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Are vitamins helpful?
According to a report on Adelaide Channel 9, vitamins do nothing, are a waste of money, and some herbal supplements cause liver damage. As usual, Channel 9 neglected to get the real story, did not read the thousands of studies proving the benefits of vitamins, or allow the alternative health industry to respond. Just one example: Vitamin D3 at a healthy dose of 5000 IU (5 times the normal dose) can reduce risk of cancer between 50% and 90% and high-dose vitamin C can also help significantly. If a drug company developed a drug to perform as well, they would charge a fortune and want a Nobel Prize for inventing it!
LeanMachine has not had a cold or flu or even a headache since adopting a Paleo-style diet and a host of vitamin and mineral supplements in the year 2010 at age 63. Now at age 70, LeanMachine is healthier, stronger with more energy than at any time in his life, all allergies gone and never gets sick!
Back to Channel 9 and liver damage - they neglected to mention that most people on the liver transplant waiting list are there because of Paracetamol overdose, and many cancer patients suffer because of Paracetamol, causing destruction of natural L-Glutathione (the "Master Antioxidant"), our main defense mechanism against cancer and most other diseases. Obviously another fake story by Big Pharma to retain their profits and keep people sick, and shame on Channel 9 to be a part of this!
Almost every one of our 60 to 100 trillion body cells has Vitamin D3 receptors, and D3 is essential for mineral absorption, bone building, and disease prevention.
One year supply at 5x normal strength, only AU$17. Vitamin D3 article.

Antidepressants - Do they help?

If we go to a doctor when we feel upset, depressed, blue, or anxious, chances are we will be given a prescription for antidepressants.
Australians are the second highest users of antidepressants per capita in the world, only behind the USA!
More and more patients are demanding antidepressants from their doctors, who seem happy to oblige, contributing to the rate doubling in the last decade.
Women are nearly three times more likely to use antidepressants as men, and women in their 40's and 50's are the highest group.
11% of Americans over the age of 12 take antidepressant medication, even though overwhelming evidence proves that antidepressants are no more effective than placebos. A 2014 study on antidepressants and the placebo effect noted:
"Antidepressants are supposed to work by fixing a chemical imbalance, specifically, a lack of serotonin in the brain. Indeed, their supposed effectiveness is the primary evidence for the chemical imbalance theory. But analyses of the published data and the unpublished data that were hidden by drug companies reveals that most (if not all) of the benefits are due to the placebo effect ... Even the small statistical difference between antidepressants and placebos may be an enhanced placebo effect, due to the fact that most patients and doctors in clinical trials successfully break blind."

The Main Brain Chemicals

The brain must have the chemicals below to function normally, and they must be in balance. This occurs naturally in a healthy body with a diet that includes all amino acida, vitamins, minerals, and free of toxic substances.
Unfortunately, the medical establishment focuses on serotonin only, a big mistake.

Serotonin Theory Proven Wrong

Research published back in 2009 proved that the low serotonin idea was wrong. Depression was found to begin further up in the chain of events in the brain, meaning that antidepressants were focusing on the symptoms instead of the cause.
Recent research into the mechanisms leading to anxiety and social phobias has again proven SSRI treatment incorrect. The research shows that mental health problems are linked to high serotonin levels in the amygdala and NOT low levels. The amygdala is the primitive emotions part of the brain, related to fear, and more serotonin in the amygdala means more anxiety and fear.
This is why many depressed people feel more anxious, fearful or paranoid after taking a serotonin-boosting antidepressant (SSRI).
Noted in the research:
"The serotonin theory is as close as any theory in the history of science to having been proved wrong. Instead of curing depression, popular antidepressants may induce a biological vulnerability making people more likely to become depressed in the future."

Why are antidepressants dangerous?

Cancer, depression, suicide, violence, heart failure - I will discuss each in turn.

Cancer

We cannot prove that they actually cause cancer, but studies show that Citalopram, the drug most commonly prescribed, increases cancer risk by 70%.
Stronger anti-psycotic drugs increase cancer risk by up to 90%.
ALL antidepressants increase risk of cancer.
Who wants to get cancer? That is really something to get depressed about!

Depression

All SSRI drugs have the "funniest" side-effect of all - DEPRESSION! - the very thing they are supposed to treat!
All antidepressants carry a warning of the side effect of depression.

