Posted online 12/09/07 by the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation at GNIF Brainblogger.* Used with permission.
Depression sucks, and we have probably all heard that it can be combated with proper diet and by adding in missing nutrients. But who are we are fooling? Often, a clinically depressed person would prefer chocolate cake and potato chips for dinner rather than the salmon and salad that would help their condition.
I think this is a situation that can be easily overcome.
If you have experienced depression, you understand the feelings of hopelessness and despair. You feel as if nothing will ever feel good again and the bottom is about to drop out from under you. The difference between “the blues” and depression is the difference between night and day and we all feel “the blues” once in a while, but it passes as quickly as it comes. Depression is the feeling that you are swimming in a black lake and you can never make it to the shore to escape.
Depression may sometimes be caused by physical conditions such as unbalanced brain chemicals as a result of poor nutritional and lifestyle choices. In these situations, depression is reversible without needing synthetic medications. Some people opt for the latest wonder drug offered by the drug companies, but there is a better, long term solution to treat depression.
The human brain and body has to be given the tools to run efficiently and to produce the appropriate responses. Your brain is an incredibly complex machine that produces chemical signals that run your entire body. If you are not providing your brain with the appropriate minerals, vitamins, fats and amino acids to efficiently release the appropriate chemical signals, the result can be depression and a host of other problems.
So, how do you feed your brain to treat depression permanently, even when all you want is junk food?
Supplements Are The Answer
You don’t have to change your diet while you are depressed. Use supplements to climb out from under the depression - and when you are feeling better, slowly change your diet. Below are some easy supplement options.
n Your brain needs amino acids to produce neurotransmitters that carry the chemical signals in your brain. You can get amino acids through protein like lean meat, cheese and fish, but it is easier to take an amino acid supplement, along with tryptophan, phenylalanine or whichever specific amino acids you need more of.
n Leafy, dark green vegetables give you many valuable vitamins and minerals to increase the efficiency of your body and brain in fighting acidity that leads to fatigue and the feeling of being worn out. But why not just take a daily multivitamin instead?
n You need good fats to get enough omega-3 to fight depression. You can get good fats in extra virgin olive oil, avocados, flax seed oils and other healthful oils, but you can also get them in a capsule with 1000 mg of omega-3’s.
n Keeping hydrated [drinking enough fluids] is vitally important for your health, and this one you can do while lying on the couch eating TwinkiesTM!
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A comment on this piece notes that low levels of the hormone serotonin in the brain are linked to depression, and low levels of Omega 3 seem to lead to low levels of serotonin. It links to a brief video presentation by CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta - explaining the differences between Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, and pointing out that the American Psychiatric Association is looking into a recommendation that Omega 3 supplementation be considered a means of warding off depression. See:
Read also about new research comparing the benefit of fish oil supplementation to that of oily fish in the diet – “Comparison of the effects of fish and fish-oil capsules on the omega-3 fatty acid content of blood cells and plasma phospholipids.”
* The “open-access” http://brainblogger.com/ site is sponsored by the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation (GNIF), which describes itself as “a non-profit charity organization for the advancement of neurological and mental health patient welfare, education, and research."
Note: this information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any condition, disease, or ailment. It is essential that you never make a change in your health support plan or regime without thorough research and discussion in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.