are closed.
Anti-depressants are not only bad for bones but also deplete important nutrients like B12. Metformin also does that.
Dr. Hyla Cass has a book called “Supplement your Prescription” that describes numerous drugs and the different vitamins & minerals they deplete in our bodies.
I took Celexa for 15 years and was diagnosed 2 years ago with osteoporosis. I have since quit and I am seeing a naturopath. I am on good supplements, taking Sam E for my anxiety and depression and doing daily walking and strength training 5 times a week. Is there any hope for me improving my bones since I took an SSRI?
Hi – can you tell me how you got off the antidepressant…….
i recently was given the aclasta drip and my dr said there were no side effects. i was admitted to hospital with severe side effects. four weeks later i am still upsufering from the side effects. has anyone had the aclasta drip for osteoporosis? it has been a hoorendous experience that set me backmphysically.
had reclaspt injected on march 18th 2014 and have never been so ill in my life. I’ve had so many side affects from this and it has caused me heart problems (that I’ve never had in my life). my eyes turned black and then puddles of blood forned on my cheek bones and had edema bad in my right leg and (now both as well in both legs as well as my feet) my right foot turned black and then my toes turned gray and the skin just fell off-pounding in my ears all the time and no controlling my blood pressure (either real high or real low) heart rate dropped to 46 one night(scary as hell I thought I was going to die) losing hair and god knows what will happen next. As sick as I am my doctor has discharged me as a patient so have now went to a new doctor that stated he’d never put this in anyone period .At the er the doctor there could only monitor my blood pressure and keep and ekg going and point blank said there’s no antidote for this and all he could offer me if I would allow is a hug -kiss and a prayer. I also haven’t been able to have a bowel movement on my own since I had this put in me without using exlax -bowel softeners won’t work nor miralax=as I sit here now my ears are pounding like my heart is in them -terrible feeling -and I ache from head to toe- plus this doctor had been treating me for thyroid conditions for 10 years since I moved here to Flordia and
it states if you have a parathyroid or thyroid condition your not suppose to take this poison-she never researched this med at all and no one told me of any of the side effects at anytime other than to drink a lot of water before and to take 2 eleve in case I had some sight soreness.
thank god for pictures because my husband has taken many
Thanks Vivian. I’m doing every thing to said. M.J.M.
thank you so much Vivian for the very informative information. Eileen
Thank you for the information – Depresion hurts one’s bones.
Hi Mrs Vivian thank you so much for your information. I know the antidepressants do not work the psyquiatric prescribe it to my 17 year old daughter last year and they didn’t help at all. they were making her to be more suicidal and back then the natural’s one’s did not help either. my daughter also has anxiety but she won’t take any thing for it the natural medicine helps but she said that she prefers to feel anxiety than feeling numb all day if she takes medicine. she was also diagnosed with ADHD and is taking ritalin suppost to take it am and noon but she only take it in the morning because if she takes it twice a day she feels numb again I have been looking for something natural that help her with ADHD but don’t know of any
any suggestions please i will appreciated. right now she is taking fish oil also. thanks
thank you Vivian for your information. I know that antidepressants do not work cause the psyquiatric prescribe it to my 17year old daughter last year and it was making her more suicidal so I just decided not to give her any of those dangerous medicines. she also has anxiety and natural herbs meds seems to help but she won’t take any cause she says she prefers to feel anxiety than feeling numb. she also has been diagnosed with ADHD and is taking ritalin for it and it suppost to be taken every am and noon but she only take it in the morning for the same reason that doesn’t want to feel numb all day. and am looking for a natural medicine that helps instead of the ritalin. do you have any suggestions i would appreciated thanks
I think dancing, walking in the sunshine and prayer are the most effective antidotes for depression. Having a thankful heart and asking God to direct your life will bring much happiness and joy. It really works!! Love to read the helpful comments for your readers Vivian, thank you for sharing your research and knowledge.
Hello Carolyn Pennington,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree with what
you said- to have a thankful heart and asking HIM for
direction. He encourages us to be transformed by the
renewing of our minds.In my own personal life, I renew
my mind every day when I breath in GOD’S goodness
by meditating on HIS WORD. I feed on the goodness
of GOD, and I let HIS WORD be my source of input and
strength regardless of my circumstances. Thank you
for reading my e-mail. Have a wonderful day.
