There is such a thing as a mental depression diet. It’s called the American diet. In response, physicians hand out anti-depressant pills making patients dependent on these pills for the remainder of their lives when their calorie-rich/nutrient poor diet is causing their problems. Where does depression/anxiety emanate from? Not the brain but the intestines, what is now called the gut-brain axis. In a misdirection, mood-altering drugs directly target neurotransmitters in the brain.
Altered gut bacteria early in life, particularly from over-use of antibiotics that literally sterilize the gut, and modern sugar-laden carbohydrate-rich diets by virtue of their generation of low-grade chronic inflammation, increase the risk for a depressed mood and eventually losing one’s mind later in life.
There is a whole class of antidepressant drugs called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) that increase serotonin levels in the brain. Gut bacteria (microbiota) control serotonin. The SSRI fluoxetine (Prozac) is itself an antibiotic that kills gut bacteria.
Inflammation breeds mental depression
With this understanding it can be said that virtually any anti-inflammatory agent can serve to elevate mood. Ibuprofen (Motrin) and aspirin reduce risk for depression. Yet aspirin and ibuprofen should not be considered safe just because they are over-the-counter medicines. They would probably never gain FDA approval if they were reintroduced today. The Truth About Beauty... Best Price: $3.95 Buy New $13.98 (as of 08:00 EDT - Details)
The diet is loaded with natural antidepressants – for example, blueberries, grapes, pomegranates. Many of these anti-depressant fruits and vegetables contain molecules like quercetin, catechin and resveratrol that control homocysteine and bind to iron and copper, major culprits in the onset of are-related brain disease and depression.
A diet loaded with glutamate, particularly glutamate snacks that over-stimulate brain cells (a phenomenon called excitotoxicity), combined with confections (candy) and fructose-sweetened beverages, increase the prevalence of mental depression. It is no coincidence that mental disorders are more common among sugar cravers.
It is also no surprise to learn that Candida infections are associated with psychiatric problems. Overgrowth of Candida (yeast infection) is fostered by over-consumption of refined sugars.
The non-caloric answer
How did American food purveyors address the criticism over sugar-laden foods (fructose corn syrup laced into peanut butter, bacon, canned foods)? Drugged: The Science a... Best Price: $14.82 Buy New $21.38 (as of 05:30 EDT - Details)
Circling their wagons to protect their profits, the food industry came up with artificial sweeteners that actually increase appetite! Artificial sweeteners actually cause even more mental depression.
While it is now recognized there is compelling evidence that the diet is a modifiable risk factor for mood, memory and aberrant behavior problems, diets in hospitals and food choices in grocery stores have not changed. When high-fructose corn syrup became popular, particularly in soda pop in the 1970s, is when the grocery stores became purveyors of insanity.
Not limited to depression
It’s not just depression, it is a whole range of behaviors, ranging from attention deficit disorder to mood swings (bipolar), autistic behavior (socially withdrawn), anxiety and many other mental problems that the diet controls and doctors diagnose and treat with synthetic molecules as mood-altering drugs.
How does American medicine address the problem? Prescribe more antidepressant drugs. One in six Americans is reportedly taking a psychiatric drug. This is like lighting matches then continually using fire extinguishers.
Even more shocking, there are over a quarter million children in the US under the age of 1 that are being given antidepressant and other psychotropic drugs. There are more than 8 million American kids under age 18 on mind-bending prescription drug! There is no data to substantiate use of these drugs in the developing brain. Anatomy of an Epidemic... Best Price: $5.99 Buy New $6.77 (as of 02:55 EDT - Details)
Weakened immunity too
And it’s not just behavior, but immunity that is also linked with these mental and behavioral problems. It is no coincidence that sugar-carb diets weaken immunity and increase the risk for infection that in turn results in depression.
The 500-1000 distinct species of bacteria in the human gut help shape the immune response to potentially pathogenic germs.
And how did American medicine address the problem of weakened immunity? Of course, it began pushing more and more problematic vaccines on children and adults. That practice ended up fostering a plethora of autoimmune disorders that fill pediatricians offices. Vaccines foster more not less need for healthcare. Pediatricians relished the idea of full waiting rooms. Vaccines make for sicker kids; 43% of American kids now have chronic allergic and autoimmune diseases triggered by vaccines.
