Categories
alcohol depression and food Supplements

Supplements Curb Alcohol Cravings – which ones are best?

If you’ve just landed here.  Its a good idea to read my article on How to Stop Drinking Alcohol Naturally, before you continue.

Many of the supplements offered here are commonly available, but I”ve tried to put something together that will give you access to some of the better supplements from the comfort of your home.

Let’s do this alphabetically:

Vitamin B Complex –

please refer to “B vitamins for depression” where I have reviewed three different options.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is depleted when one takes alcohol.  The more important news however is that Vitamin C has massive curative and anti-oxidant properties which will help your body crave less and heal faster.

Sundown Naturals Vitamin C

These 1000mg tablets are certified GMO-free, which really matters to me personally.  They are also very economic as there are 300 tablets per bottle.

GMO free vitamin C
American Health Ester C 500 mg – 120 Capsules

Ester C is a different formulation of Vitamin C (calcium ascorbate) that offers some buffering, especially if Vitamin C upsets your stomach.  The 500mg doses are ideal if you want to stagger your vitamin C throughout the day.

American Health Ester C 500 mg - 120 Capsules

Omega 3


Deva Vegan Omega-3 DHA 

This is a great option for Vegans and Vegetarians who don’t eat fish, as the nut and seed based Omega 3’s are not converted to DHA in the body.

Deva Vegan Omega 3 is made from micro-algae, which does convert.  It is produced in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way and is certified vegan.  I also love that one can buy 90 caps at a time.

Vegan omega 3 oil

eVitamins Ultra Omega 3

These lovely high dosage Omega soft gels contain fish oil from Anchovies!  Much better choice as far as I’m concerned than salmon.  Also a bit of Vitamin E from soy.  Non alergenic.

eVitamins Ultra Omega 3 - 750 mg - 180 Softgels

AbsorbAid Digestive Support – Digestive enzymes to improve absorption of nutrients

Nature's Sources AbsorbAid Digestive Support - 3.5 oz (100g)
The AbsorbAid Digestive Support is proven to increase vital nutrient absorption by up to 71% and support more of what you eat being turned into energy.  With the alcoholic body unable to absorb enough of our nutrients from our food, this is an essential aid to wellness.

eVitamins L-Glutamine

As we discussed in the article about how to stop drinking, we need GABA to be released and absorbed by our bodies to regulate exitatory stimuli. L-Glutamine is a precursor to this amino acid, that will help our body regulate itself, towards a calmer and more balanced you. Best taken on an empty stomach. This supplement is vegetarian and allergen free.

eVitamins L-Glutamine - 500 mg - 120 Capsules

The 2 Pillars of Sobriety

As anyone who as walked this path knows, there are two pillars to becoming and staying sober.

  • Awareness &
  • Responsibility

Taking these supplements will not force you to become sober, but it is part of taking responsibility for your own recovery and healing.  Without awareness of the physical and psychological bridges we have to overcome, the process is just that much more difficult.

Of course you are welcome to do your own research on all of these supplements, and buy from your own local sources.  I do earn commission on these products if you buy them via my links, so I thank you if you decide to take that route.

Here is the link again for my discussion on the need for these supplements in treating alcoholism:

How To Stop Drinking Alcohol Naturally

Categories
alcohol depression and food Supplements

How To Stop Drinking Alcohol Naturally

Addiction to alcohol is one of the most destructive diseases of our time. I say disease, not because I think the alcoholic is completely blameless, but because once a person reaches a point of physical dependence, it becomes extremely difficult for them to stop, or stay stopped.

The success rate of traditional treatments for Alcohol abuse is 20%.

People who stop on their own are successful in about 20% of cases.

People who go to (most) rehabs are successful in about 20% of cases.

People who use AA as a way to stop drinking are successful in about 20% of cases.

Can you spot the pattern?

So what’s the problem?

Alcoholic persons are treated for a physical condition, via psychological means only.

Make no mistake, once you’ve been drinking for a long time, the psychological help is essential. Whether you started drinking for genetic reasons, or whether you where trying to numb some personal trauma, you still have to get those issues dealt with.

Problem is, that the psychological assistance can’t fix the physical symptoms that are caused by a body drenched in alcohol for years.

