0

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Depression options: Vitamin D, 5-HTP, Light Therapy, St. John's Wort, SAM-e, Magnesium, Fish Oil, Saffron, Exercise, CBT, Other Medical, Psychological, Complimentary and Lifestyle Interventions

Commented on December 08, 2013
Created November 09, 2013 at 8:07 PM

I sometimes have some level of depression. I'm on a diet between strict paleo and autoimmune protocol of Sarah Ballantyne and I had slight depression with this diet and 133 mg magnesium glycinate supplementation and 6 hours a week walking and running a small part of it and a bit more exercise also.

I have allergies and I still use the minimum maintenance dose of an antipsychotic for schizophrenia and schizophrenia is a suspected autoimmune disease and allergies may be symptoms caused by autoimmunity. I also tend to shake my legs more than other people, which may be mild restless legs syndrome and I often have cold hand, often one of the hands colder than the other, which may be mild raynaud's phenomenon and both restless legs syndrome and raynaud's phenomenon are suspected autoimmune diseases. Sarah Ballantyne's autoimmune protocol removes egg whites, when I learnt it I ate an egg white on an empty stomach and waited and it gave me some pain, probably from the intestines. I removed egg whites which I used one a a day and later fermented legumes which I used a heaping teaspoon a day after learning about the AIP. My diet was already free from grains(except flaxseed if you count it which I still use about 3/2 teaspoon a day), nightshades(except a very small amount of ashwaghanda I still use but plan to eliminate, nightshades give me joint pain), unfermented legumes, dairy and included about 15 almonds from nuts and seeds section which is now 12 almonds and half a teaspoon of mustard seeds.

I use some St. John's Wort tea when I feel some depression and I need to know more about the treatment options, I once used antidepressants but I won't be using them again as long as I don't have severe depression and other options are out of reach.

In mornings I walk and run a small part of about half an hour 5 times a day often in a sunny weather nowadays and once a week for walk for about an hour when it's sunny with naked forearms and I usually sunbathed for about 5 minutes nearly totally or totally naked lying on my each side last summer but I probably won't be able to do it this summer and in the following summers the most I may be able to do it may be 2 times a week. I'm not sure what I should do about vitamin d because having more vitamin d also requires more vitamin A and vitamin K2 and vitamin K2 is scarce in my diet because I don't consume fermented legumes such as natto(I don't consume any legumes) and fermented dairy, I don't think they are healthy for me and you can read about why they aren't healthy in Sarah Ballantyne's site, thepaleomom.com.

5-HTP and tryptophan increase serotonin levels but I'm afraid increasing serotonin levels may cause a drop in serotonin sensitivity just like high levels of insulin increases insulin resistance so when you stop using 5-HTP, after some time you may have symptoms of low serotonin easier.

St. John's Wort has an antidepressant chemical but side effects other than skin conditions aren't known for it.

Light therapy is something I wanna try but I have allergic conjunctivitis and I have to wear sunglasses when it's sunny so I suspect light therapy may not be good for my eyes. I sleep 8-9 hours a day.

Once I asked my psychiatrist what she thought about SAM-e(s-adenosyl methionine) and she said she thought it wasn't good, though she might have said that because it contained methionine and methionine isn't good for schizophrenics and I was diagnosed with schizophrenia 9 years ago.

Magnesium is said to help in serotonin communication between cells and I had slight depression while using 133 mg magnesium glycinate supplementation and eating a sufficient magnesium diet with 15 almonds "soaked with water and salt for 3 days" to eliminate phytate and make minerals in it utilizable everyday and walking and running a small part of about 6 hours a week and a bit more exercise. I'm not sure if more magnesium can help but if it could I'd consider that.

I used fish oil mid-term or maybe long-term in total in my life and I won't use anymore fish oil because it's found to be harmful in the long term; but I maintain a diet with a good omega 3 to omega 6 ratio and enough EPA and DHA from fish.

I've read saffron is helpful but how much of it should be used ? It's a very expensive spice and I suspect other options are not worse than saffron.

I walk and run a small part of about 6 hours a week and a bit more exercise. I have allergies and I still use the minimum maintenance dose of an antipsychotic for schizophrenia and schizophrenia is a suspected autoimmune disease and for autoimmune diseases Sarah Ballantyne doesn't recommend high intensity exercises and allergies may be symptoms of autoimmunity according to her also. I also tend to shake my legs more than other people, which may be mild restless legs syndrome and I often have cold hand, often unilateral, which may be mild raynaud's phenomenon and both restless legs syndrome and raynaud's phenomenon are suspected autoimmune diseases.

