4

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Anti - depressants / Serotonin levels

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 05, 2011 at 11:15 AM

I have been suffering from depression over about a 10 year period.From time to time I have made use of anti-depressants (citalopram) and it helps to raise my serotonin levels which makes me feel better.

What foods can naturally boost serotonin levels ?

9dbfedbe21eae2a65093f8774ba8ad4d

(559)

on April 06, 2011
at 04:09 PM

I've noticed that eating VLC made me alternately wired and tired. A little bit of fruit and carb steadies me without veering into the blood sugar roller coaster ride.

6a4fd73b4ae4761eefec8e0d38e6f224

(1008)

on April 06, 2011
at 12:26 PM

I use this intermittently as well and it really does take the edge off. Just start with a low dose and increase it gradually because when you overdo it, waking up is hard to do. (Apologies to Neil Sedaka ;) Also, plenty of sunlight.

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on April 06, 2011
at 11:46 AM

Yay, I'm glad you no longer feel blue. :)

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on April 05, 2011
at 11:39 PM

Agreed, I was in the same boat - I went very low carb - that worked for a while but I ended up with low energy and felt pretty miserable. I tried eating a ton of fat with no change. It took the addition of starchy tubers to improve things.

Da681d976130df15aac3984013aaad6d

(720)

on April 05, 2011
at 07:02 PM

I actually do mainly eat fat and protein, maybe not enough, though seems like enough. I don't enjoy it, that's a bigger problem. No fruit just makes me grumpy, period.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on April 05, 2011
at 03:45 PM

Lauren, Less energetic and more grumpy is a sign you are not fueling yourself with enough fat and protein for energy. Yams and berries still spike the blood sugar that you crave. It is as if you are eating sugar...just in another form. You can change your body to operate on meat and fat instead of carbs...if you decide to. –

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on April 05, 2011
at 03:44 PM

Lauren, Less energetic and more grumpy is a sign you are not fueling yourself with enough fat and protein for energy. Yams and berries still spike the blood sugar that you crave. It is as if you are eating sugar...just in another form. You can change you body to operate on meat and fat instead of carbs...if you decide to.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on April 05, 2011
at 02:47 PM

I re-spelled "serotonin" for you so that it will show up if people search for it.

7e1064164e012a1ead098098245b1cd4

(1217)

on April 05, 2011
at 02:25 PM

Gosh, I had forgotten about the brain storms...definitely not a good idea to go cold turkey. I was on paroxetine for a couple of years in my teens and decided to try and 'quit' one day. The side effects were terrifying. Research was conducted around the time I was taking it which concluded that 'paroxetine increases the risk of suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior in children and adolescents'. So that was nice to know...

9d741bcbe702044635f2ce3078043054

(1435)

on April 05, 2011
at 02:15 PM

Many high-fructose foods are LOW on the GI list, because fructose does not directly increase blood glucose. The glycemic index is largely a measure of how much and how quickly a food raises blood glucose levels.

7e1064164e012a1ead098098245b1cd4

(1217)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:31 PM

I forgot to mention this in my post, as Mark didn't in the link I provided - Vitamin D3 has really helped me, as well as investing in a 'SAD' light that I use every morning. We're getting some quite good weather in London at the moment so I am also taking advantage of this. The sun always brings a smile to my face.

7e1064164e012a1ead098098245b1cd4

(1217)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:31 PM

I forgot to mention this in my post, as Mark didn't in the link I provided - Vitamin D3 has really helped me, as well as investing in a 'SAD' light that I use every morning. We're getting some quite good weather in London at the moment so I am also taking advantage of this. The sun always brings a smile to my face. For more Paleo hacks: http://paleohacks.com/questions/31593/anti-depessants-seratonin-levels#ixzz1Iegiz5hq

7e1064164e012a1ead098098245b1cd4

(1217)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:30 PM

I forgot to mention this in my post, as Mark didn't in the link I provided - Vitadmin D3 has really helped me, as well as investing in a 'SAD' light that I use every morning. We're getting some quite good weather in London at the moment so I am also taking advantage of this. The sun always brings a smile to my face.

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10 Answers

4
Da681d976130df15aac3984013aaad6d

on April 05, 2011
at 02:54 PM

I've suffered depression and anxiety my whole life and I personally would have stayed on anti-depressants if not for weight gain, but, I think keeping sugar out of yr diet is key, that just makes it worse. Eating Paleo has definitely helped. For me, exercise, sunlight, and honestly, keeping a positive attitude really helps. Like, I can just decide "I'm not depressed" and the bad feelings are less. Funny how I never knew I could do that all this time.

Also, I've cut carbs drastically and I find that I am less energetic and more grumpy, I think (for me) it's important to eat carbs (like yams and berries).

This is what Mark Sisson says about serotonin, I pretty much agree...

