WHILE OVER 10% OF AMERICANS ARE TAKING ANTI-DEPRESSANTS, NEW STUDY SHOWS THAT MORE THAN 1 IN 3 ARE TAKING MEDS THAT CAUSE DEPRESSIONRead Now
NEW STUDY SHOWS THAT PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS ARE HUGE CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO DEPRESSION EPIDEMIC
If you've been following my site for any length of time, you are aware of the phenomenon of INVISIBLE & ABANDONED STUDIES. This is where researchers, who are generally in one way or another working for BIG PHARMA, see that their study is not turning out the way they had hoped, so they end the study prematurely or complete it but don't publish the results. Either way, the conclusions are buried and the public never learns the truth about the dangers of various drugs and procedures (HERE). That way the status quo can continue, with Americans consuming 75% of the world's meds even though we are less than 5% of the world's population (HERE). Nowhere can we see a clearer example of this than with antidepressants.
Start reading my numerous posts on DEPRESSION & AND THE DRUGS USED TO TREAT IT and you'll eventually learn about the RIAT ACT (Reversing Invisible and Abandoned Trials). You'll also see the recent examples showing that the scam continues unabated (HERE). We know that a whopping 11% of America's over-12 population is currently on antidepressants, with few realizing (or being told) that Depression falls under the same category of chronic illness ("INFLAMMATORY") as CARDIO-VASCULAR DISEASE, CANCER, ARTHRITIS, TYPE II DIABETES, and a myriad of others. What this means in English is that for the most part (of course there are always exceptions) these are diseases of lifestyle --- diseases that on some level you have the power to turn around or better yet, prevent. A brand new study from the Journal of the American Medical Association shows just how true this is with a study titled Prevalence of Prescription Medications With Depression as a Potential Adverse Effect Among Adults in the United States.
Researchers from the Ivy League's Columbia University in NY and the University of Illinois teamed up to look at over 26,000 randomly-chosen people taking medications other than anti-depressants. What did these all of these medications do to the incidence of Depression? Take a look at the study's CHERRY-PICKED abstract.
"The overall estimated prevalence of use of medications with depression as an adverse effect was 37.2%. An estimated 9.5% reported use of 3 or more concurrent medications with a potential for depression as an adverse effect. In adjusted analyses, the number of medications used with depression as possible adverse effects was associated with increased prevalence of concurrent depression. The estimated prevalence of depression was 15% for those reporting use of 3 or more medications with depression as an adverse effect vs 4.7% for those not using such medications (difference, 10.7%)."
In other words, if you are taking just 3 medications (it's dog common to see people on more), your chances of having Depression are 15%. If, however, you are taking no meds, the odds of being depressed are less than 5%. What does this mean? It means that almost 70% of the 11% of our nation that is taking drugs for their Depression is a direct result of their other meds. And although BIRTH CONTROL, PPI'S, and PAIN MEDS were mentioned specifically in many of the short ditties written about this study in medical dailies, undoubtedly, the number one offender would be antihypertensives (HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE MEDS). Here are a few fun facts about this commonly-prescribed class of drug in relationship to Depression.
Did you catch that? A study published almost three decades ago said that we'd known about the link between high blood pressure meds and Depression for four decades clear back then. That's 70 years folks. Here's the good news. There are things that you can be doing, steps you can be taking, and ideas you can be stealing (from my site, of course), to help reverse this unholy mess.
Once you realize, as I showed you earlier, that everything is inflammation, it stands to reason that reducing said inflammation might just put you on a path to solving at least some of your physical and mental health issues. HERE is a generic starting point that at the very least, should get you thinking differently about your health. Oh: and if you liked what you just read, be sure and take a look at the rest of our site. While you're at it, help spread the wealth by liking, sharing, or following on FACEBOOK.
ANTIDEPRESSANTS CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN
If you've ever known anyone taking drugs for psychological issues, you're likely aware of one of their major side effects ---- WEIGHT GAIN. A brand new study verified that this is likewise true of the drugs used to treat depression; ANTIDEPRESSANTS. Just a few days ago the British Medical Journal published Antidepressant Utilization and Incidence of Weight Gain during 10 Years’ Follow-Up... Their conclusions?
"Initiation of antidepressant drugs shows a strong temporal association with weight gain, which is greatest during the second and third years of treatment. During the second year of treatment, the risk of over 5% weight gain is 46.3% higher than in a general population comparison group. These associations are consistent across a wide range of clinical, social, and demographic characteristics. The increasingly widespread use of antidepressants is of concern in the context of the increasing prevalence of obesity."
Why do I bring this up? The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics now says that --- are you ready for this? --- over 13% of all Americans are on antidepressants (in my little town of about 3,000 people that translates into about 400 on these drugs). It gets even more shocking. Of those 12 and over, 68% of the individuals taking antidepressants said they had been on them for over two years, while 25% had been on them for more than a decade. Plus, out of every 100 individuals on the drugs, about 2/3 will be women (HERE is an interesting side notes to this fact).
And while people (doctors included) typically argue that Depression is mostly caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, this simply is not the case. The deeper cause is something I talk about on my site constantly --- something that YOU CAN LARGELY CONTROL. INFLAMMATION. Because obesity is itself an inflammatory problem, what are the implications? An editorial response to this study (Antidepressant Induced Weight Gain) was published in the same issue of BMJ stating, "Another complication is that obesity likely increases the risk of depression (particularly in adolescents), as well as depression increasing the risk of obesity, resulting in a reciprocal risk." This is the definition of a 'vicious cycle' --- A causes B, while B causes A. I promise you that when the dust clears and the experts finally tell us why these drugs cause weight gain, it will come back to GUT HEALTH and MICROBIOME.
Want to know a dirty little secret? Not only are antidepressants addictive (HERE), if you factor in the more than 50% of all studies classified as "Invisible & Abandoned," you see that their clinical efficacy is a wash (HERE). In other words, antidepressants are similar to placebo, only with a boatload of side effects (HERE) --- side effects that are under-reported by nearly 2 orders of magnitude (only between 1 in 20 and 1 in 100 side effects are ever reported to the proper authorities to be counted as statistics --- HERE).
If you are interested in getting off the medical merry-go-round's "BIG FIVE," I have a completely free self-help protocol you might want to look at (HERE). While not a solution for everyone, I would estimate it could radically change the health of 75% of you if you did nothing more than follow the dietary principles. BTW, if you know people who could benefit from this information, the best way to reach them is to like, share, or follow on FACEBOOK.
BRAND NEW RESEARCH LINKS PCOS TO A WIDE VARIETY OF PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS
Flibanserin is an interesting drug simply because of its history. It was developed by Boehringer Ingelheim (initially as an SSRI Antidepressant), being presented to the FDA for acceptance in June of 2010. After failing to receive a single vote of approval, B.I. abandoned the drug, selling it to a company called Sprout Pharmaceuticals. Sprout did a couple more safety studies (one pertained to whether or not is was safe to drive after taking it) and resubmitted it to the FDA last month --- almost five years to the day after the first submission --- where it was approved by a vote of 18-6. What changed in that half decade? Nothing much --- except for the fact that the feminists were howling about the unfairness of it all (Sprout used an effective propaganda campaign known as "Even the Score"). A very vocal group of women got what they wanted by robustly denouncing the FDA as a sexist organization because they had given the 'thumbs up' for sexual drugs for males, but not for females (there are currently 26 such drugs for men and other than Flibanserin, none for women). The problem is, according to Deborah Kotz' June 16, 2010 issue of US News and World Report (Flibanserin Failure: Female Viagra Drug Disappoints).....
"The drug didn't boost women's desire any more than a placebo in two clinical trials."
In response to the pressure to be 'politically correct', the FDA caved. I use the word "caved" because not only does this drug carry some potentially serious side effects (but then again, WHAT DRUGS DON'T?), but using the most generous language possible, it would be stretching things to categorize the drug's efficacy as even "modest". It is currently being marketed as being able to increase the number of monthly "satisfying sexual events" for women who have been diagnosed with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) --- a "disease" that many critics claim was made up for the express purpose of selling and promoting this drug (see last week's study in the Journal of Medical Ethics --- Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder: Inventing A Disease to Sell Low Libido). How modest are the results? After accounting for the "PLACEBO EFFECT," Flibanserin increased the number of satisfying sexual events for women (not necessarily defined as an orgasm) by an average of one half to one per month. Gulp!
