Many of you know that I have Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance. One of the symptoms I struggled with was depression. Thank God that by simply eliminating four grains from my diet that my symptoms disappeared, including the depression. At times, the depression was so severe that I even had suicidal thoughts. I nearly checked myself into the local hospitalbecause I felt so weak and depressed. There were times my friends accused me of having a dual or split personality.
This week I want to specifically address depression. Depression is a condition that affects your thoughts, moods, feelings, behavior and physical health. Depression can cause pain for you and those around you.
There are two classic symptoms of depression: 1) a loss of interest in everyday activities that one usually enjoys, and 2) a depressed mood where one feels sad and hopeless, and may have frequent episodes of crying. I know these symptoms well, for I would have many days where I would fight to hold back the tears. It took me years to learn it was, in fact, an allergic reaction to my eating gluten.
Another time I became very depressed was when I went through divorce after 22 years of marriage. I will never forget the awful scene when I watched my five children moan with pain when my ex-wife told them the news. This scene and the loss of the marriage threw me into a period of deep depression.
Depression can cause sleep problems, impaired concentration and memory, weight changes, restlessness or agitation, fatigue, low self esteem, decreased sex drive, persistent thoughts of suicide or death. One may also experience anxiety with the depression. In addition, a variety of physical problems and symptoms may be experienced like: headache, backache, and especially digestive problems like constipation and poor bowel function. Another problem is antidepressant medications can cause depression and increased thoughts of suicide, according to the FDA. Besides the drugs are toxic to the liver.
Depression is twice as common is women and is the leading cause of disability with women. I have met a number of women that suffered from depression and hormone imbalance was the issue. Once the hormones were balanced the depression was gone.
Before I tell you how I overcame depression, I want to first talk to you about drug medications. Many depressed individuals take selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Some of the more common ones are Citalopram (Celexa), Flouxetine tablets (Prozac), Paroxetine (Paxil), and Sertraline (Zoloft). These drugs block the reuptake of serotonin so that it remains active in the brain longer. The neurotransmitter Serotonin gives one the sensation of well-being. The drugs are designed to improve depression, but carry a list of many side-effects like nausea, diarrhea, agitation, insomnia, decreased sexual desire, and tremors.
There are natural alternatives available that are used by many people today that want to avoid the side-effects of drug medications. You may have read the negative stories and tragedies about the suicidal effects of Prozac that are well documented. Instead, 5-HTP, St. John’s Wort, L-Tryptophan (amino acid), and SAMe, are four of the most common natural alternatives that increase the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. It is important not to combine these products with antidepressant drugs. If you are taking one of the drugs listed above, you should consult a professional and gradually decrease the drug when starting a natural alternative. Always get professional advice first.
Other side-effects of Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) like Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and Venlafaxine (Effexor) have potential side-effects like abdominal pain, itching, rash, dry mouth, dizziness, constipation, drowsiness, headache, loss of weight, loss of sexual desire, weakness, and increased sweating and flushing.
Then there are the Tricyclic antidepressants and the MAOIs that work by increasing the levels of norepinephrine in the brain, but come with long lists of side-effects. I remember Charlotte Gerson said: “All drugs have side-effects and all are liver toxic bar none.” My point is this: if there are natural ways to treat depression and alleviate the symptoms, why not try an alternative approach first before risking addiction to a drug?
One should try to ascertain the cause of the depression, if at all possible, and work to eliminate it. Some of the possible causes of depression are: medical conditions such as hormone imbalance, improper lifestyle habits especially poor diet and lack of exercise, genetic predisposition, personality, traumatic event/s such as losing a loved one, alcohol or drug abuse, association with negative people and watching the news, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and side effects from medications.
I agree, depression can be a life-threatening disorder and require medical supervision, but first consider changing your life. A good place to start is with diet and lifestyle habits. One of the most important dietary considerations to prevent or improve depression is the balance of fats. Not many people know this. The diet in our country is loaded with saturated fat from animal products like red meat and dairy products and omega-6 fatty acids found in vegetable cooking oils such as corn and soy oil. The brain is primarily composed of fatty acids and requires a constant dietary supply of omega-3 fatty acids as found in flaxseeds and flaxseed oil. That is one of the reasons why I recommend taking flaxseed oil on a daily basis.
