Daily Archives: October 24, 2015

Are you Depressed?

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In my opinion,  psychiatrists should first test their patients for nutritional deficiencies before writing prescriptions for Zoloftor for  antipsychotics, like Zyprexa.  Conscientious doctors send patients to get lab work done prior to prescribing drugs or increasing dosages.  There are times when people do need antidepressants.   However,  other times  spinach would go far to eliminate the symptoms of depression.   Think Popeye.

If you haven’t ever tested your nutrition levels, you might inquire with either your psychiatrist or primary-care physician. Supplements can be expensive, but you can make it back  by not having to see your psychiatrist as often. You should talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you’re on prescription drugs.

 

Vitamin D

According to my doctor, Vitamin D deficiency is a major epidemic that doctors and public health officials are just beginning to realize. This deficiency has been linked to depression, dementia, and autism. Most of our levels drop off during the fall and winter months, since sunlight is the richest source.   My doctor believes that we should be getting from 5,000 to 10,000 IU  a day.  However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends most healthy adults get only about 600 IUs daily.  Hence, the widespread deficiency and increases in depression.

Magnesium

I am forever extolling the virtues of Magnesium, because this, like Vitamin D, is deficient in most American adults, according to my doctor, and the symptoms are not pretty.  They can, in fact, set off a chain reaction of unpleasant symptoms. Our lifestyles decrease our levels of Magnesium.  Some of the things that contribute are excess alcohol, salt, coffee, sugar, phosphoric acid (in soda), chronic stress, antibiotics, and diuretics (water pills). Magnesium is sometimes referred to as the stress antidote, the “most powerful relaxation mineral that exists,” according to Hyman. It is found in seaweed, greens, and beans. The NIH recommends a daily intake of about 400 to 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium for adult men and 310 to 320 mg for adult women.  Magnesium Citrate can also act as a laxative, so buy your Magnesium accordingly….and time it well.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

I was surprised when my results showed an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency because I eat plenty of salmon and take fish oil supplements every day. That shows you just how much fish — salmon, tuna, halibut — or flaxseeds and walnuts we need to consume to be at an optimal level. These essential minerals reduce inflammation and play a critical role in brain function, especially memory and mood. The body can’t make them, so you need to either eat them or take supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are just one of the supplements I take every day for depression

Vitamin B Complex

B vitamins like vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 can provide some incredible health benefits, including reduced stroke risk and healthy skin and nails. On the other hand, a vitamin B deficiency may impact your mental health. More than a quarter of severely depressed older women were deficient in B-12, according to one 2009 study.

The best sources of vitamin B-6 are poultry, seafood, bananas, and leafy green vegetables. For vitamin B-6, the NIH recommends a daily intake of 1.7 mg for adult men, and 1.5 mg for adult women. Vitamin B-12 is found in animal foods (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk) and shellfish, such as clams, mussels, and crab. Most adults should need to consume 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12 daily, according to the NIH.

Folate

People with a low folate level have only a 7 percent response to treatment with antidepressants. Those with high folate levels have a response of 44 percent, according to Hyman. That is why many psychiatrists are now prescribing a folate called Deplin to treat depression and improve the effectiveness of an antidepressant. I tried it and it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference; however, I have several friends who have had very positive responses to Deplin. You need not try the prescription form of Deplin. You could just start taking a folate supplement and see if you get any results. Your daily recommended folate intake depends on your gender, whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and age. However, most adults need at least 400 mcg daily. You can also get your daily folate requirements by consuming foods high in folate, including dark leafy greens, beans and legumes, and citrus fruits and juices.

 Amino Acids

Amino acids — the building blocks of protein — help your brain properly function. A deficiency in amino acids may cause you to feel sluggish, foggy, unfocused, and depressed. Good sources of amino acids include beef, eggs, fish, beans, seeds, and nuts.

 Iron

Iron deficiency is pretty common in women. About 20 percent of women, and 50 percent of pregnant women, are in the club. Only three percent of men are iron deficient. The most common form of anemia — an insufficient number of red blood cells — is caused by iron deficiency. Its symptoms are similar to depression: fatigue, irritability, brain fog. Most adults should consume 8 to 18 mg of iron daily, depending on age, gender, and diet, according to the NIH. Good sources of iron include red meat, fish, and poultry. If you really want to get more red blood cells, eat liver. Yuck.

 Zinc

This one is SO important!  Zinc is used by more enzymes (and we have over 300) than any other mineral. It is crucial to many of our systems. It activates our digestive enzymes so that we can break down our food, and works to prevent food allergies (which, in turn, averts depression in some people, since some of our mood disruptions are triggered by food allergies). It also helps our DNA to repair and produce proteins. Finally, zinc helps control inflammation and boosts our immune system. The NIH recommends a daily intake of 11 mg of zinc for adult men and 8 mg for adult women.