BETTER THAN VIAGRA, FLIBANSERIN,
One out of five isn't exactly great odds --- particularly in light of what we are learning about the side effects of SSRI's. What can you do to increase those odds? Next month's issue of the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization published a study on happiness as it relates to frequency of sex (Does Increased Sexual Frequency Enhance Happiness?). The researchers created two groups of married heterosexual couples (64 couples in each group, ages 35 to 65). Group one was given no instructions as to frequency of sexual relations. However, whatever the weekly frequency was for the individual couples in group two, the researchers told them to double it.
Because, "Research has found a positive correlation between sexual frequency and happiness," the researchers were wondering if doubling the amount of sex couples have, would increase their amount of happiness. They actually found that because the sex was "mandatory," the couples from group two found themselves enjoying it less, actually ending up with a slightly lower overall "happiness" level than when they started the study. But what about those couples who are having little or no sex?
Rather than resort to the drugs that your doctor will invariably prescribe you, there are things that you can do to improve this problem on your own. The cool thing is that when you do things like (or at least similar) to what I suggest, you'll probably end up solving a boatload of other health problems as well. How's that for a side effect?
- UNDERSTAND DEPRESSION: As I've been showing you, both Depression and the drugs used to treat it are major known causes of Sexual Dysfunction. Educate yourself concerning both. Because knowledge is power, you need to be sure to read everything I have written on Depression ---- including the fact that it is one of the myriad of health problems caused by inflammation (HERE or HERE). Control your body's levels of Systemic Inflammation, and at the very least, you'll improve your sexual situation. It is also critical you realize how intimately related GUT HEALTH is to Depression.
- CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR: BLOOD SUGAR DYSREGULATION ISSUES are probably the number one factor that will adversely affect your sexual function. Much of this has to do with the fact that the function of your entire ENDOCRINE SYSTEM (TESTOSTERONE and the various FEMALE HORMONES) is intimately related to your levels of Blood Sugar ---- even in the absence of full-blown Diabetes (HERE). In fact, the brutal truth is that sugar turns men into women, and women into men (HERE). If the way you eat is not doing an excellent job of regulating your blood sugar, start looking into a different way of eating (I prefer PALEO or KETO).
- DEAL WITH YOUR BELLY FAT: For decades, BELLY FAT has been a top predictor of Sexual Dysfunction in men (see "Testosterone" link in previous bullet), probably because it is so intimately related to Blood Sugar. As I have shown you through previous links on this post, it has recently become a predictor of female Sexual Dysfunction as well.
- DEAL WITH XENOHORMONES: XENOESTROGENS are bad news for both men and women. One of the best ways to go about this is by making sure that your body can BIOTRANSFORM properly.
- EXERCISE: There are about a million benefits of exercise, including increased blood flow. If you take a look at the studies on PubMed linking regular moderate exercise to improved sexual health, you'll quickly realize that it would take hours to go through all of them. A September, 2013 issue of Cochrane Collaboration (Exercise for Depression) reviewed 39 studies comparing exercise to drugs. "When compared to psychological or pharmacological therapies, exercise appears to be no more effective." That's a nice way of saving face, but the meaning is the same. Exercise might not be more effective than drugs, but it's not less effective either. There were four similar meta-analysis in 2014 which all came to similar conclusions. HERE some posts on the type of exercise I feel is best for most people.
- OTHERS: HERE is my general protocol for dealing with the underlying physical issues related to Sexual Dysfunction. As for emotional issues, spiritual issues, or CERTAIN ADDICTIONS, make sure to see a qualified counselor.
One more thing for the women struggling with Infertility. According to a recent study (Incidence and Prevalence of Sexual Dysfunctions in Infertile Women) from the European Journal of General Medicine "Infertility may interact with a woman’s sexual expression by causing or exacerbating sexual problems as a consequence of the diagnosis, investigation and treatment of infertility. Conversely, sexual problems may contribute in infertility." In other words, the fact that some of the crazy treatments given for INFERTILITY can cause sexual dysfunctions is easy to buy. Not so well understood is the fact that it cuts both ways --- Sexual Dysfunction has been shown to be intimately related to Infertility. Once you begin to understand PCOS, this will make more sense.
THE BRAIN / GUT CONNECTION IN RELATIONSHIP TO DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, AND CHRONIC STRESS
According to the same website, Depression, "is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. An estimated 16 million adults aged 18 or older in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year, with women being 70 % more likely than men to experience depression during their lifetime." Many would say this incidence of 7% is far too low. For instance, the CDC puts the incidence of Depression at 9%. Even the NIH's NMIH seems to contradict itself by revealing that, "A report tracking antidepressant use among Americans from 2005-2008 found that more than 1 in 10 Americans ages 12 and older report taking an antidepressant medication." If you add CHRONIC PAIN, TRAUMA, or CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASES to the mix (DEPRESSION ITSELF is considered "Inflammatory") ---- issues that doctors commonly prescribe Antidepressants for --- the numbers are staggering.
By far, the most common medical approach to treating DEPRESSION involves prescribing ANTIDEPRESSANTS. Not only are there any number of problems and side-effects with this class of drug, but according to research, they frequently do not work. The blog post (Antidepressants: A Complicated Picture) of NMIH director, Dr. Thomas Insel, carried some telling statistics regarding this little known fact.
"Mild depression tends to improve on placebo so that the difference between antidepressant use and placebo effect is very small, or at times, absent. In more severe forms of depression, antidepressants show greater efficacy. It is important to note that these clinical studies have primarily focused on reducing the symptoms of depression and not on a broader range of potential outcomes (such as changes in everyday functions, cognitive abilities, quality of life, etc.). In addition, because clinical trials are conducted in a controlled environment, they do not necessarily reflect the way actual clinical practice operates. And even under research conditions, clinical trials for antidepressants use rating scales that may be weak or imprecise indicators of efficacy."
Truthfully, this sounds like a whole lot of beating around the bush. This sort of mumbo jumbo begs the question of how effective Antidepressant Drugs really are. Wait no more because Insel reveals this information later in his post. Near the end of the post he states that, "The bottom line is that these medications appear to have a relatively small effect in patients broadly classified as having depression." Wait; that's more mumbo jumbo. Insel is referring to a 2008 meta-analysis published in PLoS Medicine (Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration) that hac this to say...... (To read more about "UNPUBLISHED STUDIES", you can follow this link or click the previous link above)
"Meta-analyses of antidepressant medications have reported only modest benefits over placebo treatment, and when unpublished trial data are included, the benefit falls below accepted criteria for clinical significance.... Drug–placebo differences in antidepressant efficacy increase as a function of baseline severity, but are relatively small even for severely depressed patients. The relationship between initial severity and antidepressant efficacy is attributable to decreased responsiveness to placebo among very severely depressed patients, rather than to increased responsiveness to medication."
How's that for EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE? Am I the only one who finds it appalling that one of the biggest and most lucrative segments of the DRUG INDUSTRY is built on lies and outright fraud? The good news is that there are things you can do to help heal your brain. The starting point is to realize that your GUT ACTS AS A SECOND BRAIN, and that there is an intimate relationship between your health and your MICROBIOME (the type and number of bacteria living inside of you). Anything that throws these ratios of bacteria off (ANTIBIOTICS, MEDICATIONS IN GENERAL, or even TOO MANY VITAMINS OR PROBIOTICS) can foul the Microbiome, leaving one susceptible to any number of health problems, as 80% OF YOUR ENTIRE IMMUNE SYSTEM is found in the Gut. This is why GUT HEALTH is imperative as far as overall health is concerned (HERE).
One of the things we already know from the peer-reviewed research is that people with Depression typically have issues with their Microbiome (HERE). But it doesn't stop there. Any number of forms of stress, including Separation from one's mother, are also known to cause problems in this area (Maternal Separation as a Model of Brain-Gut Axis Dysfunction).
