18

votes

Did going paleo get you off the anti-depressants?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 26, 2011 at 1:26 AM

I'm auditing an Abnormal Psych course and the instructor brought up the role of nutrition in stabilizing moods. He suggested gluten was responsible for the considerable increase in anti-depressants and that glucose triggers "manic" behavior (like kids on candy).

After reading the clinical definition of depression, I'm inclined to agree with him. And, after reading a bit on the web about behavioral problems with glucose connections, I'm beginning to think all my friends with long-term pharm prescriptions should go Paleo.

Have any of you experienced being able to leave a long term "legal drug" habit behind? How long did it take you?

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on March 14, 2012
at 11:34 PM

Starting on fluoxetine for the first time, back in January 1999, I recall telling my doctor that it felt like the sun was shining, even though it was the middle of winter. That was a nice feeling. It saved my life. It took another 11 years before I figured out why it felt the way it did. In retrospect, it is so obvious, but I really had no idea then (and neither did most of the medical establishment -- there is lots of work still needing to be done to investigate the role of vitamin D in depression). Needless to say, I don't need the fluoxetine anymore.

3b7e6c77a5412587152c9e3f22b41c2a

(434)

on September 07, 2011
at 04:42 AM

Yes, a ketogenic diet is an excellent treatment for epilepsy, and doesn't cause the bad side-effects that anti-epileptic drugs including Lamictal (a.k.a. lamotrigine) can cause. In my personal, anecdotal experience lamotrigine only made the nightmare worse (as did every one of half-a-dozen other psychiatric drugs), and every day I'm glad and grateful that the nightmare is over, thanks to a zero-carb/all-meat diet.

16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

(2640)

on July 11, 2011
at 10:27 AM

Oh and I'll also add that the Magnesium and Vitamin B-100 combination has done wonders for my anxiety. All my mental issues have been cured by these supplements in conjunction with my diet.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on July 11, 2011
at 02:05 AM

I like my Vit D3 too! It makes me feel like the sunshine is coming from the inside :)

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 30, 2011
at 09:26 PM

Awesome, Andrew! I had someone, today, questioning the ability of Paleo to help Type 1 Diabetics so your story is very timely. Thx!

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 27, 2011
at 07:47 PM

yes, what mem said!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 27, 2011
at 04:51 AM

Oh thank you so much. I am so very grateful that things finally fell into place for me. I hope sharing some of what I have experienced can help others who face some of the same challenges I have. I stand on the shoulders of many who helped me along the way and I appreciate any opportunity to do the same for other.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 27, 2011
at 03:59 AM

+1 - All I can say is you have your shxt together, as demonstarted in every post of yours I've ever read. And you communicate it beautifully and always to the point and respectfully to all. WOW.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 27, 2011
at 02:33 AM

Oh, that's bittersweet. Made me laugh, though.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 27, 2011
at 02:01 AM

Oh for sure. Totally optimus prime.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:54 AM

ha! Older? How about "In your prime."

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:43 AM

Thanks Rose. Yeah no regrets for me in the end as I'm alive. It is very much love hate though. That damn amitriptyline held my brain together with spit and glue but ravages my poor body and turned it into an obese blob. Sometimes my head goes to "I wonder how my life may have turned out differently if I hadn't ever been put on that" and then I remember that I wouldn't had a life at all without it and I stop my whining.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:23 AM

Paleo essentially gave me hope just knowing if one thing didn't work something would and I didn't need to be over medicated for it. Thanks for making an older woman's day with your compliment.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:18 AM

this is the truth...but the sad state of affairs is that the grave sometimes is the only break a little-known artist can get.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:16 AM

yes your pic! I was the same way, I would black out the windows in my dorm room, sit and play video games for days on end, until I had to get drugs and drink myself into oblivion just to quiet my brain and pass out. Let's just say my grades weren't so good, and my music suffered.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:10 AM

Inspiring, Futureboy! I agree that happiness isn't always the best emotional state for an artist, although I'm not sure why. It doesn't seem to have a negative effect on engineers, lol. And I attribute my own turn toward the crafts side of art, to some extent, to my lack of angst. Speaking only for myself, though, it's a trade I'm glad to have made. Hard to make art from the grave, ya know?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:03 AM

Dude, I wish I had known too! I'm just happy the fog is lifting. I had anti-social behavior too - holed up in my house and not leaving for days on end. (are you asking about MY pic? If so, it's my evil twin)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:00 AM

Shari, I'm with you on the saving your life part. I don't regret my years on anti-depressants, regardless of their ravages on my body. I know I'd be dead if it hadn't been for them, since I didn't have any idea all those years that it was the "food" I was eating that was hurting me. And when I started taking them, I stopped believing in "psychology," lol. I knew that all our problems arise from a physiological substrate, even the ones we think are "in our heads." Anyway, good luck to you, and I'm glad you've found some measure of peace. :)

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 27, 2011
at 12:44 AM

congrats on feeling better! I've always been severely depressive with antisocial consequences and high anxiety...I wish I'd known about Paleo in college when I got really bad. BTW, who's that 20 year old in your profile pic?? ;)

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 27, 2011
at 12:40 AM

who's that 20 year old in your profile pic?? ;)

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 11:24 PM

Just get your levels up. Get your blood tested if you can afford it. I can tell when I'm slipping and then go back to 10K/day to "feel like me."

