The 5 Biotypes of Depression

I first experienced major depression as a teenager. Like most people who find themselves struggling with this, I tried pharmaceuticals. However, this never felt right to me. I always knew that I didn’t want to take medications that had a long list of side effects. The trouble was, there didn’t seem to be any alternatives. No one was really talking about any other possibilities.

Things really changed for me when I came upon the exciting research of William J. Walsh, PhD. His work focuses on the root causes of depression.  For the past 20 years, he has collected lab samples from more than 2,800 depressed people. In examining the data, he discovered that depressed people are biochemically different from the rest of the population.

Dr. Walsh concluded that there are essentially only 5 major chemical classifications (or biotypes) of the depressive population. This made me feel very hopeful that I would be able to narrow it down to see which one(s) were affecting me personally. Here is a brief explanation of his findings. More detailed information about each classification can be found in Dr. Walsh’s groundbreaking book, Nutrient Power.


Undermethylation– 38% This biotype accounts for the biggest percentage of depressed patients. These patients usually have reduced levels of serotonin and dopamine.

Folate deficiency– 20% These patients exhibit elevated serotonin and dopamine. In contrast to the undermethylation group, these patients usually show an intolerance to SSRI medications. Most report anxiety in addition to depression and about 20% have a history of panic disorder.

Copper overload– 17% These patients tend to have elevated norepinephrine. It is mostly women who are affected with hypercupremic (high copper) depression. It can be traced to drinking water, birth control pill use, and estrogen dominance.

Pyrrole disorder– 15% These patients show reduced serotonin and GABA, which is the main calming neurotransmitter. This disorder may be genetic and can be identified using a simple urine test. It is treated primarily with B-6 and zinc.

Toxics– 5% These patients have an overload of toxins in their body that impair the blood-brain barrier and damage the myelin sheath, resulting in symptoms of depression.

These 5 biotypes often overlap and people can sometimes fit into more than one category. I personally have a combination of copper overload, toxics and folate deficiency.

The really fantastic news is that most of these issues can be identified using blood or urine tests. Even better news is that they can usually be addressed using a few targeted vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Walsh quote

If you are interested in finding out about which of these 5 might be contributing to your depression, send me an e-mail so we can set up a free 15-minute consultation.

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