Yes, there are helpful medications such as Nultraxone and Antabuse that are sometimes used, but they do not address the core of the problem. In this article, I’m going to explain to you in fairly simple terms the exact reasons why alcoholics can’t stop drinking, and what we can do about it.

Hypoglycemia – Low Blood Sugar

It has recently been proved (Huang & Shoholm;2008) that alcohol causes the alcoholic pancreas to act rather strangely. The pancreas is supposed to tell the body to secrete just enough insulin to manage the sugars that it has to break down. We know that diabetics don’t have that ability, so they have to inject insulin and regulate their sugar intake.

With alcohol however, the pancreas changes the process and starts over-secreting insulin. This brings the blood-sugar down to a state where the brain no longer has enough sugar to function properly. Also, the brain stops creating the right amount of messenger hormones to do its job.

The body now intensely craves sugar, and since alcohol turns into sugars in the body, its the ideal go-to for the alcohol dependent person. Because of the messenger hormones not working, they have almost no ability to say no to the cravings for alcohol. This is when the person grabs the bottle in the morning just to feel a bit more normal and their loved ones feel that they just aren’t trying!

A vicious cycle indeed.

Here are some symptoms of Hypoglycemia you might recognize in yourself or a loved one who drinks too much:

Hunger

Shakiness

Anxiety

Sweating

Pale skin

Fast or irregular heartbeat

Sleepiness

Dizziness

Confusion

Blurred vision

Passing out, loss of consciousness, seizures

Is it any wonder that we often say alcoholics have two personalities? The person who has been drinking has all these symptoms and more. The person who has been sober for a while is much more agreeable, but often feels depressed and uninspired, as their bodies have not healed from the damage yet.

GABA

GABA is our main inhibitory neurotransmitter. This means that GABA prevents anxiety and helps us remain calm amongst other things. Alcohol creates a similar effect in the brain. In an alcoholic brain however, the alcohol starts taking over the job of the GABA. The body loses some of its ability to make enough GABA to regulate the calming process. The body has also built lots more receptors (receivers) for the GABA, so it needs more of the substance to create the same effect.

What happens when the person tries to stop drinking, is that they become anxious because the body no longer knows how to make enough of its own GABA. This feeling is known as craving.

For a person to stop drinking therefore, it makes sense that at least in the beginning, it would help a whole lot to replace the GABA with supplements. The body also needs to be trained to start producing more GABA for itself.

L-Glutamine is the easiest option in this regard, and it is commonly available.

Fish oil (Omega 3)

A 2018 study conducted in China (link below) proved that Fish oil significantly improved the chances of alcoholics to stop drinking, as it reduced cravings and helped repair damaged cells. They found the supplemented Fish oil had beneficial effects on preventing relapse and alleviating withdrawal symptoms after chronic alcohol exposure.

Vitamin depletion because of alcohol abuse

To break down alcohol, the body need nutrients. As the liver decreases its supply of these nutrients, the blood stream is called upon to replenish the supply. As a result, body cells are deprived of critical nutrients and normal body functions suffer. If you consume alcohol regularly and try to stop, you may suffer from symptoms that include anxiety, insomnia, tremors, shakiness, dizziness, and depression. You may also experience impaired cognitive thinking and poor memory.

B Complex Vitamins, and especially Thiamin(B1) are essential to assist a person to stop drinking, and also to help their damaged organs and chemistry repair itself.

Other nutrients that also become depleted include:

  • Vitamin C — Continuing deficiency causes chronic depression and fatigue
  • Magnesium Symptoms of deficiency include confusion, apathy, loss of appetite, weakness and insomnia
  • Calcium — Depletion effects the central nervous system
  • Zinc Inadequacies result in apathy, lack of appetite and lethargy
  • Iron — Depression is often a symptom of chronic iron deficiency
  • Manganese — Necessary for proper use of the B-Complex vitamins and Vitamin C
  • Potassium — Depletion is frequently associated with depression, tearfulness, weakness and fatigue
  • Chromium — Enhances glucose uptake into cells. A deficiency can cause hypoglycemia

What we absorb matters

Alcohol inhibits the breakdown of nutrients into usable molecules by decreasing secretion of digestive enzymes from the pancreas. Alcohol impairs nutrient absorption by damaging the cells lining the stomach and intestines and disabling transport of some nutrients into the blood. In addition, nutritional deficiencies themselves may lead to further absorption problems. For example, folate deficiency alters the cells lining the small intestine, which in turn impairs absorption of water and nutrients including glucose, sodium, and additional folate.