How the natural medicine industry responded
And how did the natural medicine industry respond? It not only came up with the distraction of gluten-free diets, but it promoted probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidus supplements) that don’t address the myriad varieties of gut bacteria and side-tracked efforts to truly normalize gut bacteria.
Oddly, the American population has gotten side tracked with gluten-free diets, emanating from bakers taking shortcuts and baking bread without allowing it to fully rise and eliminate the gluten. Gluten doesn’t appear be implicated in mood and brain disorders. True celiac Mastering Leptin: Your... Best Price: $1.49 Buy New $7.95 (as of 05:30 EDT - Details) disease, an autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine, affects a small portion of the population. Celiac appears to have been fostered by a shortage of vitamin C and zinc in the American diet. Nutrient fortification should be preferred over gluten avoidance.
Natural pharmacy in the gut
Then there are prebiotic food supplements like apple pectin, beta glucans and resveratrol, that have a broader effect on the entire population of gut bacteria than probiotics. It is no surprise that healthy alteration of gut bacteria is conceived as a way to improve digestion, mental acuity and mood.
What if doctors had to prescribe natural remedies first?
Based upon the fact many prescription antidepressants go uncollected from pharmacies, a search for natural and safer alternatives is in order.
What if there was a requirement that doctors have to attempt to prescribe essential nutrients to rule out nutrient deficiencies before any synthetic antidepressant drugs can be prescribed?
For example, a shortage of folate (vitamin B9) from the diet (largely obtained from green leafy vegetables) results in high homocysteine Leptin Resistance: Get... Best Price: $14.61 Buy New $14.94 (as of 06:25 EDT - Details) levels and mental depression. An estimated 15-38% of adults diagnosed with depressive disorders are folate deficient. These vitamin deficient individuals will respond poorly to antidepressant drug therapy. So a significant percentage of antidepressants do not address the cause of the problem and are inappropriately prescribed.
It is not a surprise to learn that modern medicine now refers to the provision of prebiotics (non-digestible ingredients) in foods and supplements as “psychobiotics.”
A report published at PopularScience.com is entitled: “Forget Prozac, Psychobiotics Are The Future Of Psychiatry.” Big Pharma is going to resist anything that would replace $34 billion of psychotropic drugs with natural remedies.
It has only taken 100+ years for conventional and alternative medicine to catch on to what Elie Metchnikoff, the father of immunology, pointed to – acid-forming intestinal microbes counter the protein-making intoxicating bacteria to promote mental and physical health.
This is a paradigm change that has yet to be put into practice.
Reprogramming the American brain
What we have in America is almost an entire population that needs to be de-programmed away from sugar-carboholic insanity. Our genes need to be re-programmed say experts.
Don’t expect mental asylums to begin dishing out sauerkraut anytime soon. That would diminish their patient count and maybe even Your Drug May Be Your ... Best Price: $3.98 Buy New $46.01 (as of 06:35 EDT - Details) cause them to shutter their doors.
The bad part of this story is that humanity appears to have been misled by fat-phobic dietary guidelines that have not only resulted in the current diabesity epidemic, but a rise in autism, mood disorders, aberrant behavior, learning disabilities and end-of-life dementia.
Food purveyors create food addicts
The food purveyors were informed about what they were doing. They were making Americans into food addicts by lacing foodstuffs with brain stimulants. Their profits soared and so did the waiting rooms in doctors’ offices. Why fix the problem when so many were profiting handsomely from it? Politically, the modern American diet created lots of jobs taking care of sick, overweight, moody, demented people. High calorie malnutrition was having its way with the minds of Americans, disarming their sense of satiation into a mass overeating epidemic.
And now the final blow – the carbohydrate-rich diet that became the nation’s food guideline, leads to an early death. As I write this column today a newly published study carried this news headline: “Death by Carbohydrates.” Yes, higher carbohydrate intake (bread, rice, pasta, cereal) increases the risk for death by 28% while diets higher in fat reduce mortal risk by 23%.
Not just more dental decay, not just more diabetes, but D-E-A-T-H. Intentionally continuing on the path of serving up sugarized foods and carbohydrates would represent murder, would it not?
Leptin resistance = mass overeating
Leptin is a satiation hormone that signals when to stop eating. Fructose sugar/carbohydrate-rich diets disarm normal hormonal control The Emperoru2019s New ... Best Price: $5.99 Buy New $10.68 (as of 11:10 EDT - Details) of food intake (induce leptin insensitivity) and people overeat en mass.