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/serotonin-boosters/

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on April 05, 2011
at 03:45 PM

Lauren, Less energetic and more grumpy is a sign you are not fueling yourself with enough fat and protein for energy. Yams and berries still spike the blood sugar that you crave. It is as if you are eating sugar...just in another form. You can change your body to operate on meat and fat instead of carbs...if you decide to. –

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on April 05, 2011
at 03:44 PM

Lauren, Less energetic and more grumpy is a sign you are not fueling yourself with enough fat and protein for energy. Yams and berries still spike the blood sugar that you crave. It is as if you are eating sugar...just in another form. You can change you body to operate on meat and fat instead of carbs...if you decide to.

Da681d976130df15aac3984013aaad6d

(720)

on April 05, 2011
at 07:02 PM

I actually do mainly eat fat and protein, maybe not enough, though seems like enough. I don't enjoy it, that's a bigger problem. No fruit just makes me grumpy, period.

9dbfedbe21eae2a65093f8774ba8ad4d

(559)

on April 06, 2011
at 04:09 PM

I've noticed that eating VLC made me alternately wired and tired. A little bit of fruit and carb steadies me without veering into the blood sugar roller coaster ride.

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on April 05, 2011
at 11:39 PM

Agreed, I was in the same boat - I went very low carb - that worked for a while but I ended up with low energy and felt pretty miserable. I tried eating a ton of fat with no change. It took the addition of starchy tubers to improve things.

3
B294f81b6a77c4ac1ad5fc55313dec84

(105)

on April 05, 2011
at 09:40 PM

Are you currently eating Paleo or some variant? I ask because I found that almost all of my problems with Depression were cured by simply avoiding ALL GLUTEN.

I had 10 years of crippling depression, so take this seriously.

Gluten is also a tricky little bugger. It's not just a matter of avoiding grains. It's also in marinades, dressings, candy -- and almost everything that uses a thickener. I've found it listed in the ingredients of Beef Jerky. And in the natural flavorings of raw, whole Turkey.

Beyond that, make sure you have enough calories if you're low carbing. It's surprising how little some of us want to eat once the carbs are gone. I found that I often fell just about 1000 cals a day, if I wasn't careful. And low sugar will also cause depression.

Best of luck!

3
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on April 05, 2011
at 04:13 PM

I have had a problem with depression for my entire adult life (I'm 38), and the one thing that made the difference for me was going from VLC to ZC. I am now completely depression-free, and I haven't taken medication since a few weeks after I started in 2009. Although I had noticed that I improved on VLC, I was very surprised by the qualitative difference between that and ZC.

Obviously, different people have different responses to such things, but this is what worked for me.

3
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on April 05, 2011
at 04:12 PM

Dr Kurt Harris has a book review post regarding Head-Smashed-In buffalo jump in Alberta. Chris Krisser has made a comment regarding eating lean meat as opposed to eating fat...and the problem that eating too much lean meat has on our bodies.

I'm so tired of the lean meat nonsense. The problem with eating too much lean meat is that it will lead to an excess of methionine, which in turn increases the need for choline, B12, folate, betaine and B6. Choline deficiency is common and is a major cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, as Chris Masterjohn has pointed out. The other issue is that methionine competes with tryptophan for transport across the blood brain barrier, which means that too much methionine can lead to serotonin deficiency and depression.

http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2011/4/4/imagining-head-smashed-in.html#comments

Perhaps folks that are struggling with depression need to drastically increase their intake of animal fat to allieviate depression by increasing serotonin.

Edit: This evening, 3/5 there is a posting regarding how Omega 3 fatty acids can increase can fight depression that looks very interesting because Omega 3s will stimulate something in the brain that is close in chemical nature to cannabis. A mood elevator and can help with depression.

http://paleohacks.com/questions/31701/get-high-on-omega-3s-literally#axzz1IhTLeesB

3
34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on April 05, 2011
at 12:54 PM

Make sure you get sunlight everyday too - I am prone to depression as well and had a good bout of it through most of my 20's. No drugs ever seemed to work so I had to figure it out for myself. I know it sounds trite but try to be happy. It isn't always easy to be happy. I cannot stress sunlight enough either, I think some people are more affected by it than others. If I do not get a good amount (about an hour at least) of sunlight each day I feel down. If I don't get sunlight for several days it gets worse than feeling a little down. I would also make sure you're taking a Vitamin D3 supplement, at least 4,000ui each day.

Exercise helps too and getting good sleep. If you have trouble sleeping look into Melatonin 1-5mg about an hour before bed.

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50592 (Edit to add this link with good information)

7e1064164e012a1ead098098245b1cd4

(1217)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:30 PM

I forgot to mention this in my post, as Mark didn't in the link I provided - Vitadmin D3 has really helped me, as well as investing in a 'SAD' light that I use every morning. We're getting some quite good weather in London at the moment so I am also taking advantage of this. The sun always brings a smile to my face.