Even if nutrients are digested and absorbed, alcohol can prevent them from being fully utilized by altering their transport, storage, and excretion. Decreased liver stores of vitamins such as vitamin A, and increased excretion of nutrients such as fat, indicate impaired utilization of nutrients by alcoholics.

We can help the body absorb the necessary nutrients by adding digestive enzymes to our mix of supplements.

How to stop drinking alcohol naturally

Warning: Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening. A person can develop various symptoms within 6 hours of not drinking which can even be fatal in severe cases. If you have been drinking heavily for a long time, or if you have a history of alcohol withdrawals, please be sure to get the assistance of a medical professional, especially for the first few days of stopping.

So how do we do this? You’ve done the detox with a doctor. You’ve started counseling, or AA, or a group therapy, but you feel like a dog, because you let everyone down every time you give in to the cravings. You don’t mean to, it just happens.

If we put all the research together, here’s your best chance to stop drinking naturally:

1. Actually try to stop drinking, and keep trying…

but accept that you have a physical condition that will take time to heal. Don’t expect your family to understand, it’s not their problem to fix, its yours. It does help to take them into your confidence about what you’re doing, but remember that even when you start feeling better, it can still take a very long time before it becomes logical for them to trust you again.

2. Stop consuming sugar and refined carbohydrates

Sugar and refined carbohydrates give your body fast energy, and then dumps you. Because the alcohol abuser is permanently hypoglycemic, you’ll crave sweets and sugar for a few days. Very soon however, your body will start creating equilibrium. This is when the cravings for sugar start reducing, in other words the cravings for alcohol also start reducing too.

The moment you eat a bunch of sugar, or drink alcohol, you’ll feel that hypoglycemic low, so do your best from day one.

Refined carbs are starches that have been processed, such a white rice, white bread, deep fried potato’s etc.

Start reading labels. Sugar is hidden in many foodstuffs where you wouldn’t expect it. A can of baked beans for example can contain up to 24g of sugar. That’s 6 teaspoons!

Be careful of “hidden sugars” such as sucrose, dextrose, maltose, fructose, lactose, glucose, honey.

And of course look at what you’re drinking. Fruit juices, carbonated drinks and even flavored water can contain way more sugar that you think.

2. Take your medicine

As the body has been damaged in the process of becoming dependent on alcohol, we’re going to have to add some supplements that will help you heal, reduce cravings, and help you resist the cravings that still occur.

Dr Joan Mathews Larson, in her book Seven Weeks to Sobriety, suggests at least the following supplements as a basic recipe to get started:

B Complex

Vitamin C

Mineral Supplements

Omega 3

L-Glutamine (taken on an empty stomach)

Digestive Enzymes

Large doses of these, taken several times a day, give you a greatly improved chance of achieving your goal of getting and staying sober.

Will it work?

For starters, this cocktail of supplements, added to not taking sugar will make you feel A LOT BETTER! Even when you do fall off the wagon, which I hope you don’t, you will find that your body recovers a lot quicker than it used to. Your mood and energy level will improve, and you’ll probably have more guts for the next try.

Ending alcohol is a very difficult road, and it requires a multifaceted approach. We are whole people with body and mind inseparable. This method of supporting the body with all we’ve got, through a mental process of self-examination and change, gives us a greatly improved chance of beating the booze.

I can most strongly suggest, if you’re taking this seriously, that you get yourself a copy of Seven Weeks to Sobriety, and study it for yourself.

Please feel free to leave comments below, or ask any questions. I am a drug therapist and social worker, so hopefully I’ll be able to answer at least some of your questions.

References:

Alcohol and nutrition https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa22.htm

Fish oil reduces replapse https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29569345

Alcohol causes hypoglycemia https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/93141.php

Categories
depression and food Supplements

B vitamins for depression – a product review

There are a huge range of Vitamin B products on the market, both on their own and in complex formulas.  Before we review which are the better products, we need to know what we require from them.

Here is a simple breakdown of which B vitamins we’ll be looking for.

B1 (Thiamine)

Loss of Thiamine causes neurological damage, such as numbness and tingling, as well as mental symptoms including memory loss, confusion, nervousness and poor concentration.  Severe deficiency causes beriberi, or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, an irreversible brain deterioration seen in alcoholism.