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 26, 2011
at 11:13 PM

Oh no! I didn't take it that way at all! I'm THRILLED to see so many have such positive results from their diet. I think a change in diet is an excellent place to look for relief for what ails you but it seems we do tend to see it as a failing of the person or the food plan when it doesn't "work". For everything. I just think we need to remember that we don't have it all worked out just yet and until we do some will need medication and that needs to be o.k. IMO anyway.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:56 PM

Rapid cycle sucks. I didn't know I was BP until doc finally said hypomania symptoms weren't normal. I had no idea. Irritability was huge too and now gone. I can reach hypomia with no depression through Mary Jane but it isn't out of control. Just highly productive and creative. The only thing is that I can't have bad munchies food in the house :)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:50 PM

Thanks, grenadine! Rose, it really is a mystery. Keeps the complacency away. ;-)

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:39 PM

Sorry if you took my question as a personal attack on those needing meds. :( It was really a question to see if what the Prof was saying and MY experience coincided with anyone else. If 50% of the population currently on meds could leave them through dietary changes, that would be a good thing. But for those that need drugs, they can be a blessing.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:15 PM

Ambi (and Rose too), your story always amazes and inspires me.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:05 PM

@Marie you recommend 10,000IU/day? Is that long-term, or just to get levels up?

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 09:47 PM

VandyGear03, you'll be amazed at what that dose will do for your mind! I suffer from seasonal disorder and can't live without Vit D3 in the Winter.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on June 26, 2011
at 09:46 PM

I used to rapid cycle, too, and have mixed states, although this was only in the last 5 or so years and I think it was induced by antidepressants. Before that my symptoms were strictly depressive. But I have some inkling of you misery, anyway. I have been completely symptom free (and med free) since going ZC. Hypomania with no negative consequences sounds sweet, though. How do you do that?

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 09:46 PM

Going VLC seemed to do it for me regarding depression (and I think it was specifically the gluten in my case), but going ZC definitely improved my health out of proportion to the carb count, too. I still ponder what that means, biochemically. It's a good mystery. :)

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 26, 2011
at 09:00 PM

Yeah, thanks for sharing, totally resonates. I too took Wellbies for a several years, (made me edgy/angry?). Honestly I can't really say I'm "happy" now either, but the way I feel is *so* different than suicidal despair I used to deal with almost daily. It's sad that I spent so many years struggling - trying bs talk-therapy and dangerous medications, and all I had to do was change my diet. I suspect I'd be a much different person if I could've made the changes as a teenager, or even as a child. Now I'm trying to figure out *how* to live, now that i know i can.. and *will*.

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on June 26, 2011
at 08:04 PM

@Marie: Thanks for the suggestion. I have pale skin in a sunny area, so I've been trying to get vitamin D that way. However, it would probably be a great idea to read up on supplements and get a good one. @Rose: Thanks for the support. Like many of us, I can use all the help I can get.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 07:37 PM

VandyGear03, do you take 10,000 mg Vit D3 per day?

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 06:42 PM

Thanks for sharing your story, VandyGear. I really hope you find a way to be happy again; I believe you will, fwiw. Mostly because you've worked so hard at it, and have been so persistent. And congratulations on your success so far -- even though you're not at your emotional goal, just from reading your story it's apparent you've come a very long way.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 06:21 PM

I definitely agree with the low-fat comment. I never felt worse than when I was on a nutritionist's low-fat protocol. Physically and mentally, I was a wreck. (Didn't lose a damn pound, either.)

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on June 26, 2011
at 05:32 PM

These are good insights. I think one of the reasons that I haven't fully recovered is that I haven't taken on new challenges or found any job in my work - I always start to feel better when I have those things. This really sounds familiar.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 04:17 PM

Good self-insights here, jessher. I hope you're able to get back on track with clean paleo. Like several others here, I'm convinced gluten is a major culprit in "mood" and neurological disorders.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 03:43 PM

Marie, what fantastic travels! Re: my German mom. She's actually been able to get off her diabetes meds in the last few months, because she's been avoiding bread -- her big weakness -- and other stuff like candy, which she'd gotten addicted to. Her doctor's amazed. She probably doesn't know about gluten, but she's become quite b/s aware. I'll let her know to talk to her sister about gluten (she's 81, though, so I'm not sure how up-to-date her immediate family in Germany will be). Thanks for the suggestion!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 03:38 PM

Ah, I missed where you said that. Thanks. Obviously I've got concentration issues of my own. ;)

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 02:48 PM

Tell me about it, Rose! I look out into my classroom and 85% of the eyes I look into have nutritional problems and/or Legal drug addictions. I'm shocked at the number of students using Adderall.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 02:45 PM

Rose, your mom is LUCKY to be German as they are more aware of the Gluten problem. She needs to be speaking with her German family connections about what is happening in Germany w/r/t gluten. She also needs to be reading labels and staying away from soy and HFCS as well as the Glutens.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 02:43 PM

I was living in the jungle or in rural communities. In the jungle the carbs were rice or roots and the rural wheat has MUCH lower gluten concentrations. Wheat that we eat has been selectively bred to have higher gluten concentrations than ancient grains. Gluten is a stabilizing structure increasing product stability as the concentration of gluten rises. Those fluffy pastries that last 3 years on the shelves can thank the food chemist for their existence.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on June 26, 2011
at 02:06 PM

No, as I explained I didn't go paleo until 5 months ago. I just lived with the depression for those two years and ADHD symptoms for a while because the meds made me even crazier and I was planning on getting pregnant.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 06:31 AM

Ashley Roze, were you paleo went you went off the meds?

