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Sticky: Nutritional Support
11 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2007 - 6:29PM #1
Posts: 2,712
Because appropriate attention one’s nutritional intake is essential
to a healthy sense of well-being and our mental state,
and for the purpose of exploring and examining nutritional support issues relative to depression,
this thread is a consolidation of nutritional information for easy future reference.
Before I start, however, I need to remind you
that I am not a professional health care worker,
just a wise consumer.
Everything I will share here is a matter of public documentation available to all wise consumers.

Also, while vitamins/minerals are supplemental
(as in, they are “in addition to” not a “replacement for” treatment),
IME nutritional supplements can contribute a whole lot of valuable and significant support
to any healing process, physical or mental.

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11 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2007 - 6:33PM #2
Posts: 2,712
Here was my own eye-opener with regards to nutrition and mental health:
an introduction to a chapter on the B-vitamin complex that I read in a nursing textbook on nutrition
opened with an anecdote about how in the early 1900's, newly learned attention to nutrition
actually changed the course of one hospital for its mentally ill patients.

This facility was cutting edge for its time, and they’d made news by adding a nutritionist to their staff.
In addition to increasing nutritional standards in the kitchen,
she promptly put all the patients on the same daily vitamin regimen.
Little by little the patients began to get better and to go home until ultimately,
the hospital closed entirely because so many patients had gone home.

What was her “miracle drug?”

Vitamin B complex.

No kidding.

In The Complete Book of Vitamins (Rodale Press, 1977), there’s a handy chart titled “Vitamins at a Glance”
which lists the separate components of the B-complex.
One column heading is “Preventive and/or Therapeutic Applications.”
In other words, what a vitamin can heal/cure/support.
Often times this column also indicates what the lack of a vitamin can cause.

Quoting from under that heading for B-complex vitamins and components,
here is a partial list of just the mind-related conditions that B-complex deals with:
“stress-induced diseases, emotional stability, nervous disorders, fatigue, personality disturbances, dementia, stress, weakness, irritability, mental fatigue, insomnia, schizophrenia, depression, and mental illness.”
Please note that nervous disorders, depression, insomnia, and mental illness
are mentioned in a number of the vitamin’s components.

Read on to find out how and why our new nutritionist was able to close down that hospital ...


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11 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2007 - 6:43PM #3
Posts: 2,712

Among other things, B-complex is a mind-vitamin.
Its affects contribute profoundly to our sense of well-being.

Again paraphrasing and quoting The Complete Book of Vitamins (Rodale):

…in trying to determine B-complex deficiency], “R. Glen Green, M.D. …
recommended that physicians ask [the patient specific] questions …
regarding, not physical, but perceptual changes involving the five senses.”
According to Dr. Green, the most pertinent questions are:

1. Does your face seem to change when you look in a mirror?
2. Do words move when you try to read?
3. Does the ground move when you walk?
4. Do you feel you walk on the ground or off the ground?
5. Do pictures move when you look at them?
    [not that the pictures fly around, but that the image
      in the photo doesn’t actually seem to be still]
6. Do you hear someone calling your name when you are alone?

”When a patient experiences some or all of these things – even sometimes –
then Dr. Green administers another test which “reveals perceptual difficulties
in sight, hearing, taste, smell and attitudes.”
The test, the Hoffer-Osmond Diagnostic (HOD), is initially intended
as a psychiatric means of diagnosing schizophrenia –
but “Dr. Green …adapted it to his medical practice and discovered
” that the test also indicated vitamin B-complex deficiency.”

Now certainly I’m not suggesting that B-complex can cure schizophrenia.
Further, a person can be deficient in B-complex and not be schizophrenic.

But what is significant is that a simple vitamin has been linked
by clinical research to a mental illness as serious as schizophrenia.
For me, that was enough. I gave it a try and got very unexpected results.

If you're interested in trying nutritional support for yourself, read on.


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11 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2007 - 7:01PM #4
Posts: 2,712

Before giving the nutritional support of vitamin B-complex a try,
there are a couple things to know
about the “care and feeding” of this valuable supplement..

1. It’s very fragile and easily destroyed by excessive cooking, heat, or sunshine.

2. Stress also destroys B-complex, as does caffeine and smoking.

3. Among other foods like eggs, liver, brewer’s yeast, etc., B-complex is found in green leafy vegetables.

4. B-complex is a water soluble vitamin, meaning that it’s difficult to overdose,
because the body doesn’t store what it can’t use.
Instead it’s excreted through urine, which will turn a bit green. That’s okay.
This colour change helps keep track of your body's needs.
When the tinge is greenish, it means you’re getting enough vitamin B complex,
and excreting the excess.