This Irish study, performed at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre of the University College Cork, concluded that, "Early life stress has been implicated in many psychiatric disorders ranging from depression to anxiety. Essential aspects of the brain-gut axis include spinal pathways, the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, the immune system, as well as the enteric microbiota. Accumulating evidence suggest that stress, especially in early life, is a predisposing factor to IBS. The separated individual is characterised by alterations of the intestinal barrier function, altered balance in enteric microflora, exaggerated stress response and visceral hypersensitivity, which are all evident in IBS.; Thus, maternally separated animals are an excellent model of brain-gut axis dysfunction for the study of disorders such as IBS and for the development of novel therapeutic interventions." In other words, stressful events that occur in the very young, can foul the Microbiome (enteric microflora) causing problems such as IBS, Hypersensitivity Reactions (GLUTEN could certainly fall into this category), LEAKY GUT SYNDROME (altered intestinal barrier function), ADRENAL FATIGUE, DIABETES, and HYPOTHALAMUS DYSFUNCTION.
A study from the March, 2011 issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity (Exposure to a Social Stressor Alters the Structure of the Intestinal Microbiota: Implications for Stressor-Induced Immunomodulation) revealed a similar link later in life. Some of the things we learned from this study include...
- WE ARE FULL OF BACTERIA: The bodies of most animals are populated by highly complex and genetically diverse communities of microorganisms. The majority of these microbes reside within the intestines in largely stable but dynamically interactive communities that positively interact with their host.
- STRESS DOES BAD THINGS TO THESE BACTERIA: Studies from this laboratory have shown that stressor exposure impacts the stability of the microbiota and leads to bacterial translocation.
- STRESS INCREASES INFLAMMATION (CYTOKINES) --- AN IMMUNE SYSTEM COMPONENT: Mice were exposed to a social stressor called social disruption (SDR), that increases circulating cytokines and primes the innate immune system for enhanced reactivity.
- STRESSED, ANTIBIOTIC-TREATED MICE HAD LESS AMOUNTS OF TWO TYPES OF CYTOKINES: Because Inflammation is a component of your Microbiome; killing off these bacteria with Antibiotics diminished the amounts of two different (inflammatory) cytokines. I will warn you that the net benefit from Antibiotics is not anti-inflammatory.
In yet another similar study (this one published in the October, 2012 issue of PLoS One) called
Gut Microbiota Composition Is Correlated to Grid Floor Induced Stress and Behavior in the BALB/c Mouse, researcher found some similar features concerning stressed out mice. When mice were put through "stressful" events such as being exposed to noxious stimuli, being hung by their tails, or others, there were changes in their Microbiomes. Links from my site are added into the conclusions.
"From birth the mammalian gut slowly gets inhabited with a wide range of bacteria that primes the cells of the immune system during the postnatal period [HERE]. Throughout life, the gut microbiota (GM) remain an important factor in development of diseases, such as inflammatory bowel diseases, asthma/allergy, colon cancer, type 1 diabetes, HIV and obesity [HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE]. It is evident that diseases of both body and mind worsen in response to stress, and interest in the so-called gut-brain axis consisting of neural, immune and endocrine pathways has increased, e.g. due to clinical experience with patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), in which a higher incidence of psychiatric illness has been acknowledged [HERE]."
What's truly mind-bending is that this study goes on to talk about the relationship between certain kinds of diseases and INFLAMMATORY HEALTH PROBLEMS, also spending significant time dealing with the fact that when certain kinds of bacteria are added back to the ill host (often via FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANT --- FMT) disease symptoms and inflammatory sequelae are alleviated or eliminated. Although PROBIOTICS are never as good as FMT (HERE), we have a great deal of evidence that Probiotics can at the very least, make a beneficial difference. Allow me to show you some studies.
A couple years later, the March, 2011 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition published a study called, Assessment of Psychotropic-Like Properties of a Probiotic Formulation (Lactobacillus Helveticus and Bifidobacterium Longum) in Rats and Human Subjects. After the authors admitted that this concoction works well for relieving GI discomfort, they state that, "Emerging evidence of a role for gut microbiota on central nervous system functions therefore suggests that oral intake of probiotics may have beneficial consequences on mood and psychological distress. In the clinical trial, volunteers participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised parallel group study with PF (Probiotic Formulation) administered for 30 days and then assessed with.... Daily subchronic administration of PF significantly reduced anxiety-like behaviour in rats and alleviated psychological distress in volunteers."
Within a few short months, the July, 2011 issue of Gut Microbes gave us the study, Beneficial Psychological Effects of a Probiotic Formulation in Healthy Human Volunteers. This study revealed that, "In a recent clinical study, we demonstrated in the general population that Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum (PF) taken in combination for 30 days decreased the global scores of hospital anxiety and depression scale, and the global severity index of the Hopkins symptoms checklist, due to the decrease of the sub-scores of somatization, depression and anger-hostility spheres in human volunteers. The data show that PF improves the same scores as in the general population i.e. SOMATIZATION [mentioned in the previous study as well], depression and anger-hostility), as well as the PSs score and three other sub-scores of the HSCL-90, i.e. "obsessive compulsive", "anxiety", and "paranoid-ideation". Moreover, the score is significantly improved over time in PF-treated subjects compared with controls."
Less than two years later, the March, 2013 issue of Gastroenterology (Consumption of Fermented Milk Product With Probiotic Modulates Brain Activity) kept the ball rolling by studying whether or not one month of consuming Fermented Milk Products with Probiotics (FMPP) would make changes in the Functional MRI'S of certain parts of subject's brains. "FMPP intake was associated with reduced task-related response of a distributed functional network containing affective, viscerosensory, and somatosensory cortices. Alterations in intrinsic activity of resting brain indicated that ingestion of FMPP was associated with changes in midbrain connectivity, which could explain the observed differences in activity during the task. Four-week intake of an FMPP by healthy women affected activity of brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation." So; not only did the Probiotics affect behavior, they affected an MRI as well ---- after only one month.
The December, 2014 study (Prebiotic Intake Reduces the Waking Cortisol Response and Alters Emotional Bias in Healthy Volunteers), published in the journal Psychopharmacology had some interesting things to say about feeding these bacteria. "We have recently demonstrated that prebiotics (soluble fibres that augment the growth of indigenous microbiota) have significant neurobiological effects in rats. Forty-five healthy volunteers received one of two prebiotics (fructooligosaccharides, FOS, or galactooligosaccharides, B-GOS) or a placebo (maltodextrin) daily for 3 weeks. The salivary cortisol awakening response was significantly lower after B-GOS intake compared with placebo. Participants also showed decreased attentional vigilance to negative versus positive information after B-GOS compared to placebo intake."
And just last month, the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity published a study called Altered Fecal Microbiota Composition in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder. In the same way that doctors are looking for BLOOD BIOMARKERS IN PEOPLE WITH TBI (as opposed to doing MRI's that all too often come back negative), this study was trying to determine if fecal bacteria could be used as a biomarker for Depression. Here are the 'cherry picked' results. "Studies using animal models have shown that depression affects the stability of the microbiota. We analyzed fecal samples from 46 patients with depression and 30 healthy controls. Increased fecal bacterial diversity was found in the Depression vs. the control group. A negative correlation was observed between Faecalibacterium and the severity of depressive symptoms." In other words, the more Faecalbacterium, the less Depression.
PRACTICAL USE OF THIS POST
- FEED YOUR GOOD BACTERIA: You do this with a PALEO DIET that is heavy on the vegetation. This provides the food (PREBIOTICS) for your Probiotics (good bacteria).
- EAT FERMENTED FOODS: I have posted on this (HERE), but understand that milk-based probiotics are not the best source of bacteria --- even though that's what everyone seems to be taking.
- STAY OFF ANTIBIOTICS: Hopefully you are getting it through your head that Antibiotics are one of the SINGLE WORST THINGS you can possibly to for your health (or the HEALTH OF YOUR CHILDREN). They cause something called DYSBIOSIS (too many bad bacteria, and not enough good). They also cause repeat infections, which are defeated by Antibiotics, but start up again as soon as the bottle is empty.
- STARVE YOUR BAD BACTERIA: You do this by AVOIDING SUGAR, as it feeds both Dysbiosis and Infection (HERE).
- OTHERS: If your health is seriously on the fritz, I would recommend you take a couple of minutes to read a MORE COMPREHENSIVE LIST. The bottom line is that despite the fact that the peer-reviewed scientific literature is full of information on this particular topic, you aren't going to get it from your doctor. As always, your health and the health of your family is largely up to you.