I've read cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT) is better than light therapy for seasonal affective disorder but probably I can't have such therapies where I live and I've recognized when I read the steps that I try to apply the steps of it myself also though it is probably not as good as CBT.

I've found this guide and it lists much more things:

www.mhfa.com.au/cms/wp-content/.../02/whatworks_depression.pdf???

I don't think other medical and psychological interventions in it are good or applicable options also. Among other complementary and lifestyle interventions, I already use alcohol avoidance, some acetyl-l-carnitine, cocoa and cocoa butter(instead of chocolate), a small amount of ginkgo biloba, I listen to different genres of music, I don't smoke, I use small amounts of rhodiola rosea, I avoid sugar, I use 50 mg zinc gluconate a day and when it finishes I have 30 mg zinc glycinate capsules to use, I have a diet high in vitamin b-12 and probably enough in other nutrients listed also.

I want to learn more about the options for depression so that I have more chances of not getting depressed and if I feel depressed again I have better treatments available to me.

Please share your knowledge, experience and hearsay about any sort of feeling depressed and its treatment so we can learn from each other or you just may help people with such problems.

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43e6e312fcc6b2cd2238e7898ad50480

(343)

on December 08, 2013
at 10:57 AM

@Tonia75: Yeah, there's really no point in addressing dietary and supplementary issues when you're in exactly the position in which you developed depression in the first place!

8a525a942a37c3faf3d7ee524e64e57d

(30)

on December 07, 2013
at 11:09 PM

Just my thought. I got really depressed once: bullying at work + lack of sleep because of long work hours and very noisy accommodation + fear of losing my job and being unable to pay the rent of my flat + fear of having to drop out of the degree I was studying for (which did happen as I had to focus on finding another job). My GP's advice was to find another job and another flat. I have made changes to my diet and joined a gym since, but nothing helped as much as moving jobs and moving towns!

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on December 07, 2013
at 09:46 AM

Also my free T4 levels are quite close to the lower end of the normal range and my free T3 levels are closer to the higher end of the normal range except one time.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on December 07, 2013
at 09:34 AM

I see that Chris says the tests should be done many times and an average should be taken to find the true TSH levels. My older TSH levels are 1.38 in 2010, 1.022 in 2010, 2.38 in 2003, 2.18 in 2002.

The improvement of my TSH levels in time must be due to the changes I did for my health, I really think my thyroid hormones are normal.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on December 07, 2013
at 09:16 AM

I just checked my last TSH levels from 9 months ago with the range Chris Kresser stated is the real normal range and the range is 0.4-0.5 to 2-2.5 and my TSH level was 1.66 and since coldness of my hands or some other thyroid related thing didn't change at a noticable level since then I think I've eliminated the possibility of hypothroidism. Since I wrote here I found my fingers turn a little blue once so I must have Reynaud's phenomenon but not at a degree that I see my fingers change colors, I've found a color change only once and that was a small change.

Medium avatar

(15)

on November 10, 2013
at 09:07 PM

Yeah, test each thing thoroughly if it benefits or not. Changing too many things at once and you dont know what helped and what not.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on November 10, 2013
at 06:01 PM

They weren't on the low end of the normal range. I know too much iodine is harmful, I currently use 1/4 teaspoon of bladderwrack a day. I mixed MSM, acetyl-l carnitine and alpha lipoic acid powders with about a ratio of their suggested doses, I use about a level teaspoon of it a day.

I was tempted with the health claims and maybe I acted too quick to buy each of them, now I investigate things more thoroughly if something seems good to use for me.

Medium avatar

(15)

on November 10, 2013
at 02:36 PM

What were your actual numbers in the test? Hypothyroidism can be tricky to diagnose.

Too much iodine is detrimental to thyroid function. So is alpha lipoic acid. I think you take too much supplements.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on November 10, 2013
at 02:08 PM

My thyroid hormones always come normal in blood tests. I use small amounts of alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-l-carnitine both of which lower thyroid hormones if I remember right, and small amounts of bladderwrack(source of iodine) and ashwagandha, both of which increase thyroid hormones if I remember right. I never used thyroid glands or thyroid hormones or thyroid related drugs.

Medium avatar

(15)

on November 10, 2013
at 01:24 PM

Have you every tried thyroid?

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on November 10, 2013
at 01:14 PM

Do you know anything about this ScienceGuy ? How reputable is he ? It takes too much time to read and evaluate all of the studies...