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 06:14 AM

Thanks, Marie. This was a great question. It's the one thing that makes me want to proselytize to my friends, especially on behalf of their kids. I see them all with behavioral problems and diagnoses and prescriptions (not to mention buck teeth, jiggly bellies, bad vision, etc.) -- and *all* of them are eating bread/candy/crackers/microwavecrap *all day long.* It's so hard to keep my mouth shut, and sometimes I just can't. I really hope some solid research gets done in this area, so we can begin to turn this ship around. But I'm not holding my breath.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 06:10 AM

Wow, grenadine, that's a great question. I certainly have a much harder time losing weight than most people -- even other obese people. Thanks for that insight; it's not something I'd thought much about.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 06:09 AM

Great story, grenadine. Marie, I assume you ate differently when you left the US? Where'd you go, and what did you eat there? Sorry if that's too nosy, but it sounds familiar. My mom didn't get diabetes until she *came* to the US from Germany, even though she ate plenty of bread and stuff there. She says everything here is sickly sweet.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 06:07 AM

I really like this: "paleo lets me sort the specific problems out from the background noise of my previous diet." Great way to put it.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 26, 2011
at 05:31 AM

I wonder if it can permanently do damage to insulin sensitivity/resistance.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 26, 2011
at 05:29 AM

I wonder if it did some permanent damage vis-a-vis insulin sensitivity.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 26, 2011
at 05:26 AM

Depakote, yikes. If that don't make you fat, nothin' will.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 26, 2011
at 04:56 AM

Checked your profile --- I'm planning to study TCM! (still cobbling together a BA tho) Where are you studying?

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 04:46 AM

After 10 years of random symptoms that disappeared EVERYTIME I left the US, I walked into the Emergency clinic and stated there was something "Chemically wrong with me and I'm dying". My PCP had wanted to put me on psych meds because they couldn't solve my IBS related symptoms and chronic fatique. I sooo understand what you went through. I was lucky the PA in the clinic had just returned from a Gluten Intolerance conference in Germany. I thank her daily! AND I AGREE 100% THAT DIET SHOULD BE THE FIRST LINE OF TREATMENT.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 03:27 AM

I just get spacy...wow, I feel for you!

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20 Answers

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13
3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 02:50 AM

When I started the Eades's Protein Power plan in 2007, I was on Celexa and Depakote, and had been on some combination of various anti-depressants and anti-seizure meds since 2001. I felt different right away, and after a couple weeks decided to slowly wean myself off the pills by 1/8 per week (yes, I really cut them into tiny pieces to do that, lol). I kept the bottles just in case it turned out to be a bad idea, but I've been fine ever since without them.

I did have one interesting experience a couple years into my VLC/paleo/ZC journey, and that was when I tried the Kwasniewski Optimal Diet for seven weeks. To get my carb count up for the diet (he likes at least 60g a day, iirc, but it might have been more), I started eating a piece of rye toast every morning. For five days I ate the rye toast, and every one of those days I sat crying at my dining room table for a long time, making me late for work (that was one of the features of my depression -- bouts of sitting and crying for no discernible reason, feeling grief and despair while trying to get myself together to go out the door). And I was so used to that being a regular part of my life that I didn't even realize I was doing it! Or, rather, that I had not been doing it for a couple years and then suddenly started again.

So when I finally realized I was slipping back into depression, I immediately (thanks to the time I spent on Dr. Eades's blog) thought of the rye bread, and switched to a baked potato for my carbs. That was the end of the crying jags, the very next day. I still shake my head about the rapid return, and rapid stop, of the symptoms.

Of course, I went on to gain a buttload of weight during the remainder of the seven weeks on that diet, but that's another story. ;P

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 03:27 AM

I just get spacy...wow, I feel for you!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 06:10 AM

Wow, grenadine, that's a great question. I certainly have a much harder time losing weight than most people -- even other obese people. Thanks for that insight; it's not something I'd thought much about.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 26, 2011
at 05:31 AM

I wonder if it can permanently do damage to insulin sensitivity/resistance.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 26, 2011
at 05:26 AM

Depakote, yikes. If that don't make you fat, nothin' will.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 26, 2011
at 05:29 AM

I wonder if it did some permanent damage vis-a-vis insulin sensitivity.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 02:48 PM

Tell me about it, Rose! I look out into my classroom and 85% of the eyes I look into have nutritional problems and/or Legal drug addictions. I'm shocked at the number of students using Adderall.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 06:14 AM

Thanks, Marie. This was a great question. It's the one thing that makes me want to proselytize to my friends, especially on behalf of their kids. I see them all with behavioral problems and diagnoses and prescriptions (not to mention buck teeth, jiggly bellies, bad vision, etc.) -- and *all* of them are eating bread/candy/crackers/microwavecrap *all day long.* It's so hard to keep my mouth shut, and sometimes I just can't. I really hope some solid research gets done in this area, so we can begin to turn this ship around. But I'm not holding my breath.

9
559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 26, 2011
at 04:34 AM

YES. I was on various pharmaceuticals for almost 20 years. For depression, then "Bipolar II" (which I think they're calling the Bipolar Spectrum now), Oh, and PMDD (pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder) Anyway, drugs weren't helping, but I was afraid to quit, afraid it would get worse.