Remember, because it can’t be stored by the body, Vitamin B-complex needs to be replenished daily.

5. For maximum benefit, vitamin B-complex should be taken with vitamin C to work efficiently.
Because vitamin C is ascorbic acid, it breaks down the B-complex for easier use by the body.
Vitamin C is also water soluble. You pee what you don’t use.
Vitamin C gives a distinct yellowish hue to urine. Together with B-complex’s greenish tendency,
it’s easy to keep tabs on intake by colour. And keep watch.
On the day you realize you have a healthy sense of well-being, that you feel safe, peaceful, content,
make note of your pee colour because it’s telling you whatever doseage you are taking,
is your maintenance level – what you need daily to enjoy a healthy sense of well being.

6. It’s advisable to take B-complex with meals, or at least with milk.
While many can tolerate it on an empty stomach with water,
some need food or milk to avoid nausea.
Nausea can also indicate a need to increase the amount of vitamin C taken.

7. Although the components of vitamin B-complex can be purchased separately,
they need to be balanced and in ratio with each other.
It's best to start by purchasing a complete complex and build (supplement) if necessary from there.
(For example, my body requires a higher dose of pyroxidine, or B6, than is usually present
in most purchased B-complexes, so I supplement).

8. If you already take a multivitamin, or if you’re looking to begin taking a multivitamin,
a good rule of thumb is to check how much B-complex the multi-vitamin contains,
and if the B-complex is even complete.
A lot of national brands aren’t complete, and if a multi-vitamin isn't complete,
it won’t work, meaning, you’re wasting your money.
So do check labels.

Still with me?
Read on to figure out how much your body needs for optimum benefits.


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11 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2007 - 7:14PM #5
Posts: 2,712

Because our bodies each require something so completely unique,
I can’t suggest any across the chart doseages.
A huge amount of one vitamin for me might actually make you really sick
(especially with the non-water soluble vitamins like A or E – so be cautious with those).

The RDA, or Recommended Daily Allowance, is the government issued guidelines
on how many vitamins the body needs to perform properly.
While the RDA doesn’t take into consideration environmental factors,
such as stress or pollution,
or personal factors like lifestyle, age, weight,
the RDA does offer a conservative place to start, if you want to explore vitamins.

On my personal journey, well, being an impatient person, I wanted results fast,
so I opted to follow the advice of a book called The Doctor’s Book of Vitamin Therapy,
written by Dr. Harold Rosenberg, past president of the International Academy
of Preventive Medicine.
From a formula based on lifestyle, age, sex, and weight, etc., he suggests for instance,
that a female aged 36-60, normal weight, could probably use 200-600 mg of B6, or pryoxidine.
By comparison, the RDA suggests that the same woman needs only 2 mg.,
unless she’s pregnant or lactacting, when she requires 2.5!
As you can see, that’s quite a discrepancy.

Using my own health issues as a guide, I suspected I needed a bit more of the complex.
Since B-complex is a water soluble vitamin and easily excreted
(with the above-mentioned colour coding, so keep track!),
I figured I’d know soon enough if doubling the RDA would be safe or too much.
Well, the joke was on me because it took me a number of days,
increasing the doseage slowly, to discover that I actually require 250mg
as Dr. Rosenberg suggests.
Use the colour-coding process *smiles* to figure out what amount is right for your needs.
Just start slowly ...
A word to the wise: when you begin taking any vitamins, give your body time to adjust.
Don’t expect an overnight miracle.

Think of it this way: your body is like your car.
If you’re vitamin deficient, and have been for awhile,
then your car’s been running on empty for some time ...
Your car's gas tank is not only rusted out, there are daisies growing from it!! *lol*

Give your body the time to repair itself first,
before expecting it to even begin to replace depleted vitamins –
all in all, I’d expect to feel a change for the better within two weeks to one month,
sometimes sooner.

Next: how to buy vitamins

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11 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2007 - 7:23PM #6
Posts: 2,712

The key to a good multi-vitamin is a good B-complex (minimun: 50 mg.) 
For that reason, I can't urge you enough (and I probably will often) to check the one you're using. 
If the B-complex isn't complete - 
or if the amounts of it are ridiculously low (and believe me, some will make you laugh) -
then you're seriously wasting your money. 
But more imporantly, you won't see the benefits you're looking for.