 Selenium

Like iodine, selenium is important for good thyroid function. It assists the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to the active thyroid hormone, T3. It also helps one of our important antioxidants (glutathione peroxidase) keep polyunsaturated acids in our cell membranes from getting oxidized (rancid). Most adults need about 55 mcg of selenium daily. The best food source of selenium is Brazil nuts, which contains about 544 mcg of selenium per ounce.

Iodine

Iodine deficiency can be a big problem because iodine is critical for the thyroid to work as it should, and the thyroid affects more than you think: your energy, metabolism, body temperature, growth, immune function, and brain performance (concentration, memory, and more). When it’s not functioning properly, you can feel very depressed, among other things. You can get iodine by using an iodine-enriched salt, or by eating dried seaweed, shrimp, or cod. I take a kelp supplement every morning because I have hypothyroidism. The daily recommend amount of iodine for most adults is about 150 mcg.

Uncommon Scents – The Nose Knows…..

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Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 9.49.38 AMThe sense of smell  is an ancient sense. All living things, from single-celled bacteria to the most accomplished hound dog, can detect chemicals in their environment. Odors are molecules, after all, and olfaction is just the vertebrate version of chemical sensing.  I have a particularly sensitive olfactory system.  It isn’t that I can detect scents that other people can’t detect.  It’s that scents tend to have a greater affect on me.

Our sense of smell is distinct from our other senses.  We are able to  create rich descriptions for our favorite objects by expressing their colors or shapes or sizes or  textures. Sounds, we can describe, by talking about their volume, pitch and tone. Yet it’s almost impossible to describe a scent without comparing it to another familiar aroma. Our sight, taste and hearing come from  “sensory memos”  that are delivered straight to the part of the brain called the thalamus,  and from there out to the primary sensory cortices. But sents winds its way through other brain regions, including the centers for memory and emotion, before reaching the thalamus.

When I was studying neuroscience, we learned that none of our senses reaches our consciousness without first passing through the thalamus.  Where scents are concerned,  you have all this basic brain processing before you have conscious awareness of what they smell like. An assortment of internal and external factors influences how we perceive a particular scent.  For instance, sweet smells can reduce pain by activating the brain’s opoid systems.   So…if the next time you have a nagging headache caused by tension or other minor causes, you make a point of going out for coffee at your favorite bakery, you might quickly discover the headache going away as the fragrances of freshly baked cookies waft through your nostrils and up to your brain.

I have diffusers in every room of our home, and I have my specific mixtures of essential oils that are always burning. My favorite fragrance of all times is lavender.   For energy, I typically diffuse blood orange and peppermint with a drop or two of lemongrass.  However, since I usually have a high level of energy with or without essential oils doing their magic, I usually diffuse oils that help with concentration and creativity.  This is typically a mixture of frankinscense, myrrh and sandalwood, with  a drop….a single drop…of patchouly. (I go through about five of the large Doterra bottles of frankinscense a month.)   It is with the help of this particular mixture that I recently completed two songs that are in a publisher’s office in Nashville going through their third round of consideration for publication.  It is with this mixture of scents that I recently completed a lucrative art commission and it is with this mixture, that I have done my best creative writing and my most delicious and creative cooking.  It works, folks.

When our little granddaughter went through a strong bout of anxiety prior to beginning her kindergarten year of school, I diffused vetiver for her and guided her through some meditations that were designed to eliminate anxiety in children.  Poof!  Gone.  And without the anti-anxiety drugs that are pumped into so many children these days.

Yesterday, John gifted me with a bottle of a new fragrance by Fiele Fragrances called, “Pogostemon.”  It smells very much like the oils that I diffuse in our home.   The Fiele frangrance line is my new passion.  I am wild about each and every scent, but the Pogostemon is my very favorite.  I’m wearing it this morning, as I type this.

The essential oil that is used in making this particular perfume is extracted from the leaves of the Pogostemon plant and is well known for its deep and earthy aroma, most commonly referred to as patchouly….but not.

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Patchouly is a scent that  is commonly used  to reduce tension, insomnia and anxiety, while being a mood lifter.  The scent is  rich and intoxicating, and  has been used throughout history as an aphrodisiac, however, it has a bad rap becasue of the poor quality versions people often associate wit the 60’s….that strong, overwhelming, powerful, knock-your-socks off fragrance.   The specific type of patchouli used in Pogostemon perfume  is used in many of the finer fragrances today.  This type of patchouly is a dark variety that is cultivated in Indonesia.  The aroma is  a distiinctive, rich, warm and delicious one that has a powdery note, thanks to the addition of vanilla absolute, tonka bean absolute and cocao absolute.  It is truly divine.

I want to procure all of the Fiele line of fragrances.  Each one is special and beautiful.  The Pogostemon is a start, and I am grateful to my sweet husband for gifting me with this fragrance.  I wish you could take a whiff right now.  It is divine.   It really is.