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.
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.
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.
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 — 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 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.
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.
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 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.
My theme song…..
A client hired me to write about this topic, and as I investigated, I decided that the topic was pretty interesting, so I’ll post the gist of my article here:
Each day, people try to influence others. I do it. You do it. Everyone does. Could be about something small. Could be about something major.
For instance, I spend a good deal of time on this blog talking about the merits of healthful eating. It doesn’t really matter to me, with any level of significance, what anyone else eats, because that simply isn’t my business….but on some level by writing about healthful eating I suppose I am probably trying to influence or convince you, the reader, to choose better eating habits so that you, too, can enjoy the many benefits of doing so. Trying to influence or persuade others is a natural thing to do.
There are numerous ways of persuading another person to do, think or feel something. It is my opinion that positive influence is the most effective and best way to do that.
Let’s break this down into understandable terms and take a look at some of the choices:
Influence is simply the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen: a person or thing that affects someone or something in an important way. I wish to positively influence others.
The operative point here is use of the term, “without directly forcing them to happen.” I, personally, believe that influence and persuasion are fairly interchangeable.
Persuasion is a voluntary choice on the part of the person being persuaded. While influence and persuasion can be used in negative ways, they are inherently the more positive of all of the ways of convincing someone else to do something, because neither tactic involves forcing someone to do something against his or her will.
Now, let’s talk about the nasty cousins of influence: manipulation and coercion. Usually, when people have a negative reaction to the word influence, they are actually conjuring images and ideas about these words:
manipulationManipulation is unfortunately and incorrectly equated with influence. It’s a bad thing, in my opinion. I guess it’s understandable that people equate it incorrectly with influence, since there really is only one small difference between the two . Manipulation occurs when someone exerts shrewd or devious influence especially for one’s own advantage.
coerceThe act of coercion is to make (someone) DO something by using force or threats or to GET (something) by using force or threats.
Coercion is probably the ugliest of the lot. It’s pretty much a do-whatever-it-takes approach. Brainwashing and torture fall under the heading of coercion, as do threats, screaming, hitting….Know what I mean?
How does coercion work?
The tactics of psychological coercion often involve anxiety and stress, and fall into seven main categories.
1. Restrictive techniques or exhaustive, exact repetition of demands.
2. Attempted establishment of control over the victim’s social environment, time, and sources of social support by creating social isolation; removing contact with family or friends who promote self-esteem, independence, positivity, and sense of well-being. Economic controls may contribute.
3. Rejection of alternate information and separate opinions. Rules exist about permissible topics to discuss. Communication is highly controlled.
4. Forcing the victim to re-evaluate the most central aspects of his or her experience of self and prior conduct in negative ways. The victim is made to feel like a “bad” person. Efforts are designed to destabilize and undermine the subject’s basic consciousness, reality awareness, world view, emotional control and defense mechanisms. The subject questions, doubts, and reinterprets his or her life and adopts a new “reality.”
5. Creating a sense of powerlessness by subjecting the victim to intense and frequently confusing, conflicting actions and situations which undermine the victim’s self-confidence and judgment.
6. Creating strong, aversive, emotional arousals in the subject by reactions such as intense humiliation, loss of privilege, social isolation, social status changes, intense guilt, anxiety, and manipulation.
7. Intimidation of the victim by implied power, size, voice amplitude, or implied threat. Psychological coercion can be applied to such a degree that the victim’s capacity to make informed or free choices becomes inhibited. The victim becomes unable to make the normal, wise or balanced decisions which they most likely or normally would have made, had they not been manipulated. The cumulative effect of psychological coercion can be an even more effective form of undue influence than pain, torture, drugs or the use of physical force or threats.
Coercive psychological systems violate the most fundamental concepts of basic human rights. They imply ownership of one person or group by another. They violate rights of individuals that are guaranteed by many declarations of principle worldwide. An interesting fact, however…..
Often, the victims of coercion will rebel against the person or entity using the coercion and may give the impression that they are following that person’s orders, when, in reality, the opposite is true. Bullies with a mentality low enough to attempt coercion, however, are clearly too stupid to realize this.