In the past we’ve talked about a connection
between Nutrition and Depression,
and since then it seems that science has backed us up on this. Since
few studies showed this connection, and when we first started
looking for the connection, one of the first things we found at
WebMd was: “The biggest myth of all is that food has any connection
to behavior," says Steven Pliszka, MD, professor of psychiatry,
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Our response, both then and now is: “Actually,
the biggest myth of all is that physicians know anything about
Since our publishing the article referenced above
(in the late nineties), much more research has gone into the factors
behind depression, what doesn’t seem to
work, and some creative solutions.
And we will now present them to you.
The Nutritional Factor
The University of Las Palmas in the Canary
Islands performed a cohort study of 15,093 people who were “healthy”
at the start of the study, and followed them for 10 years.
During the course of the study, 10% were
diagnosed with depression (or was prescribed anti-depressants).
Researchers noted a very strong correlation between diet and
depression. It seems that those following a Mediterranean type diet
or a similar diet rich in fruits and veggies, even with a moderate
alcohol intake, reduced their risk of depression. And even more
noteworthy was that following that kind of diet religiously did not
provide any more protection over those who occasionally followed it.
We must also keep in mind that, as published here
years ago, that some 80 to 90% of our serotonin is created in our
Researchers at McMaster University in
Ontario modified the gut bacteria of mice (using antibiotics) and
discovered a host emotional and behavioral changes had been
In our article
Nutrition and Depressionwe talked
about vitamin B-12; that among the first symptoms of a B-12
deficiency is depression. Well, there’s a doctor in England who’s
been treating depression and a host of illnesses with B-12
injections. In fact, Dr Joseph Chandy has successfully treated
hundreds of patients with B-12 injections even when their B-12 blood
serum levels were considered normal by the UK medical establishment.
So, they slapped his wrists and forced him to
stop treating patients with this therapy demanding that randomized
double blind placebo testing take place first. Chandy argued that
he’d documented all of his results. With a bit of media exposure,
Chandy’s persistence won out and he’s back to treating his patients
(get this) at his own expense. Yup; he pays for the shots.
It is estimated that 80% of the population is
B-12 deficient. One problem, especially for the
English/Irish/Scottish is their lack of intrinsic factor which helps
one’s body assimilate B-12 from their food intake. Additionally,
Chandy criticized the blood testing methods used in the UK because
there are two types of B-12: human-inactive and human-active and
results grouped these two together.
From my research, I’m convinced that
methylcobalamin is the best form of B-12 and taking it in a
sublingual lozenge (thus avoiding the digestive tract) is the best
way to take it.
Chandy reports that his treatment has been
successful in everything from premature hair loss to Multiple
Sclerosis, to mental disorders, especially depression. [
Sugar shouldn’t be classified as food. It should
be classified as a drug. We’ve known for decades the harm its been
doing to us, but now, with medicine finally accepting that most
illness is the result of inflammation, we also know that one of the
culprits behind our inflammation is sugar. Sugar is inflammatory.
Not only that, but a diet high in sugar and
fat, America’s preferred choice of suicide, changes the mixture of
gut bacteria in such a way as to produce an imbalance that leads to
even further inflammation, especially of the brain, and, according
to researchers at the Louisiana Sate University, can lead to
depression and other psychiatric disorders. [
And sugar substitutes, those man-made sugar
substitutes seem to be even worse than sugar itself, sugar is bad
We prospectively evaluated the consumption
of various types of beverages assessed in 1995-1996 in relation to
self-reported depression diagnosis after 2000 among 263,923
participants of the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study…
compared to nondrinkers, drinking coffee or tea without any
sweetener was associated with a lower risk for depression, adding
artificial sweeteners, but not sugar or honey, was associated with
higher risks. Frequent consumption of sweetened beverages,
especially diet drinks, may increase depression risk among older
adults, whereas coffee consumption may lower the risk. [Sweetened beverages,
coffee, and tea and depression risk among older US adults.]
The overall results:
People who drank 4 or more diet sodas per day
were 31% more likely to suffer depression.
People who drank 4 or more regular sodas per
day were 22% more likely to suffer depression.
People who drank 4 or more cans of diet fruit
drinks per day were 51% more likely to suffer depression.
People who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per
day were 10% LESS likely to suffer depression than non
Keep in mind that the study involved the
elderly, but the scientists felt that these results could easily be
translated to cover most age groups. [
From What Doctors Don’t Tell You, we discovered a
very worrying connection between diet, inflammation, and behavioral
problems (including depression).
