Free Shipping!
Top Brands:
Product Search by Keyword:

Depression / Manic Depression / Bipolar Disorder

 

Depression is a major problem in the United States. Nearly 15 million Americans will suffer true clinical depression each year. Depression is also a big business for drug companies, especially for the maker of Prozac—Eli Lilly and Company. The good news is that there are natural measures to deal with depression that are both safer and more effective.

Prolonged, persistent depressed mood may be accompanied by one or more of the following: poor appetite, increased appetite, insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, hyperactivity, constant nervousness (jitters), decreased sexual drive, feelings of low self-esteem, inability to concentrate, or recurrent suicide compulsion. The presence of five or more of these symptoms definitely indicates depression.

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 compli

Smoking and depression

Cigarette smoking is a significant factor in depression. Central to the effect of nicotine is the stimulation of adrenal hormone, including cortisol, secretion. Elevated cortisol levels are a well-recognized feature of depression. One of the key effects of cortisol on mood is related to activating an enzyme (tryptophan oxygenase). When activated, this enzyme results in less tryptophan being delivered to the brain. Since the level of serotonin in the brain is dependent upon how much tryptophan is delivered to the brain, cortisol dramatically reduces the level of serotonin and melatonin. In addition, cortisol also “down regulates” serotonin receptors in the brain, making them less sensitive to the serotonin that is available. Smoking also leads to a relative vitamin C deficiency, as the vitamin C is utilized to detoxify the cigarette smoke. Low levels of vitamin C in the brain can result in depression and hysteria.

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.

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

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.

Final 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.

Contributing Factors

EFA deficiency, food sensitivity, toxic metal exposure, bowel toxemia, illicit drugs, poor diet • hypochlorhydria, toxic solvent exposure, candidiasis, endocrinopathies

Dietary Suggestions


Suggested Nutritional Supplementation

For severe depression add to above protocols:

Caution: Not to be used by patients taking lithium.

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

References

  1. Beasley J: The Betrayal of Health. The impact of nutrition, environment, and lifestyle on illness in America. Random House, New York, 1991.
  2. Fielding JE: Smoking: Health effects and control. New Eng J Med 313:491-8, 555-61, 1985.
  3. Mattson ME, Pollack ES, and Cullen JW: What are the odds smoking will kill you? Am J Publ Health 77:425-31, 1987.
  4. Carroll BJ, Curtis GC, and Mendels J: Cerebrospinal fluid and plasma free cortisol concentrations in depression. Psychol Med 6:235-44, 1976.
  5. Altar C, et al: Glucocorticoid induction of tryptophan oxygenase. Biochem Pharmacol 32:979-84, 1983.
  6. Kinsman R and Hood J: Some behavioral effects of ascorbic acid deficiency. Am J Clin Nutr. 24:455-64, 1971.
  7. Chou T: Wake up and smell the coffee. Caffeine, coffee, and the medical consequences. West J Med 157:544-53, 1992.
  8. Gilliand K and Bullick W: Caffeine: A potential drug of abuse. Adv Alcohol Subst Abuse 3:53-73, 1984.
  9. Greden J, et al: Anxiety and depression associated with caffeinism among psychiatric patients. Am J. Psychiatry 131: 1089-94, 1979.
  10. Neil JF, et al: Caffeinism complicating hypersomnic depressive disorders. Compr Psychiatry 19:377-85, 1978.
  11. Charney D, Henninger G, and Jatlow P: Increased anxiogenic effects of caffeine in panic disorders. Arch Gen Psychiatry 42:233-43, 1984.
  12. Bolton S and Null G: Caffeine, psychological effects, use and abuse. J Orthomol Psychiatry 10:202-11, 1981.
  13. Kreitsch K, et al: Prevalence, presenting symptoms, and psychological characteristics of individuals experiencing a diet-related mood disturbance. Behav Ther 19:593-4, 1985.
  14. Christensen L: Psychological distress and diet–effects of sucrose and caffeine. J Apl Nutr 40:44-50, 1988.
  15. Martin JE and Dubbert PM: Exercise applications and promotion in behavioral medicine. J Consult Clin Psychol 50:1004-17, 1982.
  16. Weyerer S and Kupfer B: Physical exercise and psychological health. Sports Med 17:108-16, 1994.
  17. Daniel Carr, et al: Physical conditioning facilitates the exercise-induced secretion of beta-endorphin and beta-lipoprotein in women. New Engl J. Med 305:560-5, 1981.
  18. Lobstein D, Mosbacher BJ and Ismail AH: Depression as a powerful discriminator between physically active and sedentary middle-aged med. J Psychosom Res 27:69-76, 1983.
  19. Folins CH and Sime WE: Physical fitness training and mental health. Am Psychologist 36:375-88, 1981.
  20. Martinsen EW: The role of aerobic exercise in the treatment of depression. Stress Med 3:93-100, 1987.
  21. Weyerer S and Kupfer B: Physical exercise and psychological health. Sports Med 17:108-16, 1994.21. Depression
  22. Byrne A and Byrne DG: The effect of exercise on depression, anxiety, and other mood states: a review. J. Psychosom Res. 37:565-74, 1993.
  23. Casper RC: Exercise and mood. World Rev Nutr Diet 71:115-43, 1993.
  24. Winokur A, et al: Insulin resistance after glucose tolerance testing in patients with major depression. Am J Psychiatry 145:325-30, 1988.
  25. Wright JH, Jacisn JJ, Radin NS, et al: Glucose metabolism in unipolar depression. Br J Psychiatry 132:386-93, 1978.
  26. Hadji-Georgeopoulus A, et al: Elevated hypoglycemic index and late hyperinsulinism in symptomatic postprandial hypoglycemia. J Clin Endocrinol Metabol 50:371-6, 1980.
  27. Fabrykant M: The problem of functional hyperinsulinism on functional hypoglycemia attributed to nervous causes. Laboratory and clinical correlations. Metabolism 4: 469-79, 1955.
  28. Werbach M: Nutritional Influences on Illness: A Sourcebook of Clinical Research. Third Line Press, Tarzana, CA, 1991.
  29. Stanto JL and Keast DR: Serum cholesterol, fat intake, and breakfast consumption in the U.S. adult population. J Am Coll Nutr 8:567-72, 1989.
  30. Crellin R, Botiglieri T, and Reynolds EH: Folates and psychiatric disorders. Clinical potential. Drugs 45:623-36, 1993.
  31. Carney MWP, et al: Red cell folate concentrations in psychiatric patients. J. Affective Disorders 19:207-13, 1990.
  32. Godfrey PSA, et al: Enhancement of recovery from psychiatric illness by methyl folate. Lancet 336:392-5, 1990.
  33. Reynolds E, et al: Folate deficiency in depressive illness. Br J Psychiat 117:287-92, 1970.
  34. Bjelland I, Tell GS, Vollset SE, Refsum H, Ueland PM. Folate, vitamin B12, homocysteine, and the MTHFR 677CT polymorphism in anxiety and depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2003;60:618-626.
  35. Hirashima F, Parow AM, Stoll AL, et cl. Omega-3 fatty acid treatment and T2 whole brain relaxtaion times in bipolar disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 2004;161;1922-1924.

 
Services   Policies   Customer Service   From The Doctor   Sign Up Now
Education Ordering Ordering Articles New Product Alerts
Health Library Returns Returns News & Notes Sales & Promo Alerts
  Shipping AutoShip Recommendations Newsletters
  Privacy Shipping Video  
  Terms of Use Privacy Podcasts  
        Customer Service