Thursday, August 6, 2015

Help for Depression that You've Probably Never Thought of

There is someone in my life whom I've known well for many years now. He has struggled with depression for over 2 decades.

Footpath in snowy ForestI've done my best to support my friend and encourage counseling, but to no avail. I've tried to encourage him to take St. John's Wort (funny sounding name for an herb), which is very effective for many people, but not a good enough long term solution for him because it reduces the effectiveness of other medications.

My biggest surprise was yet to come.

He tried a Paleo diet about a year ago and the results shocked me. The diet calls for all common allergens to be removed from the diet. As he reintroduced wheat he noticed somethings, like he became depressed each time he ate wheat.

There are a few other helps I've discovered along the way, and I'd like to share them with you in the hope that this will help others to overcome their depression.

By sharing these suggestions I in no way mean to minimize depression and its potential consequences on someones life. I do mean to show that for many there can be real solutions that don't involve being on anti depressants for the rest of your life. No matter what road you choose know that there is no judgement here, we are all just trying to do the best we can.

Here are some suggestions that I hope help you and those that you care for...

Food Sensitivities
This guy I'm referring to had no idea that he had any food allergies. Our bodies change over the years and can change what we're allergic to.

I recommend trying the Paleo diet as a starting place. The Paleo diet removes most common allergens such as corn, wheat, grains, peanuts, dairy, sugar, processed food and fast food. Don't worry there's still plenty left to eat! There are lot's of sites to help get you started. Here's an example of one.

Photo by Chrisss s
Try the diet for about 1 month, then gradually add back in the foods you've taken out. For example, try adding corn back into your diet for a week and see how you do with it. If all goes well a week later try adding another food like wheat back into your diet.

If you don't notice anything then you probably don't have a sensitivity to that food. However, if you do notice effects on your body or moods, take that food out of your diet for another 2 weeks, then try adding it back in again. If you still have a sensitivity to it then should probably stop eating that food.

I've got a Pintrest page just for Paleo recipes which can be found here on my NaturalNats board.

So why does food effect us emotionally? Approximately 50% of our emotional receptors are in the lining of our intestines. That means that what we eat has a big effect on how our bodies respond.

fruit shake
To create a happy environment in the lining of our intestines we need good bacteria.

There are several ways to get more of the happy bacteria in there, and here's more info on varieties of probiotics. Since writing that article I have also discovered kombucha, a fermented tea that is very high in probiotcs. It's even for sale at my local Target.

Many people suffering from depression seem to experience muscle aches and pains, magnesium can often help. Here's what I use that works wonders! If you can dissolve salt in warm water you can make your own, or it can be purchased.

Vitamin D
Snow Canyon 1Ahhhh vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin! Approximately 90% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, which I would consider the most important vitamin of all.

From sunshine to supplements here's more info on how to get your dose and boost your mood!

Exercise releases endorphines, the happy hormones in our brain. Even small amounts of exercise can do a lot to help. Try going for a walk, doing an exercise class, or whatever you can find to get you moving, and get those happy hormones moving in your brain.

Child Standing in Dirt
Photo by d Sharon Pruitt
Also called grounding, is a great mood improver. I'm no expert, but it has to do with the electrical impulses in our bodies getting a release by contact with the earth (and by earth I mean dirt, sand, grass).

It sounded ridiculous to me until I tried it. Even a couple of short minutes walking in the grass outside and I'm a calmer person.

Vitamin B
Depression often leaves a feeling of lack of energy. Eating food high in B vitamins, or taking a good quality supplement can be a big energy booster. For the food approach eat lot's of dark green leafy vegetables, or a quality nutritional yeast.

A supplement that I have started taking every day is the the Country Life brand B complex (which includes all of the B vitamins). I've read that taking just one of the B vitamins can cause deficiencies in the others, so it's best if you're taking a supplement to get one that's got all of the B vitamins.

I notice an improved mood and much more energy when taking these.

sleeping babyWhat a huge difference a good nights sleep can make on both body and mind! When we are stressed it becomes harder for our bodies to produce melatonin which we need to sleep.

One natural source of melatonin is tart cherry juice. Try drinking a small amount before bed time.

I keep the NOW brand of melatonin in my cabinet and use it as needed. The consensus among doctors seems to be that 1mg is the recommended amount, 1 per night, and that melatonin should not be used for an on going basis but just as needed. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have further questions about melatonin.

I know how hard depression can be on people. With all my heart I hope that you and those that you love can find the relief needed. Feel free to contact me at if I can be of any further help.

Disclaimer: The above advice is not medical advice, just well meant sharing of information.

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Jessica said...

Do you think these things would help with depression stemming from PTSD? Or maybe even PTSD itself?

Natalie Kemp said...

Not getting the proper nutrition can cause symptoms of depression. For PTSD I recommend Dr Mercola's website. Www.mercola.Com
He has a couple of articles with that should be very helpful, including a method called EFT. I hope that helps.

Natalie Kemp said...
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