ARE YOU FEEDING OR STARVING YOURS?
"The WHO [World Health Organization] studies described above highlight the interaction between depression and physical illness. Each contributes to the worsening of the other. People are not going to get better unless both (or all) dimensions are tackled, and so we need new models that acknowledge this complexity.... However, health care administration — at both government and health service levels — separates physical care from mental health care. This is not effective, efficient or cheap." From Dr. David M. Clarke's article in a 2009 edition of the Medical Journal of Australia (Depression and Physical Illness: More Complex Than Simple Comorbidity)
There are any number of reasons that people end up DEPRESSED. These range from the death of a loved one, a divorce, serious financial crisis, problems at work, problems at school, etc, etc, etc. Many times these sorts of things leave us feeling helpless because we have no control over them. But as you'll see below, there are others --- many others. Regardless of the cause, by far, the most common medical solution is to put people on SSRI ANTIDEPRESSANTS.
Unfortunately, the more you study this issue, the more you realize that drugs are not usually the best option for Depression. This is because Antidepressants --- in similar fashion to the drugs given for most other common health problem --- treat the symptoms of Depression without ever addressing it's underlying cause(s). If you or a loved one is depressed, you need to stop trying to control the things you can't, while figuring out what variables you can control, and stop feeding the beast.
- DEPRESSION IS FED BY INFLAMMATION: Depression is one of the multitudes of chronic conditions that is considered to be "INFLAMMATORY". This is why so many other health-related problems also considered to be "Inflammatory" (OSTEOPOROSIS, OBESITY, THYROID DISEASE, DIABETES, and even HEART DISEASE) have been strongly linked to INFLAMMATION, with increasing numbers of these and similar being linked directly to Depression itself. Part of the problem is that I so rarely find anyone who understands what Inflammation is, let alone what it takes to squelch it. HERE and HERE are my posts on Depression and Inflammation.
- DEPRESSION IS FED BY SUGAR: Show me 100 depressed women (Depression affects far more women than men), and I'll show you 99 who are raging SUGAR / CARB ADDICTS. Sugar is one of the most addictive and Inflammatory substances you can put in your body (HERE), and once you understand that Depression itself is one of the myriad of "Inflammatory" health problems, it makes sense that you have to figure out a way to break the cycle of addiction, Inflammation, and Depression. To learn more, just follow the links in this bullet point.
- DEPRESSION IS FED BY NUMEROUS DRUGS: This is true whether the drugs are pushed or prescribed. CORTICOSTEROIDS, ANTIBIOTICS and ACNE DRUGS are notorious for feeding Depression. And as far as drug addiction and Depression are concerned, we need look no farther than Hollywood (Robin Williams is the latest in a long line of tragedies). Furthermore, one of the things we know for sure is that the serious harms of antidepressants are dramatically underreported (HERE).
- SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION AND DEPRESSION: While it is certainly true that SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION would probably be "depressing" to most folks, how many of you were aware that possibly the number one side effect of Antidepressant medications is sexual dysfunction (HERE).
- DEPRESSION IS FED BY DYSBIOSIS: I have said numerous times that drugs --- especially Antibiotics --- cause DYSBIOSIS, while sugar feeds it (HERE). Rather than belabor this point, I will provide you a single link to read on the subject (HERE) that has to do with the relationship between Depression and Gut Health. If you don't like that one, HERE is another.
- DEPRESSION IS FED BY A SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE: The peer-reviewed literature touting EXERCISE as beneficial for Depression is overwhelming. If you are Depressed; then laying around all day in your PJ's is not going to benefit you (neither will spending hour after endless hour parked in your favorite chair in front of the tube as "SCREENS" THEMSELVES have been linked to Depression).
- DEPRESSION IS FED BY POOR SLEEP PATTERNS: Usually this is a function of some degree of SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE. When you understand that sleeping aids are tied to hundreds of thousands of deaths a year (HERE), this becomes even more troubling.
- DEPRESSION CAN BE FED BY CHRONIC PAIN / CHRONIC ILLNESS: Honestly, this is where the rubber meets the road. I can vividly recall how depressing it was for me to have to give up certain physical activities as the result of a decade of CHRONIC PAIN (a problem since resolved). Although doctors like to tout the studies that say that Depression causes Chronic Pain, 25 years of clinical experience tells me that most of the time the exact opposite is true --- people get depressed because some sort of chronic health issue prevents them from living their life the way they want to.
- DEPRESSION IS FED BY READING STUDIES ON ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Once you begin to realize THE INCREDIBLE NUMBER OF WAYS that you, the American tax-paying public, are being duped by BIG PHARMA, I promise you'll be fighting mad (or maybe depressed). For instance, if you know teens who are taking Antidepressants, make sure to get THIS INFORMATION in front of those who love and care about them most. The fact that half of all studies on Antidepressants fall under the category of "INVISIBLE & ABANDONED" is depressing in and of itself.
CRACKING THE COMBINATION TO DEFEAT DEPRESSION
FECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANT
THE NEW FRONTIER IN THE WAR AGAINST DIABETES, OBESITY, DEPRESSION, AND AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES
Unfortunately, there are a wide range of things that foul up or even destroy our microbiomes. Some of the most obvious are ANTIBIOTICS as well as NON-ANTIBIOTIC DRUGS. But you can't forget to mention things like antimicrobial soaps and other hygiene products, HALIDES (Fluoride and Chlorine), chemical exposure of all kinds (HERE is one example), diets high in SUGAR or refined carbs and low in FIBER, as well as CHRONIC STRESS or sub-clinical infections. GLUTEN can be a major player as well due to its strong link to both AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES and LEAKY GUT SYNDROME.
When you look at our nation's explosion of CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY ILLNESSES & AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES (click for lists of each), and compare it to the peer-reviewed research coming out of the field of GUT HEALTH, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where we are screwing up. Not only are we not feeding our Guts the proper Prebiotic nutrition (the topic of my next post), we are eating really crappy diets in general. And when you look at my list in the previous paragraph, it's not difficult to make the case that we are doing everything in our power to destroy our biggest ally in the battle for good health --- our own God-given bacteria --- our microbiome (HERE is an example).
You see, not only do bacteria make up 80% OF YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM, but they perform any number of other critical physiological functions as well (HERE). When health problems are severe, the odds increase that you will not be able to resolve them by simply taking probiotics --- or even "poop pills" (HERE or HERE). Don't get me wrong; PROBIOTICS can be a Godsend for people dealing with any number of health issues (HERE), but the fact remains that FMT (Fecal Material Transplants) are the new frontier of real health care. Think I' exaggerating? Listen to what some of the world's leading experts on the subject have to say. But before I do this, let's clear the air.
Because the FDA has all but totally shut down FMT's for anyone other than those who have had multiple C. DIFF infections, they are looking elsewhere. They are looking to any number of the DIY internet sites to, well; figure out what it will take to do it themselves. Am I suggesting that you look into this option? Even though I have shown you DIY FMT VIDEOS in the past, I am not even for one moment advocating for you to do an FMT. As always, your health and what you do about it is completely up to you.
For the record, the information on this website and / or post is not to be construed as medical advice. All of it, including text, images, and videos are for 'informational' purposes only. The purpose of this site is to promote a broader public interest, understanding, and knowledge of a wide range of health-related topics (including Gut Health and Fecal Microbiota Transplants). Neither this site nor the information contained in it is intended to provide a substitute for professional medical advice, medical diagnosis, or medical treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician before asking, doing, feeling, or even thinking about anything that pertains to your health.
"Mayo Clinic in Arizona has performed 24 fecal microbiota transplants for CDI patients. In every case, the infection was completely eradicated — often within hours or days..... The beauty of the procedure is that even when patients have an ongoing disease process, their quality of life is tremendously improved after the transplant... The sky is the limit. Its use in C. difficile has been well established... Some physicians claim to have great success treating ulcerative colitis and celiac disease. And it's been looked at for obesity, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis...." Cherry-picked from the "For Medical Professionals" section of the Mayo Clinic's website (Quick, Inexpensive and a 90 Percent Cure Rate).
"Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) has been used sporadically across Europe, North America and Australia for over 50 years. In the past six decades, our gut microbes have been under assault from antibiotics in the form of medical therapy and farming practices. The concerns over potential unanticipated health consequences are only now beginning to be realized, with multiple diseases associated with the current Western lifestyle hypothesized as being causally linked to alterations in the gut microbiota. Examples include constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, neurological diseases, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, metabolic syndrome, autoimmunity, asthma, and allergic diseases, many of which have reached epidemic proportions in recent years." From a scientific abstract by the modern "father" of FMT, Dr. Thomas B Borody of Sydney, Australia and colleague, Dr. Alexander Khoruts of Minneapolis (Fecal Microbiota Transplantation and Emerging Applications).
"GI-linked diseases, such as obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes mellitus may be treated by FMT in the future. FMT has produced isolated case responses in patients with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpure. After FMT, rheumatoid arthritis, sacroileitis, halitosis, acne, insomnia and major depression have shown improvement. Autism spectrum disorder is another condition in which FMT may offer a clinical role." Dr. Nathan Connelly of the Moonee Valley Specialist Centre for Gastroenterological and Related Care near Melbourne, Australia
"Although the most common application for FMT has been in the setting of recurrent CDI [C. Diff Infection], there is ongoing research to assess benefit in other gastrointestinal diseases. These include inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic constipation. There are also isolated reports of FMT effects in nongastrointestinal disease, including multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease." From a 2013 issue of Expert Review of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Alteration of the Intestinal Microbiome Fecal Microbiota Transplant and Probiotics for Clostridium Difficile and Beyond).
"Other disease states that are closely linked to the GI microbiota, such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes mellitus, may potentially be treated by FMT in the future. Isolated case reports of FMT response include multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. Apart from these published reports, the lead author has also observed convincing improvement after FMT in several other conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, sacroileitis, halitosis, acne, insomnia, and major depression. Autism spectrum disorder is another condition in which the GI microbiota is implicated, where FMT may have a role." From a 2013 issue of Current Gastroenterology Reports (Fecal Microbiota Transplantation: Indications, Methods, Evidence, and Future Directions).
All I can say is wow! Look at the wide range of diseases mentioned. Some of these are of particular interest because they are known to run in my family (PARKINSON'S for instance). HERE and HERE are a couple articles I wrote pertaining to Rheumatoid Arthritis and FMT as well. The bottom line is that if you or a loved one is dealing with Chronic Illness, you need to keep reading.
FMT FOR DIABETES AND OBESITY
A 2006 study done at St. Louis' Washington University (the Harvard of the Midwest) and published in the December issue of the journal Nature was one of the first studies that shed light on this topic. Without going into detail, I will leave you with the study's (Microbial Ecology: Human Gut Microbes Associated with Obesity) conclusion. "Our findings indicate that obesity has a microbial component, which might have potential therapeutic implications." In other words, your microbiome is related to your weight. The same issue carried another study (Physiology: Obesity and Gut Flora) with a similarly short conclusion. "The intestinal bacteria in obese humans and mice differ from those in lean individuals." In both of these studies we see the weight of mice being manipulated not so much by what they eat, but by the makeup of their Gut bacteria. You'll better understand what I am talking about momentarily.
A 2010 collaboration between Emory University, Cornell University, and the University of Colorado was published in the April 2010 issue of Science (Metabolic Syndrome and Altered Gut Microbiota in Mice Lacking Toll-Like Receptor 5). The abstract stated that, "Metabolic Syndrome is a group of obesity-related metabolic abnormalities that increase an individual’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Here, we show that mice genetically deficient in Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5), a component of the innate immune system that is expressed in the gut mucosa and that helps defend against infection, exhibit hyperphagia [extreme hunger] and develop hallmark features of metabolic syndrome, including hyperlipidemia [high levels of fat in the blood], hypertension [high blood pressure], insulin resistance, and increased adiposity [high body fat]. These metabolic changes correlated with changes in the composition of the gut microbiota. Transfer of the gut microbiota from TLR5-deficient mice to wild-type germ-free mice conferred many features of metabolic syndrome to the recipients. Food restriction prevented obesity, but not insulin resistance, in the TLR5-deficient mice. These results support the emerging view that the gut microbiota contributes to metabolic disease....."
This study revealed how TLR5 helps keep DYSBIOIS in check. In other words, it helps keep the bad bacteria from taking over the Gut and crowding the good bacteria out. Not enough TLR5, and bad bacteria will mutiny and eventually gain control. Not surprisingly, this study showed that the mice without TLR5 were overweight / obese, ate more, had Metabolic Syndrome / Insulin Resistance, and Fatty Liver (FYI: the most common cause of a Fatty Liver is Obesity), which was determined to have been brought on by CHRONIC INFLAMMATION. The absolutely insane part of this study was that when feces was transferred from one group to the other, the mice in either group took on the characteristics of the mice whose feces was transplanted. This was true in either direction.
Another 2010 study (Metabolic Effects of Transplanting Gut Microbiota from Lean Donors to Subjects with Metabolic Syndrome) collaborated on by over a dozen doctors / researchers from some of the most prestigious institutions in Europe came to some interesting conclusions of their own. "Recent data in animal models revealed that obesity is associated with substantial changes in composition and metabolic function of gut microbiota. Lean donor faecal infusion improves hepatic and peripheral insulin resistance as well as fasting lipid levels in obese individuals with the metabolic syndrome underscoring the potential role of gut microbiota in the disturbances of glucose and lipid metabolism in obesity." This should pique the interest of Americans, considering that METABOLIC SYNDROME is the precursor to full-blown DIABETES, and to merely call either an 'epidemic' would be dramatically understating the problem.
Medscape's website carries a section called Current Opinion in Gastroenterology: Fecal Microbiota Transplantation. Filed under Treatment of Nongastrointestinal Diseases: Obesity, we find the following. "One double-blinded, controlled trial randomized 18 men with metabolic syndrome to FMT using their own feces or feces donated from lean men. The nine men who received stool from lean donors developed markedly reduced fasting triglyceride levels and peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity after FMT compared with those who were transplanted with their own (placebo) stool." In other words, we are learning that what is true in mice, is likewise true in humans.
Oh; and let's not forget the study I showed you a couple of years ago about GASTRIC BYPASS. In this study, we saw that Gastric Bypass Surgeries might not be anything other than an invasive (and expensive) method of transplanting healthy bacteria into a sick Gut. But should we be surprised; particularly after learning that Antibiotics given to infants or children have been shown to cause Obesity later in life (HERE)? And let's not forget the study that clenches it for me. Although we've known it to be true for several years, we RECENTLY LEARNED why diet soda makes people fatter than if they drink regular soda. It's simply because ASPARTAME destroys the Gut's normal flora. And the research just keeps coming
Just last month there was a Chinese study published in the medical journal Nutrients called Obesity: Pathophysiology and Intervention. It stated that (I'm cherry-picking here) "Obesity presents a major health hazard of the 21st century. It promotes co-morbid diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), infusion of a fecal suspension from a healthy individual into the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of another person, has been used successfully not only for alleviating recurrent Clostridium difficile infection, but also for GI and non-GI-related diseases such as obesity. New therapeutic strategies have become available for managing obesity apart from the standard protocol of diet and/or exercise. These include anti-obesity drugs, various bariatric surgical procedures, and FMT." I've already talked about the Bariatric Surgeries, and as for the drugs; if they worked well (how about if they worked at all) or weren't incredibly dangerous and addictive, you would actually hear something about them (HERE).
It is my opinion that FMT is the new frontier as far as Diabetes / Insulin Resistance / Metabolic Syndrome / Obesity is concerned. All you really have to do is to look at some of the studies on the subject to see that FMT is, at the very least, something to look into ---- a potential option for helping those struggling with obesity.
FMT FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
It's not news that there is a strong link between the Gut and the Brain. In fact, the link is so strong that the Gut is often referred to as "THE SECOND BRAIN". In the September 2013 issue of Psychology Today, Dr. Dale Archer (a psychiatrist) wrote an article called Gut Bacteria Transplant: A New Treatment For Anxiety? Listen to what he writes. "Recent scientific studies indicate that gut bacteria may play a pivotal role in brain chemistry and mental health. More specifically, the right type of “healthy bacteria” in your gut may treat/prevent depression and anxiety. In research circles the gut is often referred to as the "second brain". There are over 100 million neurons in the gut (more than the spinal cord or peripheral nervous system) and many contain the exact same neurotransmitters as the brain."
