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Posted: 12/10/2018 12:22:00 PM
Originally posted by Dr. Davis on 2018-12-10
on the Wheat Belly Blog,
sourced from and currently found at: Infinite Health Blog.
PCM forum Index
of WB Blog articles.
Natural Answers for Depression
If you experience depression, you will typically be
prescribed an antidepressant, an SSRI or other agent,
and have to endure the common side-effects such as
weight gain, aggression, anxiety, suicidal
thoughts, and erectile dysfunction. If you
consult a psychologist or counselor, the underlying
psychological underpinnings (if any) are explored,
strategies devised to cope. But there will almost
never be talk about your diet, nutritional
deficiencies that amplify dark moods, or the microbiome.
Yet there are very powerful strategies available
that have potential to substantially lift mood.
Such solutions won’t, of course, erase the
effects of childhood trauma or grieving from personal
loss, but they can help smooth the emotional impact
of such life events, elevate the hormones of mood,
and make life easier naturally and inexpensively.
Among the most powerful nutritional and natural mood lifters:
- Wheat and grain elimination–By
removing such foods, you are removing mind-active
opioid peptides that derive from the gliadin protein
of wheat and related proteins of other grains. These
opiates exert a variety of effects, depending on
individual susceptibility, ranging from paranoia in
people with schizophrenia, to mania in people with
bipolar disorder, to impulsivity in children with
ADHD, to food obsessions in those prone to bulimia
and bine-eating disorder, to depression in people
prone to depression. The solution: remove the
sources of gliadin-derived opioids, wheat and
grains. For some people, the mood improvements
with wheat/grain elimination are profound.
- Vitamin D restoration–Even
before I implemented wheat and grain elimination in
patients in my cardiology practice, I added
vitamin D at doses sufficient to achieve
25-hydroxy vitamin D blood levels of
60-70 ng/ml (typically 4000 too 8000 units
per day in oil-based gelcap form). I witnessed
marked improvements in mood, particularly that
associated with shortening daylight cycles in
fall and winter, though the mood benefits are not
confined to this seasonal effect.
- Fish oil–for its omega-3
fatty acid content of EPA and DHA. For
serious benefits, we use serious doses.
I therefore never advocate less than
3000 mg EPA + DHA per day (not
of fish oil, but the EPA and DHA contained
within), ideally 3600 mg per day (total),
divided in two. Higher potency preparations are
required to achieve this dose, e.g., 750 mg
EPA + DHA or more per capsule, or
high-potency liquid fish oil.
- Cultivation of bowel flora–Not
just a probiotic, but a purposeful program of
reseeding the bowels with preferred species with
a high-potency, multi-species probiotic, enthusiastic
consumption of fermented foods (e.g., kimchi,
kombucha, kefir, yogurt, fermented veggies), then
nourishing and cultivating them with a program of
prebiotic fibers. Bowel flora influence mood
hugely, as well as clarity, thought content,
sleep, and dreams.
- Tryptophan supplementation–Supplementation
with the amino acid tryptophan enhances both brain
serotonin that enhances mood and melatonin that
enhances sleep. Because of the melatonin effect,
I prefer to use this at bedtime in doses of
500 mg increments, e.g., 1000, 1500, or
2000 mg at bedtime. Alternatively, it can
taken in similar doses but spread throughout
the day, though the sleep enhancing effect may
- Methylfolate supplementation–The
common genetic variant, MTHFR C677T, that impairs folate
(vitamin B9) metabolism is readily remedied
by supplementing the methyl
form of folate, typically at a dose
of 15 mg per day. (Vitamin B12
status should also be assessed before
- Exercise–Exercise is not
easy to accomplish when depressed, so make your goals
modest. For instance, just a walk or casual bike to
start, even gardening or playing with kids or
grandkids. Let it expand from there as the above
strategies take root and you feel empowered and
less held back and find that dancing, yoga, a walk
interspersed with a quick sprint all make you
feel even better.
- Laughing–Recall your laugh
triggers–movies that made you split your sides,
friends you find entertaining, thrilling activities
like riding a roller coaster that make sadness
almost impossible–and do them. The effect
may not be durable but it can provide the impetus
for doing more.
- Lactobacillus reuteri
yogurt–The oxytocin boost you
obtain by consuming our powerful
L. reuteri yogurt does not help
alleviate depression per se, but
it cultivates feelings of empathy and connectedness with
other people, feelings typically lacking in
people who are depressed.
Not foolproof, of course, but effective for the
majority in improving mood while costing next to
nothing and empowering health in so many other ways
with no concerns about weight gain, anxiety,
suicidal thoughts, or erectile dysfunction.
Why aren’t such solutions the default
answer from psychiatrists, psychologists, and
primary care physicians with drugs and counseling
held in reserve should such natural solutions not
provide full benefit? I am generalizing, of
course, recognizing that the breadth of human
experience cannot be remedied with a single solution.
But the reluctance to embrace natural solutions is
not unique to mental and emotional health; it
afflicts all areas of healthcare, an over-reliance
on drugs and procedures, dismissal of the power
of natural methods, and an underlying assumption
of your constitutional weakness.
We don’t stand for such disempowering ideas
around this neighborhood.