Thoughts of Suicide, Violence and Murder

Most anti-depressants INCREASE risk of suicide, violence, murder and deadly thoughts.
In almost every case in the USA of mass murder shootings in schools and other public places, the offender had been taking antidepressants!
Champix is a drug to help people quit smoking, but also increases risk of suicidal thoughts and actual suicide. It is unknown what happens when Champix and antidepressants are combined. If the drug companies have conducted studies, they are keeping this one very quiet...
Unfortunately, the increased risk of suicidal thoughts is most prevalent in younger patients.
Citralopram carries a suicide warning in the USA, but not in Australia. Why is this so? In Australia, lobbying by the big drug companies is more effective in bringing about increased sales with fewer warnings about the dangers. Makes one wonder just who is getting rewarded for these extra profits.

SSRI drugs cause side effects such as mania and delusions of grandeur in one of every twenty-five children taking the drugs. This is now on the Luvox warning label (Physicians’ Desk Reference).
Prozac's manufacturer (Eli Lilly), knew it caused violence in the 1980s, but suppressed this knowledge until it was leaked a decade later to the British Medical Journal. In every murder or suicide involving women and children, 70% of the women were taking SSRI drugs. Other effects of antidepressants and SSRI drugs:
These are just a few of the thousands of acts of violence caused by antidepressants.

Heart Failure

Sudden heart failure is another side-effect of antidepressants.
The British Medical Journal states that antidepressants cause 500,000 deaths worldwide every year by provoking sudden heart failure and suicide!

Types of Antidepressant drugs

There are four main antidepressant goups:
Most people are initially prescribed one belonging to the SSRI group.

SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor)

SSRI drugs are the most commonly prescribed. They work by preventing uptake of serotonmin (a neurotransmitter) by nerve cells after it has been released. Reduced uptake results in more free serotonin in the brain to stimulate nerve cells.
Citalopram (Cipromil, Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), Lexapro and sertraline (Zoloft) are all common SSRI drugs. However, recent research has proven that imbalance of serotonin in the brain does NOT cause depression, and studies show that placebos work almost the same as the drugs, without the side-effects.
After 15 minutes from a single dose of an SSRI drug, physical changes happen in the brain: Mood swings, sexual dysfunction, hallucinations. Increased cancer risk is another problem.

Just a few of the side effects of SSRI drugs:
Often these side-effects last for months or years after drug withdral.
Not everyone gets all side effects, but just one of the above would make anyone depressed!

SNRI (Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors)

SNRI drugs are a more recent class of antidepressant, but often included in the SSRI class of drugs.
As well as altering serotonin levels, they also affect norepinephrine levels in the brain.
Side effects apprear to be fairly similar to SSRI's, but severe reactions when coming off the drug may be worse with SNRI's.

TCA (Tricyclic Antidepressant)

This group is given mostly to patients who do not respond to SSRIs.
Side effects include dry mouth, irregular heartbeat and many more.

MAOI (MAO inhibitors or Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors) and others

Because MAOIs affect brain neurotransmitters, they have many side effects, such as:
Again, MAOIs carry warnings on the label referring to suicidal thoughts and behaviour in children, adolescents, and young adults, but this can happen to anyone.
MAO inhibitors must not be taken with other antidepressants including paroxetine, fluoxetine, amitriptyline, nortriptyline, or bupropion.
Also interacts with pain medications such as methadone, tramadol, meperidine, dextromethorphan, St.Johns Wort, cyclobenzaprine, or mirtazapine.
Combinations lead to high serotonin levels, which can cause confusion, high blood pressure, tremor, hyperactivity, coma, even death.

Other risks for Seniors

In a study of 65,000 seniors taking antidepressants, risk of falls increased by 27%, fractures by 26%, strokes by 15%, hyponatremia (too little sodium in the blood) by 44 percent, epileptic seizures by 200%, dying from any cause by 66%, and suicide or self-harm by 500%.
Many of these seniors were also taking medication for heart disease or diabetes, which indicates that they are much more likely to suffer adverse effects while coping with additional drugs.

How to treat depression without Medication

Depression is an ever-increasing problem. Those most at risk include:

Exercise

Studies show that 65% of seniors completely eliminate depression with exercise.
Younger patients also showed dramatic improvement in symptoms.

Natural Antidepressants

Natural supplements have been proven as effective as prescription medications, and with no nasty side-effects.

