Help for Depression
Have you ever felt so bad that nothing cheers you up? Not even a sunny day? Many of us have experienced the devastating chains of depression. The first thing you need to do is to actually be aware that you have this condition and to chart when the depression comes on, in a journal. Some people have depression every day for an extended period of time and with others, it comes and goes. Charting it in your journal, can tell you if its hormonal, diet, blood sugar related, lack of sleep or any other reason. There are many supplements that work well for depression, but please remember that everyone is different, so one product will not work for every person.
One of the supplements that I have personally found to work very well is 5-HTP. 5-HTP comes from the seed of the Griffonia plant; it is a pre-cursor to serotonin . I take 25-50mg half hour before bed with a glass of water and I find this helps me sleep, reduces carbohydrate cravings (including chocolate) and enhances my mood. Please do not take with any prescription drugs for depression or anxiety. More is not always better, as taking higher doses can result in nausea. 5-HTP is one of my favorite natural supplements because it helps with sleep, mood and carbohydrate cravings; I found I ate less chocolate when taking 5-HTP nightly. Studies have found that a side effect of 5-HTP is losing weight, because of the reduced cravings.
Some substances are actually shown to be lacking in people with depression. B Vitamins, Essential Fatty Acids, Magnesium are the main ones. A good multi-vitamin, or a B complex with breakfast or lunch is a great place to start; take liquid or chewable if a tablet upsets your stomach. Good fats (essential fatty acids), like Fish Oils, are very important for brain and mood health. These come in capsule or liquid form. Make sure its from the body of the fish, not the fish liver oil, as in Cod or Halibut Liver Oil, these can be toxic in large doses due to the Vitamins A and D content. Take 2-3 caps a day, depending on the label instructions. Magnesium has also been shown to be lower in those with depression, so take calcium/ magnesium pills with meals. Taken with dinner can help you sleep; citrate form is the best absorbed. An adult needs at least 1000mg of calcium a day, along with at least 500mg of magnesium. Spread the pills out through the meals, if you take too much at once, you could find yourself with loose bowels.
Diet and exercise are also very important; controlling your blood sugar with regular, healthy meals is a must. A healthy meal consists of a protein, fiber, carbohydrate and a good fat. These must be eaten every 3-5 hours, before the blood sugar drops! Remember to drink lots of pure water and get moderate exercise, you would be suprized how well a walk in nature works for a pick me up.
A healthy attitude and awareness of your depression is also needed in order to heal this condition; you must take responsibility for your own self. See a counselor or a healer, if you suspect the depression is due to things that have happened in your life. Write in your journal so you can track your progress, it will also help you to become more aware of what and when your depression occurs. Don’t give up.........keep at it until you find the right program for you
Does Diet Affect Your Mental Health?
They say “You are what you eat”, so we can also say that your mental health is affected by what you eat. If your blood sugar is all over the place, then your moods will be too. If you are eating foods devoid of B Vitamins and Omega 3 Fats, then Depression can set in. If your liver and arteries are clogged from high fat foods, then you will feel sluggish and grouchy. Your brain is very much affected by what you eat and how you digest it.
Keeping your blood sugar level by eating every 3-4 hours and always including protein, fiber and high complex carbohydrates in every meal, will also help to keep your emotional and mental health more level. When you haven’t eaten for a while, or you consume the wrong foods, you will begin to feel shaky, irritable, moody, nauseas, spacey and you may also have a headache. The wrong foods: sugars, white flour products, pop, cookies, cakes, white bread, basically processed foods that have little fiber or protein in them, can really set off the blood sugar imbalances. Eating fiber slows the release of the sugar into the blood stream and protein helps with sugar cravings.
Studies have shown that a person with Depression is lacking specific nutrients in their body: B Vitamins, Magnesium and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. A deficiency of Omega 3 has shown to cause low energy, impaired learning, poor motor skills, allergies, anxiety, and post partum depression, depression, ADD, immune weakness, poor digestion and much more. Taking Omega 3 will help with calming the nervous system (so you’re better able to deal with stress), weight loss, inflammation, blood sugar regulation, cardiovascular health, skin problems and better mental performance. You can get Omega 3 from fish, fish oil capsules, walnuts, flax meal, Hemp Oil and other raw nuts and seeds.
B Vitamins are needed to form Neurotransmitters; these are used to send messages from one nerve cell to the next, and to process the brain’s food, blood sugar. Some good sources of B Vitamins are: whole grains, green leafy vegetables, eggs, brown rice, nuts, beans, blackstrap molasses, wheat germ, lecithin, oatmeal and brewer’s yeast. The B Vitamins work together to help your body deal with stress, to calm the nervous system and to provide energy.
Certain foods can cause specific reactions to some people; one person can tolerate dairy products, while another person can become irritable, angry, spacey, and nauseous and even get hives. Certain fats: Tran’s fats, hydrogenated fats and fried fats can clog up the liver and arterial system, making a person feel sluggish, angry and tense. You must cut out these bad fats as much as possible while adding the good fats to your diet: flax oil, fish oil, hemp oil, olive oil, raw nuts and seeds. These fats will help calm and nourish the body.
Food does play a much larger role in our mental health than we think there have been studies done on children with ADD and how diet affects their condition. The children were taken off foods that set off their ADD, like sugars, artificial colours and other chemicals and their behaviour got . When the foods are re-introduced, the previous behaviour started again. A report published in the UK, says “Food can have an immediate and lasting effect on mental health and the behaviour because of the way it affects the structure and function of the brain” (Sustain). They have clearly linked ADD, depression, Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia to junk food diets and the absence of specific supplements, like Omega 3 fats and B Vitamins.
“You are what you eat”, is taking on a greater meaning, so now is the time to pay closer attention to what you do eat. If you cannot get it all in your diet, supplement with a good quality Fish Oil and Multi-Vitamin; fish is often contaminated by Mercury, but the better companies will test for contamination in their supplements. As you get more nutrition in your body, you will find your cravings for sugars and bad fats will start to diminish. After a while on a healthier diet, you will also find that you’re mental and emotional health will also improve.