Following is the list of B-complex components. 
The main components make up first group. 
The second group is made up of the trace elements of B-complex. They're equally as important. 
(AIUI, B-complex has trace elements so small that they haven't been measured.)

B1 - Thiamine
B2 - Riboflavin
B3 - Niacin
B6 - Pyridoxine
B12 - 

Folic Acid (sometimes called B9)
Biotin (sometimes called B5)
Pantothentic Acid
PABA (para-amino-benzoic-acid)

Anyway, you could cut, paste, and print that for your wallet, to have a reference when you're shopping. 
Or as a Beliefnet member pointed out, there are 11 components total – 
if you’re buying a B-complex formula, rather than a multi-vitamin, 
just count the ingredients to make sure there’s 11.

Here’s  a link to a resource page on B-complex on a site called “How It Works." scroll down slightly

As it's explained, each component of the complex is a world of healing unto itself - but only within the complex. 

One more thing, when you hear people say that we get enough vitamins from our food:
you tell them, that's a myth, 
and it comes from a perfect world where life is good and everything's beautiful. 

In this world, the body lives in dangerous times. 
Environmental pollutions attack from the outside, 
toxins attack from the inside, 
even our food is under attack with pollution like food preservatives and pesticides.

IME, I'm not altogether convinced that drugs are the complete answer in addressing mental health issues.
I suspect that vitamins would pick up quite a bit of the load 
if the medical community as a whole would quit dragging its feet on nutritional issues. 

IMO, before drugs and even with drugs, let's try vitamins ... 
Certainly, as quidelines, there's safety in following the vitamin/mineral amounts 
that Dr. Rosenberg's book (see above) suggests. 

*pauses thoughtfully*

Well, but then again, maybe there's a way we could meet our daily vitamins requirements from food alone - 
if we all wanted to be as big as houses! 


Next: What's a natural vitamin?

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11 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2007 - 7:37PM #7
Posts: 2,712

I am frequently asked if there’s a difference between natural and non-natural, or synthetic, nutritional supplements.

Here’s my understanding – 
Natural is derived from food.
Synthetic is made in labs.

Is there a difference?
Yep. I think so.

My Native American teacher explained it this way:
In a photo using Kirlian Photography
there seems to be an "aura" around the natural vitamin.
The synthetic product shows no aura.

According to my teacher, this "aura" indicates that Spirit inhabits the natural product.
He believes that, because the synthetic product shows no aura, “It is dead.”
And then he always asks, “How can health be restored from death?”

So, to my way of thinking, anyway, the synthetic product isn't on my list of options. 

How do you find natural products?

Go to a reputable health food store.

Occassionally a department store like Walmart or K-mart will sell “natural” vitamins – 
But you can’t always be sure of just because the label may say so.

At a health food store, you can be sure.


Next: Vitamin C Information


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11 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2007 - 7:50PM #8
Posts: 2,712

Okay, so you've decided to give vitamins a try.
Good for you!!

Now, you get to choose further – multi-vitamin or B-complex with supplementation?
pill, capsule, or liquid?
The truth is, it's really your preference.
If you opt for a multivitamin, make sure you’re getting one
with a complete B-complex of at least 50mg. to start.
If you opt to start with a B-complex, and if you don't get the desired results,
Dr. Rosenberg, author of The Doctor's Book of Vitamin Therapy (New York 1974) suggests
increasing the amount up to, on the average, 200-300 mg for a formula B-complex
[depends specifically on wt, gender, age, lifestyle - see above].

Any form - tablet, pill, liquid - is effective,
so long as it is accompanied by vitamin C for easiest assimilation.
With vitamin C, I target an intake of 2000-5000mg. daily.
Chewables are handy, but hard on tooth enamel for regular use.
Powder is an option if you do a daily health drink like a smoothie, say.
I use a product called EmerGen-C put out by Alacer Corp.
It comes in a ton of flavours in little packets that make a fizzy drink –
the “fizziness” is part of its nutritional delivery system, but I don’t remember the details;
they’re explained in the pamphlet that comes inside the package.

Again, I'm not a healthcare professional
But I am a fierce believer in the power of being a wise consumer,
and I am simply sharing public information.


