Depression: the Global Pandemic
The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that by the year 2030, more people will be affected by depression than any other health problem. WHO also ranks depression as the leading cause of disability worldwide, with around 120 million people now affected across the world’s societies. This estimate may well be very conservative.
Depression and Malnutrition
Depression and anxiety are directly linked to nutrient deficiencies. The brain requires minerals, trace minerals and vitamins in order to manufacture neurotransmitters, molecules which carry messages from one part of the brain to another, and from the brain down into the body. Serotonin is the key neurotransmitter most closely associated with depression. When we do not produce enough serotonin, our mood will alter towards depression. And about 90% of serotonin begins with receptors in our gut. So if the gut is unhealthy or inflamed, our brain will not be properly supplied, an oir mod may be dark.
Vitamins B, C and D are all helpful in treating mood disorders, but in different ways:
Serotonin is made out of B vitamins. B vitamins are used up by stress, or poor metabolism. Many of us require supplementation with B complex, including methyl-cobalamin a whuch is a methylated form of B12. We also need different several different forms of folic acid if we are to assimilate the B12 effectively.
Hypovitaminosis C means too little vitamin C in the body. A recent study at McGill University in Canada found that when acutely hospitalized patients were given Vitamin C, over a third of them showed a marked improvement in mood. How is this? Vitamin C concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid may drop too low, adversely affecting brain function and mood. Vitamin C is used up by the body when fighting infections or inflammations. So when we are not physically healthy, whatever internal reserves we have are quickly used up. Also, Vitamin C needs to be replenished, ideally every 3-4 hours, as the body cannot store it for longer than this. When we have illness, injury or a subclinical problem that has not been diagnosed, our bodies will re-direct supplies of Vitamin C away from the brain into immune cells. Most people today do in fact suffer from subclinical infection and inflammation. This deficient supply to the brain could then trigger mood imbalances. Supplementing with high dose Vitamin C can correct this.
Low blood levels of Vitamin D mean increased risk of depression for people over the age of 65. The risks are worse for women than for men, suggesting that women in fact need higher tissue levels of this vitamin than men do. People over the age of 65 also have aging skin receptors, so that it is harder for them to absorb Vitamin D from sunlight. (It is the UV-B type of sunlight that triggers our skin receptors to produce vitamin D.) Researchers from the US National Institute on Aging have been looking at the causal pathway between depression and Vitamin D deficiency. In 2008, Dutch scientists performed similar studies. They found that low levels of D and higher blood levels of the parathyroid hormone (PTH) were associated with higher rates of depression among 1,282 community residents aged between 65 and 95. We already know that Vitamin D directly affects proteins in the brain associated with memory, cognition, learning, motor control and social behavior. The US Institute study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism now suggests that low Vitamin D levels will pose mood disorder problems for seniors, and in particular, women over the age of 65.
Supplementing Your System Against Depression
Where can we find appropriate help to safeguard against these vitamin deficiencies and therefore correct, or avoid depression?
1) A Vitamin B- complex is advisable. In addition, methylated B12 should be taken along with folic acid to assist assimilation.
2) Vitamin C is more than ascorbic acid. When dietary intake is not sufficient, an excellent source is the Ayurvedic medicinal fruit Amla, which is extremely high in Vitamin C along with co-factors. Ribose activated Vitamin C has also been developed as a powder with no adverse effects on the stomach or bowel. When taken this way, the C will also draw poisons out of the body.
3) Vitamin D should be supplemented as cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3.) The typical daily intake should be around 5000IU. However, testing should be performed to evaluate blood levels of this vitamin, These levels ought to be between 50-70 ng/ml.