Overcoming Depression

Hugh D. Riordan, M.D.
by Hugh D. Riordan, M.D.

Depression affects about 17 to 19 million American adults each year. We take a somewhat different approach to depression at The Center.

It is possible to become depressed because of the lack of a sufficient amount of a single trace element.

Did you know every medical text book, at least up until a few years ago, indicated that one of the most common effects of inadequate vitamin C is depression? We very seldom go to a psychiatrist who measures our vitamin C level.

Many years ago, I had a lady who was a teacher and she was profoundly depressed. She had three years of psychotherapy prior to coming to The Center. She had profound fatigue and was barely able to function at all. Our testing revealed she had no detectable vitamin C, so we gave her 500 milligrams of vitamin C a day-not very much by our standards.

In a couple of weeks, she thought a miracle had occurred. No miracle had occurred. She was low on vitamin C and depression is the natural consequence of that. She had very good insurance. A psychotherapist could have seen her every week for two years and the i nsurance company would have paid the entire bill. Our bill was for two office calls and three vitamin C levels. The company would not pay because vitamin C had nothing to do with depression, according to their payment schedule. If you are depressed, vitamin C is worth considering.

In studies at two area health care centers, 30% of new admissions with a diagnosis of depression had low plasma vitamin C levels. Actually, we did this study a number of years ago and found that if you took a hundred people who are depressed without checking their level and gave them all vitamin C, 30% would get better. Statistically that would be below the placebo level. That is why it is important to separate out the 30% from the large group, so the people who are low in vitamin C will obviously respond more to the vitamin C than the people who are not.

Of course, man and woman does not live by vitamin C alone. It is possible to become depressed because of the lack of a sufficient amount of a single trace element. The following is from an audio tape of a person who had this problem:

"I was getting more depressed. I had two grand babies coming at the end of July and I didn't want to see them. That's rather odd for a grandmother. I knew I wasn't up to helping my children with their children. I knew I had to teach. We needed the income. I never got any sleep and I wasn't worrying about my students. I teach learning disabled students. I love my job. I just didn't feel up to it and I knew something was wrong.

"I tried hypnosis to no avail. I tried several psychiatrists. I responded completely opposite of what the medication I took was supposed to do. One psychiatrist knew enough to send me to The Center.

'This wasn't just a light depression. It was an inability to cope with life, inability to enjoy my family. We couldn't go out to dinner because I was allergic to so many foods.

The thing that changed my life was calling back The Center and letting them know that I wasn't feeling any better. They decided to give me double the amount of liquid zinc. Dr. Riordan told me how to take it. Instead of having it in a whole lot of water, I just had a smidgen of water. In two day's time when I had double the zinc, my husband said he had a new wife and he wasn't sure he could cope with me.

"We even brought my daughter here who is severely depressed and we know she will get help. She has some of the same nutrient needs that I have but not the need for zinc. But we are all happy about the two new grand babies. I have even been able to do better with my students."

There were several important points mentioned in that little piece. One point is to measure what's going on. If you gave zinc to 100 people who are depressed, 99 are not going to do much with that. In her case, zinc seemed to be her particular thing. It is very important to look at the individual biochemistry to see what is missing and what needs to be improved. Then you can do a great deal. She also indicated that she wasn't doing very well initially and that's why we have follow-up to seewhat'sgoingon.Herinitial zincwe knew was low and the initial amount we gave her was not sufficient to raise it to the level that she needed. Increasing her zinc was what eliminated her continued on page 3

Keep in mind that zinc is involved in at least 100 enzyme systems in the brain alone. So, it's a very important trace mineral. Certainly not the only one, but one that is worthy of consideration when brain tissue function is not optimum.

Serotonin tends to improve mood and promote relaxation. If you're going to do a study on serotonin, you need to collect the urine for 24 hours. The lab will inform you that avocados, pineapple, eggplant, plums, walnuts, and pregnancy are going to affect the serotonin level.

According to a study done in Great Britain, 80% of people with mood disorders noticed that food choices affected how they felt. The food you choose ‹ avocados, bananas, and some walnuts, should pick up your serotonin level and, thus, enhance how youfeel if you are depressed.

Sugar and alcohol are considered 'Tood stressors," according to a British study. In the same study, water, vegetables, fruit, and fish were considered "tood supporters." Actually, the researchers said water was number one for subjects wanting to improve how they felt. As we get older, one of the major problems is dehydration. When we were young, the ratio of water inside the cell to outside the cell is 1.2 to 1. There is more water inside the cell than there is outside. By the time we are 60, the ratio is 0.8 to 1. Even if you are drinking enough water, you are dehydrating all the time. So the goal is to drink sufficient water.

The incidence of depressive disorders varies throughout the world. Japan has the lowest incidence of depression as does Korea-2%. Taiwan has 3%. The USA has 7%, New Zealand has 11%, and France has 16%. It would appear that the dietary choices people make have somethingtodowithwhether or not they are depressed. Japanese and Koreans eat fish. The omega-3 fat in most fish manipulates brain chemicals in ways that boost mood. You can, of course, measure fatty acids to see what levels you have. If the brain is not working well, feed it what it needs!

Most people don't appreciate that food has something to do with how they feel. In addition to general responses to various food, adverse reactions to specific foods can lead to depression. The Center uses the cytotoxic test to detect adverse food reactions. This test is useful for people who have problems with brain fog or are not thinking well. The test is done by separating out the white cells and then mixing them with various food antigens. If the white blood cells are happy and healthy, that food is fine. If there's a kill off of white blood cells, then you have a positive cytotoxic test. Limiting cytotoxic foods can improve brain function.

Neurotransmitters are derived from amino acids, which can be measured in blood and urine. Abnormal amino acids can be corrected nutritionally which should improve neurotrans-mitter and brain function. Adequate amounts of fatty acids, which are in every cell membrane, can have a stabilizing effect on mood. The cells talk to each other through fatty acids in the membrane.

Inadequate thyroid function can lead to depression. One can measure a standard thyroid test, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), or thyroxine (T4). We measure triiodothyronine (T3), which is the active hormone that gets into the cell.

Hormonal changes, such as low testosterone, have been shown to affect depression. The same thing is true with female hormonal imbalances.

Short term depression in response to unpleasant life events is normal and does not necessarily need an anti depressant. In our culture right now there is the notion that one should never feel depressed about anything. When certain things happen, you ought to feel depressed. If it is a short term thing, it usually doesn't need treatment.

People who are depressed have been shown to breathe less deeply than people who are not depressed. You can de-stress by deep breathing. Take five deep breaths and hold each for six seconds. Do this four times a day. This decreases tension. You have two sides of the nervous system, the central nervous system and the autonomic nervous system. All day long we are tensing up with whatever is going on and the autonomic nervous system tenses, too. It is like tightening a ratchet. When you take five deep breaths, it is like releasing the ratchet.

Exercise had been shown to be useful in eliminating depression. There are studies at the University of Wisconsin that show that getting people who are depressed to run in groups reduces the depression in about 85% of the people.

A psychologist said that we are all hit by the same hammer, so he made an interesting observation: "A person made three dolls‹one of porcelain, one of plastic, one of steel. If you hit all three with a hammer, the porcelain would smash into pieces, the plastic one would be dented, and the steel doll would give off a musical note." So, it is not the hammer but how you are made that makes a difference.

Eat well, drink water, and check your nutrient levels and you will be like the doll made of steel.

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