Course Description:

Over four modules, clinicians of all specialties will become adept in identifying and assessing the biologic abnormalities—nutritional, genetic, metabolic, and environmental factors—that underlie the diagnosis of depression in numerous patients. Employing a model of functional medicine, you will learn the diagnostic tests you should be running on patients, the role key nutrients play in maintaining neurologic health, and biologic treatment protocols that can be easily incorporated into your practice.

CME Accreditation (AAFP)
This Enduring Material activity, Integrative Medicine for Depression, has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to 5.00 Prescribed credit(s) by the American Academy of Family Physicians. AAFP certification begins 8/31/2020. Term of approval is for one year from this date. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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1. A Biologic Model of Depression

In Module 1, Dr. Greenblatt explains functional and integrative medicine treatment protocols for depression, along with the broader polypharmaceutical crisis as it pertains to this clinical diagnosis. In particular, we review biochemical individuality and key biomarkers of “depressogenic” processes—genetics, inflammation, and dysbiosis, namely. Lastly, Dr. Greenblatt will describe integrative interventions to rebalance abnormalities, and elucidate our best practices in the assessment and treatment of depression.

2. Macronutrients: Proteins, Fats, and Carbohydrates

For Module 2, Dr. Greenblatt will take you on a deep dive into nutritional causes of depression and the incorporation of dietary interventions in your practice. Among other topics, students will find information on the role amino acids play in neurological health and how to prescribe free-form amino acids to patients, explore the link between essential fatty acids (EFAs), cholesterol, and lipids and depression, and unravel connections between depression and sugar consumption.


3. Micronutrients: Minerals

While in Module 2 Dr. Greenblatt demonstrated the connection between macronutrients and depression, in Module 2 he examines minerals, such as lithium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and copper for their role in brain function and neurologic health. He explores the physical and cognitive ramifications of a mineral deficiency or excess, along with the intrinsic and exogenous factors that impact mineral absorption, metabolism, and bioavailability as they relate to symptoms of depression. Lastly, he will review clinical tests for assessing mineral status in patients, along with recommendations for supplements to rectify micronutrient imbalances.

4. Micronutrients: Vitamins

In the final module, Dr. Greenblatt offers an overview of vitamins—B vitamins, vitamin D, and folates—exploring how they rebalance and influence the transmission and synthesis of neurons, cell receptor activation, and neuroendocrine responses. Variants of the MTHFR gene and effects on folate metabolism will be examined, along with guidelines for testing for vitamin deficiencies, achieving repletion, interpreting the results, and treating with key supplements.


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Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the genetic, nutritional, metabolic, and environmental causes of depression
  • Understand of role of inflammation on the “depressogenic” process, along with dietary factors in the presentation of depression symptoms
  • Substantiate the physiologic associations between diet and depression
  • Discuss the acute and chronic physiologic ramifications of malnutrition and trauma, and identify biologic pathways by which these factors influence suicidality in eating disorder populations
  • Discuss the impact of gut microbiota, macro and micro nutrient deficiencies, and genetic variants of the MTHFR gene in the production of folates on depression
  • Run and read diagnostic tests in the evaluation of patients
  • Employ a functional medicine approach for better patient outcomes at your clinic or practice
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