7e1064164e012a1ead098098245b1cd4

(1217)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:31 PM

I forgot to mention this in my post, as Mark didn't in the link I provided - Vitamin D3 has really helped me, as well as investing in a 'SAD' light that I use every morning. We're getting some quite good weather in London at the moment so I am also taking advantage of this. The sun always brings a smile to my face.

7e1064164e012a1ead098098245b1cd4

(1217)

on April 05, 2011
at 01:31 PM

I forgot to mention this in my post, as Mark didn't in the link I provided - Vitamin D3 has really helped me, as well as investing in a 'SAD' light that I use every morning. We're getting some quite good weather in London at the moment so I am also taking advantage of this. The sun always brings a smile to my face. For more Paleo hacks: http://paleohacks.com/questions/31593/anti-depessants-seratonin-levels#ixzz1Iegiz5hq

2
A3e654929c08c0723607842656b57f8f

(834)

on April 05, 2011
at 02:04 PM

I was on citalopram (Celexa) for around 4 years before I found Paleo which generally lifted my mood.

I believe the things that helped my mood were

  • Crossfit Exercise
  • Walking as much as possible
  • Generally the Paleo Diet
  • Weight loss which Boosted self esteem
  • Meditation on a regular basis
  • Reducing my intake of sugary foods (even fruit) to better control mood
  • Reducing my alcohol intake

As you do feel better you might want to step yourself off of it I tried to do this alone but ultimately failed without doctors assistance.

I do find it hard to be off the drug sometimes because that "soft pillow" on the bottom of my moods doesn't exist anymore but I'm very happy the "fogginess" and other undesirable side effects are gone from my life.

I did follow doctors advice in stepping down the dose to different base levels until my body physically no longer needed it.

I would not recommend going off of this cold turkey due to the "Brain storms" and other nasty withdrawal symptoms that come with this.

7e1064164e012a1ead098098245b1cd4

(1217)

on April 05, 2011
at 02:25 PM

Gosh, I had forgotten about the brain storms...definitely not a good idea to go cold turkey. I was on paroxetine for a couple of years in my teens and decided to try and 'quit' one day. The side effects were terrifying. Research was conducted around the time I was taking it which concluded that 'paroxetine increases the risk of suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior in children and adolescents'. So that was nice to know...

2
7e1064164e012a1ead098098245b1cd4

(1217)

on April 05, 2011
at 12:13 PM

A nice fat steak always makes me happy ;-).

Seriously though (well, I was being serious but anyway), Mark did a really good post on serotonin a while ago:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/serotonin-boosters/

1
2193cb1eca1a0eda4b2cad910074634e

on April 05, 2011
at 12:41 PM

Apparently there is a strong connection between fructose and depression. Stop eating foods high on the GI list mostly of course fruits and the depression subsides! Check out this blog for more info http://bit.ly/iiUy3Y I speak from experience on this one!

9d741bcbe702044635f2ce3078043054

(1435)

on April 05, 2011
at 02:15 PM

Many high-fructose foods are LOW on the GI list, because fructose does not directly increase blood glucose. The glycemic index is largely a measure of how much and how quickly a food raises blood glucose levels.

0
B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on April 06, 2011
at 11:36 AM

I don't have a food suggestion off the top of my head, but I supplement with 5-htp.

It has really improved my mood, I've recorded my mood three times a day for a couple weeks, both with and without supplementation. The 5-htp does improve my mood. It's also a more natural alternative to boosting serotonin levels (rather than drugs like SSRIs and other anti-depressants) because it is a naturally found precursor in your body for serotonin formation.

6a4fd73b4ae4761eefec8e0d38e6f224

(1008)

on April 06, 2011
at 12:26 PM

I use this intermittently as well and it really does take the edge off. Just start with a low dose and increase it gradually because when you overdo it, waking up is hard to do. (Apologies to Neil Sedaka ;) Also, plenty of sunlight.

0
2b4f887f5fd32a37c6038eb0aaaf3bf5

on April 05, 2011
at 07:49 PM

PROTEIN PROTEIN PROTEIN!!!!

This is actually the beginning of what led me to paleo. I was a semi vegetarian (rarely ate chicken & fish), lots of bread products & processed foods, and had issues with depression. When I went to a naturopath, he had me increase my protein intake, which really surprised me at the time. But within a week my clinical depression was gone. Since then I've learned a lot more about how the food you eat impacts your brain, and I began eating red meat & pork again, because I realized how low on protein my diet was.

Here's why you want protein...

Serotonin is produced from amino acids. Amino acids are proteins. So, serotonin (and other mood chemicals) are produced from protein.

For a longer, and more precise explanation, I HIGHLY recommend Julia Ross's The Mood Cure. She also suggests supplements (I find 5-HTP to be fantastic when I'm feeling blue, but that rarely happens anymore).

Hope that helps!

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on April 06, 2011
at 11:46 AM

Yay, I'm glad you no longer feel blue. :)

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