CounselorBarb

Individual Counseling, Couples Counseling and Sex Therapy

Nutrition and Depression

Today’s Parade magazine contained an article titled “Can Diet Affect Depression?”.  It got me to thinking about other articles I had found linking depression to diet or other lifestyle factors. It’s fascinating to know that there are many ways to alleviate mild depression that do not involve either psychotherapy or drugs!  Of course, sometimes psychotherapy and/or psychotropic medication are indicated, so please visit your mental health professional to be sure.

According to today’s Parade magazine, a study in the British Journal of Psychiatry reports that people who regularly eat fish, fruits and vegetables reduce their chances of suffering from depression!  And, as one might expect, fueling up on yummy junk such as fast food had the opposite effect.  Meaning, your Big and Tasty along with a creamy milkshake could make depression worse, although it won’t actually cause it.   Researchers think it’s probably due to the increased antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids in a healthy diet.

Speaking of Omega 3’s….

According to Dr. Mercola, ABC news on September 17, 2002 reported that studies have shown that people who eat a lot of fish suffer from less depression!  In fact, some psychiatrists are recommending that their patients increase their Omega 3 intake.  He recommends a book, The Omega 3 Connection, by a Harvard psychiatrist who has studied the link between these fats and depression:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0684871386/optimalwellnessc

How to get more Omega 3 in your diet?  Dr. Mercola recommends taking fish oil.  To read this article in it’s entirety, please visit http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/11/30/depression-part-nine.aspx.

**To visit Dr. Mercola’s website click on http://articles.mercola.com/sites/current.aspx

There’s other evidence that diet can affect depression.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8334353.stm

According to a recent BBS News report, there is a link between processed foods and depression.  Click on the link above to view a short video from a man who states that eliminating dairy also eliminated his depression.  Scientists are unsure why, but think there might be a link between inflammation and depression.

There’s also a link between Vitamin D and depression.

According to Dayna Dye of Life Extension Magazine, low vitamin D levels are connected with depression.  Dutch researchers found lower levels of vitamin D in people who were depressed.  They also found higher concentrations of a blood serum compound which can indicate low vitamin D.  As a side note, they also noticed that all subjects were somewhat low on vitamin D, indicating a widespread problem.

** To visit Life Extension’s website click on http://www.lef.org/magazine/

Another reason to eat a healthy diet: there is also a relationship between illness and depression.

According to the July 19, 2008 issue of Science News, there is a relationship between illness and depression.  Although the connection between elevated cytokines and depression is relatively new, it is thought that being ill can make people somewhat depressed.  Cytokines are proteins made by the body when it is fighting off infection, and they are also found in depressed and suicidal people.  Cytokines serve a function because they help the body shut down physically so that it can rest when it is ill.  Problems happen when these proteins are created by mistake.  This link could offer hope for those 30% of people who don’t respond to antidepressants.  For more information, please visit http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/33835/title/Sick_and_down (must be a subscriber).

Dr. David Williams agrees.  According to the September 2008 issue of his Alternatives newsletter, cytokines can reduce level of serotonin, producing irritability, irregular appetite, a general lack of energy…all which serve to shut the body down so that it can deal more effectively with the illness.  He goes on to state that depression is as much as 10 times more likely among people with a chronic illness.  To learn more about Dr. David Williams, please visit his website http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/.

Exercise can also help depression.

According to an article in Science News by Bruce Bower, aerobic exercise can be as effective as antidepressants when it comes to dealing with depression.  I am always telling my clients to exercise.  Even if you aren’t suffering from depression, there are many incredible health benefits to exercise.  So why not just get out there and try it?  See if you don’t feel better!

For the full text of the article, please visit http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/9004/title/Exercise_steps_up_as_depression_buster (must be a subscriber).

So why not take better care of yourself?  You have nothing to lose, except, maybe depression…

How many of you eat well and exercise regularly?

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2 Comments

  1. Adriana

    Great article!

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