This is not surprising considering that I showed you HERE that, "Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is made largely (90%) in the gut. If you do not understand this simple fact, you cannot help yourself kick Depression without drugs!" If you are looking for a bit more information on the wide array of functions related to the bacteria that live in your digestive tract, try THIS POST. Oh, and for those who are not aware, there is actually a great deal of research being done in this area.
For instance, in a 2011 study done at UCLA and published in that August's issue of Gastroenterology (The intestinal Microbiota Affect Central Levels of Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor and Behavior in Mice), we learned some interesting facts in regards to FMT and its ability to change brain function. In this study, two distinct groups of mice were looked at --- calm and anxious. Remember how scientists were able to make fat mice thin and thin mice fat, simply by transplanting 'stool' from one group to the other?
In this particular study, the calm group was made anxious when the feces from the other group was transplanted into them, and vice versa. Listen to this study's amazing conclusions. "The intestinal microbiota influences brain chemistry and behavior independently of the autonomic nervous system, gastrointestinal-specific neurotransmitters, or inflammation. Intestinal dysbiosis might contribute to psychiatric disorders in patients with bowel disorders." Dysbiosis (a fouled up microbiome) might contribute to psychiatric disorders.
In a similar study published in the September 2013 issue of Neurogastroenterolgy and Motility (Melancholic Microbes: A Link Between Gut Microbiota and Depression?) researchers from USC and the University of Cork in Ireland went even further when they wrote that, "There is a growing awareness of the potential for microbiota to influence gut-brain communication in health and disease. A variety of strategies have been used to study the impact of the microbiota on brain function and these include antibiotic use, probiotic treatments, fecal microbiota transplantation, gastrointestinal infection studies, and germ-free studies. All of these approaches provide evidence to support the view that the microbiota can influence brain chemistry and consequently behavior. Animal models of depression are thus essential in studying the complex interplay between the microbiota and brain. Recent studies published in this Journal and elsewhere demonstrate that there is a distinct perturbation of the composition of gut microbiota in animal models of depression and chronic stress. Moreover, given that affective co-morbidities, such as major depression and anxiety states, are common in patients presenting with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it may have implications for functional bowel disorders also. "
As these statements reveal, there is a strong link between IBS (which is frequently a component of FIBROMYALGIA) and Anxiety / Depression (HERE is an article I wrote showing the link between childhood abdominal pain and adult Depression). So; even if there are not yet enough studies to force the FDA to take another look at FMT for brain-based problems (including SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE), there is certainly enough evidence to make sufferers take a second look. Probably why the DIY FMT'S.
IS FMT SAFE?
In a March 2012 interview for the journal Gastroenterology & Hepatology (Fecal Transplantation for the Treatment of Clostridium difficile Infection), Dr. Lawrence Brandt, one of the world's foremost experts on FMT, had this to say on the safety of FMT in general. "At present, I do not think there are any patients in whom fecal transplantation is contraindicated. I have performed several fecal transplantations in immuno-compromised patients without adverse effects. Fecal transplantation therapy is a safe, highly effective, and simple technique that has very few downsides." But the same time Dr. Brandt was giving his opinion, Dr. Mark Crislip was giving his.
The website Science-Based Medicine fancies itself as the defender / protector of "EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE". It's authors are also on an active crusade against virtually any form of holistic or natural healing (HERE and HERE are a couple of articles I wrote about their site). Dr. Crislip, a specialist in Infectious Diseases, wrote in a March 2012 article called Species in the Feces that, "Under normal circumstances, when it comes to the colon it is probably better to be removing substances than to be introducing them." Furthermore, after picking apart an article touting FMT, "for other health problems, including autoimmune disease, eczema, asthma, multiple sclerosis and depression… and improved mood," he went even further. Listen to the arrogance in this next statement.
"To say there is even biologic plausibility to treating MS or depression with stool transplants requires a biology I was never taught and cannot imagine. The opportunity for placebo effects to predominate with stool transplant would be enormous. But there are those who, well, like that sort of thing. To each their own. For diseases outside the colon, biologic plausibility makes stool transplant unlikely to have any benefit with real potential downsides. Stool transplants are unlikely to be of widespread to benefit, but when all you have to offer is crap, everything is a toilet."
Am I missing something here? Everything on his little list is considered to be at least to a large degree, caused by Inflammation. That Inflammation and the microbiome are intimately intertwined together is not new information. In fact, it's one of the hottest areas of current medical research. I have written posts on everything he lists and can unequivocally tell you that everything he mentions is directly related to Gut Bacteria (or lack thereof) in the peer-reviewed literature (ASTHMA, MS, and DEPRESSION --- the others can be found elsewhere within this post). The point of bringing this up is not to personally pick on Dr. Crislip, but to show you how the average doctor thinks. Since he didn't learn it in school (he graduated in the late 80's), therefore it doesn't exist. Sounds like another version of the "Ostrich Game" to me.
How does the average doctor think? They are often times so far behind the current research that what they are doing in clinical practice was obsolete a decade or more ago (OVERUSE OF ANTIBIOTICS is a prime example --- my site is full of others). That something (FMT) with so much "evidence" can be maligned as "implausible" is absurd in this day and age --- particularly when all one has to do is jump on PubMed and start looking at the studies for yourself. I've warned you before, but it's critical to realize that the gap between medical research and medical practice can sometimes make the Grand Canyon look like a ditch (HERE). Just understand that this is why talking to your doctor about FMT --- while I certainly recommend the conversation --- is not likely to bear much fruit.
FMT has been around, at least in some capacity, since the late 1950's and was discussed in the journal Surgery back in 1958. There's even evidence that it was being used in antiquity within the parameters of Chinese Medicine. It is my opinion that if you can find a healthy donor (if you're not sure, screen them with the test found on THIS LINK), the sky is the limit. Without a doubt, talk to your doctor, but do your own research as well. The internet is an ocean of information that I hope I made a bit easier for you to navigate.
Oh, and if you decide to do an Fecal Material Transplant, beyond finding the best donor possible, you'll need to make some lifestyle changes. HERE are a few. You may be excited about the prospect of finding a solution, but if you go on doing the same old things and living your life the same old way, it won't be long before you foul up your new microbiome like you fouled up your old one.
WHAT CAUSES IT AND HOW BEST TO DEAL WITH IT?
The "disease" we call DEPRESSION is rampant in this country. But is Depression really what you have been taught that it is, and are drugs the only way of dealing with this common problem? I say "common" because according to Dr. Tom Insel who is head of the NIMH (a branch of our government's National Institutes of Health), "antidepressants were the second most commonly prescribed medications, right after drugs to lower cholesterol. About 254 million prescriptions were written for them, resulting in nearly $10 billion in costs." Although these statistics are over three years old, I can assure you that both numbers above (254 million / $10 billion) are dramatically higher now than they were then.
I also want you to note that in the quote above, Dr. Insel talks not only of antidepressant medications, he mentions STATIN DRUGS for controlling HIGH CHOLESTEROL. This is interesting, as High Cholesterol is a health problem that is known to be highly influenced by one's level of "Inflammation". In fact, not only are dozens of diseases known to be caused by INFLAMMATION (HERE is a list of some of them), Depression and High Cholesterol are both on that list. And in the same way that Statin Drugs rarely get to the root cause(s) of High Cholesterol, neither do Antidepressants get to the root of Depression. Much of this probably has to do with the fact that numerous studies tout Depression's insane numbers of false positives (positive diagnosis of Depression, even though the patient does not meet the published criteria for the disease).
Case in point, a study done at Johns Hopkins that was published in a 2013 issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics (Clinician-identified Depression in Community Settings: Concordance with Structured-interview Diagnoses). The authors determined that according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) only about 1/3 of the study's 5,639 participants that had already been diagnosed with Depression, actually met the criteria. For those over 65, accuracy dropped to a jaw-dropping 14%. Unfortunately, we already know how the vast majority of these folks were treated. As the study itself says, they "were prescribed and used psychiatric medications". The study's conclusions stated that, "Depression overdiagnosis and overtreatment is common in community settings [GP's offices] in the USA." What are most of these doctors missing? Is Depression simply a chemical imbalance in the brain that can be easily solved by prescription, or is there a bigger boat that is being missed here?
