With each new client, The StayFit4Life
program encounters we start by helping him or her develop an individual eating plans. Time and again we love to witness the healing effects that real food can have on the mind and body.
Most of our clients need additional protein to supply the building blocks for serotonin and their 75 other neurotransmitters. We replace processed foods and carbohydrates (breads, bagels, pasta) with real ones such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. We focus on a moderate intake of healthy fats.
This means curing the “fat phobia,” getting rid of the unhealthy hydrogenated fatsfound in margarine, muffins, and the like, and replacing with
real fats found in nuts, butter, olive oil, fatty fish, etc. I stress moderate exercise as well.
Numerous studies document exercise
to provide relief from depressive symptoms.
Eating a balance diet, to ease depression means simplifying your diet.
You will consume less sugar, caffeine, alcohol and other chemicals, and more real food.
In addition, many nutrients have been scientifically shown to support a healthy
brain and nervous system.
They include: 5-HTP is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is usually the focus of antidepressant
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) this member of the Omega-3 family of fats is a crucial component of nerve cells that transfer information. A daily Omega-3 supplement and inclusion of fatty fish like sardines,ocean-raised salmon and mackerel two to three times weekly is optimal.
B vitamins are particularly important in the prevention of depression, anxiety, and fatigue. It is best to take a
B-complex supplement daily, as they all work together and do not store in your body. You will get B vitamins from whole grains and animal protein in your diet. In particular, the B vitamins B-12,
B-9, and B-6 have been shown to be important to emotional health.
deficiency is a common cause of depression, easy to remedy with
supplementation. Vegetarians often
suffer from this type, as animal products are our primary source of B-12.
B-9 (folic acid)
deficiency has been found in 15-38% of adults diagnosed with depressive
disorders. Lower levels of folic acid is also linked with decreased ability to
use antidepressant medications.
B-6 (pyridoxine) is
crucial to the formation of proper levels of neurotransmitters.
Magnesium is a favorite antidepressant nutrient of mine. The Journal of the American Medical Association confirmed the magnesium-depression relationship 30 years ago. Magnesium helps to relieve anxiety and the debilitating insomnia so many depressed people suffer from. Magnesium is found in nuts and leafy green vegetables.
As a Holistic Health Coach, I keep returning to the power of food and proper diet. Understanding and using food’s tremendous power
puts you in the position to create your own antidepressant
prescription. Many clients feel skeptical of this power but become convinced after trying an antidepressant diet.
They feel happy and hopeful, as they should. Eating good healthy food is work, and it is the only long-term solution…
1. What is serotonin?
Serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter, a type of chemical that
helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another. Although serotonin
is manufactured in the brain, where it performs its primary functions, some 90% of our serotonin supply is found in
the digestive tract and in blood platelets.
2. How is serotonin made?
Serotonin is made via a
unique biochemical conversion process. It begins with tryptophan, a building
block to proteins. Cells that make serotonin use tryptophan hydroxylase, a
chemical reactor which, when combined with tryptophan, forms
5-hydroxytryptamine, otherwise known as serotonin.
3. What role does
serotonin play in our health?
As a neurotransmitter,
serotonin helps to relay messages from one area of the brain to another.
Because of the widespread distribution of its cells, it is believed to
influence a variety of psychological and other body functions. Of the
approximately 40 million brain cells, most are influenced either directly or
indirectly by serotonin. This includes brain cells related to mood, sexual
desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature
regulation, and some social behavior.
In terms of our body
function, serotonin can also affect the functioning of our cardiovascular system, muscles, and various elements in the
endocrine system. Researchers have also found evidence that serotonin may play
a role in regulating milk production in the breast, and that a defect within
the serotonin network may be one underlying cause of SIDS (sudden infant death
4. What is the link
between serotonin and depression?
There are many researchers
who believe that an imbalance in serotonin levels may influence mood in a way that leads to depression. Possible problems include low brain cell
production of serotonin, a lack of receptor sites able to receive the serotonin
that is made, inability of serotonin to reach the receptor sites, or a shortage
in tryptophan, the chemical from
which serotonin is made. If any of these biochemical glitches occur,
researchers believe it can lead to depression, as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, panic, and even excess anger.
One theory about how depression develops centers on
the regeneration of brain cells -- a process that some believe is mediated by
serotonin, and ongoing throughout our lives. According to Princeton
neuroscientist Barry Jacobs, PhD, depression may occur when there is a
suppression of new brain cells and that stress is the most important
precipitator of depression. He believes that common antidepressant medications
known as SSRIs, such as Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft, which are
designed to boost serotonin levels, help kick off the production of new brain
cells, which in turn allows the depression to lift. (Changing your Natural food
intake can also help, trying Natural foods first is always the best way to
Although it is widely
believed that a serotonin deficiency plays a role in depression, there is no way to measure its levels in the living
brain. Therefore, there have not been any studies proving that brain levels
of this or any neurotransmitter are in short supply when depression or any
mental illness develops. Blood levels of serotonin are measurable -- and have
been shown to be lower in people who suffer from depression – but researchers
don't know if blood levels reflect the brain's level of serotonin.
Also, researchers don't
know whether the dip in serotonin causes the depression, or the depression
causes serotonin levels to drop.
Although it is widely
believed that a serotonin deficiency plays a role in depression, there is no
way to measure its levels in the living brain. The
that work on serotonin levels -- SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) -- are
believed to reduce symptoms of depression, but exactly how they work is not yet