A “bietjie van als” this month covering brain, heart, bones, joints and more. Enjoy!
TREATING DEPRESSION NATURALLY
Every year, billions of prescriptions for antidepressants are filled, making them one of the most prescribed drugs in the world and the psychiatric industry, itself, a billion dollar industry—not bad for an enterprise that offers little in the way of cures. Many people forget that antidepressants come with a plethora of side effects, some of which are deadly. Some even come with a warning that taking these drugs may result in suicide. How about that? An anti-depressant that makes you want to end it all! I guess your problems will be over then huh? Sadly, because the treatment focus is usually on drugs, many safe and natural treatment options that DO work are being completely ignored. No wonder so many people are still suffering.
Natural treatment options
The omega-3 essential fatty acid, DHA found in fish oil, ranks amongst one of the most important nutrients for optimal brain function and many studies have confirmed that getting optimal amounts of DHA is essential in fighting depression. The richest dietary source of DHA is in cold water fish such as sardines, anchovies, salmon and mackerel. These are virtually unobtainable in their fresh state in South Africa so our best option is to take a pharmaceutical grade omega-3 fish oil supplement where the oil has been extracted from the small fish, anchovies, mackerel and sardines from the cold water oceans (not farmed salmon please!). There is also much evidence that omega-3 deficiency may play a role in postpartum depression. The developing foetus and newborn require high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and receive them through the placenta and breast milk, respectively. This puts the mother at risk of depletion, making DHA supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding a must.
One factor that underlies most depression is poor control of blood glucose levels. Glucose is the most important nutrient for the brain and any imbalance in its supply to the brain can result in a range of symptoms, including depression. Chromium is an essential trace mineral that enhances the action of insulin in the body, thus keeping levels of glucose in the blood stable. Chromium is also said to alter the body’s response to serotonin, one of the major brain chemicals involved in depression. For many depressives, especially those who are gaining weight, feel tired all the time, crave carbohydrates and experience rejection sensitivity, chromium may be the missing link. As a non-prescriptive nutrient, chromium supplements are very affordable and have shown no side effects.
Some of your brain’s best friends, the B Vitamins have many roles to play in ensuring brain function. B6 is particularly essential for the conversion of amino acids to serotonin. It is important to remember that B Vitamins should be taken in a complex, i.e. altogether, or you could have side effects. So if you wish to supplement a specific B vitamin take it in conjunction with a multivitamin containing all the B vitamins.
For some 5HTP, or 5-hydroxy-tryptophan, is helpful. It converts to serotonin, induces relaxation and elevates mood. Since there are few studies regarding long term effects, it is best taken for a month or two at a time only, with a few weeks off before restarting. Take under the guidance of a health practitioner.
Finally there is a non-prescriptive supplement called lithium orotate which is becoming increasingly popular as a natural remedy to treat depression and bipolar disorder. It has helped many a depressive and is certainly worth considering if other natural remedies are not working. However, although it is an over-the-counter supplement this doesn't mean that it is entirely safe for absolutely everyone and I would only recommend its use under supervision of a health practitioner. Possible symptoms of toxicity include diarrhea, vomiting, drowsiness, muscle weakness, lack of coordination, blurred vision and ringing in the ears.
What else will help?
Regular exercise is one of the secret weapons to overcoming depression. It works by helping to normalize your insulin levels while increasing your endorphin levels, your "feel good hormones”. Take a look at your friends who exercise and you will have to agree: Exercise is capable of changing ones entire mental outlook on life.
We have all noticed how great we feel after spending time outdoors on a sunny day. This is because sun exposure, allows your body to produce vitamin D, a great mood enhancer. So take up your place in the sun for just 20 minutes daily, before 10 am or after 3pm, with arms and legs exposed and minus the sun block. If you are never able to get into the sun then consider taking a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement.
Depression is a nasty affliction that can ruin lives and needs to be taken as seriously as other life-threatening diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty material collects along the walls of arteries. This fatty material thickens, hardens (forms calcium deposits), and may eventually block the arteries, leading to coronary artery disease. As I have stated many times before, cholesterol is not the problem: inflammation of the arteries leading to oxidized cholesterol is. All patients with atherosclerosis suffer from the damaging effects of oxidized LDL cholesterol, which provides an important building block for plaque deposits. Antioxidant therapy is therefore important to limit the oxidization of LDL and improve the health of the walls of the arteries. A good supplement regime for those at risk of, or diagnosed with, atherosclerosis would include the following:
Buffered Vitamin C – 1000mg twice daily
Natural Vitamin E as mixed tocopherols – 400IU daily
Omega-3 fish oil – enough to supply 1200mg of EPA + DHA daily (2 capsules of See Yourself Well Omega-3)
Co-Enzyme Q10 – 100 mg daily
Vitamin K is steadily gaining attention for its ability to reduce calcification and help prevent cardiovascular disease. So lots of spinach and other green leafy veg needed here.
Quitting smoking is non-negotiable if you have atherosclerosis.