Thank you for this info. Every psychiatrist on the planet prescribes an anti-depressant as if they were aspirins. They think its the fix/all cure/all. They don’t even talk to you anymore, they just hand out meds and the thought is if you don’t take them, I can’t help you because you are not trying to help yourself. They suggest a therapist who actually does their job for them. Having survived BR CA 15 years ago, I developed osteoporosis from Femara. I also have COPD and glaucoma. I take a lot of medication. Yet was unfortunate enough to have my then 20 year old daughter get hit by a car and sustain a severe traumatic head injury. She is no longer in a coma but remains 5 years later in a persistent vegetative state. I have major cause to be depressed. Yet I was afraid of anti-depressants because of the possible interactions with other meds. I also thought it would be a temporary fix like taking HRT then stopping and getting hot flashes anyway–just pushed off a few years. That was not an option for me anyway. I feel anti-depressants will numb me out for a while only to have it all hit me again years from now or in the event of her death. I feel the only way out of the pain—is directly through. Now I have complete validation that my instincts were right–stay away from them. Besides every psychiatrist I went to needed a therapist themselves–or seemed so.
I have had a mood dissorder since I was a teen. Although I’ve had enough go on in my life to constitute a hefty depression, I also see how this is also something that many of the females on my mother’s side of the family are very predisposed to. Paxil, Lamictal, and Lithium have save my life.
I have tried plenty of ‘natural’ supplements; they have only worsened my state. I thank God that these medicines exist.
EASY for one who has never dealt with chronic depression and/or anxiety. I was on Paxil for 15 years, quit and determined resolve my anxiety NATURALLY!! For an entire year, I dedicated (almost neurotically) my LIFE to acupuncture, yoga, natural supplements, meditation, a daily 5 mile walk, medical marijuana, sun, friends, laughter, ad nauseum. MISERABLE nevertheless and back now to SSRI’s. Also have osteoporosis. Quite a conundrum. Looking into tricyclics now, which don’t appear to have the same negative effect on bones. Good luck, those of you who are me!
hello vivian, I went to the Vets VA hospital today for a checkup. I have been so depressed for over two years. it seem impossible but My brother has one daughter and three sons. Two years ago his youngest son 38 diden’t wake up one morning, six months later his next son got a brain tumer and died in six weeks he was a luthern Minester and took care of the state Prision. Six more months my brother passed away, He smoked all his life and used booze the same. wouldent you believe My youngest brother died full of cancer he was a viet Nam vet and came back full of drugs which years later he completely stoped. He was designed trigger mechanisms for guided missiles. With all this commotion now My brothers daughter found and married a Muslim. She now is afraid finding what the Islamics have in store for The US. I was explaining to the lady doctor about this she described a anti depression pill called Viibryd and PROCERA a Enhancer Viibryd also called vilaZodone HIC.So now i am a bit cautious taking this it is a fairly new drug. Well I trust you are well and and happy with your lot. Regards Tom Burr
ST Johns wort causes liver cysts, it is not a good herb to be on, lesions
on the liver, and skin have been side effects of this herb. check with web
md. or your g.i. md to find out more about the adverse reactions.
If depression causes bone loss, and anti-depressants do also, how do we know it isn’t the original depression that has caused the bone loss and not the anti-depressants, since everyone taking anti-depressants will have been depressed, perhaps for a very long time before they started the pills?
No one who has been in the black hole that is true clinical depression would be so trite as to suggest fresh air, exercise and a good diet will solve it. Counselling doesn’t work for everyone.Anti- depressants can in some situations save lives, and certainly greatly improve lives. Much better than staying depressed and suffering bone loss anyway.