B3 (niacin, or nicotinamide)

A growing body of evidence highlights the key role of vitamin B3 in neuronal health. Although more research is still outstanding, there is enough evidence to confirm that a lack of B3 can cause depression, amongst other conditions. There is also a fast growing body of evidence suggesting that B3 supplementation can massively reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Vitamin B5 plays an essential role in the structure and function of brain cells via its involvement in the synthesis of cholesterol, amino acids, phospholipids, and fatty acids.

B6 (Pyridoxine)

Even a mild deficiency of B6 results in preferential down-regulation of GABA and serotonin synthesis. GABA is the amino acid that regulates anxiety in your body, and serotonin allows our bodies to absorb the feel-good hormone dopamine.

B12 (Cobalamin)

Higher total intakes, which included supplementation, of vitamins B-6 and B-12 are associated with a decreased likelihood of incident depression for up to 12 years into the studies.  For example, each 10 additional milligrams of vitamin B-6 and 10 additional micrograms of vitamin B-12 were associated with 2% lower odds of depressive symptoms per year. There was no association between depressive symptoms and food intakes of these vitamins or folate.

Which basically means, that taking more B12 decreases your chances of having depression.

I have had a look at three products which contain the suggested vitamins to improve depression, fatigue and anxiety.  You can of course find these anywhere, but please take care to note the amounts of each component, and make sure that the various vitamins are contained in the product.

B vitamins for depression

Nature’s Plus Mega B-150 – 60 Tablets

Nature's Plus Mega B-150 - 60 Tablets

With high dosages of B 1, 3, 5, 6 and 12,  Nature’s Plus Mega B-150 ticks the right boxes for composition. I am a little concerned however about how high the dosages are.  Not all the B vitamins have Upper Intake Levels (how much is safe to take), but some do.  B6 for example can become toxic at 300mg daily.

This bottle contains 60 tablets, so 2 months supply which is handy.

Does it tick the boxes?

Gluten Freex
Vegetarianx
Dairy Freex

 

 

Twinlab Stress B Complex


A bottle of stress Bingredients of StressBComplex

Stress B-Complex from TwinLab contains ideal amounts of the B Complex vitamins, and has the added benefit of 1000mg vitamin C.

With 100 tablets in this bottle, it also ticks the box for affordability.

 

 

 

 

Now Foods B-100 

a bottle of B100 from now foods  

Now Foods B-100 compares very well with the other reviewed supplements.  I specifically like the affordability, as the bottle contains 250 capsules.

Does it tick the boxes?

Gluten Freex
Vegetarianx
Dairy Freex

At present, the TwinLab Stress B-Complex is my preferred choice for the simple reason that I don’t have to add vitamin C as an extra supplement. If you’d like more information about the best Vitamins for Depression, you can read more here:

The Best Vitamins for Depression – Feel Better Faster

I’ve picked these items based on the quality of the products. We partner with some of the companies that sell these products, which means samsavageonline.com may receive a portion of the revenues when you buy something using the links above.

References:

1. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772032/

Categories
depression and food General Uncategorized

How to Best Cure Depression – Can it be done?

Depression does not have to be forever. If you manage the condition from all angles, it can be overcome. Over the years I have often been told that major depression is incurable, and that once you’ve had your second episode, that’s that. Obviously I disagree. In this article, I attempt to create a list of actions you can take to best cure depression.

First it’s important to note that major depression is not just low mood for a few days.

How do you know if you have major depression?

This link will show you my page with the criteria used by medical professionals to determine whether you need treatment for depression.

OK, yes, I’m depressed, now can it end please?

Recovery from depression is unfortunately not yet a simple process. Your chance of recovery depends on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to your age, physical health, whether you can access therapy, how you react to medication, your stress levels and more

This page is my process to try to make a little more sense of it all, and advise people on what you can do on your own to improve matters.

Once you’ve confirmed that depression is the problem, what is one to do?

1. Take charge of your journey

If you’ve never had depression this might sound obvious, but when one feels as if you are under water most of the day, it can be extremely difficult to actually take the action needed to feel better. Depression is very much a physical condition, so it takes immense willpower to get yourself into any action.