Niacin SR (Sustained Release) or Niacin TR (Time Release) are both very beneficial for depression and anxiety. Niacin is said to be more effective than prescription medication, and also helps control cholesterol, diabetes, blood glucose and blood pressure.
Big-dose niacin often causes flushing, where the skin turns red and sometimes tingles, but this is harmless, and usually passes after 30 minutes or so. The tablets are coated to slow absorption and prevent flushing. This only indicates that the small blood vessels near the skin surface are expanding, allowing more blood to reach the extremities (and the brain). Also useful for Alcoholic depression and helping those addicted to alcohol, smoking, drugs, etc to kick the habit.
Niacin can also help repair peripheral nerve damage caused by chemotherapy or diabetes.
Note that women who take the occasional sleeping pill may be deficient in niacin, as this is a common side effect.

St. John's Wort
Proven benefits for mild to moderate symptoms, typical dose 300 mg 1 to 3 times daily of a 0.3% standardized extract.
Usually starts working in a few days, while prescription medications can take a month.
Should not be taken with any other antidepressant, especially MAO Inhibitors.
May interect with some prescription medications, so seek medical advice before taking anything else.

SAMe (s-adenosylmethionine)
SAMe is an amino acid derivative, found naturally in every cell of the body. It is involved in many biological reactions by transferring its methyl group to DNA, proteins, phospholipids and biogenic amines.
Typical dose 400 to 1200 mg daily, and should always be taken with a Vitamin-B supplement.
Several scientific studies show that SAMe may be useful in depression treatment.
B-group vitamins are great for mental health, as deficiency allows breakdown of brain nerve coverings.

Tryptophan, 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan)
The body manufactures 5-HTP from Tryptophan before it can manufacture serotonin. 5-HTP supplements can increase serotonin levels, especially if there is a 5-HTP deficiency. Studies say 5-HTP performs better than placebos to alleviate depression, however high serotonin levels can aggravate anxiety and social phobias in some patients, while others benefit from reduced anxiety.
Researchers say that 5-HTP constricts blood vessels so would increase blood pressure, but these test were carried out in a laboratory. When they tested 5-HTP on humans, they found significant lowering of blood pressure, which they could not explain.
One study found that 5-HTP combined with GABA helped insomniacs to fall asleep sooner, stay asleep longer, and improve sleep quality, probably because 5-HTP produces melatonin as well as serotonin. Also found to reduce night terrors in children. See my article on Night Terrors.
Other studies found benefits for fibromyalgia with reduced pain and reduced morning stiffness. 5-HTP has been shown to help control appetite.
Best taken with Vitamin B-6 for improved absorption, and B-group vitamins also improve nerves and mental health.

DLPA (dl-phenylalanine) are other amino acid alternatives, normally taken between meals.

Safety issues are a real problem with prescription antidepressants. Often they do not work, or sometimes have the reverse effect, and can cause greater depression or even self-harm, violence or suicide.
Everyone should first attempt to eliminate any stress or other cause of depression first.
Psychologists can be a great help in this area to identify the cause and learn how to deal with the problems.
If this does not work or the stress is difficult to eliminate, natural supplements can be tried.
These options can also help in weight loss for some people.
Prescription medication should be a last resort, and in all cases, the patient should have the support of family and friends.

The Food Connection

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish fight depression, especially the DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid). DHA also helps protect against Alzheimers and cardiovascular problems. One of the best products I have found is Krill Oil with 256mg of DHA. EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) is also important, but the body can make all of the EPA it needs from DHA (but not DHA from EPA).
Amsterdam researchers wanted to understand why about half the patients on SSRI's did not respond to the medication.
They set up a study where all subjects took 20g SSRI daily for six weeks, and not everyone responded, so they were then given a 50g dose, yet some still did not respond.
Then researchers looked at their diet, to find that non-responders ate the least fish, and had only a 23% chance of SSRI's working.
Subjects who ate fish at least once weekly had a 75% chance of SSRI's working.
They concluded that fatty acid intake is associated with significantly improved SSRI response.
Further study revealed that obtaining natural omega-3 fatty acids from the diet is more effective for depression than SSRI medication, but without the side effects.
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, so benefit brain function as well as reduce cardiovascular risk.
Steaming fish is better than cooking at high temperatures, and cold-water fish have the most omega-3.
Fish oil supplements containing Omega-3, EPA and DHA are available anywhere - just look for the ones tested for mercury.