The problem of leptin resistance went overlooked by modern medicine and was only brought to the attention of the natural health community and forced into mainstream conversation by Kat James, who found her own way out of binge eating and autoimmunity, including a liver failure, by severely limiting sugars and carbs and increasing fats in order to reprogram (she calls it Total Transformation®) hunger and satiation.
James warns: “low-carbers” often fail. If you are an overeater, your genes have been imprinted and need to be reprogrammed. You can’t go half way and cut some carbs, your genes will still be getting the same signal. James’ transformation diet is not like Atkins or Paleo diet plans. There may not be a cookbook approach to the problem she says. James fashions individualized dietary regimens. Once corrected, James says hormonal, digestive, neurological and inflammatory issues are often resolved.
Biologists call this brain reprogramming. In a recent article James notes 9 ways leptin insensivity changes personality. Students of her low-low-carb/no refined sugar diet have been observed to experience predictable positive personality changes.
Nutraceuticals in place of Rx drugs
A compelling argument can be made for the use of nutraceuticals in place of antidepressants and other mind-altering drugs.
Mental depression and resveratrol
Treatment with anti-depressants only provides a complete remission of symptoms in approximately 50% of patients with major From Chocolate to Morp... Best Price: $1.79 Buy New $20.86 (as of 11:10 EDT - Details) depression. Furthermore, antidepressants may cause side effects, such as sedation, constipation and weight gain.
Resveratrol exerts a strikingly profound effect upon gut bacteria.
For these reasons as well as resveratrol’s well-documented anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant effects, it is being considered as a mood-elevating agent.
It is widely known that insulin resistance (inability of the body to utilize insulin to break down sugars into energy) and consequent diabetes is accompanied by comorbid mental depression and anxiety.
When laboratory rats are fed a high fructose diet they exhibit hyper-anxiety. When these same lab rats were given the anti-diabetic drug metformin or resveratrol simultaneously with fructose, anxiety was reduced, more so with resveratrol than metformin.
Even when laboratory mice were chemically-induced to become diabetic, anxiety-like effects were reversed when resveratrol was administered.
Resveratrol has other potent antidepressant effects. Stress in laboratory animals causes laboratory animals to crave sugar and lose nervous control over limbs. Resveratrol reverses these behaviors partially by its ability to counter inflammation and oxidation.
Hypothryoid (low-thyroid) is known to produce depression-like behavior in human and animal studies. Resveratrol produces an anti-depressant effect in animals when hypothyroid has been intentionally induced. The Crazy Makers: How ... Best Price: $1.20 Buy New $8.99 (as of 11:15 EDT - Details)
Resveratrol elevates the activity of the Sirtuin1 survival gene. Chronic stress raises Sirtuin1 protein levels in the hippocampus of the brain (thinking part of the brain). When Sirtuin1 activity is chemically reduced in the hippocampus of the brain there is an increase in depression-like behavior in laboratory animals.
Resveratrol was put to the test to see if it raises levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein targeted by many antidepressant drugs. It was found that resveratrol raises BDNF levels and relieves mental stress.
Furthermore, resveratrol prevents leptin resistance.
Few people who are mentally depressed understand mood is linked to inflammatory status in the body and immunity. So it is not surprising to learn that resveratrol with its anti-inflammatory and immune regulating activity also influences mood.
When piperine, an extract from black pepper is employed to increase the bioavailability of resveratrol (quercetin has similar action), there was a greater effect upon mood. Lower doses of resveratrol were effective when both molecules were combined. There was significant inhibition of an enzyme, monoamine oxidase (MAO) that is known to induce mental depression. There are many MAO inhibiting drugs.
Experts now say: “There is an exciting prospect in the discovery of natural polyphenols (like resveratrol) as therapeutic agents in the treatment of major depression.”
Even a single dose of resveratrol can have a demonstrable effect as an antidepressant.
In one particular experiment researchers administered resveratrol to laboratory animals just prior to chemically inducing Parkinson’s disease. Pretreatment with resveratrol significantly reversed toxic effects and did so by increasing levels of dopamine and glutathione, a nerve transmitter and antioxidant respectively.
Resveratrol appears to negate the adverse mental effects upon the brain. When laboratory animals were given resveratrol + alcohol they performed better on learning and memory tests than animals given plain alcohol.
In another similar study, co-consumption of resveratrol with alcohol in rodents significantly prevents all the behavioral, biochemical and molecular problems caused by alcohol.