Thus far, the discoveries have been based
on tests with laboratory mice, but the results are
nonetheless worrying. Gut microbioma from mice given a
high-fat diet were transplanted into other mice, which were
monitored for any changes to their behaviour and cognition.
They quickly developed behavioural
problems, including anxiety, impaired memory, and repetitive
actions. The mice also showed signs of gut permeability and
had markers of inflammation, including signs of inflammation
in the brain.
(Source: Biological Psychiatry, 2015;
Omega-3 EFAs (essential fatty acids) are
known to both fight inflammation and depression and more studies
have come to lite proving that. Even an old study from the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [
followed a group of women between the ages of 40 and 55. They were
given either one gram of marine-based omega-3 or a placebo
consisting of sunflower oil.
The experimental group reported significant
improvement in mental distress and mild depression while the control
group reported no changes. Also, as has been pointed out at this
site, hot flashes were less of a problem taking omega-3s.
The connection between inflammation and
depression is not new, but it seems to finally be getting some
attention. In 2009, this study:
It seems the type of omega-3s needed are both
fish and plant based. In fact the researcher found that both omega-3
and omega-6 levels were low in people with bipolar disorder.
Supplementing with these oils helps, and the drugs they’ve been
prescribed seem to make things even worse because they interfere
with the body’s ability to process fats. In fact WDDTY reports:
Earlier studies had found that omega-3
didn`t help alleviate bipolar symptoms, but this could have
been because the patient was still taking the medication,
which may have blocked the body`s ability to process the
fatty acids properly.
If depression is a problem, then may I
suggest you look over a paper that we worked on for quite a few
years called Chronic
Inflammation, and also check out
Cardia-7which is my latest discovery to fight
inflammation fast and make our bodies more sensitive to insulin.
Genetics is the science that once taught us that
the way we were born, with that genetic makeup, determined our
longevity and our overall health. Epigenetics is a new science that
tells us that your genetic makeup does not determine our fate. The
Linus Pauling Institute has promulgated that diet and lifestyle
override genetic disposition, but first there was
Lipton who bridged the gap between "science and spirit" in the
early nineties, when he discovered that what we think and believe
affects our cells at a genetic level. He is considered the father of
What we think and how we think can activate or
suppress our genes and these changes can not only become permanent,
they can be passed down to our offspring.
One of the things that can turn off (suppress)
inflammatory genes is meditation. In a 2013 study study that took
place on different continents, researchers found that meditation
suppress the inflammatory genes RIPK2 and COX2, "as well as
histone deactylase genes, among experienced practitioners of
mindfulness meditation in comparison with a control group." The
article (in the above link) ends, quoting Dr Lipton: "Taking care of
your health is a lifestyle problem. You can do something about
2014, JAMA published a study that showed that
meditation outperformed drugs in reducing depression and anxiety, so
significantly that the "placebo effect" or "wishful thinking" could
be ruled out completely. Participants meditated for 40 minutes a day
every day for eight weeks.
Even if you're in a group situation meditating,
another study published in the
British Journal of Psychiatry that considered two
groups, one doing standard traditional talk therapy and another
doing eight weeks of group meditation and declared a tie. The
meditation worked just as well as the therapy.
As pointed out directly above, drugs seem to make
bipolar disorder even worse, and now you’re going to learn that
there are therapies for depression that are more successful than
drugs, and that drugs again could be making things worse.
For years we’ve been told that depression is
caused by a “chemical imbalance.” I’ve often responded to
professionals telling me this by asking, “Which chemicals are those,
The response is usually a blank stare.
The entire theory, which has been very profitable
even if unsubstantiated, is based upon the “fact” that serotonin can
“strengthen” communication between brain cells. This theory launched
a multi-billion dollar industry of SSRI (Selective Serotonin
Reuptake Inhibitor) drugs that stop nerve cells from reabsorbing
serotonin, hopefully causing more brain cell activity. Again, this
has never been proven and most studies have shown them to work in
the beginning for a short period and then nothing. If your friends
or yourself have ever been on these, I’m sure you know all about
going back to your doctor to “readjust your meds.” Named drugs of
this type are Zoloft, Celexa, and Prozac.