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on November 10, 2013
at 01:12 PM

It was micronized pregnenolone 50 mg, 60 capsules. I didn't use all of it continuously, I still have 3 of it left but there have been times I used something like 10 capsules in a week after using twice weekly for about a month when preparing for an exam. In one of those times I was trying a different antipsychotic, it had bad effects on my cognition/memory etc, I really took a lower score and rank than before on the same exam with less studying. It might have been beneficial, I can't exactly tell. It is synthetically synthesized for supplements as far as I know.

Medium avatar

(15)

on November 10, 2013
at 12:29 PM

Pregnenolone is very safe (much more than fish oil, SSRIs and 5-HTP) and a natural hormone which is produced by the body itself. Did you have any benefit from taking it?

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on November 10, 2013
at 11:52 AM

Water kefir grains, that is. (I forget that milk kefir is more the default 'kefir'.) I feed mine spring water and organic coconut sugar. They dance up and down all day long.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on November 10, 2013
at 11:47 AM

I want to keep being as A1 dairy free as I can be and I'm dairy free. Kefir grains come with A1 dairy. A1 dairy gives me auditory hallucinations. The only dairy I have is from 15 mg lactose(anhydrous) inside my antipsychotic whic may have traces of A1 casein and a little more A1 whey protein.

Raw spinach tastes good enough raw to me and no other food has comparable levels of betaine, everyone should eat some.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on November 10, 2013
at 11:39 AM

That won't be practicable, you know. But thanks for the answers.

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on November 10, 2013
at 11:30 AM

Yeah... you're going to need that hazmat suit.

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on November 10, 2013
at 11:19 AM

Invest in some Kefir grains. They make a fine pet, and delicious effervescent drink. 5 trillion live buddies in every glass.

I'm a fan of bananas and radishes. On my cronometer data, I average a little over 500mg a day after vegetables and supplements. (Supposedly, 500mg was around the daily average back in the 1900s when it was all up in the soil.)

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on November 10, 2013
at 11:16 AM

I used pregnenolone before but after reading a doctor suggest something like no more than 5 mg 2 times a week and some other cautions about it I thought I shouldn't buy more pregnenolone unless I read some more convincing things about it though it didn't give me noticable side effects. I read in a few places that pregnenolone is helpful in negative symptoms of schizophrenia before buying pregnenolone. Pregnenolone is a synthetic hormone. Hopefully it doesn't cause something like pregnenolone resistance or some other hormone resistance since it is converted to other hormones inside.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on November 10, 2013
at 11:15 AM

It's a good suggestion but it's not easy to have a pet in a 1+1 house in an apartment and I'm afraid to be infected with pet parasites, especially if I have them inside my house.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on November 10, 2013
at 11:13 AM

My diet probably has above 70%DV of magnesium with a nutritiondata style calculation. I do not consume fermented foods and I will try Prescript-Assist probiotic supplement when my brother brings it to me from USA, import of things alike are restricted in my country. Do you think vegetables and olives washed with a vegetable washing liquid like Environne or Ex-sir and waited in rock-salted water a source of probiotics ? I think jerusalem artichoke can be helpful as a prebiotic, do you have a suggestion on how to consume it ?

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on November 10, 2013
at 11:12 AM

It's about $100 for the raw data (promethease / geneticgenie). A little pricey, indeed. You just spit in a tube that comes in the mail, no need to go to the city. Too much zinc displaces copper and manganese.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on November 10, 2013
at 11:00 AM

I think even if I can try nutrigenomics it'll be in a bigger city and very expensive for my budget. I don't know of a polymorphism I have other than being O blood type listed in wikipedia. I ejaculate nearly daily and I thought I was showing signs of zinc deficiency before starting to use it more than half a year ago, I've also read zinc gluconate didn't raise some bodily zinc levels, probably in blood and that it is poorly absorbed so I don't worry that I get too much zinc yet. I don't use supplemental b12 but my diet is rich in it.

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on November 09, 2013
at 09:22 PM

Do you have any pets? Invest in a puppy / kitten for +5 happiness.

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on November 09, 2013
at 09:17 PM

Have you thought of giving "Nutrigenomics" a try? (although if you're a hypochondriac, it might just give you more to worry about.) I'd be curious what polymorphisms you have.

Sometimes too much b12 makes me a little edgy. 50mg of zinc daily sounds like a lot. 133mg Mg could be doubled, imo. (I find a "magnesium diet" hard to achieve with food.)

Maybe look into probiotics if you're not already eating fermented foods.

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4 Answers

0
43e6e312fcc6b2cd2238e7898ad50480

on December 07, 2013
at 01:23 PM

I'm no expert, but I have suffered from depression in the past and I am firmly of the belief that lifestyle intervention is a million times more powerful than ANYTHING you can put in your mouth. I was in a horribly dark place, and I took a month off work (I was actually signed off by my doctor), and spent that time being outside as much as possible, exercising LESS than I had been, reading, relaxing, spending time with the people I loved, and gave up all alcohol. I came out of it totally ready to face the world again.