Resveratrol significantly attenuates deficits in emotional learning and spatial memory in chronically stressed laboratory animals as evidenced by changes in inflammatory brain chemicals.
Attention deficit and resveratrol
Amphetamine-like stimulants (Ritalin, Dexedrine, Adderall) are used among youngsters with attention deficit disorder. Resveratrol minimizes the effects of amphetamine and evokes release of dopamine, a brain transmitter involved in working memory.
Memory and resveratrol
While there are numerous positive animal studies involving mega-dose (7000+ milligrams) resveratrol and mood elevation, such high doses may be impractical in humans.
So 200 milligrams of resveratrol per day was tested among older individuals. Resveratrol improved word retention, improved connectivity between neurons in the thinking part of the brain (hippocampus), reduced long-term measure of blood sugar (hemoglobin A1c), increased leptin, an increase a satiation hormone (leptin). Researchers concluded a modest dose of resveratrol improves memory in older adults.
Amitriptyline or resveratrol?
The anti-depressant amitriptyline is now considered effective in autistic spectrum disease for irritability, aggression, gastrointestinal problems, and insomnia, in children, adolescents and adults by virtue of its ability to stimulate brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF).
Resveratrol like the classical antidepressant drug amitriptyline, affects brain Nerve Growth Factor and endocannbinoid signaling.
The antidepressant amitriptyline is now being used to treat autism. In one study of 50 autistic children, 30% that failed other medications, low-dose amitriptyline calmed hyperactivity, impulsivity and aggression.
Resveratrol works in a similar manner to amitriptyline and should be considered as a less problematic agent in the treatment of autism.
Autism and psychonutraceuticals
One of the probable mechanisms involved in autistic behavior is inflammation accompanied by oxidation and reduced cellular energy (mitochondrial dysfunction). Chemicals were instilled into the brains of laboratory animals to induce autistic-like symptoms. Resveratrol was then administered to these animals in human equivalent doses of 350, 700 and 1050 milligrams. Four weeks of resveratrol therapy significantly restored all behavioral and biochemical abnormalities. Therefore, resveratrol may serve as a therapeutic agent for autism.
Valproic acid is a anticonvulsant drug also used to treat mood swings (bipolar disorder). . Valproic acid induces autistic behavior in lab animals by epigenetic mechanisms. Exposure to valproic acid during pregnancy is associated with autism. Exposure of lab animals to valproic acid produces autistic behaviors in offspring.
Investigators explored the use of resveratrol prenatally on social behaviors of rodents whose mothers had been exposed to valproic acid, a drug known to induce autistic behavior in offspring. Prenatal administration of resveratrol prevented social withdrawal and “presents a promising experimental strategy in the etiology of autism.”
When laboratory animals were injected with a chemical to induce depression but were given fluoxetine (Prozac) or resveratrol prior to instilling that chemical into their bodies, resveratrol reversed all the behavioral changes in these animals
Stress hormones: Cortisol & DHEA
Adrenal glands produce hormones that help deal with stress. Two primary stress hormones, cortisol and DHEA, must remain in balance.
The highest levels of vitamin C in the body are found in the adrenal stress glands. Vitamin C facilitates healthy levels of cortisol and DHEA.
During youth DHEA and cortisol usually remain in balance.
DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) peaks around 30 years of age and its progressive decline is associated with decreased levels of testosterone. DHEA supplementation in postmenopausal women increases bone formation and density. DHEA is generally mood lifting.
However, while cortisol secretion is generally well maintained with advancing age, the adrenal production of DHEA experiences a decline. Demented subjects exhibit an even more marked ratio of cortisol over DHEA.
Excess cortisol facilitates the development of depression. DHEA replacement can restore cortisol/DHEA balance.
A decline in DHEA is found in elderly depressed patients. The ratio of cortisol over DHEA increases with advancing age and is accompanied by depression and dementia. Cortisol and DHEA produce opposite effect on the central nervous system. DHEA has a positive effect on mood and mental acumen. DHEA supplementation can restore balance between cortisol and DHEA. It is available at health shops.
Cytochrome P450 enzymes, produced in the liver, inhibit cortisol synthesis. Pregnenolone and to a lesser degree DHEA, both precursors for sex hormones, boost cytochrome P450 enzymes and lower cortisol levels.