Then, I stopped eating gluten. No more PMDD, no more brain fog, no more depression. Seriously. Amazing.

I stopped eating wheat first, early last summer, because I was running a lot and was having joint trouble, and suspected that wheat might be the culprit. The more I read online, and the less wheat I ate, the more I learned about the gluten-brain connection, and the more gluten I avoided. I had been tapering off Lamictal, because I felt once and for all it was just not working, and by July I was able to drop it completely. I was amazed to find myself feeling better and better anyway, while getting acquainted with my apparent gluten sensitivity, so by October I was completely off all traces of gluten.

I don't think my diet is dialed in completely, I suspect my gut still has some healing to do -- I get foggy and depressed from some things I eat/drink. But now I KNOW it's my diet, not some unknowable affliction that I can't control and thusly must rely on the hideous and corrupt pharmaceutical industry to get out of bed in the morning. What a nightmare.

I didn't mean to be Paleo, I started just quitting gluten, but then decided to try to heal my gut further by avoiding all grains and legumes. I had to re-think everything I thought I knew about nutrition, because I was a vegetarian for almost as long as I had mood problems. With the increased availability of non-factory-raised meat, (thankyou slow-food movement!) I made the choice to start eating animals again. It was the right decision.

I truly think the first line of treatment for all people with long-term refractory depression should be to cut gluten grains from their diet for 4-6 weeks. The thing is, IT CAN'T HURT. And those drugs? They CAN, and DO.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 04:46 AM

After 10 years of random symptoms that disappeared EVERYTIME I left the US, I walked into the Emergency clinic and stated there was something "Chemically wrong with me and I'm dying". My PCP had wanted to put me on psych meds because they couldn't solve my IBS related symptoms and chronic fatique. I sooo understand what you went through. I was lucky the PA in the clinic had just returned from a Gluten Intolerance conference in Germany. I thank her daily! AND I AGREE 100% THAT DIET SHOULD BE THE FIRST LINE OF TREATMENT.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 06:09 AM

Great story, grenadine. Marie, I assume you ate differently when you left the US? Where'd you go, and what did you eat there? Sorry if that's too nosy, but it sounds familiar. My mom didn't get diabetes until she *came* to the US from Germany, even though she ate plenty of bread and stuff there. She says everything here is sickly sweet.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 02:45 PM

Rose, your mom is LUCKY to be German as they are more aware of the Gluten problem. She needs to be speaking with her German family connections about what is happening in Germany w/r/t gluten. She also needs to be reading labels and staying away from soy and HFCS as well as the Glutens.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 03:43 PM

Marie, what fantastic travels! Re: my German mom. She's actually been able to get off her diabetes meds in the last few months, because she's been avoiding bread -- her big weakness -- and other stuff like candy, which she'd gotten addicted to. Her doctor's amazed. She probably doesn't know about gluten, but she's become quite b/s aware. I'll let her know to talk to her sister about gluten (she's 81, though, so I'm not sure how up-to-date her immediate family in Germany will be). Thanks for the suggestion!

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 26, 2011
at 04:56 AM

Checked your profile --- I'm planning to study TCM! (still cobbling together a BA tho) Where are you studying?

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 02:43 PM

I was living in the jungle or in rural communities. In the jungle the carbs were rice or roots and the rural wheat has MUCH lower gluten concentrations. Wheat that we eat has been selectively bred to have higher gluten concentrations than ancient grains. Gluten is a stabilizing structure increasing product stability as the concentration of gluten rises. Those fluffy pastries that last 3 years on the shelves can thank the food chemist for their existence.

7
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 26, 2011
at 04:03 PM

First, great question. I'm like Ashley Roze with BPII - rapid cycle. I've battled with it for 20 years and had a horrid experience on meds when I was in my early 20s so I took myself off them. But I still battled hard-core depression with bouts of hypomania. In fact, last year the hypomania was pretty intense.

Now, I've been depression-free for about 3 months but I'm not totally healed. In fact, I'm still a bit on edge wondering when it will come back and in amazement about how I feel. Taking out the gluten was the factor. I'm convinced of it. I always knew there had to be a correlation between nutrition and my mental states. Like someone stated above, I got really bad when I went low fat borderline vegetarian.

As most of the posters, I'm still tweaking my diet to get dialed in properly. The exercise is also necessary and when I don't get at least 10 minutes in per day I feel a bit low but nowhere near what I used to feel.

Someone mentioned taking 5HTP for depression and I haven't tried it yet. I take Magnesium and Taurine and that seems to stabilize my mood even further. Paleo has absolutely empowered me in managing my BP. In fact, I can get to a hypmanic phase on my own without negative consequences or falling into other pole of depression. My life right now is in such a state that I would normally be horribly depressed and now, I'm totally able to deal with life outside the depression realm. I'm still amazed by this new found mental freedom.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:23 AM

Paleo essentially gave me hope just knowing if one thing didn't work something would and I didn't need to be over medicated for it. Thanks for making an older woman's day with your compliment.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:03 AM

Dude, I wish I had known too! I'm just happy the fog is lifting. I had anti-social behavior too - holed up in my house and not leaving for days on end. (are you asking about MY pic? If so, it's my evil twin)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:56 PM

Rapid cycle sucks. I didn't know I was BP until doc finally said hypomania symptoms weren't normal. I had no idea. Irritability was huge too and now gone. I can reach hypomia with no depression through Mary Jane but it isn't out of control. Just highly productive and creative. The only thing is that I can't have bad munchies food in the house :)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on June 26, 2011
at 09:46 PM

I used to rapid cycle, too, and have mixed states, although this was only in the last 5 or so years and I think it was induced by antidepressants. Before that my symptoms were strictly depressive. But I have some inkling of you misery, anyway. I have been completely symptom free (and med free) since going ZC. Hypomania with no negative consequences sounds sweet, though. How do you do that?

