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What is depression?

Depression is a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity. Common are feelings of sadness, despair, anxiety, emptiness, hopelessness, helplessness, loss of energy, and difficulty dealing with normal daily life.

Related Chemicals

Create Neurotransmitters With Food
by A. Saul

Those of us that have experienced the depths of clinical depression know just how awful it really is. com. And no wonder. If we are what we eat, then our nerves also depend on what they are fed. When you are in the bag, it is hard to think out of the bag. But there is a way out. Rather than give a synthetic drug to block or mimic the body's chemical nerve messengers (neurotransmitters), it is possible nutritionally to encourage the body to make its own natural ones. Here is tremendous potential for the alleviation of depression and related disorders. Depression is the most frequently searched-for topic.

Physicians giving large doses of vitamin C have had striking success in reversing depression. A depletion of the neurotransmitter called norepinephrine may result in poor memory, loss of alertness, and clinical depression. Since one's dietary supply of the first ingredient, L-phenylalanine, is usually adequate, it is more likely to be a shortage of vitamin C that limits production of norepinephrine. This process looks complex but actually is readily accomplished, particularly if the body has plenty of vitamin C. The chain of chemical events in the body resulting in this substance can be replicated by food intake. It is a remarkably safe and inexpensive approach to try. You can make your own norepinephrine.

You can make your own acetylcholine. Choline is available in the diet as phosphatidyl choline, found in lecithin. Also, they are not bad if stirred into yogurt. " Your body will make its own acetylcholine from choline. It is easier to take if you first coat the spoon with milk or molasses. Probably the best way to get a lot of lecithin easily is to take lecithin GRANULES. Stir the granules quickly into juice or milk. Studies at MIT show increases in both choline and acetylcholine in the brains of animals after just one lecithin meal! Supplemental choline has even shown promise in treating Alzheimer's Disease. 5 grams) of lecithin granules contains about 1700 mg of phosphatidyl choline, 1000 mg of phosphatidyl inositol, and about 2,200 mg of essential fatty acids as linoleic acid. Long-term use of this amount is favorably mentioned.

They won't dissolve, but rather will drift about as you drink. It is the rule, not the exception, for one or more of these valuable substances to be undersupplied by our daily diet. Generally, maximum benefit is obtained when you eat the yolk lightly cooked (such as in a soft-boiled egg). Lecithin is found in egg yolks and most soy products. Lecithin tastes crummy. An alternate non-soy source is egg yolk. Three tablespoons daily of soya lecithin granules provide about five grams (5,000 milligrams) of phosphatidyl choline. This means that, among other things, it facilitates good digestion, deeper breathing, and slower heart rate. Much less costly is liquid lecithin. A taste for liquid lecithin has to be acquired, shall we say. Beef and sheep brains are also an excellent source of lecithin, but don't expect me to recommend them. In fact, your brain by dry weight is almost one-third lecithin! How far can we go with this idea of simply feeding the brain what it is made up of? In Geriatrics, July 1979, lecithin is considered as a therapy to combat memory loss. In order to get even one tablespoon of lecithin, you would have to take eight to twelve capsules! Since a normal supplemental dose is three or more tablespoons daily, that's a lot of capsules to swallow. You may perceive its effect as "relaxation. How good? Each tablespoon (7. How crummy? Well, the lecithin that is available in capsules is the most popular.

Lecithin is good for you. If you put lecithin granules on hot food, they will melt and you will then have liquid lecithin. By the way, the correct pronunciation of LECITHIN is "LESS-A-THIN. If that "brains" comment a while back is still bothering you, please bear in mind that all supplemental forms of lecithin are made from soy beans. Acetylcholine is the end neurotransmitter of your parasympathetic nerve system. This is easy to remember because you are probably less-a-thin than you used-to-a-be. It also contains the valuable fish-oil-like, omega-3 linolenic acid. Lecithin supplementation has no known harmful effects whatsoever. Lecithin granules can also be used as a topping on any cold food. These are sold at health food stores and are admittedly convenient, but are also expensive. Ice cream comes to mind. After taking liquid lecithin, it is wise to have a "chaser" of any dairy product or, again, molasses.

Cover your ears, animal friends, for I am also about to condone eating the occasional dead bird. But to be able to look your parakeet in the eye after the fourth Thursday in November, you can stay vegetarian and still get tanked up on tryptophan. You can make your own serotonin as well. Some skeptics think that the pharmaceutical people already know, and that is why the FDA is keeping tryptophan supplements off the market. Poultry, especially the dark meat, is a rich (yet very cheap) source of tryptophan. You can do the same thing naturally through diet. This is such a profound effect that Prozac, Paxil, and similar antidepressants artificially keep the body's own serotonin levels high. So cheese and crackers provides a better effect than the cheese standing alone. In order to cross the blood-brain barrier and get in, carbs are required. Even more important, tryptophan is also made into serotonin, one of your body's most important neurotransmitters. Inside you, tryptophan is broken down into anxiety-reducing, snooze-inducing niacin. Consider that five servings of beans, a few portions of cheese or peanut butter, or several handfuls of cashews provide 1,000-2,000 mg of tryptophan, which will work as well as prescription antidepressants--but don't tell the drug companies. Add potatoes or stuffing, and you have the reason everybody is sprawled out and snoring up a storm after a typical Thanksgiving food orgy. And no one can tell us that beans, peas, cheese, nuts, sunflower seeds, and good ol' wheat germ are toxic if you eat a lot of them! Plenty of carbohydrates in your meals helps tryptophan get to where it does the most good: your brain. Before the FDA removed all tryptophan supplements from the market due to a temporary, and now corrected, industrial manufacturing error, millions of people had safely taken regular suppertime doses of this amino acid, usually 500-2,000 mg, to help them sleep. Serotonin is responsible for feelings of well-being and mellowness.

Remember that tryptophan is one of the ten essential amino acids you need to stay alive. 5-HTP is quite costly, however. You can legally buy L-5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), a nonprescription tryptophan derivative, at health foods stores. It is by law added to liquid feedings for the elderly and all infant formulas. So go, eat, and be happy! Foods High in the Amino Acid L-Tryptophan. The good news is that plenty of inexpensive vitamin C enables your body to convert dietary tryptophan into your own 5-HTP, and then on into serotonin. Yet tryptophan supplements remain illegal.

The amount of B-6 needed for clinical effectiveness in, say, rabbits is the human dose equivalent of 75 mg daily. B-6 deficiency is very common in Americans, and that "deficiency" is measured against an already ridiculously low US RDA of only two milligrams. Ample amounts of B-complex vitamins, especially B-6 (pyridoxine) must be present for for your body's normal, depression-fighting chemical reactions to occur. That is over 35 times more than the RDA!

Some side effects have been reported as low as 500 mg daily, but these are very rare indeed. Therapeutic doses between 100 and 500 milligrams daily are commonly prescribed by physicians for PMS relief. It usually takes between 2,000 and 5,000 mg daily for symptoms of numbness or tingling in the extremities. Really enormous doses of B-6 taken alone have produced temporary neurological side effects. A daily total of a few hundred milligrams of individual B-6, especially if taken in addition to the entire B-complex to ensure balance, is very safe.

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