 

* Break actions down into steps: E.g. when you need to call the doctor/therapist:

  1. FOCUS!
  2. Find the phone
  3. Find the number
  4. Press dial, and don’t hang up
  5. Say “it is Sam, I’m depressed, can I please have an urgent appointment?”
  6. Write the time and date where you’ll see it.
  7. Congratulate yourself!

 

2. Make that appointment with a proffessional

Depression serious and debilitating. If you can access professional help at all, it is a really good idea. There are many therapies that have a positive effect including CBT(Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Psychoanalysis, Interpersonal Therapy and many more. Feel free to ask your therapist which type of therapy they practice, so that you can take an active part in your healing process.

Certain professionals, like medical doctors and psychiatrists can prescribe anti-depressant medication. The modern anti-depressants are called SSRI’s and help your body to have enough of the right chemicals around to feel better. They can take 3 to 6 weeks to work, so if you go this route, don’t just stop if you don’t feel better after 2 weeks.

There are also certain herbal medications, like St John’s Wort, that have anti-depressant qualities. If you are taking prescription medications for other conditions however, check with your doctor  first, before self prescribing St Johns wort, as it can have serious interactions with other meds.

While you’re looking at medication, also check the side-effects of any chronic medication you might be on, as that could be the root cause of your depression. Your doctor can often adjust your treatment in that case.

3. Have a serous look at what you’re eating

Allergies can seriously contribute to depression, so consider checking your allergies to gluten(bread, past etc) and dairy for starters. Go without them for a few days and check if there’s any improvement. In my own case stopping gluten made a massive difference in my life.

On these pages, I have shared alot of information about good foods and supplements that really make a difference.

There are also a lot of supplements that really help with depression, such as the various B vitamins, vitamin C, Omega 3, Probiotics, amino acids and more.  I discuss these on various pages too .

4. Get some excercise

Walking can clear your head

No, I’m not kidding! I know you might just want to lie on a heap and melt, but physical exercise helps your body release endorphins. They are feel good hormones that will improve your mood. Sustained exercise also helps to stimulate nerve endings to grow, so that we can absorb the right combination of chemicals to feel good again.

If you can’t face formal exercise, try to climb some stairs, go for a walk, or jump up and down on the same spot.

If even that’s too much, start by shaking and flicking your fingers, or doing some simple stretches.

Just DO something. And of course, congratulate yourself when you’re done!

So what am I saying?

What is the best cure for depression? All of the above.

Taking care of your diet, your body, your exercise regime, your therapy, your sleep and ultimately your sanity is the only holistic way to address this problem, and yes.  It can work.

After 15 years long personal struggle, I have finally found what I call my “Happiness Recipe”. Some people find it quickly, and others take a lifetime, or sadly, some end their own lives before they find the answer.

When you are depressed, it’s physically impossible to see reality for what it is.  Every problem seems insurmountable, it feels as if everyone is fighting with you, and no one sees your worth.  It is utterly unfair to our loved ones, and just as unfair to us.

What was my best cure for depression?

It took me many years to realize that my perception was actually influenced by my illness.  I just couldn’t imagine that people didn’t mean to insult me, or didn’t like me.  Reality, when I reached it, is like breathing for the first time, like coming up from under water.  It was a long journey, but utterly worth the reward.

To give you an idea, my recipe includes:

  • No gluten
  • The right healthy diet
  • Vitamins and other supplements
  • Omega 3 supplements
  • Pro-biotic powder
  • Pilates twice a week and walking every day
  • A healthy sleeping environment
  • Being off the pill

And I promise that’s not all of it. However, for the past year, I haven’t had to take antidepressants, and I haven’t had a depressive episode for 2 years.

I laugh most days, and I generally feel happy.

I know it’s just anecdotal, not proof of anything. But if this post can help one other person find their way out, it’s all worth it.

Please feel free to comment below, or email me at sam@samsavageonline.com if you need more information.

 

 

Categories
depression and food General

My Feel Good Diet – Foods that help Depression

Sam picking tomatoes
Love picking tomatoes.

First things first, I’m not a dietitian or I a medical doctor.

Food is our natural source of vitamins, amino-acids, Omega 3 and 6, in fact all the essential building blocks we need to feel good.   From available research on the role of Omega 3 in the body, it seems that it may play a role especially in the physical symptoms associated with depression.

Food is unfortunately often also a source of the allergies or reactions that cause us to feel like rubbish.