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:16 AM

yes your pic! I was the same way, I would black out the windows in my dorm room, sit and play video games for days on end, until I had to get drugs and drink myself into oblivion just to quiet my brain and pass out. Let's just say my grades weren't so good, and my music suffered.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 27, 2011
at 02:01 AM

Oh for sure. Totally optimus prime.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 27, 2011
at 12:44 AM

congrats on feeling better! I've always been severely depressive with antisocial consequences and high anxiety...I wish I'd known about Paleo in college when I got really bad. BTW, who's that 20 year old in your profile pic?? ;)

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:54 AM

ha! Older? How about "In your prime."

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 27, 2011
at 12:40 AM

who's that 20 year old in your profile pic?? ;)

6
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on June 26, 2011
at 10:34 PM

No. I've been on them for the better part of 25 years. They are, in large part, the reason I ended up at over 300 lbs. But they also saved my life. I have major depression which is a progressive brain disease and my diet has not cured me of this one. I have tried over the years to go without but to no avail. My last attempt was this past year when I went 6 months without. At this point in my journey my diet is as close to perfect as it has ever been or probably ever will be yet I crashed big time. I'm fairly well resigned to being on them until the day I die and I'm o.k. with that. No I'm more than o.k. I am grateful beyond measure that I have a drug that will sustain me as the drug I take does. Taking pharmaceutical drugs is not a personal failing. I think a good diet can go a long way curing a lot of ills but it does not cure all disease for all people. That is not the fault of the diet nor of the person. Some things just are what they are and there is no one or nothing to blame.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 26, 2011
at 11:13 PM

Oh no! I didn't take it that way at all! I'm THRILLED to see so many have such positive results from their diet. I think a change in diet is an excellent place to look for relief for what ails you but it seems we do tend to see it as a failing of the person or the food plan when it doesn't "work". For everything. I just think we need to remember that we don't have it all worked out just yet and until we do some will need medication and that needs to be o.k. IMO anyway.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:39 PM

Sorry if you took my question as a personal attack on those needing meds. :( It was really a question to see if what the Prof was saying and MY experience coincided with anyone else. If 50% of the population currently on meds could leave them through dietary changes, that would be a good thing. But for those that need drugs, they can be a blessing.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:43 AM

Thanks Rose. Yeah no regrets for me in the end as I'm alive. It is very much love hate though. That damn amitriptyline held my brain together with spit and glue but ravages my poor body and turned it into an obese blob. Sometimes my head goes to "I wonder how my life may have turned out differently if I hadn't ever been put on that" and then I remember that I wouldn't had a life at all without it and I stop my whining.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:00 AM

Shari, I'm with you on the saving your life part. I don't regret my years on anti-depressants, regardless of their ravages on my body. I know I'd be dead if it hadn't been for them, since I didn't have any idea all those years that it was the "food" I was eating that was hurting me. And when I started taking them, I stopped believing in "psychology," lol. I knew that all our problems arise from a physiological substrate, even the ones we think are "in our heads." Anyway, good luck to you, and I'm glad you've found some measure of peace. :)

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 27, 2011
at 04:51 AM

Oh thank you so much. I am so very grateful that things finally fell into place for me. I hope sharing some of what I have experienced can help others who face some of the same challenges I have. I stand on the shoulders of many who helped me along the way and I appreciate any opportunity to do the same for other.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 27, 2011
at 03:59 AM

+1 - All I can say is you have your shxt together, as demonstarted in every post of yours I've ever read. And you communicate it beautifully and always to the point and respectfully to all. WOW.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 27, 2011
at 07:47 PM

yes, what mem said!

6
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on June 26, 2011
at 09:39 PM

My depressive moods, which have affected me all my adult life (I'm 38), and in recent years were re-diagnosed as bipolar II, were always improved when I consumed less carbohydrate. But it was never really cured until I went to a meat-only diet. The difference between VLC and ZC for me was way out of proportion to the actual carbs consumed, and has been nothing short of miraculous. It happened within about 2 weeks, and was as obvious to my husband as it was to me. I've been off all meds for years now, and happier and more stable than ever as an adult. So for me this is something beyond merely the paleo aspect.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 09:46 PM

Going VLC seemed to do it for me regarding depression (and I think it was specifically the gluten in my case), but going ZC definitely improved my health out of proportion to the carb count, too. I still ponder what that means, biochemically. It's a good mystery. :)

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:15 PM

Ambi (and Rose too), your story always amazes and inspires me.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:50 PM

Thanks, grenadine! Rose, it really is a mystery. Keeps the complacency away. ;-)

6
949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

on June 26, 2011
at 05:30 PM

Ok, I'm going to give some background before I get to the point, which is that I think Paleo has helped, but not completely relieved, my symptoms of depression:

I was an ovo-lacto vegetarian for about 7 years when I started getting really depressed in college. I gained weight and started isolating myself socially. My parents were pretty worried and wanted me to start medication, but I kept telling them I didn't need it.