Flaxseed oil contains 84% omega-3, and is also beneficial for the cardiovascular system. It can lower cholesterol and increase HDL levels. The omega-3 is also beneficial for mood balance. Omega 3’s can also be obtained from almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, as well as flaxseeds. Fish is a popular source, like salmon, but I prefer the vegetable source from flaxseeds.
My number-one depression fighter is EXERCISE. I notice that if I miss exercising for a few days I start to feel depressed. It is like a catch-22 because then I have little motivation to exercise. The Mayo Clinicpublished a study that was very informative: “Exercise has long been touted as a way to maintain physical fitness and help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. A growing volume of research shows that exercise can also help improve symptoms of certain mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. Exercise may also help prevent a relapse after treatment for depression or anxiety.
“Research suggests that it may take at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for at least three to five days a week to significantly improve depression symptoms. But smaller amounts of activity – as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time – can improve mood in the short term. ‘Small bouts of exercise may be a great way to get started if it’s initially too hard to do more,’ Dr. Vickers-Douglas says.
“Evidence suggests that exercise raises the levels of certain mood-enhancing neurotransmitters in the brain. Exercise may also boost feel-good endorphins, release muscle tension, help you sleep better, and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It also increases body temperature, which may have calming effects. All of these changes in your mind and body can improve such symptoms as sadness, anxiety, irritability, stress, fatigue, anger, self-doubt and hopelessness.”
I now want to share my personal victory over depression and what I specifically did to alleviate the symptoms. First, I learned I had gluten intolerance and eliminated wheat, rye, oats, and barley from my diet. Soy also bothers me like wheat, and causes me a number of bad effects, one being depression.
Second, I treated my Candida Albicans that can cause symptoms much like that of gluten intolerance by taking an antifungal like CANDEX. I have seen this product eliminate the symptoms of Candida in days when simultaneously following a strict diet avoiding all fruit (except green apples, lemon, limes, or unsweetened cranberries–all low in sugar) and any sugars for a week or two.
Third, I forced myself to exercise when I wanted to stay in bed all day and cover my head with a pillow. I forced myself to go to the gym and play racquetball and lift weights twice a day, morning and evening. I believe this saved me. It was hard at times to go, but I would think of the positive results I would experience when I would finish working out. The social interaction and the exercise were a perfect combination.
Fourth, I found information on three amino acids–L-Theanine, L-Taurine, and GABA and started taking a product containing them called Theanine-Serene that worked like a miracle for anxiety and depression. Right before the divorce, I lost both parents, 8 months apart. I learned of the power of GABA and the other amino acids for the brain. The product cut my anxiety and depression by 80%, until it virtually left completely.
GABA is also a neurotransmitter that gets depleted from the brain due to of excessive GRIEF!! A depletion of GABA, in turn, causes anxiety, and you hopelessly try to cope. Drugs never cure the problem, but only mask the symptoms.
On the other hand, when you replenish the GABA the symptoms subside rather rapidly. It is kind of like withdrawing money from the bank, but never making a deposit. You become bankrupt of GABA with resulting anxiety. Taking the Theanine Serene with GABA helped me so much that I even discontinued the supplement once my reserves were built back up. L-Theanine, is also in green tea and other foods. This amino acid is a precursor to GABA. Theanine Serene also contains Relora, a calming herb that improves your well being, and magnesium which is a natural relaxant and calms the nerves.
Information from the San Francisco Medical Research Foundation says: “Anxiety and depression may be the result of shortages of key brain chemicals that can be restored naturally. Give the brain the amino acids it needs and feel your mind start to glow again.
