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Inflammation and Depression

December 31, 2012 1 comment
Dahlia 'Inflammation'

Dahlia ‘Inflammation’ (Photo credit: F. D. Richards)

According to this Danish post, inflammation causes depression, which causes inflammation.  Depression causes one to have errant sleep, poor stress management, eating poorly, withdrawl from socials support.  This causes epigenetic changes that increase inflammation.

Danish scientists took a cohort of 73,000 people and measured their levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP)…a marker for inflammation, and mapped those levels to antidepressant dispensation from a pharmacy, and records of people hospitalized for depression.  (You will never be able to do something like this in the USA). 

They found that people with CRP above 3mg/liter had more antidepressant use and hospitalization than those with values under 1mg/liter.  CRP is made in the liver. While the article says that inflammation may affect serotonin in the brain.  We know that serotonin is also found in the GI tract….right next to that liver.  So it must be affected there as well?

 So many more reasons to monitor inflammation, and reduce it.   I suspect that inflammation is our body overextended.  Designed to solve problems here and there such as in injuries, prolonged stress may lead to continuous inflammation.  So stress reduction may be a great way to reduce CRP and maybe therefore depression..

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Fish Oil Bad for you?

December 24, 2012 Leave a comment

We all know how wonderful fish oil is as an anti-inflammatory, improves blood pressure,  improves mood, and a host of other things.  So am I really saying that Fish Oil could be bad for you?

FIsh Oil Bad For You?

But there may be concerns with taking too much or any!

  1. For many years we have known to be wary of Fish Oils that were not specifically tested for mercury contamination.  You can now find many products that say they are mercury free.
  2. Another problem is oxidative stress.    Omega 3 oils are delicate they can break down easily.  Remember they are from COLD water fish.  Having your bottle sit next to a toaster oven or a blowing vent can easily begin to breakdown
  3. Maybe not in a physical way, but if you are vegetarian you can’t really have it at all can you?

But to address these in reverse order, you can easily start taking vegan Omega 3s directly from the algae that produce them.

Ok but then what about Oxidative Stress? We see that too much Omega 3s can decrease lifespan.  However the authors of the study promote the addition of antioxidants, not the removal of the oils.  You can limit the dangers of oxidative stress by taking astaxanthin, found in Krill Oil. In addition another study shows that oxidative stress was actually reduced when specifically using OmaCor capsules. These are prescription fish oils that have been altered and purified. 

This is important when it comes  to well known problems with mercury in fish oil.  But in industrial fish there is also a concern about arsenic.  This is where the vegan oils show the promise of bypassing the mercury and aresenic contamination.

All in all, the dynamics may be dependent on the type of DHA/EPA you are getting, but it could also be dose dependent, a safe bet would be taking no more than 1g per day.  A safer bet would be to get your oils directly from the algae that produces the EFAs.

Mercury levels are going up!

December 3, 2012 Leave a comment

And not just from vaccinations.

Dr. Hyman has the greatest video on mercury and health impacts such as

  • colitis
  • nervous system toxicity such as shyness or nervousness
  • parkinson’s like tremor
  • slurred speech
  • fatigue
  • depression
  • kidney toxicity
  • dermatitis

So where do you get mercury? 

  1. red tattoo dye
  2. contact lens fluid
  3. vaccines
  4. fish
  5. vapors
  6. mercury water
  7. dental fillings
  8. skin lightening creams

Dr. Hyman says it better than I can.

Categories: Anxiety, Depression, Sleep

PTSD

October 28, 2012 Leave a comment

 Do you ever feel like you may have PTSD?  I have been known to tell myself that I do.  Not because I’m a hypochondriac but because it actually does feel like I’m different from what I used to be.  Contrast that with some people who are always like that.  What is “that” anyway?
This Mindhacks article spells out that PTSD is defined by 3 characteristics:

  1. Intrusive Memories
  2. Hyper-arousal, and
  3. Emotional Numbing

I think my memories are not intrusive but otherwise, I do feel I have the the other two symptoms, and that of course creates a barrier in relationships.  Relationships are what you need to help you through this, so this doesn’t seem like a good situation.