In 2013, Nature Neuroscience [doi:
10.1038/nn.3355] published a study from the University of Maryland
School of Medicine that refutes the whole SSRI theory. According to
Professor Scott M Thompson, and we’re paraphrasing, “Depression has
more to do with brain cell activity, and especially excitatory
connections. Normal activity is reduced in the depressed person, and
it affects the ability to concentrate, remember and make decisions.”
And instead of prescribing drugs that supposedly “strengthen”
communication between cells, we should be developing drugs that
promote “better” communication between brain cells.” [
Besides, “Taking a drug almost doubles your
risk of suffering a relapse,” according to researchers at McMaster
University who performed a meta-analysis of studies that monitored
the effectiveness of anti-depressants. [
The British Medical Journal
just last year published a study showing that people on SSRIs
increase their risk of becoming bipolar by 34%.
And still more studies are finding
adverse side effects that seem to fly under the radar. Swiss doctors
found SSRIs boost your risk of fractures and lower bone density. One
study showed an increased risk of 72%. German scientists found an
increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, which can put you into
a dangerous position if you're also using aspirin or taking blood
thinners. Then there's the risk of bleeding profusely should you
have surgery. The Archives of Internal Medicine in 2013 pointed out
that people taking SSRIs who went into surgery were much more likely
to suffer complications and death . . . this latter one we want to
avoid at all costs.
One of the problems, at least as I see it, is
that depression is automatically treated as a disease when, as many
psychologists will admit, it appears, at times, to be a very natural
and even beneficial process that people go through to cope with
stress, loss, and pain.
Chronic depression, on the other hand, is
something quite different and appears to have a nutritional basis,
though we can never rule out a physical anomaly in a small
percentage of cases.
However are doctors qualified to diagnose
accurately clinical depression? And did you know that depression can
be handed down?
We can thank those lucky stars that there are
people willing to experiment with alternatives to drug therapy,
especially when deaths (suicides) while using drug therapies are
enough to send you into depression. One such therapy is the old
standby, Talk Therapy.
(in 2009) publishes a study in which 317 teens between the ages of
13 and 17 who had either had a history of depression or were showing
early signs were given CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) with the
results being significantly better than any drug therapy at
preventing depression and in reducing its symptoms.
However, there was a group that did not respond
to CBT, and they had at least one parent who suffered from
And far too often a physician will reach
for the prescription pad rather than schedule a second appointment
to make sure of the diagnosis. Lancet,
in 2009 published a meta-analysis of 41 trials into depression
diagnoses and discovered that more than a third of patients
prescribed anti-depressants (which can be dangerous at times,
leading to, you guessed it, depression) who were misdiagnosed as
being clinically depressed.
The British Medical
Journal published a very
simple yet amazingly insightful study out of New Zealand in which
doctors came up with two key questions that could identify up to 96%
of all cases of depression: [numbers]
During the past month, have
you often been bothered by feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?
During the past month, have you often been
bothered by little interest or pleasure in doing things?
This turned out to be a remarkable success and
even if you ask yourself these two questions, you’ll know if you
might need to talk to a counselor.
Doctors are driven, cajoled, and
incentivized to prescribe antidepressant drugs. From 1995 to 2005,
prescriptions for these pills doubled. Out of the 27 million
Americans diagnosed with depression,
Researchers from Northwestern University
Feinberg School of Medicine say that because medicine has an
oversimplified view of the causes of depression (chemical imbalance,
stress), drugs just don’t work, are over prescribed, and
UT Southwestern Medical Center
concluded the same thing. This $83 billion a year drug business
isn’t helping at all and that doctors have to start taking a more
holistic approach to depression.
In 2013, researcher from
Bern University in
assessed seven different non drug therapies for depression and most
were at least as good as drug therapy with a few producing even
better results than drug therapy. Since drugs come with so many and
often horrid side effects, shouldn’t physicians be investigating
these first rather than reaching for the prescription pad? What ever
happened to “Do no harm?”
Depression Can Make You Sick
One thing doctors notice right away is that
depressed people are not healthy people. Depression can affect our
immune systems, and if inflammation can lead to depression, well,
it’s been known to lead to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and a
host of other illnesses.
Many heart specialists learn early on in
their career that depression is one of the early signs of heart
disease. It also makes heart problems worse if untreated. In this
But nobody has been sure why this is. To
find out, researchers from the VA Medical Center in San
Francisco tracked 1,017 patients with heart disease for
nearly five years.