Firstly, if you want to understand what Dr. Smith and others are really saying, you will have to have a cursory understanding of INFLAMMATION. It is worth your while to spend a bit of time in study. Secondly, I have repeatedly shown you that Cytokines are one of many Immune System chemicals that are collectively known as "Inflammation". Unfortunately, I find that even though the medical community banters the term "Inflammation" around on an every-day basis, few seem to have any real idea what it means, and fewer still are sharing these implications with their patients. Covering (or at least attempting to cover) symptoms with drugs is how things are done here in America. Medicating patients is simply too easy and too lucrative to do anything else. What people need to understand, however, when looking at some of this research is that Depression has moved from the realm of being 'hypothesized' as an inflammatory condition, to one that is well-known to be inflammatory. Although I am not always the biggest fan of "EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE" let me give you some proofs.
Just one short year ago this month, Dr. Michael Berk's team of a dozen elite Australian researchers published a paper in BMC Medicine called So Depression is an Inflammatory Disease, but where does the Inflammation come from? Listen to their summary. "The identification of known sources of inflammation provides support for inflammation as a mediating pathway to both risk and neuro-progression in depression. Critically, most of these factors are plastic, and potentially amenable to therapeutic and preventative interventions. Most, but not all, of the above mentioned sources of inflammation may play a role in other psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, and post-traumatic stress disorder."
By the way, what were some of the causes of Inflammation that the title of the paper leaves us wondering about? Just the usual suspects. STRESS, CRAPPY DIETS, PHYSICAL INACTIVITY, OBESITY, SMOKING, LEAKY GUT SYNDROME ("Altered Gut Permeability"), ALLERGIES, Dental Problems (dental problems are a huge cause of chronic infections), Problems Sleeping, and Vitamin D Deficiency, were a few that were mentioned. All of this is important to know because along with Depression, CANCER, HEART DISEASE, DIABETES, ARTHRITIS, ASTHMA, ALLERGIES, ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE, Obesity (see link above), and just about every other major health problem you can name off the top of your head are being touted as "inflammatory" (caused by Inflammation). But I regress. Let's talk for a moment about some of the specific research strongly linking Depression to Systemic Inflammation.
- DEPRESSION IS MUCH MORE COMMON IN PEOPLE WITH INFLAMMATORY ILLNESSES: I just mentioned a few of the problems that are considered 'inflammatory'. A 2010 study published in the medical journal Biological Psychiatry (A Meta-analysis of Cytokines in Major Depression) not only said that Major Depression occurs in up to 20% of the population, but that there were, "significantly higher concentrations of the pro-inflammatory cytokines in depressed subjects compared with control subjects..... and strengthens evidence that depression is accompanied by activation of the Inflammatory Response System."
- THE MORE SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION YOU HAVE, THE GREATER YOUR CHANCES OF BEING DEPRESSED: A November 2010 study in the British Journal of Psychiatry (Association of High-sensitivity C-Reactive Protein with De Novo Major Depression) followed a group of women for ten years, then correlated the levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP --- a blood marker for Systemic Inflammation) with developing "de novo" (new) Depression. The study concluded that, "CRP is an independent risk marker for de novo major depressive disorder in women. This supports an etiological role for inflammatory activity in the pathophysiology of depression." By the way, the study of the causes of disease is called 'etiology'.
- DEPRESSION CAN BE INDUCED BY CAUSING SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION IN HEALTHY CONTROLS: A study published thirteen years ago --- in a 2001 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry ---- concluded that, "Mild stimulation of the primary host defense has negative effects on emotional and memory functions, which are probably caused by cytokine release." (The 'emotional responses' they specifically listed were "significant increase in the levels of anxiety and a depressed mood".) By the way, the term 'host defense' is describing the Immune System. It is critical to remember that Inflammation is an Immune System response. It is also important to remember that the stimulation in this experiment was 'mild'. Not surprisingly, instead of discussing things people could do to help their own cause, the authors let us know that they were all about the drugs, when they stated that, "cytokines represent a novel target for neuropsychopharmacological research." Again; figure out how to (temporarily anyway) cover the symptom without addressing underlying cause of that symptom.
- THE TREATMENT OF HEPATITIS OFTEN CAUSES DEPRESSION: Chronic Hepatitis C is often treated with Interferon --- a powerful Immune System chemical in the Inflammation family. A meta-analysis of numerous studies on this topic, published in the August 2012 issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Interferon-Induced Depression in Chronic Hepatitis C: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis) revealed that one in four persons treated with Interferon, developed Depression ("One in 4 chronic hepatitis C patients who start interferon and ribavirin treatment will develop an induced major depressive episode".)
- FIXING DEPRESSION LOWERS LEVELS OF CYTOKINES: A 2011 meta-analysis of 22 studies published in the November 2011 issue of Neuropsychopharmacology showed that on some level, Cytokines are directly related to Depression. The study concluded that, "the possibility that inflammatory cytokines contribute to depressive symptoms and that antidepressants block the effects of inflammatory cytokines on the brain". The implication here is that SSRI's have an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain. While this may certainly be true to some degree, it is critical to remember that Antidepressant medications carry some brutal side effects; not the least of which are sexual (HERE). HERE and HERE are a couple of recent studies on the dangers of Anti-inflammation medications.
As you can begin to see, Depression is not simply an "imbalance". It often has a physical / tangible cause. If you want to better understand the common drivers of Inflammation, I would suggest that you go back and read Dr. Berks' list that I gave you earlier in the paper. This is good news for many of you, because like Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) stated in 1988's classic movie, Predator, "If it bleeds, we can kill it."
Just knowing that there are steps you can be taking to help your cause is incredibly empowering. If you want to figure out how to begin to squelch Inflammation where it lives, I wrote THIS POST just for you. For those who are interested, I created a SERIES OF POSTS showing how most disease (Depression included) is really just one big thing, manifesting differently in different people. For example, people who are depressed frequently have IBS.
DIABETES AND DEPRESSION
ANOTHER STUDY LINKING THEM BOTH TO GUT HEALTH
She makes the connection between the fact that even though we have access to all the technological advancements of modern medicine and take lots of ANTIBIOTICS, we still seem to be a nation of ill health (she mentions "OBESITY, DIABETES, and DEPRESSION & ANXIETY" by name). She then talks about PROBIOTICS and discusses some of the VARIOUS FOODS / DRINKS that contain good bacteria. Thankfully, she mentions that yogurt is actually a poor source of bacteria, even though it is always touted as one of the best (the small cup-o-yogurt you pick up in your grocery's dairy section contains more SUGAR than a SODA!).
She spends a lot of time talking about a new program being funded by the U.S Navy (Engineering Probiotics that Improve Warfighter Performance by Maintaining Lean Body Mass and Inhibiting Anxiety). Not only am I not quite sure about what I think of using bacteria to make "better" soldiers, but I definitely take issue with GMO's. Don't get me wrong; I think it is really cool when our technology is able to, "arm probiotic bacteria with tools to make an intestinal cell act like more like a pancreatic cell". However, the truth is that GMO's are a frontier we know little about --- particularly when it comes to any long-term consequences. And isn't it funny? The medical community rediscovers a vital aspect of health, and what is the first thing they want to do? They want to "modify" / "engineer" it without any sort of regard for what this could potentially do to the health and genetic makeup of future generations. Even though it all sounds wonderful now, we see yet another example of greed and arrogance hidden under the banner of curing mankind's ailments.
One of the things I took exception to in this article had to do with something called LEAKY GUT SYNDROME. Friedman writes, "In healthy people, gut bacteria strengthen the intestinal wall. But in obese people it seems the opposite is happening. Obese people appear to have a compromised intestinal barrier.... To understand why this is problematic, think about what happens to your body if bacteria get through your skin and into your bloodstream: Your immune system goes on the offensive. It's ready to fight off an infection. When the bacterial molecules floating around in your blood are coming from your own intestine, your body still recognizes them as foreign and mounts an immune response. But unlike an ordinary pathogen that can be fought off, these false enemies are always there, sending your immune system into overdrive and prompting widespread inflammation."