AGREE! As someone who has benefited from antidepressants for over 25 years, for me their value cannot be overrated. At the risk of sounding dramatic or cliche, they changed my life. These are not “happy” feel-good drugs that make people euphoric, carefree, forgetting all troubles and responsibilities. They allow me to actually participate in life and feel, well….”normal.” And that’s a really big deal. As with any medication, side-effects and effectiveness vary from person to person, and it’s essential to have a medical professional you trust who can monitor your experience. It’s also critical to supplement medication with counseling and a healthy lifestyle that includes consistent exercise, healthy diet, good rest, social interaction, and (for me) a creative outlet. Are antidepressants over-prescribed? Absolutely. Pharmaceuticals are a billion dollar industry, and we need to educate ourselves and advocate for better providers who listen to our concerns about any prescribed medications — the same way we should when it comes to osteoporosis prevention drugs. Those who don’t suffer from depression, or are depressed but choose not to take prescribed antidepressants, that is a personal choice & should be respected. But my hope is they don’t discourage anyone who is depressed from seeking medical treatment, even if it includes being prescribed antidepressants. I have osteoporosis, as does my mother and one of my sisters (neither of whom ever took antidepressants). Although Fosomax was initially prescribed to me, I’ve chosen not to take it and am pursuing a more natural approach to my bone health (like the SaveOurBones program). I would not, however, stop taking my antidepressants in hopes of possibly improving my bone density. Quality of life is important.
I firmly agree with Heather – your list is very nice and I am pretty successful at doing the things on this list.
However, depression is a chemical imbalance and is hereditary among other things.
I would prefer to see something that allows that some people actually need this drug, and how to alleviate bone loss associated with it.
I too have had positive results with anti-depressants for 20 years. I definitely need them and grateful they work. Unfortunately I was diagnosed with osteoporosis 7 years ago. I had no idea when I first took the Anti-depressants it would lead to osteoporosis. I’m not able to come off the medication and my doctor told me today theres nothing I can do except take prolia fosamax or other drugs. No thank-you once u look at the side effects and reviews and testimonials. Vivian. I don’t know what to do as I feel my weight bearing and healthy eating of bone rich nutrient foods isn’t enough. There’s nothing that will slow down the progression of the disease. Help!
Many thanks for this information and all other information you send us.
I Use To Take Paxil, And I Don’t Know If I’m Spelling It Right, But I Also Took BUS-BAR. Now I Take Herbal Medications To Replace Them. I Take 5HTP And KAVA COOL COMPLEX. AND THEY SEEM TO BE DOING THE SAME THING, EXCEPT THERE ARE NO SIDE-AFFECTS!
THANK YOU VERY MUCH, AS ALWAYS, FOR YOUR VERY HELPFUL ARTICLES!
LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)
There is an effort by the psychiatric profession to get more people to take psychoactive drugs. Just saying you are a little down today (even if you were up yesterday) will give you a “diagnosable condition” that according to the DSM-IV will allow the psychiatrist to prescribe a drug or require a mandatory referral from a psychologist.
An antideppresent — Efexor to be exact, saved my life — although another one, Paxil, did absolutely nothing for me and, in fact, worsened my depression. Like anything else, certain ones work better for some people than others — yes, sunshine, exercise and eating well can be beneficial — but often they are not enough to combat depression, and adding to the stigma against taking an anti-depressant when required is not helpful.
Actually, I think the “stigma” should be on the drug companies and the FDA, who have obscured vital data! They are the ones who should be ashamed, not those who have truly sought help for their condition. I wish you happiness and health, Wurthmann!
Vivian, as several people have said on this forum, antidepressants have saved lives in those who need them.
It sounds like you are not someone who has gone through this type of clinical depression and I appreciate that.
I like your program but this particular point makes me wonder if it will even work with someone who has a medical condition requiring antidepressants.
Advice to quit taking them seems to be a very flip response – just to stop is a very bad and harmful idea.
With all the research you have done, could you do a little more and try to give some tips to those who actually need and are on, antidepressants?
I really appreciate the immense amount of work and research you put in. As a psychiatrist I agree with most of what you say here. We all know that there is no/little evidence for treatment of mild depressive disorder with antidepressants which probably accounts for most of the people on them and as such it is good to inform people about the alternatives. But there are many people who suffer from moderate to severe depression who do benefit – we always have to weigh up the risk-benefit ratio and for many of these patients the risk of death from their depression really does outweigh the other risks associated. If you have ever worked on a psychiatric ward and seen patients almost wake up from the dead with treatment then you will appreciate this. So we must be careful to influence incorrectly people who really do need the treatment and without it would relapse badly. If people with this type of depression want to come off their drugs they must always do it under the supervision of their doctor.