Those who were depressed were also 50 per
cent more likely to suffer further heart problems, such as a
heart attack or stroke.
But when researchers looked at lifestyle
issues, such as exercise, the association went away. In
other words, depression didn't cause heart problems, and
heart problems didn't cause depression - but both were
symptoms of a poor lifestyle, and lack of exercise.
Nobody knows why. You see, the hardest thing in
medicine is proving cause. It’s so difficult that we’ve got drugs
for everything just in case we’ve missed the actual cause, and in
this case, as in others we’ve talked about in the past, this is one
of those “chicken or egg” problems. Which came first?
And we also know, positive people live longer.
This is simply a fact. However, the positiveness must be organic and
not imposed. There are people who are positive simply because they
are scared to death to have one negative thought.
Now that we’ve seen how NOT to treat depression
(and perhaps get a second opinion) and have offered a few
suggestions, let’s really get into what helps.
Family and friends help. However, they must be
supportive. If they’re not, who needs them. A family can pass on its
dysfunction for generations. As one therapist put it, we are all
victims of victims of victims etcetera.
Here is our article (one last time, I
promise) on Nutrition and Depression
and here is our article on Chronic Inflammation.
Find a therapist willing to treat you as a human
being, rather than a customer. Find one willing to think outside the
Find a physician who will keep you from
being a statistic, for after a review of all published and
Suicide rates for people on antidepressants are
15 times higher, according to Dr Gotzsche, than “official figures
suggest.” Don’t end up a statistic.
The Nordic Cochrane Centre
is and independent review board that re-examined 70 drug studies
(paid for by the manufacturers) that involved nearly 19,000 teens
under 18 years old and discovered that they were twice as likely to
commit suicide while using SSRIs than people the same ages using
And there is a lot you can do on your own,
keeping in mind that when you’re depressed, the last thing you’re
probably going to do is something you really need to do. It’s a
crazy, downward cycle.
So, get a friend to help. That’s right. Someone
to go walking with. Someone who won’t put up with your “bullshit”
and who’s willing to drag your ass outside.
I had a friend who was diagnosed as clinically
depressed. I taught her tennis. And in all the time I knew her, she
never looked as happy as she did when we played tennis. However,
eventually she decided she liked her depression more than tennis. I
had to give up. You can’t pull people out of their ruts day after
day after day.
There is one ubiquitous rule in life and that is:
we love our little ruts.
If you can step outside your rut, you can beat
So, it’s up to you to take control. Get out and
walk a minimum of 30 minutes a day. You can break that into two
walks of 15 minutes.
Being in nature helps fight depression. Exercise
helps. Getting the bright light of day helps.
In fact, for those of you with Seasonal Affected
Disorder, a bright light works better than Prozac, almost twice as
effective. [JAMA Psychiatry, 2015; doi:
And how about starting to forgive your
enemies? And forgiving yourself.
In our article on Nutrition &
Depression, I posted something of interest:
You CANNOT possibly be depressed
while helping another human being.
Recently I received an email from
someone telling me I should be ashamed of posting such bull.
Obviously this person "thought" he was helping others and it didn't
cure his "attitude."
I wrote back that the studies
showed that the person must be doing this from the heart, or it did
He wrote back in ALL CAPS berating
me up, down, and sideways.
Apparently I'd hit a nerve
The studies are in. When you are
helping others from the heart, your depression and anxiety leave
you, at least temporarily. The
studies also show that too much volunteering does the exact
obvious, so keep it simple. If you're doing it for yourself, you get
no benefits. Just getting out into the community, talking to and
interacting with your fellow human beings boosts your "happy"
As you can see from everything presented here,
you can do more to help yourself than all the drugs in the world.
Yes, you have to be pro-active, and that can be hard when you’re
down, but if you think about it, doing nothing isn’t going to help
at all and can only make things worse.
If you check back,
we'll be posting any and all new research published on either
depression or on antidepressants. In fact, just as we're about to
publish this article in our newsletter, we've already received our
Two Antidepressants In Pregnant Women
Connected To Birth Defects
The British Medical Journal published a study
(July) that is finally getting attention that showed that pregnant
women taking paroxetine or fluoxetine early in pregnancy, raise the
risk of certain birth defects 2 to 3.5 times that of women not
taking these SSRIs. Women taking them later in their pregnancies,
the second or third trimesters, nearly double their chances of their
babies having autism.
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