Start recovery with the diet

The composition of gut bacteria affects our physical health and also our brain function and mental state. Dietary changes significantly impact gut bacteria, and so do many medications, especially antibiotics.
Decades ago, antibiotics were hailed as a modern miracle of medical science, but the age of antibiotics is over.
Antibiotics are fed to livestock animals, chickens, humans, pets at an alarming rate, causing antibiotic-resistant pathogens like MRSA.
Resistant bacteria, along with antibiotics, is washed down drains into rivers, lakes, reservoirs, underground water basins and oceans.
The only way we can survive in this age is to build a strong immune system, so our own body resources can defeat any invading pathogen.

We must have a diet similar to that which our ancestors thrived on. They had no pesticides, no toxic pollutants, but they ate real food. Nuts, berries, fruit, leaves, vegetables were the main staples for the 2 million years humans have inhabited the Earth. It was only around 20,000 years ago that humans managed to control fire and started to cook, destroying all of the enzymes in food. 10,000 years ago humans learnt to carry out agriculture and animal husbandry, and while this did give them grains to store when food was scarce, it started the demise of healthy eating.
For a healthy mind, we must have a healthy body.
We must eat real food, and avoid all processed foods which are loaded with sugar, grains, GMO (Genetically Modified to withstand spraying with Roundup), antibiotics, chemical pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, heavy metals, MSG, artificial sweeteners and other toxic chemicals.

Food for the Brain

Foods that are beneficial for the brain will benefit the rest of the body as well, resulting in excess weight loss, improved muscle strength, balance, coordination and hormones.

Foods that Must be Avoided

These are some of the most dangerous foods for mental health.
Avoiding these will not only improve mental health, but also protect against cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's and many more.
Eliminating these foods will improve general health and reduce risk of all disease as well as improve mental health.

Effectiveness of Drugs and Supplements

The American Journal of Psychiatry published a study where some vitamins and nutritional supplements increased the effectiveness of SSRI, SNRI and tricyclic antidepressants.
There were 40 clinical trials, and four supplements were found to boost medication effectiveness compared to medication only:
The most significant improvement was Fish oil, mainly EPA, one of the fatty acids in fish oil.
They also studied creatine, zinc, vitamin C, tryptophan (an amino acid) and folic acid but found mixed results.
Scientific American reported:
"By some estimates, two-thirds don't respond to the first antidepressant they try and a third fail to get better after several treatment attempts."
"The implications are that clinicians and the public can consider [adding] therapeutic doses of nutrients such as omega-3s as a potential low-cost approach to reducing depression in people who are non-responsive to antidepressants."

Supplements Alone may be Responsible for Effectiveness

The study authors said:
"More patients in the studies showed an improvement in mood when prescribed omega-3 fish oil, methylfolate, vitamin D and SAMe supplements in combination with antidepressant medication, compared to those who took medication only."
Missing in these studies is a comparison between supplements only, medication only, and a combination of both.
Because antidepressants have been shown no better than a placebo (or even worsen depression), patients may receive the same or better outcomes by taking supplements alone.

How do supplements work?

Supplements reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain and in the gut.
Depression is often found alongside gastrointestinal inflammation, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Chronic inflammation leads to all of the conditions above, so studies suggest "depression may be a neuropsychiatric manifestation of a chronic inflammatory syndrome" and "the primary cause of inflammation may be dysfunction of the gut-brain axis".
Many clinical studies confirm treatment of gastrointestinal inflammation with probiotics, omega-3, vitamins B and D, improve the patient by reducing inflammatory stimuli in the brain (which originate in the gut).

Omega-3, EPA, DHA

Many diets lack healthy fats, including animal-based omega-3 fats EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA and DHA are best known for cardiovascular health, but are also vital for brain health and mental health.
Fish in the diet gives good levels of omega 3, and fish oil supplements can help. However, these are not well-absorbed in the gut. Krill oil is much better absorbed, and is 200 times more resistant to oxidation (going rancid) than fish oil.
Vegans and some vegetarians can be deficient in omega-3 as well as other nutrients normally found only in animal products.

A study using 200 to 2200 mg daily of EPA in an omega-3 supplement was effective against primary depression. Omega-3 studies also show improvement in schizophrenia, psychosis, and bipolar disorder.
Omega-3 comes from wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies, or fish oil or preferably Krill oil.

Vitamin D deficiency leads to Depression

The body has Vitamin D receptors in almost every one of the 60 to 100 trillion cells, including brain tissue very early in fetal growth. Activated vitamin D receptors increase nerve growth in the brain. Researchers conclude that optimal vitamin D levels increase brain important chemicals, and increase effectiveness of glial cells to repair damaged neurons.
The Vitamin D Council says:
"Exactly how vitamin D works in the brain isn't fully understood. One theory is that vitamin D affects the amount of chemicals called monoamines, such as serotonin, and how they work in the brain. Many anti-depressant medications work by increasing the amount of monoamines in the brain. Therefore, researchers have suggested that vitamin D may also increase the amount of monoamines, which may help treat depression."

