Part of an ongoing series on how to use supplement and behavior-based plans to treat common maladies. To read the detailed plan, order supplements, or download the patient resource sheets, go here to create a free patient account at Fullscript by entering your name and email address: Dr. Mark McDonald’s Fullscript dispensary

By now, most people are aware of, if not familiar with, the health benefits of cold plunges. Various studies have found immersion in cold water to improve energy, focus, mood, and metabolism. Some have even shown a reduction in the recurrence of some cancers. 

They’re not for everyone, though. The idea of ending the evening in a frigid tub does not capture the heart of the average person. Sometimes the barrier to entry for a healthy habit is just too high.

Good news: Heat treats depression, too. A wealth of evidence supports a link between body temperature and depression, specifically that an increase in the severity of depression is correlated with a higher increase in body temperature. More surprising, though, is that heating the body can produce rebound cooling that improves depression. A new study published in Scientific Reports followed 20,000 people from 106 countries over seven months through wearable sensors. Following an intervention involving heat—hot yoga, heated springs, hyperthermic baths, and infrared light—body temperatures dropped below baseline and stayed low for a longer period of time than cooling the body directly, such as through an ice bath or cold plunge. Even sweating from exercise produced a similar rebound hypo-thermic state that persisted.

Like most disease states (or unhealthy states), inflammation appears to be involved with depression, although it’s unclear whether inflammation drives depression or vice versa. Lowering body temperature, though, treats both states. For example, hot yoga has been shown to reduce depression symptoms. For those unable or unwilling to tolerate intense exercise, something as simple as two 20-minute baths per week in 104 F water reduces symptoms of depression.

If you struggle with depression, take a hot bath regularly. You may see your mood improve.

Supplements can assist as well. Below is a link to my depression supplement plan I provide my patients. I am now sharing it with my Substack subscribers. To access the plan, you must first create a free patient account at Fullscript by entering your name and email address: Dr. Mark McDonald’s Fullscript dispensary Watch a one-minute video on how to create an account below.

Depression Plan