Foods that help depression are all around us, we can help ourselves feel better through what we do and do not put in our mouths. We all need to find our own balance, and work within our own bodies to create our own “Happiness Recipe”

What NOT to eat

What you do not eat is actually often just as important as what you do. Look for example at what refined sugars do to our bodies: You get a quick energy boost, followed by the hypoglycemic dump, which leads to feeling… you guessed it: depressed.

If we have any chance of beating depression, we need to take our bodies’ reaction to food seriously.

Foods and drinks that have a high potential to add to our depression are;Depressed man

  • Sugar
  • Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, french fries etc. Also, it is a good idea to go without gluten for a few days. You’ll very soon notice if it is one of the causes of your depression.
  • Coffee reacts the same as sugar in a way, gives you a short term lift, and then promptly dumps you.
  • Alcohol – alcohol is a depressant, plain and simple. (Check out my post on alcohol and depression)
  • Food with lots of colorants and flavorings. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.

Now look, I’m no saint! I do have dark chocolate almost every day – about two blocks, so yes, I do eat sugar here and there. I have one cup of coffee in the morning, I drink alcohol on occasion. The point is to be aware of what can worsen your condition, and manage it responsibly.

What do I eat that helps with depression?

Lets divide it up in a way that make sense shall we.

Important note: eating small amounts often, help to stabilize blood sugar, and gives your brain enough fuel to it is important work. Too many people tackle their day on nothing but coffee. By 9 or 10 o’clock their blood sugar has dropped, and they feel tired and uninspired. Coffee with lots of sugar is often the go to for a lift, but you can imagine how well that will work out for you with the double dump of caffeine and refined carb. So, here’s what I do –

Eggs for breakfastBreakfast 1

I start most days off with two pasture eggs and some cheese – since I don’t eat bread, I’m not into toast, but if you do, make sure it is whole grain.

Pasture eggs are a great luxury for most of us – it means the chickens run around free on the farm. Grain fed eggs contain the least Omega 3, as the chickens don’t have access to the natural source – bugs. Chickens by the way are not meant to be eating Roundup doused maize, which is what most of them eat around here. A step up from those, are Free-range eggs, which means the chickens are on the ground, and have a little access to open sky, but they still eat mostly what they’re fed.

Pasture eggs, if you can get your hands on some, have 3x, that’s three times the omega 3 content of normal shop eggs.

Cheese can be an allergen for some, so handle with care. I prefer having a small amount of fatty cheese to adding salt personally.

Breakfast 2

On the odd days I don’t feel like eggs, I have granola with plain yogurt. Once again these foods are great for energy and brain food. Very important though, is that you don’t add sugar to the mix. Plain yogurt should have no preservatives – if you can find it. Sugar unfortunately kills off the AB cultures that are so extremely good for our guts. Those little bacteria help us to absorb nutrients, help us to feel good, and keeps everything in equilibrium. I talk about probiotics a little later on.

fish and salad for lunchLunch

Now according to many dietitians, it is better to have your larger meal in the afternoon, so you don’t end up going to bed with a full belly. Sorry, but with a family and working parents, that’s just not practical for me.

What I do find works, is to get some oily fish into a salad over lunch. Yes, I know they can be expensive, but even the canned version is better than none. My salad contains veggies that I either grow myself, or buy whole. It’s not always possible for everyone to access organic veggies, although they are THAT much better, so do the best you can.

Veggies that have been chopped up in the shop have often been drenched in bleach to ensure that they don’t go off. It’s simply not great for your gut to ingest something that kills the good bacteria we so desperately need.

This kind of salad can give you loads of vitamins and omegas, as well as providing carbohydrates that your body can easily digest.

Dinner

Now we get to some real cooking!

Herbs and spices are divine as far as I’m concerned, so i always try to add at least three. What’s really important to remember though, is

Garlic, Ginger and Turmeric – (Turmeric should be accompanied by at least some pepper for better absorption)

These are pre-biotics, in other words they feed the good bacteria in your system and helps them fight the bad bugs.