Best wishes to you.
This web page lists 66 incidents of school violence that were connected to anti-depressant drugs.Several paragraphs down.
Just saw an episode of Dr. Oz that featured L-theanine to help relax from stress so I’m thinking of trying it. Anyone know of any problems with it and bones?
Diane, I don’t know if there is a bone connection but I do know that I rely on a cup of Chamomile Tea. First, you have to take the time to sip it which in it self relaxes you and then the tea itself is a great relaxer and no side effects.
I took antidepressants for a few weeks after my mother died of cancer. We were a very close family and to watch her suffer was difficult. However i decided to come off them as i don’t like taking drugs. I then sort counseling which helped a lot, plus i started swimming again and painting. I have now recovered and found that talking about your problems and exercise, plus getting involved in hobbies where you meet people is a great help. Life can be so exciting once you have dug yourself out of that pit.
I have taken antidepressants for several years and have been so happy to have them. I struggled with clinical depression all my life and I’m really sorry to hear of their effort on bones. But for me they are still worth it because daily depression is so terrible. I’ve tried all the natural methods…used to run 10 miles a day when I was younger. I guess we do the best we can with what we’ve got.
I am always interested to receive advice on drugs that damage ones health. However, on this occasion, thank goodness, I do not take antidepressant drugs. Never have and never will. Thank you Vivian.
I love all the information you share with us Vivian. I have recently started taking a teaspoon of diatomaceous earth (DE) with a bit of juice first thing each morning, after reading about all the wonderful things it does for you, including benefiting your bones and improving nutrient absorption. Do you have any comments on this or has anyone else had experience using DE. My gut is very happy, less bloating and gas, and I have amazing energy.
I was diagnosed with beginning osteoporsis 2 years ago and my doctor prescribed Fosamax. Luckily I read all the literature that came with it and since I was just about to have dental surgery, freaked out when I read about osteonecrosis of the jaw and refused to take it. Then I discovered your wonderful website and knew I’d made the right decision. I much prefer to do everything the most natural way possible… I even collect and dry my own St Johnswort, which works wonders for depression. Thank you for the wonderful educational service you provide! You are a jewel!
Lin, it sounds like you are definitely not afraid to take your own health into your own hands! 🙂
Where can I read customer testimonials on individuals who have purchased and used the Densercise exercise program? I have been most interested in it, but do NOT like reading information (especially exercise moves) via an e-book. This is the major drawback for me in regards to this program. If others who have purchased this program and have used it could comment I would greatly appreciate hearing from them. Or if there are customer testimonials on your website that I am unaware of could you please direct me to those?
You will find all kinds of testimonials at the link below – they are mainly regarding the program, but many people mention that exercise has played a significant part. 🙂
Thanks Vivian, I now know how to recognize the signs in myself that either I’m just not getting enough exercise or eating the right things when I start getting sluggish and then the over thinking and dwelling start. Your program makes it so much easier. I was on lexapro for a while last year….so glad I’m off it now. I appreciate your updates and even though it’s not enough for what you are doing….Thank You!!!
Terry, that’s wonderful news! It’s so important to know your own body rhythms – it helps so much in making your own health decisions, which is what Save Our Bones is all about!
This information is greatly appreciated . There are just to many dangerous medications that are being handed out to easily. I know I made a hugh mistake of listening to the doctor.
The following article may ebe of interest to you:
Momcilovic B, Prejac J, Visnjevic V, Drmic S, Mimica N, Bukovec-Megle Z, Brundic S, Skalny AV “The muscle immobility of depression – the weightlessnessw within” Psychology 2012;3:825-833.
Psychology is an open access journal.
I f you have any further questions, please, don’t hesitate to contact me. My “micro” speciality are trace elements in health and disease.
Antidepressants have saved my life many times over. I tried everyone of the alternate treatments that you’be mentioned and none of them made any difference. I know my own body and am proactive about my health and there is no way any placebo would have worked. I’d rather be alive at age 66 then dead at age 36 of a suicide.