“‘If you’re one of the millions who suffer from anxiety or depression, the next time you reach for the Valium or Prozac, consider amino acids as an alternative instead. These protein building blocks may be the key to reversing long-standing anxiety and depression,'” according to Harold Whitcomb, M.D., and biochemical nutritionist Phyllis Bronson. They regularly prescribe amino acids for their clients at the Aspen (Colorado) Clinic for Preventive and Environmental Medicine.
Mood, behavior, and brain biochemistry are intricately linked. Depression and anxiety may be the result of flawed message-sending in the biochemical brain, flawed because key brain chemicals called neurotransmitters are in short supply.
“They’re short because the body’s amino acid pool (from which they’re made) is itself low. For example, deficiencies in the amino acid GABA are strongly correlated with states of anxiety. Add to this the negative effect of high levels of heavy metals commonly found in the body. Aluminum, mercury, lead, and copper can make the body toxic, interfere with brain function, and contribute to depression and anxiety,” say Whitcomb and Bronson.
“Shore up the amino acid pool with the deficient or missing elements and flush the toxic metals out of the body and you start seeing dramatic improvements in both depression and anxiety,” report Whitcomb and Bronson. “By using supplements of the amino acids that make up specific neurotransmitters, you can actually change the nature and intensity of the brain messages they carry and thus the emotions they affect.”
I have seen people with chronic depression improve at BellaVita in a few days when following the program. I believe there are multiple reasons for this:
1) Detoxification of drug residues, heavy metals, parasites, and old fecal waste that poison the blood are removed.
2) Exercise, fresh air, and sunshine help fight depression. Sunshine is a natural remedy that does much to fight depression and the “winter blues.”
3) A super nutrition program with lots of fresh organic live foods and juices.
4) All animal and dairy products are eliminated and only live produce is served.
5) Fasting for five days on only fresh juices, while detoxifying all the elimination organs with wildcrafted and organic herbs.
6) Coffee enemas to detoxify the liver in minutes and help rid the liver of drug residues.
7) Daily prayer and Bible study. The Word of God is a healer, and Jesus is the True Physician. Two of my favorite verses are Isaiah 26:3, 4. I will quote these throughout the day when I am feeling down.
8) Positive mental attitude, love, encouragement, and forgiveness are emphasized.
9) Saunas and ozone Jacuzzis. Elimination of toxins through the skin via saunas and skin brushing and oxygenation of the tissues with ozone.
10) Herbal alternative like Nerve Formula and Serenity Formula that contain natural serotonin increasers and calming herbs.
I believe the miracles happen when you practice all of these natural remedies at once. Your body and brain re-balance. I have seen this happen many, many times. Guests who come in tears, walk out after only ten days joyful and happy to be alive.
The natural alternative formulas that I personally keep close to me are:
1) A Natural B-Complex with herbs called Unstress. It is made from whole food concentrates so the absorption factor and bioavailability is much higher than a synthetic supplement. I keep a bottle at home, at work, and in my car. It works fast, and a deficiency of B-complex can set off a whole host of symptoms, with depression being one. So many women have thanked me for this product and use it on a daily basis.
2) I also keep on hand Nerve Formula. This is an herbal formula that contains valerian. It is a muscle relaxant and works in minutes. Nerve Formula takes that edge off fast. I call it my natural valium. It is absolutely wonderful and the perfect remedy when you are slammed by a stressful situation and need an immediate fix.
3) Serenity Formula is a herbal product that increases serotonin levels. It contains St. John’s Wort. Many people have substituted their Prozac with St. John’s Wort with good results. This product works very quickly and effectively. Consult your physician first.
4) Theanine Serene which I mentioned earlier contains the amino acids to nourish the brain. It is great for anxiety and fights depression fast!
I hope this article has been a blessing for you, because I know too well the symptoms of depression and anxiety. You can see how important it is to eat a nutritious diet that includes the essential amino and fatty acids, and a right balance of each. Refined and processed food lack these key nutrients and, in time, will light the fuse to a whole list of symptoms including imbalances in the brain that cause depression and anxiety.
Please continue to pray for that perfect peace that comes from Jesus and the soothing balm from the Holy Spirit. Always keep your eyes on the Prince of Peace.
God bless you,