We add as much fresh veggies to dinner as we can – often making a famous Savage dish called “Moerby” which translates to chucking everything in the same pot. We add beans to the mix too, red beans, black beans, black eyed peas and more. Beans are fantastic! As far as meat is concerned, I try to source meat that is grass fed, or comes from a local farm when possible. Meat is massively high in the B complex vitamins, which are simply the best when it comes to improving depression, so it’s a challenge for vegans and vegetarians to get enough of those in, but that’s where the beans, nuts and green leafy veggies can be very helpful.Beans are healthy

For carbs, we usually have brown rice, jacket potatoes grilled on the fire, whole wheat pasta or millet. All of these have health benefits, and will give you sustained energy the next day.

Snacks – yes, remember, small amounts often keep your brain fueled. Fruit, raw vegetables like a whole carrot, nuts and sometimes a whole chocolate bar – kidding!

A note on drinks

Dehydration is a leading cause of fatigue and irritability. So called health drinks like fruit juice and flavored waters still contain mountains of sugar. To work out how much sugar is in your drink, check the list on the bottle for carbohydrates – water doesn’t have carbs in, so it tells you the sugar content. 4 grams is more or less one teaspoon.

What should we be drinking then? Water or herbal tea mostly. If you do want some juice, mix it with a lot of plain water or carbonated water. One’s body very quickly adapts to not having sugar, so the stuff starts tasting much sweeter.

Probiotics

Probiotics are the good bugs that your gut needs to create a healthy gut-brain relationship. A healthy gut allows the Vegas nerve to do it is job. This nerve is the information superhighway between body and brain that regulates if your system works well, and you feel happy, or your system works badly, and you feel depressed, anxious or fatigued.

So will my diet make you thin?

Well, if you’ve had bad eating habits all your life, possibly. More important though, is that if your physical system is under control and healthy, you don’t see your body as too fat, too thin, or too unattractive, because your body is the wonderful vehicle that is supporting a happy mind!

Categories
depression and food General Supplements

The Best Vitamins for Depression – Feel Better Faster

The internet is awash with information on nutrition, but which vitamins make a real difference in depression levels? The research is out there on what the best vitamins for depression are, but difficult to access. Everyone is trying to sell you their product, but so few back their statements up with solid facts. I hope the information below can shed some light on the topic! Dr. JM Larson, in her groundbreaking book Depression Free, Naturally, puts it succinctly:

“Studies show us that emotional symptoms develop as a direct result of the unavailability of brain and body chemicals. These important chemicals create our stable emotions, behaviors, thought and sanity.”

Can vitamins actually help with depression?

The answer is straight forward. YES! Numerous studies have shown that vitamin supplementation can improve recovery and outcomes for depression and anxiety.

Can’t I just eat the right food?Healthy food can help

Although our main source of vitamins is the food we eat, we unfortunately have a few problems to overcome in this area:

1. The stresses that we put our bodies through in our modern lives are way higher than our bodies were designed for.

2. The poison laden food that reaches our table is often of low nutritional value – it might make you fat, but it can’t make you happy. Recent studies are linking poisons like Roundup with Depression, infertility and autism.

3. A lot of our food is laden with preservatives and sugar. This limits the body’s natural ability to absorb the nutritional components available in the food.

Which leads us to the obvious question…

Which are the best vitamins for depression?

A search of PubMed reveals that many people are looking at Vitamins and their various functions with new eyes. As some research is still ongoing, I only included the vitamins here that are proven to make a difference. I’m sure more will be added as more research is completed.

  • B vitamins:

B vitamins play an essential role in the maintaining the health of our nervous system.

A lack of B1 causes confusion and memory loss among others. Even mild deficiencies of B (Niacin) causes depression, fatigue, apprehension, and insomnia (Hoffer). B6 helps to metabolize the amino acids to neurotransmitters. Deficiencies can result in anxiety, depression and exhaustion. B5 is called the anti stress vitamin, as a lack of it causes depression and irritability. A lack of B12 causes insanity! – (Harvard Article)

On and on it goes. It’s clear that B complex vitamins are absolutely essential if you want to be free from depression.

B vitamins are also water-soluble, and are absorbed by the body, but since our absorption systems are often not very effective, it takes large doses of these vitamins to make a real difference.

  • Vitamin C:

“Vitamin C has gained interest for its multiple
functions in various tissues and organs, including central nervous
system. Vitamin C protects the neuron (nerves) against oxidative stress, alleviates inflammation, regulates the neurotransmission, affects neuronal development and controls epigenetic function. All of these processes are closelyassociated with psychopathology.