Then, after my freshman year of college, my father died. I was devastated, and I had a hard time doing anything except having angry thoughts. I went on medication, and - after trying several different anti-depressants over the next few years - settled on Wellbutrin for the next 8 years. It raised my heart rate into the range of tachycardia and I had years of insomnia, but it made me feel like a human being again. I could function, I didn't spend too much time crying, and I still had a sex drive (unlike on all those other medications). I lost weight, started exercising, was successful at work, and fell in love.

When I got married three years ago, I had to quit my job, and it took a long time to find another one. In the meantime, I gained all my weight back and became totally miserable again - like a person my husband didn't even know. I started a clinical trial on a new anti-depressant, and it was a bonafide disaster. My weight soared 15 pounds in two months, and I hated myself at a level I never thought possible. I seriously contemplated suicide???so I went back to the Wellbutrin.

Six months later, I was still miserable, although I was able to function again. Without telling my husband, I decided I was going to quit the medication, because I didn't feel like it was helping. I was doing CrossFit 4-5 days a week, but I still didn't have a job, and I just couldn't lose weight. Finally, I got a job, and my self esteem started to improve. I was doing ok without the antidepressants, and I started counting calories and tracking my food and exercise on mynetdiary.com. At the same time, I decided I needed to start eating some fish, as I just wasn't getting enough protein to support muscle growth.

Say what you want about calorie counting: if you're diligent, it works. I lost 35 pounds in five months, and I started feeling human again. While I was losing weight, I started researching the Paleo lifestyle, and I realized that it made sense to me. I waited until I reached my goal weight to start adding meat into my diet (because I didn???t want to halt my really successful weight loss). I cut out all grains except my morning cereal and cut way back on sugar, and then I went strict Paleo after I got to my goal weight.

That was about three months ago, and I???m feeling ok. I???m totally functional, but even at a size 4, I still don???t like myself. My heart rate and blood pressure are much better, and my cholesterol is even lower than it was as a vegetarian (128 vs. 152). I don???t cry much anymore, but I still wouldn???t consider myself happy. I???m staying off the drugs, and I don???t feel like I???ll need them again. But I do miss the feelings of actual happiness that I used to have from time to time on Wellbutrin.

Has Paleo caused or maintained my ability to stay off drugs? I???m not sure. It could be having a job, or losing the weight, or maybe my chemical imbalances from college just aren???t around 10 years later. Either way, I???m going to continue experimenting with optimizing the diet, and see where I go from there. Intellectually, I believe the diet will help me. Emotionally, it???s hard to have faith that I can really find a way to be truly happy again. I hope I can maintain a standard of emotional living that I want without having to resort to potentially dangerous drugs.

And now you know what there is to know about me!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 06:42 PM

Thanks for sharing your story, VandyGear. I really hope you find a way to be happy again; I believe you will, fwiw. Mostly because you've worked so hard at it, and have been so persistent. And congratulations on your success so far -- even though you're not at your emotional goal, just from reading your story it's apparent you've come a very long way.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 26, 2011
at 09:00 PM

Yeah, thanks for sharing, totally resonates. I too took Wellbies for a several years, (made me edgy/angry?). Honestly I can't really say I'm "happy" now either, but the way I feel is *so* different than suicidal despair I used to deal with almost daily. It's sad that I spent so many years struggling - trying bs talk-therapy and dangerous medications, and all I had to do was change my diet. I suspect I'd be a much different person if I could've made the changes as a teenager, or even as a child. Now I'm trying to figure out *how* to live, now that i know i can.. and *will*.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 07:37 PM

VandyGear03, do you take 10,000 mg Vit D3 per day?

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on June 26, 2011
at 08:04 PM

@Marie: Thanks for the suggestion. I have pale skin in a sunny area, so I've been trying to get vitamin D that way. However, it would probably be a great idea to read up on supplements and get a good one. @Rose: Thanks for the support. Like many of us, I can use all the help I can get.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 09:47 PM

VandyGear03, you'll be amazed at what that dose will do for your mind! I suffer from seasonal disorder and can't live without Vit D3 in the Winter.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 26, 2011
at 11:24 PM

Just get your levels up. Get your blood tested if you can afford it. I can tell when I'm slipping and then go back to 10K/day to "feel like me."

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:05 PM

@Marie you recommend 10,000IU/day? Is that long-term, or just to get levels up?

6
3b33c44c826a3da4af412c0c71c55f1c

(295)

on June 26, 2011
at 02:45 PM

Yes, I used paleo to wean myself off of Wellbutrin. I have had to use WB a few times in my life, and I am grateful it is there if I need it. But I don't like to stay on it for long periods of time. The last time I was on it, I decided after about 6 months that I wanted to wean off, so I became very committed to paleo and dropped the Wellbutrin with no problem. Now I am in a bad place with paleo and am not following it as closely as I should, and it's no surprise that I feel some depression settling in. I know now that the first course of action is treating myself better through proper eating and finding more time for exercise rather than medicating. I also use Natural Calm, which if used every day does make a difference to my mood and takes the edge off my reactions to things in a good way. And even when bad with paleo, I am 100% gluten free, which I believe helps a lot. For me, depression begins with situational stuff and turns into something that needs to be unwound through medication and/or serious lifestyle hygeine (diet and exercise, finding inspiration in my work again, taking on a new challenge, etc).