The beneficial effect of DHEA in depressed patients might result from enhancement of noradrenaline and serotonin.
There is a place for dietary supplements to be used among stressed individuals with mental depression. DHEA is better known as a dietary supplement that aids in restoration of sex drive, which may have overshadowed it use as a natural antidepressant.
Covertly frightening patients away from natural remedies
Natural psychobiotics are positioned to overwhelm psychotropic drugs, being more affordable and posing fewer side effects. But don’t expect sales of resveratrol, apple pectin or DHEA to rise to billions of dollars. The medical industrial complex has ways of protecting its income streams.
The pharmaceutical industry appears to have covertly engineered regulatory sanctions (a product recall) or imagined side effects in order to frighten the public away from natural remedies.
An example is kava kava, a natural anti-anxiety herbal, that was actually being marketed in Europe by drug companies and was gaining in popularity. Suddenly, pharmaceutical companies drummed up reports of kava side effects and liver toxicity. The US FDA issued an announcement inviting the public to report any side reactions related to the use of KAVA, which scared consumers away from the product on this side of the Atlantic. It was never demonstrated that kava posed any health problem.
In another instance L-tryptophan supplements were recalled by the FDA for side effects that were eventually traced to bad manufacturing practices from a lone overseas manufacturer. Tryptophan is a natural molecule in foodstuffs (mother’s milk, cheese, fish, meat) that aids in the production of serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter, that in turn helps regulate sleep and mood. It would be difficult to believe tryptophan would induce any side effects it is so widely available in the food chain.
The FDA recall occurred at about the same time as Prozac, an anti-depressant drug was first being marketed in the US. Tryptophan was gaining popularity as a remedy for mood and sleep problems and competes with drugs like Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro and Prozac.
L-tryptophan has been replaced on store shelves by its precursor, L-5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), which is also available as a dietary supplement. 5-HTP has been shown to be superior to a major serotonin-boosting drug (fluvoxamine). Tryptophan supplements have also returned to the retail marketplace. But the public has been successfully frightened away from their use. Doctors shun these natural remedies.
Sadly, even though currently marketed psychotropic drugs have been revealed in this report to be a pharmacological misdirection, it is unlikely many doctors or patients will opt to try the natural psychobiotic remedies described in this report.
An accompanying chart with links to scientific references has also been created to summarize alternatives to commonly used Rx mood altering drugs. It is not a comprehensive chart.
|Behavioral Or Mood Disorder||Drug||Nutrient|
|Note: this is by no means a comprehensive list of natural “psychobiotics”|
|Obsessive compulsive behavior
Skin picking Nail biting
|Zoloft, Prozac, Luvox
|N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)|
|Bipolar||56 drugs Lamictal, Seroquel, Abilify
Lithium, Depakote, Risperdal, Zyprexa
Gabapentin, Sertraline, Valproic acid
|Mental depression, anxiety||Over 100 drugs
Fluoxetine, amitriptyline, Zoloft, Lexapro, Prozac, Celexa, Burpopion, Wellbutrin, Sertraline, Abilify, Fluoxetine, Xanax, Effexor, Paxil,
|Resveratrol works like amitriptyline (Elavil) and selegiline (Eldepryl)
* Note: mega-dose resveratrol may induce anxiety/racing heart via inhibition of sulfotransferase enzyme that keeps a lid on stress hormones (norepinephrine)
SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine)
Folic acid & vitamin B12 reduce homocysteine levels, reduce depression
Thiamin (vitamin B1)
High-dose folate (not folic acid)
Omega-3 (EPA) 200-2200 mg fish oil is effective.
Kava: high doses increase dopamine (learning, memory)
Magnesium (248 mg elemental mag) alleviates anxiety/depression.
Information retention: Bacopa
Anti-anxiety, memory: Rhodiola
|Short-term memory loss||Vitamin B12|
|Long-term memory loss||Acetycholinesterase inhibitors
Resveratrol via elevation of osteocalcin, a bone strengthening hormone
|Mental attentiveness / attention deficit||Amphetamine stimulants
|Modest dose (less than 250 mg) resveratrol and other polyphenols (Inhibits sulfotransferase enzyme that then allows an increase in adrenal hormones) can increase mental alertness.|
Low physical energy
No desire to exercise
|L-Dopa (Parkinson’s disease)||Zinc/ B6/ selenium (via opposition of copper oxidation of dopamine)
Tyrosine (to induce dopamine)