Most of the health problems of Americans are related to lifestyle and dietary practices. Depression is no different.
At the root of many cases of depression is an addiction to nicotine, caffeine, and other stimulants. According to Joseph Beasley, M.D., the primary investigator involved in the famous Kellog Report: The Impact of Nutrition, Environment, and Lifestyle on Illness in America, the United States is a nation of addicts. In many instances, people claim that they smoke, drink alcohol, or take drugs because it calms them. In reality, these substances actually complicate matters. The relaxation or chemical high from these drugs is short-lived and ultimately leads to adding even more stress to the system. Individuals suffering from depression or other psychological conditions must absolutely stop smoking, drinking alcohol, and ingesting coffee and other sources of caffeine.
Alcohol and depression
Individuals with depression must avoid alcohol. Alcohol is a brain depressant. It also increases adrenal hormone output, interferes with many brain cell processes, and disrupts normal sleep cycles. Alcohol ingestion also leads to hypoglycemia. The resultant drop in blood sugar produces a craving for sugar because it can quickly elevate blood sugar. Unfortunately, increased sugar consumption ultimately aggravates the hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia aggravates the mental and emotional problems of the alcoholic.
Caffeine and depression
Caffeine must also be avoided by patients with depression. Caffeine is a stimulant. People prone to feeling depressed or anxious tend to be especially sensitive to caffeine. The term "caffeinism" is used to describe a clinical syndrome similar to generalized anxiety and panic disorders that include such symptoms as depression, nervousness, palpitations, irritability, and recurrent headache. The intake of caffeine has been positively correlated with the degree of mental illness in psychiatric patients. In other words, the more caffeine that is consumed the greater the mental illness in these patients. The combination of caffeine and refined sugar seems to be even worse than either substance consumed alone. Several studies have found an association between this combination and depression.
Exercise and depression
Regular exercise may be the most powerful antidepressant available. Various community and clinical studies have clearly indicated that exercise has profound antidepressive effects. These studies have shown that increased participation in exercise, sports, and physical activities is strongly associated with decreased symptoms of anxiety (restlessness, tension, etc.), depression (feelings that life is not worthwhile, low spirits, etc.), and malaise (rundown feeling, insomnia, etc.). Furthermore, people who participate in regular exercise have higher self-esteem, feel better, and are much happier compared to people who do not exercise. Much of the mood elevating effects of exercise may be attributed to the fact that regular exercise has been shown to increase the level of endorphins. When endorphin levels are low, depression occurs. Conversely, when endorphin levels are elevated, so is one's mood. There have been at least 100 clinical studies where an exercise program has been used in the treatment of depression. It was concluded that exercise can be as effective as other antidepressants including drugs and psychotherapy. More recently, even stricter studies have further demonstrated that regular exercise is a powerful antidepressant. The best exercises are either strength training (weight lifting) or aerobic activities such as walking briskly, jogging, bicycyling, cross-country skiing, swimming, aerobic dance, and racquet sports. The important thing is to train with an intensity that will keep your heart rate in the training zone.
Depression - Dietary Guidelines
It is now a well-established fact that certain dietary practices cause, while others prevent, a wide range of disease. Quite simply, a health-promoting diet provides optimal levels of all known nutrients and low levels of food components which are detrimental to health, such as sugar, saturated fats, cholesterol, salt, and food additives.
A health-promoting diet is rich in whole "natural" and unprocessed foods. It is especially high in plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds, and nuts, as these foods not only contain valuable nutrients but additional compounds which have remarkable health-promoting properties.
Depression Therapy Comments
Counseling therapy that has the most merit and support in the medical literature is called cognitive therapy. In fact, cognitive therapy has been shown to be equally as effective as antidepressant drugs in treating moderate depression. However, while there is a high rate of relapse of depression when drugs are used, the relapse rate
for cognitive therapy is much lower. People taking drugs for depression tend to have to stay on them for the rest
of their lives. That is not the case with cognitive therapy because the patient is taught new skills to deal with depression. Psychologists and other mental health specialists trained in cognitive therapy seek to change the way the depressed person consciously thinks about failure, defeat, loss, and helplessness.
Factors Contributing to Depression
EFA deficiency, food sensitivity, toxic metal exposure, bowel toxemia, illicit drugs, poor diet • hypochlorhydria, toxic solvent exposure, candidiasis, endocrinopathies
- FirstLine Therapy® Diet
Suggested Nutritional Supplementation
- Symphora - 2-4 tablets daily.
Symphora is formulated to promote a positive mood and mental well-being by beneficially modulating
cerebral metabolism of the neurohormone cortisol.
- Somnolin - 2-4 tablets daily.
Somnolin is designed to support a positive mood and an alert, relaxed state during the day, while promoting recuperative sleep at night through beneficially modulating the metabolism of serotonin.
- St. John's Wort - With ActiFolate® and B12 - 1 to 2 tablets daily
St. John's Wort with ActiFolate and B12 is formulated to support a calm, positive mood with nutrients that
may play a role in serotonin metabolism.