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 04:17 PM

Good self-insights here, jessher. I hope you're able to get back on track with clean paleo. Like several others here, I'm convinced gluten is a major culprit in "mood" and neurological disorders.

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on June 26, 2011
at 05:32 PM

These are good insights. I think one of the reasons that I haven't fully recovered is that I haven't taken on new challenges or found any job in my work - I always start to feel better when I have those things. This really sounds familiar.

5
16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

on July 11, 2011
at 01:13 AM

Paleo/low carb didn't get me off of meds for clinical depression - Vitamin D3 supplementation did. I can't believe that after years of therapy and Prozac and Buspar, and even 5-HTP for the past 10 years (which worked better than the prescription drugs ever did w/ no side effects) none of my doctors thought to try Vitamin D to see if that would do something. Yet that's exactly what fixed it for me (plus the low carb diet, but I'd been doing that off and on for the past 10+ years). My severe depression is now completely gone, it's incredible.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on July 11, 2011
at 02:05 AM

I like my Vit D3 too! It makes me feel like the sunshine is coming from the inside :)

16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

(2640)

on July 11, 2011
at 10:27 AM

Oh and I'll also add that the Magnesium and Vitamin B-100 combination has done wonders for my anxiety. All my mental issues have been cured by these supplements in conjunction with my diet.

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on March 14, 2012
at 11:34 PM

Starting on fluoxetine for the first time, back in January 1999, I recall telling my doctor that it felt like the sun was shining, even though it was the middle of winter. That was a nice feeling. It saved my life. It took another 11 years before I figured out why it felt the way it did. In retrospect, it is so obvious, but I really had no idea then (and neither did most of the medical establishment -- there is lots of work still needing to be done to investigate the role of vitamin D in depression). Needless to say, I don't need the fluoxetine anymore.

3
2c8c421cf0e0c462654c7dc37f8b9711

(2729)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:48 AM

I was on depression meds for about 8 years, had crippling depression. When I look back to when it started, it was when I went low-fat vegan. I believe my brain was starving. Now that I eat plenty of fat, all symptoms of depression have disappeared.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 06:21 PM

I definitely agree with the low-fat comment. I never felt worse than when I was on a nutritionist's low-fat protocol. Physically and mentally, I was a wreck. (Didn't lose a damn pound, either.)

2
Ef8662e22324e1ed68af858b414a9983

on July 11, 2011
at 03:20 AM

I actually felt better just by starting a fish oil, vitd3, and multivitamin regimen.

2
Ba1dc1d071bad502f018cdeb3a6b0e8c

on June 30, 2011
at 12:00 PM

Hi, recently I have changed my diet around fully - totally Paleo and Raw food only, plus have upped multivitamin supplements, in particular zinc, 5HTP and EFAs. Have come fully off antidepressants (been on a range for years, most recently Lexapro), have come off anti-histamines, and most awesomely, have managed to reduce my insulin in put by 25% (am a type 1 diabetic). Managed to lose a couple kg so am at a very healthy 79kg with only 15% body fat. Best change Ive made in my life to date

Medium avatar

(4878)

on June 30, 2011
at 09:26 PM

Awesome, Andrew! I had someone, today, questioning the ability of Paleo to help Type 1 Diabetics so your story is very timely. Thx!

2
1a0976c846702f549ee4df0d811098be

(972)

on June 27, 2011
at 07:18 PM

I was on Zoloft for a few years (with a break for pregnancy/breastfeeding) before starting Paleo. After a year of eating about 75% paleo, I started weaning off anti-depressants and am happier than ever without them.

I've noticed that when I start to feel off again, I also start craving really fatty pork. I eat some fat and feel better.

I had always wondered why I did ok without anti-depressants when I was pregnant/breastfeeding, but got really depressed again after weaning. I am just now realizing that when I was pregnant/breastfeeding, I ate whatever I wanted. And what my body wanted then was whole milk yogurt, mayonnaise, lots of steak, hot dogs, etc. Not clean paleo, certainly, but a lot more fat than I allowed myself otherwise.

I like to think I wasn't suffering from depression as much as I was suffering from a fat deficiency.

1
6f97d1b544380ac1f2dbf95d11f25971

on July 11, 2011
at 01:02 AM

No not yet. I tried going off them with bad results. Paleo has done a lot to help my body, but my mind seems the same. Of course I don't think mine is completely diet related anyway, and I have been having major depressive episodes for nearly 20 years. Glad to see that others are improving though.

1
91d422b073139d35e0856967ba1c21d6

on July 11, 2011
at 12:36 AM

I'm currently on Lamictal (lamotrigine, a mood stabilizer) after being diagnosed with Bipolar II in 2007 when an antidepressant sent me into hypomania. I already feel strongly that by eliminating all grain and carbs I have improved my mood significantly and by following Paleo I know things will get even better. I want to go off the drug soon but BPII is the kind of thing where there is stigma for "going off your meds" when you think you don't need them, so it's tricky. I am trying to lose that last 10 lbs of fat and I'm concerned that the Lamictal will get in the way of my body/hormones fully responding to the Paleo principles the way it/they are meant to. If anyone has insights into Lamictal, they're appreciated. Lamictal is primarily for epilepsy and there is some indication that a ketogenic diet is helpful for both epilepsy and mood disorders.