Blood testing is a very important part of any risk-reduction program for coronary heart disease. Healthy adults should have annual blood tests and those who have heart disease or multiple risk factors should have the relevant blood tests twice a year to monitor their progress. A comprehensive blood test should include HDL and LDL, triglycerides, C-reactive protein, homocysteine and fibrinogen. Regular blood pressure monitoring is also important. As always I am happy to analyse your readings and advise but please do not come to me with cholesterol readings alone. All the others mentioned here are far more important heart health indicators. We need to look at the bigger picture. Fasting glucose and insulin readings will also be useful.
SOMETHING EVEN FISHIER ABOUT SALMON OIL
I am often asked about salmon oil. See my health article called Something Fishy on this. Apart from the fact that most salmon is farmed these days and fed vegetable matter and feathers, meaning their oils contain a lot of omega-6 and not just omega-3, we now have something else to be concerned about. The FDA might approve genetically engineered (GE) salmon as the first GE animal for human consumption any day now. Consumers beware: The FDA lacks an up-to-date method for assessing GE salmon’s impact on consumer health. Usually the impact of foods meddled with by man is only felt 10 years later and then they say “Oops, we shouldn’t have!”
For the very reason that we have some poor quality omega-3 fish oils on the market I make it a point to import fish oil awarded a 5* rating by International Fish Oil Standards, so that I know I can offer my patients the purest of oils in the world. Only sardines, mackerel and anchovy oils are used.
OUR MARCH AND APRIL SPECIALS
Life Support Omega-3 – 150 capsules. Instead of R330 you pay R297 for one bottle or R560 for two.
See Yourself Well DHA Essentials – 120 capsules. Instead of R255 you pay R220 for one bottle or R400 for two.
Please also forward this newsletter to your smoking friends because if they respond to me by email they get a discount of R200 on the fantastic anti-smoking remedy Vice-Breaker. So instead of R1190 for a month’s supply which is all they should need to become a non-smoker, they will pay only R990, postage included. Yes, I am still on "mission unstoppable" to help every smoker in this country to quit and I need your help to save lives! Send your friends to www.quitsmokingnaturally.co.za to read all they need to know about this amazing 100% natural herbal quit-smoking remedy. If you are on Facebook please go to Quit Smoking My Way and click the "like" button and then share with your facebook friends. I would be most grateful.
FOR THE SMOKERS WHO SAY "IT WON'T HAPPEN TO ME.."
Many smokers harbour the secret hope that they will be spared the disease and death that follows nicotine addiction. You tell yourself that you’ll quit in time and somehow dodge the bullet that smoking is. Don’t be fooled: With four million people dying every year due to tobacco use around the world, the odds are not in your favor. Statistics show that tobacco kills more people than AIDS, drugs, accidents and alcohol together.
Whether it’s cigarettes, pipe, tobacco or e-cigarettes, smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. It’s the cause of 87 percent of lung cancer deaths and is responsible for heart and blood vessel disease, stroke, cataracts, impotence and more. According to a recent report, heavy smoking in midlife more than doubles the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia two decades later. And, an epidemiological study that compared the average lifespan of 34 000 smoking doctors with a similar group of non-smokers, showed the smoker's lifespan was reduced by 11 minutes for every cigarette smoked! A very recent study concluded that women who smoke from a young age are at greater risk of developing breast cancer. And did you know that every time you light up you are inhaling a lethal cocktail of more than a 1000 additives as well as nicotine? Tobacco companies had been allowed to put additives in cigarettes for over 30 years without any public scrutiny. It’s time to stop lining their pockets and save lives!
THE PROBLEM WITH BISPHOSPHONATES
I wrote about this in my October 2010 newsletter and have had an overwhelming response. It appears many doctors are still allowing their patients to continue using this for more than 5 years, in spite of all the warnings. Many of your emails have asked for suggestions of alternative natural remedies. Well, there are many natural ways to support your bones and prevent osteopenia, osteoporosis, and needless fracture that are far safer and more effective than taking drugs. Here are just a few suggestions:
1. Ensure you’re taking in sufficient bone-building nutrients.
Apart from eating fresh fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods, white flours and refined sugars, you need to take a good quality whole food multivitamin and mineral to fill in the gaps. The following are excellent: Green Vibrance or Green Calcium by Natural Vibrance or AIM’s Barley Life or Garden of Life’s Perfect Food.
2. Eat an alkaline-forming diet. By including more fruits and vegetables (especially dark green veg) in your diet you can significantly alkalinize your diet. Acid-forming foods are animal protein, processed foods, refined sugars and flours. Above all, avoid all fizzy drinks. They will leech calcium out of your bones!
3. Soak up Vitamin D:Get into the sun for 20 minutes a day with arms and legs exposed. Do this at the time of the day when your shadow is shorter than your height. This is when the protective UVB rays are stronger.
4. Exercise builds bones. Build bone by building muscle around the bone. Walk, swim or enroll in a yoga class. Any form of exercise can help so – Just Do It!
Eeeoooow.. as much as I try to keep my newsletters short I just don't get it right, do I? I only hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them. For prices on supplements mentioned in this newsletter see my product list.