My belief is that environment primarily causes depression - most people don't micromanage their diet or supplement intake and do not suffer from depression because of it. I do believe that diet has an influence, however when you reach the point where you're talking about adding in saffron to your diet or worrying about adding in more vit D for fear of throwing your D/A/K ratio out of whack, it's gone beyond diet.

My (100% non-expert) advice would be to take a step back from your attempts at self-cure. Instead, push yourself out into the world to interact with people. Take up a team sport, join a group or activity of some kind that involves others, keep the diet clean and continue with whatever supplements you're used to taking and make you feel good, but save yourself the stress, time and money of trying any and every substance that has ever been linked to depression in the hope that one will prove the magical cure you've been searching for. You'd struggle to find anything that HASN'T been linked to depression by someone, somewhere :) Do try CBT, I've heard that it can really work wonders. But don't become obsessed, I honestly think that's the best way to dig yourself in deeper.

Hopefully, something in that may have been of some help. I really sympathise. Depression is hideous and it's self-perpetuating. Give yourself a break!

8a525a942a37c3faf3d7ee524e64e57d

(30)

on December 07, 2013
at 11:09 PM

Just my thought. I got really depressed once: bullying at work + lack of sleep because of long work hours and very noisy accommodation + fear of losing my job and being unable to pay the rent of my flat + fear of having to drop out of the degree I was studying for (which did happen as I had to focus on finding another job). My GP's advice was to find another job and another flat. I have made changes to my diet and joined a gym since, but nothing helped as much as moving jobs and moving towns!

0
736662d9fd6314d426cc6de1896aa045

(175)

on November 10, 2013
at 08:39 PM

@moors

Could be this guy, who's into nootropics - he mentions he was on longecity for a while but found the discussion a bit brain dead. But I think scienceguy is a Brit. They certainly have similar interests and provide references for everything:

http://www.gwern.net/Nootropics#comment-966728546

I did take his longecity advice on page 6 and found it by far the most effective non-pharma thing I've tried for sleep (post 162) - use control + f to look for key words, could be worth your time:

http://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/54028-treating-anxiety-safely-effectively/page__st__150

0
736662d9fd6314d426cc6de1896aa045

(175)

on November 10, 2013
at 12:15 PM

Sounds too complicated.

Try this thread for a list of do's and don'ts for anxiety & insomnia - you may find some simpler options:

http://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/54028-treating-anxiety-safely-effectively/

Magnesium is very important, and I think the best way of getting it is by epsom salt spray:

http://culinarytidbits.com/how-to-make-magnesium-oil-spray-painless/

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on November 10, 2013
at 01:14 PM

Do you know anything about this ScienceGuy ? How reputable is he ? It takes too much time to read and evaluate all of the studies...

0
Medium avatar

on November 09, 2013
at 09:57 PM

Serotonin is a stress hormone. I dont think that strategies that aim to elevate serotonin (i.e. 5-HTP) are safe in the long term.

It may surprise you, but when SSRIs work they may actually lower and not heighten serotonin levels. Not much is known about the true mechanism of action of SSRIs. They may also be totally unrelated to serotonin. But pharmaceutical propaganda led people to believe serotonin is the "happy hormone". This is a dangerous misconception.

One example: Tianeptine, a selective serotonin reuptake enhancer (working totally opposite to SSRIs), is a powerful antidepressant.

Natural strategies that aim to enhance thyroid function and reduce cortisol and other stress hormones can reduce depression. Eating enough carbohydrates, frequently enough and avoiding too much protein, as well as too little, can accomplish that. Sugar has powerful antistress properties.

In some cases thyroid and pregnenolone supplementation is very beneficial .

Moderate exercise can lower cortisol, while excessive exercise elevates it and should be avoided.

Enough salt (!), calcium and magnesium is also important to keep the stress hormones low.

47cbd166d262925037bc6f9a9265eb20

(55)

on November 10, 2013
at 11:16 AM

I used pregnenolone before but after reading a doctor suggest something like no more than 5 mg 2 times a week and some other cautions about it I thought I shouldn't buy more pregnenolone unless I read some more convincing things about it though it didn't give me noticable side effects. I read in a few places that pregnenolone is helpful in negative symptoms of schizophrenia before buying pregnenolone. Pregnenolone is a synthetic hormone. Hopefully it doesn't cause something like pregnenolone resistance or some other hormone resistance since it is converted to other hormones inside.

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