In the past few decades, scientists have revealed that the deficiency of vitamin C may lead to motor deficit, cognitive impairment and aberrant behaviors, whereas supplement of vitamin C has a potential preventive and therapeutic effect on mental illness, such as major depressive disorder, anxiety and Alzheimer’s.” – (Vitamin C article)

We need that Vitamin C if we’re going to kick depression.

How much and how often?

Most of the articles I have found agree that the amounts of vitamins needed to cause a change are quite significant. Larson suggests a multivitamin regime that includes 100mg of B3, and 200mg of B12 and others. You will find that most multivitamins in the market are way too low in actual dosage to make a significant difference. Check your dosages on the bottle before buying! Also, note that very few of the B complex vitamin formulations I’ve seen contain any B3(niacin or nicotinamide) at all. You might have to get that separately if buying from your pharmacy or health store.

Where do I find what I need?

Multivitamins and supplements are available all over the show, but many of them are either low quality, or have formulations that lack punch were it matters. If they are all you can access however, I suggest you look for the highest dosages in B3, B6 and B12 you can find. Add 1000mg of Vitamin C to that for starters. (this is a very safe dose)

Better yet however, is to get hold of Dr Joan Matthews Larson’s book; Depression Free; Naturally. This will help you assess yourself properly and create your own “recipe for success”!

So are vitamins the answer for depression?

B complex and vitamin C are not the only ones that have an impact on your health and depressive state, but the evidence is simpler and clearer than other vitamins which may have a more important role in the rest of the body. We are one system however, so always make sure that you eat fresh and healthy food as often as possible.

Other supplements that make a major difference to depression

You are welcome to have a look at my “Feel Good Diet. It’s simply what I found works best for me.

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About Sam General

About Sam

Hi everyone and welcome to my “feel good, for good” website. Since I was a teenager, I have struggled with low mood, fatigue and depression. I walked a path of drug addiction and recovery, and eventually qualified as a Social Worker focusing on rehabilitation and community development.

Over the years I found that very few of my clients or my friends feel satisfied with the treatment options they pursue. All they want is to feel normal, and yet this seemed like an unreachable goal.

After much research, I have found a few alternative methods that seemed to have better results in the long term than what is generally suggested. Talk therapies, SSRI’s and even Benzodiazepines (sleeping and anxiety medication) have their place in the discussion, but they don’t address the physical causes of these conditions.

This page is dedicated to every person who has ever needed this information, and couldn’t find it, whether for financial or other reasons.

My story of discovery

My process of discovering and eventually believing that mental problems, such as depression, anxiety and PTSD have a major physical component, and can be improved by addressing these issues, has been a slow one.

It started in 2014. I was in a phase of desperate depression, felt fat, ugly, useless and permanently tired. My body hurt and nobody would believe me. Silent tears ran down my face half the time, and to make matters worse, we were going on holiday in two weeks. I would have to expose my huge caboose to the public! I wanted to crawl into the cupboard and never get out.

My underlying practicality however, took over. I had two weeks – if I could lose one Kilogram, (about 2.2 pounds) I was convinced I’d feel a little better, and at least have achieved something.

The simplest way I knew to lose a little weight, was to cut out bread, which I did from the next morning.

SURPRIZE! within 36 hours, my mood lifted. I had more energy, I stopped crying (although I was still sensitive), I didn’t feel so sore anymore and I started looking forward to the holiday. I tried pasta a few days later, and within half an hour I felt like a balloon. The next morning I had a huge fight with my family, and I was in tears again. Learned that lesson!

As you can guess, I don’t eat wheat anymore. This discovery however triggered a whole research process into how what you eat and absorb influences how you feel. One that has now moved me to create this website to share what I’ve learned.

 

Why I’m doing this?

I watch people suffer around me every day. I see them buy toxic food in the supermarket. I see them desperately searching in the pharmacies and doctors offices for something that will make them able to live their lives with joy.

These pages will not guarantee happiness for anyone, but at least with this information you can start the process of discovering your own “happiness recipe”. For this same reason I offer links to a lot of the supplements and products that show good results. I simply couldn’t find a lot of them where I live in South Africa, so I thought to make it easy for everyone to access.

 

My goal with this site

Simple. To make the world a better place! 😉

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

Love and light,

Sam

creator of Feel good… for good.