- Wellness EssentialsTM - 1 packet twice daily.
Base nutrition with essential fatty acids and detox support.
For severe depression add to above protocols:
- Cenitol - 1 -2 scoops mixed in juice 1-3 times daily.]
Nervous system support.
Caution: Not to be used by patients taking lithium.
Nutritional factors in depression
There are a number of important nutritional factors to consider in the depressed individual. First of all, since the brain requires a constant supply of blood sugar, hypoglycemia must be avoided. Symptoms of hypoglycemia can range from mild to severe, and include such things as depression, anxiety, irritability, and other psychological disturbances; fatigue; headache; blurred vision; excessive sweating; mental confusion; incoherent speech; bizarre behavior; and convulsions. The association between hypoglycemia and depression is largely ignored by most physicians-they simply never even consider it as a possibility, despite the fact that several studies have shown hypoglycemia to be very common in depressed individuals. There is no explanation for this oversight by so many physicians, especially since dietary therapy (usually simply eliminating refined carbohydrates from the diet) is occasionally all that is needed for effective therapy in patients that have depression due to reactive hypoglycemia.
In addition to glucose, the brain also requires a constant supply of other nutrients. It is a well established fact that virtually any nutrient deficiency can result in impaired mental function. To function optimally the human brain requires virtually every known nutrient. Correcting an underlying nutritional deficiency can restore normal mental function and relieve depression. However, according to Dr. Werbach, the leading expert in the field of nutrition and mental function, "Even in the absence of laboratory validation of nutritional deficiencies, numerous studies utilizing rigorous scientific designs have demonstrated impressive benefits from nutritional supplementation."
A high potency multiple provides a good nutritional foundation upon which to build. When selecting a multiple vitamin and mineral formula it is important to make sure that it provides the full range of vitamins and minerals at high potency levels. Deficiencies of a number of nutrients are quite common in depressed individuals. The most common deficiencies are folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6.
According to research published in Lancet and Arch Gen Psychiatry, the genetic inablity to efficiently convert folic acid into its two active forms (L-5-MTHF and 5-Formyl THF) is associated with anxiety and depression
Manic Depression / Bipolar Disorder
A bipolar condition with cyclic states of mania and depression. In 85% of cases, depression dominates the personality cycle.
Preventing and Reversing Lithium Toxicity and Side Effects With Essential Fatty Acids
Over a decade ago, a woman visited Tahoma Clinic on the advice of her psychiatrist. She was "severely bipolar," requiring a maximum dose of lithium carbonate to keep her symptoms under control. Despite close monitoring of serum lithium levels to maintain a safe range, she was starting to show many signs of lithium toxicity, including hypertension, tremor, nausea, and proteinuria. She and her psychiatrist had tried other medications, but none provided the control of her bipolar symptoms that lithium did. As she asked: "Is there an alternative to either the psych ward or the medical wing?"
Fortunately, there was, and is. Without changing her lithium dose, she was asked to start on flaxseed oil, one tablespoon (15cc's) three times daily along with 800 IUs of vitamin E (mixed tocopherols). One month later, her blood pressure had normalized, her tremor and nausea were gone, and there was no further protein in the urine. Her bipolar symptoms remained under control. She was advised to cut the flaxseed oil to one tablespoon daily along with 400 IUs of vitamin E. Several years later, her lithium toxicity hasn't returned.
We're grateful to Dr. David Horrobin for this clinical tip. During a years-ago lecture on fatty-acid metabolism, he pointed out in passing that lithium could inhibit a vital step, but that this could be overcome by providing more "precursor" fatty acid to overwhelm that inhibition. This simple procedure works well in vivo as well as in vitro. To
be "on the safe side," a daily amount of flaxseed oil (or other essential fatty acid), along with vitamin E, should be recommended for anyone taking lithium. With low-dose lithium, a teaspoonful or two daily is usually sufficient.
Suggested Nutritional Supplementation
- Lumina - 2 softgels daily.
Lumina is designed to support healthy mental function and relaxation-issues related to proper focus, attention, learning, and memory-through modulating the metabolism of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and norepinephrine.
- Elo-Plex - 2 tablets 2 times daily with juice on an empty stomach.
Natural mood elevator
Documented benefits in both bi- and unipolar depression.
- Flax Seed Oil - 1 tablespoon 3 times daily
- E-Complex 1:1 - 2 softgels twice daily with meals
E Complex-1:1 is a unique, natural vitamin E supplement that features a 1:1 ratio of alpha- to gamma- tocopherol; this ratio more closely resembles the tocopherol profile found naturally in vitamin E-rich plants.
- Wellness EssentialsTM - 1 packet twice daily.
Base nutrition with essential fatty acids and detox support.
- Lithinase - 2-3 capsules 3 times daily with meals.
Bioavailable form of lithium documented in manic depressive cases.
Caution: Not to be used by patients taking prescription lithium
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