Next: Questions we didn't cover

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11 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2007 - 11:43PM #9
Posts: 2,712
Q: What is 5HTP? I’ve heard that it can help with depression.
'5 HTP, an amino acid, is a seratonin precursor.
Studies and clinical testing have shown that this over the counter supplement
to effectively treat depression, among other conditions.
For more information on 5HTP, click here

Q: I don't eat any veggies. I eat a lot of meats, and sugars, and starches. Is that bad?
A: While meat is okay (do be careful about too much red meat),
sugars and starches are nutritional demons.
Refined sugars are the worst,
and starches (a/k/a carbohydrates) are categorized into good and bad -
both groups provide energy,
but good carbohydrates (whole grains, sweet potatoes as opposed to white, etc.)
provide the body with long-lasting energy and maintain even blood sugar levels.

To understand carbohydrates, consult the “Glycemic Index.”
Click here  to get to info on how it works.
Each food has a glycemic number depending on how fast it is digested.
The lower the number, the better the carbohydrate is.
Also click here  then scroll down to get to a general list of foods on the glycemic index.

Vegetables (and fruits) are extremely important.
In addition to providing fiber to keep the system clean and toxin-free,
they also fight diseases like cancer, etc.
A juice, like V-8, makes vegetable intake less painful.
Get it salt free though and salt to taste if you must,
but if you can drink it totally unsalted, so much the better.

Fruits give a sugar boost without messing with the blood sugars
which in turn contributes to depression, low energy, weight gain, etc.
Unlike vegetable juices, however, fruit juices have a lot of sugar,
so opt for fresh fruit, or unsweetened canned fruit (although fiber content is compromised somewhat)
or even frozen fruit (like berries, etc.)
Dried fruits are good too, but cause dehydradration, so increase water intake –
plus avoid overeating dried fruits.

Q: Is it okay to eat just when I feel like it rather than on a schedule?
A: This works for some, but typically can cause problems
like weight gain, low energy, blood sugar problems, etc.
The body is like a vehicle, in that it’s important to keep it fueled.
A car can’t drive without gas, yet many people start their day without breakfast.
The body does best on a 3-meal schedule with about 4 hours between meals,
or 6 smaller meals with 3 hours in between.
Try both to see which your body responds best to…
the important thing is to keep the body evenly fueled.

Q: What are the best vitamins for me to take? Also do they have any side effects?
A: The best is a good multi-vitamin with minerals.
Typically, department or grocery store vitamins are not very good,
so if your budget allows,
purchase vitamins/minerals at a health food store.
In addition, if the multi-vitamin doesn’t lessen your depression,
supplement it with extra vitamin B complex.
To avoid side effects (usually nausea), take any vitamins/minerals with vitamin C –
it helps the body to assimilate the vitamins.
If nausea still occurs, take with a meal, or sometimes just with milk helps as well.

Q: And what's the easiest way to change my diet around,
without putting myself in major stress?
Actually, if present dietary habits are poor,
they create more stress than changing to healthier ones will cause.
Just go slowly. Don’t make a bunch of changes at once.
Change one thing at a time, and watch a few days for any reaction.
If none occur, then add another change and continue thusly.

Q: What do you do if you don't have enough money to buy good food
and cannot get food stamps?
A: Check with local churches and/or food banks –
Plus you can click here to get to a site called “America’s Second Harvest”
whose mission is to hook up struggling families with local food banks.
And click here  to get to another non-profit, non-denominational food relief organization.

Q: I find it difficult to take pills and capsules. Is there an easier way
to supplement my vitamins and minerals intake?
A: You’re in luck!
There’s a product called “Alive,”
a multi-vitamin powder to mix with milk/juice/water -
for an ultra-shake /smoothie beverage
or an effervescent (soda-like) beverage.
Typically (and IMO) such products offer little by way of vitamins/minerals,
and they taste disgusting usually --
but this is by far the best and most complete product
quality-wise and taste-wise,
that I've ever come across ...
a virtual multi-vitamin (and a whole lot more) in a shake-like drink ... wow!
Here are a couple links to investigate further,
to check out the nutritional info,
or even to purchase it,
(although it is available at places like Whole Foods, the online price is better) ...
Click here to get to the effervescent version.
And click here
they also offer an apple cinnamon flavour,
but vanilla blends nicely with other flavours (like chocolate or orange juice ...yum!)

Now there's no excuse not to take your vitamins!!

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9 years ago  ::  Jun 22, 2009 - 3:22PM #10
Posts: 557

Hello there,

I do believe there is something constructive to taking the B vitamins, especially B6.  When I am feeling "sluggish" I take it.  Perhaps, taking them on a regular basis would be a better thing.  Also, Magnesium seems to work wonders for me as well.  I discussed this with my cardiologist, and he says it has something to do with electrolites in the body.  Anyway, it brings about a calming effect for me.  I would not take a trip without it.Cool

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