Vitamin D studies show:

Other Supplements to reduce Depressiion

Folate and Methylation

Active Folate can make a huge difference. Two genes commonly associated with increased cancer risk are polymorphisms C677T and A1298C, which are also involved in methyltetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) production, which is a critical part of the methylation pathway required for every cell in the body, acting as a switch, turning on or off various biological activities such as detoxification, histamine tolerance, stress management, DNA and RNA protection and repair, neurotransmitter myelination (nerve protection). Disruptions of MTHFR can increase risk of cancer.
Up to 40% of the population has some polymorhism in these genes, preventing natural folate in food or supplements to convert in the body to the active form Active Folate. However, Active Folate is available as a supplement, requiring no further conversion in the body. Ordinary folate supplements cannot be converted if the patient has this MTHFR problem, so are useless.
Apart from supplementation, natural methylation pathways can be improved by detoxing, stress management, adequate sleep, reducing toxin exposure, fruits and vegetables, and natural folate sources such as dark leafy greens and lentils.

Vitamin B-12

Depression can be aggravated or even caused by deficiency in vitamin B12. Low B-12 affects around 25% of the population, worse in seniors, because natural stomach acid production declines as we age, and when stomach acid drops below a threshold, B-12 cannot be made, and only comes from animal food sources (apart from mushrooms) so is even more of a problem for vegans or vegetarians or those on a calorie restricted diet or those with Celiac disease or other intestinal problems.

Exercise Deficiency

Exercise is one of the most powerful anti-depressants at our disposal, with studies showing it outperforms drug treatment for depression, and also for anxiety disorders.
Exercise helps to control insulin levels (by burning excess blood glucose) and boosts the brain "feel good" hormones. Recently, researchers discovered how exercise helps eliminate kynurenine, a harmful protein associated with depression.

Inflammation

The link between inflammation and depression has been defined. Stress and inflammatory factors activate a process that can metabolise kynurenine. Exercise increases BDNF (brain-derived neurotropic factor) and is a powerful activator of mitochondrial biogenesis (increasing mitochondria, the "energy" in every cell of the body.

Overcoming Depression and Anxiety Without Drugs

Diet and lifestyle must be improved first to benefit any mental health problems. The body and mind are interrelated. Most people are not aware that the gut has neurons (and so does the heart) so when we have a "gut feeling" this is the way the gut thinks, and is sending messages to the brain and other organs.
The brain and the gut both play a part in mental health.

Coping strategies

What NOT to do

The worst thing to do is nothing at all.
Depression has a way of blocking the "light at the end of the tunnel", resulting in a never-ending downward spiral and a feeling of hopelessness with no way out.
I hope after reading this article, anyone depressed can now see some "light at the end of the tunnel".
There is ALWAYS a way out, and the first thing to do is "Let it go" - whatever the problem, a personal conflict, a loss of a loved one, financial dicciculty, there is ALWAYS a way out and by letting go of all that is troubling us, we can start again with a renewed prespective on life.
Diet, supplements, exercise, and talking to a professional will help most people get relief from depression.

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Disclaimer

LeanMachine is not a doctor, and everyone should consult with their own health professional before taking any product to ensure there is no conflict with existing prescription medication.
LeanMachine has been studying nutrition and health since 2011 and has completed many relevant studies including:
Open2Study, Australia - Food, Nutrition and Your Health
RMIT University, Australia - Foundations of Psychology
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia - Chemistry - Building Blocks of the World
University of Washington, USA - Energy, Diet and Weight
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA - Health Issues for Aging Populations
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA - International Nutrition
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA - Methods in Biostatistics I
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA - Methods in Biostatistics II
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA - Principles of Human Nutrition
TUFTS University, USA - Nutrition and Medicine
TUFTS University, USA - Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease I and Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease II
Technical Learning College, USA - Western Herbology, Identification, Formulas
Bath University, England - Inside Cancer
WebMD - The Link Between Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation
LeanMachine has now read thousands of studies, journals and reports related to health and nutrition and this research is ongoing.



Updated 16th January 2017, Copyright © 1999-2017 Brenton Wight and BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285