The Mindhacks article implies that there was no documentation of similar symptoms during the Civil War, but during that time, men didn’t really express their problems, and if they did, it was not shared, discussed, blogged.  The term “shell shocked” came into existence during WW1, and that really does sound like PTSD.  Nonetheless the point is made that PTSD during that time  (and now) may just have looked like alcoholism or depression instead.  The implication is that some people do not manifest PTSD while others do.

On the genetic side, the RORA (retinoid-related orphan receptor alpha) gene has been associated with trauma. The hypothesis is that brains that make less serotonin are then more susceptible to PTSD.

So if you have this genetic setup do what every lame article tells you: avoid stress.  Now that you have picked yourself up off the floor from laughing, let’s look at some other direct suggestions on what to do after you already have PTSD.  Generalized suggestions will follow in the next section, but I want to highlight the topics that will be coming up in subsequent posts terms of treatment.

  1. EMDR
  2. Trauma Releasing Exercise
  3. Ear Training (Polyvagal)
  4. http://www.traumahealing.com/

Now if you have the gene, how do you avoid PTSD? I know these sound obvious, so I won’t elaborate too much on these:

  • Supportive and large kind families — the larger the (and kinder) family the more likely that assisting with your symptoms will be spread out amongst several people.  But friends who are like family will help too.  Being a loner single parent is probably not the situation to be in.
  • Support your detoxification-Physical stress through lack of detoxification can also build up.  Take Vitamin C, lipoceutical glutathione, epsom salt baths, magnesium, fish oil to help support your body
  • Simplify — Our world continues to get more complex, you may have to consciously simplify to reduce points of stress. This might mean automation of certain things, but it could also mean staying off the computer!
  • Nutritious Food–this seems obvious right? Do what you can, but do more than you are already doing.  Take the proper folate to help you detoxify.
  • Meditate..no really!  It has been shown to help alleviate stress.

Once you have trauma/PTSD you stay primed for response, but the methods mentioned above may help modulate it a bit.

Tricyclics for Mast Cell

October 22, 2012 2 comments

There are several tricyclics in the market.  These were used as antidepressants before SSRIs became popular.  They can help children who wet the bed when they get older, or help you sleep.   For me, I used it for sleep but lost interest in food.  This made for an easy diet and a 60lb effortless weightloss.  My friends worried that I did not have proper nutrition but I finally got my body to use my fat stores. Yeah! 🙂

Now what are mast cells? From Wikipedia:  “is a resident cell of several types of tissues and contains many granules rich in histamine and heparin. Although best known for their role in allergy and anaphylaxis, mast cells play an important protective role as well, being intimately involved in wound healing and defense against pathogens.[2]” 

Many people with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) also have mast cell problems. This means there is a lot of inflammation and allergic reactions. This often manifests as skin inflammation, and for me sometimes I think it results in me taking  a “power nap” soon after eating items that activate mast cells.

Tricyclic antidepressants may be beneficial in CFS because of their ability to inhibit brain mast cell activation and release of proinflammatory molecules. (1)   Interestingly these happen in the brain.

There are several types of tricyclics.  The one I used is amitriptylene for sleep.  It takes about 6 weeks for it to go into full effect I lost weight easily and was not hungry.  Finally I saw that I was beginning to look gaunt. So I stopped sure that my weight gain would return….NOT!  Slowly I began to get an appetite again, and it was a normal hunger not craving.  Weight gain?  NOT!

It was only after 3 years, when under a lot of stress that my weight gain began and has continued steadily for the last 5 years.  I tried the amitryptiline again, but did not have the same effect :(.

Nonetheless, there is something significant about its effect. It may histamine related, maybe not.   Needs discovery.

Frankincense fights cancer but also depression and anxiety!

March 6, 2012 1 comment

There are several articles some on pubmed that indicate that Boswellia Carteri grown in southern Arabia and parts of eastern Africa has been known to cause cell apoptosis in cancer cells.  Fascinating! 

However burning frankincense can also help with depression and anxiety too.  This article from Science Daily says that certain ionic channels presumably that help transport substances through the cell wall are doing this with some particular substance that is helpful to brain cells and alleviates depression and anxiety.

 

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