Did you know that toxicity, nutritional deficiencies, infections, food sensitivities, leaky gut, microbiome imbalance and inflammation can all take their toll on the brain and thus affect your mood? Whilst it’s quite normal for many of us to feel sad or moody from time to time, or due to hormone imbalance (eg menopause), many others experience debilitating depression from mild to severe which may last for long periods of time, weeks, months or even years.
By looking at the root cause of what’s really driving the depression and with some targetted supplementation to get you on the road to feeling normal again, nutritional medicine may give you the relief that you are looking for.
Some common symptoms
- Becoming socially withdrawn
- Dependent on alcohol or other social drugs
- Avoiding usual enjoyable activities
- Lacking in self confidence
- Feeling unhappy or miserable
- Suffering from irritability or guilt
- Negative self talk such as “I’m useless”, “Life’s not worth living” or “I’ve nothing to live for”
- Disturbed sleep
- Unexplained headaches
- Unwell and feeling run down all the time
If you suffer from quite a few of the above, you should speak to your health professional. The Beyond Blue organisation have a lot of resources and a helpline that may help also you.
1 in 7 Australians will experience depression in their lifetime whilst in the UK it is estimated that up to 1 in 10 will be impacted by this disease. In 2017, according to the ADAA organisation just 6.7% of adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the previous year.
Obviously the recent pandemic may have increased these figures dramatically, as people faced uncertainty re their jobs, salary cuts, furloughing or relationship breakdowns due to these pressures.
How nutrition may help
Whilst there are many underlying factors for depression, ensuring that you eat a good, wholefood diet will stand you in good stead. Nutrients to look out for include:
Amino acids – these are the building blocks derived from protein that make our neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. Insufficient levels of either of these may contribute to depression.
Omega 3s – these are important for the brain’s integrity and function, helping with cell to cell communication. Found in oily fish such as salmon, sardines and anchovies and to a lesser extent in flaxseeds, hemp seeds and chia seeds.
Cofactors – some of the main ones include zinc, B6 and magnesium. Eating a diet rich in colourful fruits and veggies will help provide these key micronutrients.
However, having a great diet isn’t the be all and end all; if you suffer from bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal pain, excessive flatulence or reflux this could be contributing to poor nutrient absorption with a knock-on effect on your mood. There is a strong connection between the gut and the brain.
The digestive tract is home to 100 trillion bacteria so making sure that these are in healthy balance is important for a strong mind and body.
Adding apple cider vinegar, bitter veggies, garlic, onions, leeks and artichokes or digestive enzymes and select probiotics to your diet, depending on your digestive needs, may help improve your absorption and synthesis of key nutrients. as well as improving the balance of gut bacteria.
How we can help
If you’re ready to take control of your mood disorder, and want a guiding hand, then please click here to make an online appointment with me. We can then arrange a convenient time to connect over zoom to tweak your diet and optimise your nutrient levels; we also review other lifestyle measures that may also be helpful.