DIET & DEPRESSION
CAN NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES CAUSE BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN?
"Researchers studied 80 Phoenix, Ariz. schoolchildren with behavioral problems; half of them received a vitamin/mineral supplement formulated to mirror nutrients found in a well-balanced diet, and the other half received a placebo. Those who received the supplement were disciplined 47% less than those on placebo." Let's Live, January 2000; Research study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2000;6: 7-17).
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE "USP" LABEL ON NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS?
The "USP" label on a nutritional supplement bottle means that the pills it contains meet the disintegration standards of US Pharmacopeia, an independent non-profit pharmaceutical-testing organization. This is the best guarantee that the pills will disintegrate properly in the digestive tract. Money saving tip: To cut costs, consider buying less expensive generic vitamins approved by USP. Why? Because they meet the same test standards as more expensive name brands. Robert Russell, M.D., associate director, USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston.
MULTI-VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS = BETTER MOOD?
"Taking a balanced multiple-vitamin supplement, combined with good eating habits, could stack the deck in favor of a better mood and a clearer mind. Researchers at the University College of Swansea in England measured mood in 129 healthy adults, then asked them to take daily multi supplements. As a result, blood levels of vitamins increased within 3 months and mood improved within 1 year of supplementation. Both me and women reported that they felt "more agreeable." The women also felt more composed and generally in better mental health when taking daily multi supplements." PREVENTION Magazine, December 1999
TAKING BIRTH CONTROL PILLS & HORMONAL REPLACEMENT THERAPY?
"Depression can be a side effect of these medications, possibly because they may suppress the action of vitamin B6, a nutrient that's critical to your brain function. Depression is a well-documented and common symptom of vitamin B6 deficiency. In fact, B6 deficiency is reported in as many as 79% of patients with depression. Women typically consume only half of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B6. If your B6 intake is marginal, and you take medications that interfere with B6 action, the result might be underproduction of the mood-elevating brain chemical serotonin." PREVENTION Magazine, December 1999
ARE YOU ON A HIGH PROTEIN, LOW CARBOHYDRATE DIET?
"Ironically, all that protein has the effect of lowering the level of the amino acid tryptophan in your brain, which is the building block for the mood-lifting brain chemical serotonin. High level of serotonin boost your mood, but low levels can often result in depression. No other nerve chemical is as strongly linked to your diet as is serotonin."
"What you can do: Make sure that every meal contains some carbohydrate-rich foods, especially whole grain foods such as whole wheat bread, oatmeal, or brown rice. Carbohydrates trigger the release of insulin, which allows tryptophan to freely enter your brain, causing serotonin levels to rise. In addition, plan an all-carbohydrate snack for the time of day when your mood is the lowest." PREVENTION Magazine, December 1999
“The National Academy of Sciences now advises all people 50-plus to meet most of their B12 needs through vitamin supplements and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals.” PREVENTION Magazine, December 1999
“Most people 50-plus don’t have trouble absorbing the synthetic form of vitamin B12 found in supplements and fortified foods; it’s only the B12 found naturally in food that they can’t absorb.” PREVENTION Magazine, December 1999
“A deficiency of B12 can make you more likely to suffer from depression, memory problems, and even paranoia. Even more worrisome is the fact that 10 to 30% of people over 50 develop this trouble without even being aware of it." PREVENTION Magazine, December 1999
“Eat whole wheat bread, whole grain cereal, and brown rice instead of refined grain products, since more than 70% of vitamin B6 is lost in grain refining.” PREVENTION Magazine, December 1999
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
“Omega-3s are highly concentrated in the brain,
where they comprise up to 50% of the total fats in nerve
tissue.” PREVENTION Magazine, December 1999
“Experts note that depression rates have
increased a hundredfold in the last century, just as human consumption
of omega-3s has
declined.” PREVENTION Magazine, December 1999
“Research from the National Institute of Health
points to the low levels of omega-3 fatty acids as a factor in the risk
of depression. A similar
study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows a
link between the marked increase in depression in North America and the
decline in the consumption of DHA during the same
period.” LET'S LIVE, December 1998
Today, there is a sixty-fold
difference in depression rates between countries with the highest
omega-3 consumption (Japan and Taiwan) compared to those areas with the
lowest (North America, Europe, and New
Zealand.” PREVENTION Magazine, December 1999
“It may help to cut back on saturated fats (whole
milk products and meat) and omega-6 fats (corn, sunflower, and safflower
oils). An excess of these
fats in your diet lowers the effectiveness of omega-3s.
Smoking and alcohol depress omega-3 levels,
too.” PREVENTION Magazine, December 1999
ASIDE FROM DEPRESSION
with the most healthy omega-3 fat from fish stored in their buttocks had
only one-fifth the risk of heart attack.
People with the most cholesterol-raising trans fat had more than
twice as much heart attack risk (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
2000).” PREVENTION Magazine, May 2001