3b7e6c77a5412587152c9e3f22b41c2a

(434)

on September 07, 2011
at 04:42 AM

Yes, a ketogenic diet is an excellent treatment for epilepsy, and doesn't cause the bad side-effects that anti-epileptic drugs including Lamictal (a.k.a. lamotrigine) can cause. In my personal, anecdotal experience lamotrigine only made the nightmare worse (as did every one of half-a-dozen other psychiatric drugs), and every day I'm glad and grateful that the nightmare is over, thanks to a zero-carb/all-meat diet.

1
Be3e6354356885a60eb751e0f125faed

(10)

on June 27, 2011
at 02:58 AM

I used to be on zoloft several years ago for depression and anxiety. I only recently found out about paleo, but when I started eating a higher fat diet a few years ago I felt a lot happier and I went off my meds myself.

PS. my anxiety went away the first time I smoked marijuana, and it never came back. I haven't smoked in months, I still smoke a few times a year. I wish it was legal, it would help so many people with anxiety.

1
Medium avatar

on June 27, 2011
at 01:02 AM

I never took anti-depressants. I've tried lots of other drugs, but never those. I probably could've had a prescription, I was just very quiet about my inner self, and always put on a brave face.

I've suffered from pretty serious self-loathing and depression most of my life, that got really serious in my college years, with bouts of mania and ridiculous money spending/drug and alcohol binges and self-destructive behavior. I've always been pretty smart, and could've probably been anything I wanted to be, but squandered it all because I hated myself.

If I had known about Paleo then, I would've tried it. The reason I never tried any drugs for my problems was A) Denial, I suppose, and B) fear of losing my "real self." And as bad as I ever got, I always felt like if I medicated I wouldn't be me. Guess that's pretty typical, yeah?

Anyway, through years of self-hypnosis, affirmations, positive choices and better lifestyle I've been able to really come out on top and round out my life. Going Paleo and cutting back on my drinking I think have really rounded out that change for me. I'm sure that my diet had alot to do with my mood and mental state.

One caveat though: As an artist I would never want to disown the positive creative outcome of my despair and self-destruction, negative thoughts and feelings. I thank the universe that through it all I had music to guide me.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:18 AM

this is the truth...but the sad state of affairs is that the grave sometimes is the only break a little-known artist can get.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 27, 2011
at 02:33 AM

Oh, that's bittersweet. Made me laugh, though.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 27, 2011
at 01:10 AM

Inspiring, Futureboy! I agree that happiness isn't always the best emotional state for an artist, although I'm not sure why. It doesn't seem to have a negative effect on engineers, lol. And I attribute my own turn toward the crafts side of art, to some extent, to my lack of angst. Speaking only for myself, though, it's a trade I'm glad to have made. Hard to make art from the grave, ya know?

1
21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on June 26, 2011
at 11:18 PM

I tried an anti-depressent for chronic pain (Cymbalta) and a not-quite-antidepressent for pain (Lyrica) after being paleo.

Neither worked, but the main takeaway for me was that being fairly low-carb paleo made me have more side effects, such as dizziness. Being more moderate carb seemed to make it better. There were a lot of confounding factors though.

1
1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

on June 26, 2011
at 02:36 AM

I was on all sorts of stuff for bipolar type 2, then ADHD. Then just depression and ADHD. I got off the meds 2 years ago but I still had seasonal depressive episodes and still had trouble with ADHD. I just sort of dealt with them as a normal day to day feeling.

I can say the depression is gone; I haven't had a bout in 6 months which is when I went gluten free WAPF and then 2 months later paleo. I still have issues with my Concentration but I don't get goofy and hyper like I used to. It might be age an having a kid but I think it's the diet. I keep waiting for my summer depression cycle to come Back and it doesn't. (usually I get depressed in the summer and late winter.)

I'm hoping another 6 months and my ADD issues will go away. Though, I think those symptoms will be helped when I'm a low enough weight to really excercise hard again.

(writing this on a phone so here is my preemptive apology for any typos above.)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 03:38 PM

Ah, I missed where you said that. Thanks. Obviously I've got concentration issues of my own. ;)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 06:31 AM

Ashley Roze, were you paleo went you went off the meds?

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on June 26, 2011
at 02:06 PM

No, as I explained I didn't go paleo until 5 months ago. I just lived with the depression for those two years and ADHD symptoms for a while because the meds made me even crazier and I was planning on getting pregnant.

1
306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on June 26, 2011
at 02:34 AM

No, because I wasn't on them. But I could have been and have been in the past, so I'll answer the spirit of the question.

The cleaner I eat, the less prone I am to depression. While I'd been doing better for a while (since reducing, though not eliminating, gluten over the past several years), going paleo has cleared it up pretty much entirely, despite life stress and hormonal circumstances that have been a trigger in the past. Now when I get depressed it's always clearly linked to dietary transgressions, and paleo lets me sort the specific problems out from the background noise of my previous diet.

(To be clear: I haven't tested enough to be sure that gluten is actually a problem. Grains in general do seem to be, and so is sugar/HFCS.)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 06:07 AM

I really like this: "paleo lets me sort the specific problems out from the background noise of my previous diet." Great way to put it.

0
D424054562b4968b48d47a9b2ab32850

on September 06, 2011
at 10:20 PM

Yes for first time since early 90's. It takes weaning off slowly and eating good fats and really watching it when PMS comes.

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