She then tells her readers that, "this is not (emphasis her's) 'leaky gut syndrome,' a disease popular in the alternative medicine community despite a lack of scientific evidence supporting its existence." Folks; no matter what anyone is telling you, this is the definition of a "leaky" Gut. A few years back I was researching "Increased Intestinal Permeability" on Pubmed --- a database of scientific medical research ---- and found nearly 10,000 studies on the topic. Although "Leaky Gut Syndrome" does not sound nearly so sophisticated as "Increased Intestinal Permeability", they are the same thing. To say what she said about Leaky Gut in light of today's current scientific literature shows a bias, an ignorance, or both. And before we leave this particular aspect of Friedman's article, just remember that GLUTEN is one of the known factors that increases leakiness (increased permeability) in the Gut. When you find an article talking about "chronic inflammation" and "compromised intestinal barrier" in the same sentence, ultimately they are talking about AUTOIMMUNITY. The truth is, it is very difficult to solve CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DEGENERATIVE DISEASES without understanding both Leaky Gut Syndrome, and the fact that they are intimately linked to large numbers of AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES as well.
What have I been telling my readers for a very long time? Only that what the old time physicians --- and not just those on the "alternative" side of the fence ---- knew what they were talking about when they said, "heal the Gut, heal the body". What did anyone and everyone who was admitted to a hospital get in decades gone by --- no matter what was wrong with you --- get? An enema. Mainstream doctors knew back then what today's doctors are just starting to rediscover; that GUT HEALTH plays a critical role in any protocol meant to help patients to solve their Chronic Conditions and get truly healthy. Come back in a day or two and see how Gut Health fits into a complete protocol for solving your chronic health issues.
THE TRUTH ABOUT ANTI-DEPRESSANT MEDICATIONS
INVISIBLE & ABANDONED PART III
"To call these medications antidepressants may make sense from a marketing standpoint but may be misleading from a scientific perspective. It may make just as much sense to call these medications anti-aphrodisiacs as antidepressants because the negative effects on libido and sexual functioning are so common." Psychiatrist Dr. David Healy and Psychologist Dr. David Antonuccio from a recent article in the journal Scientifica (Relabeling the Medications We Call Antidepressants).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), DEPRESSION is now the leading cause of disability worldwide. To combat this, the medical community increased the numbers of prescriptions for SSRI ANTIDEPRESSANTS by over 1300% during the decade of the 1990's, and they have literally skyrocketed since then. I recently read that between 10 - 15% of the entire American population is on an antidepressant, with nearly double that number for women between the ages of 40 and 59. And the rate of usage in children continues to soar, despite the fact that they are specifically associated with violence and suicide in that age group.
According to the July 3 edition of The Washington Post, other than the geriatric population, healthcare spending is rising most rapidly among our 14-18 year-olds (22.3%). And I would bet good money that you can guess what class of drug is getting the most play. According to the article the biggest bounce seen in this age group has been, "the increased use of mental health services. In 2010, the average teenager was prescribed 1.2 central nervous system drugs, which treat conditions like depression and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder". This means that for my four kids who are not taking these drugs, someone else's child was prescribed five. Insanity? Darn straight!
We are the wealthiest country in the history of the world. So why are we so depressed? Sure, you can blame it on all sorts of things, including the economy. The truth is, when I was in ETHIOPIA, I met some of the most joyful people I have ever been around --- in the midst of abject poverty. Why is it, according recent statistics, we have 1 in 5 high school aged children diagnosed with ADHD, a huge percentage of the workforce so stressed out they cannot sleep (HERE), OBESITY rates that are off the charts, rates of Chronic Inflammatory Degenerative Diseases that are thru the roof (HERE), astronomical numbers of people taking astronomical numbers of drugs (prescription, OTC, and street drugs), and abusing alcohol, SMOKES, SUGAR, and who-knows-what else? Enter the drug companies.
FEEL LIKE A GOOD KICK TO THE GROIN?
Although the research from the link above mostly pertains to newer examples of this phenomenon, one of the best examples of "Invisible and Abandoned" studies comes from one of the most prestigous medical journals in the world, and pertains to depression. Six years ago this week, a meta-analysis was published in the New England Journal of Medicine called Selective Publication of Antidepressant Trials and Its Influence on Apparent Efficacy. It was one more nail in the coffin, revealing that Anti-depressants as a class of drug are ineffective. Interestingly enough, the study's authors invoke "EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE" in their conclusions. Listen to what this group of medical researchers has to say about Antidepressants.
"Evidence-based medicine is valuable to the extent that the evidence base is complete and unbiased. Selective publication of clinical trials — and the outcomes within those trials — can lead to unrealistic estimates of drug effectiveness and alter the apparent risk–benefit ratio..... Selective reporting of clinical trial results may have adverse consequences for researchers, study participants, health care professionals, and patients."
Of the 36 negative studies, only 14 of these ever saw the light of day. And the remaining 22? Listen to what the study's authors write in the NEJM, "Studies viewed by the FDA as having negative or questionable results were, with 3 exceptions, either not published or published in a way that, in our opinion, conveyed a positive outcome". In the words of Dana Carvey's "church lady" character ---- Isn't that special. The SPIN DOCTORS working for Big Pharma made it look like they were getting good results, when the reality was 180 degrees different.
And as for the positive studies? What do we know about Drug Companies and favorable studies? Only that falsifying data is so common within the industry, that it actually has a name. They refer to studies with manufactured results as being "Ghost Written" (HERE). But the hits keep coming. The problems associated with Antidepressants are made that much worse by the fact that nearly 90% of the people taking them have side effects. These side effects manifest as a wide array of frequently severe and ugly symptoms that can sometime be hard to tell from Depression itself. Difficulty tolerating the side effects of these drugs is the reason that over half the people on them discontinue their use within a few months. These side effects include things like....
- WEIGHT GAIN: Almost every psyche drug imaginable causes weight gain.
- SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE: The biggies are FATIGUE, Insomnia, Brain Fog, nausea, ADD / ADHD, and many others.
- SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION: Most studies on SSRI Antidepressants show that the majority of those on the drugs have any number of SEXUAL SIDE EFFECTS --- many of which could only be labeled as "bizarre". HERE is another article I wrote specifically on SSRI's and their sexual side effects.
- MANIA: Mania is defined as "is a state of abnormally elevated or irritable mood, arousal, and/or energy levels" and is said to occur in 20-40% of bi-polar patients on the drugs.
- WITHDRAWAL: Once you understand how most of these Antidepressants work (HERE), you begin to see that they are not only addictive, they cause some severe withdrawal issues when trying to go off of them.
- MANY OTHERS: If you or someone you love is taking these type of drugs, you need to go online and do some serious research. The side effects are many and often severe. HERE is a more detailed list.
ABDOMINAL PAIN IN KIDS
ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION AS ADULTS
"Functional abdominal pain in childhood was associated with anxiety disorder and depression in teens and young adults..... As gastroenterologists we already know there is a strong correlation between the brain and the gut, and it's often unclear what comes first, the pain or the anxiety" Medpage Today on a recent study done at Nashville's Vanderbilt University. The second part of the quote is from Dr. Ritu Verma, chief of gastroenterology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
- Over 40% of those with "Functional Abdominal Pain" in childhood, met criteria for having an adult Gastrointestinal Disorder.
- Adult Anxiety was seen in over 50% of the childhood Functional Abdominal Pain group, when compared to the control group (20%).
- Adult Depression was seen in 40% of the childhood Functional Abdominal Pain group, when compared to the control group (just over 15%).
- If you carried Childhood Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders to adulthood, your chances of developing Depression were 414% greater than the general population, and the chances of developing Anxiety were a whopping 731% greater.
Truthfully; knowing what we know about the relationship between the GUT AND BRAIN, should we be surprised by these sorts of statistics? I should say not. In fact, it is probably about exactly what one would expect to see. Let's step into a time machine for a moment, and go back fifty or sixty years. People were not swimming in an ocean of ANTIBIOTICS (from both the MEAT they ate and the doctors they visited). Most people had a GARDEN, and spent time working in the soil (the same bacteria most commonly found in organic soil should be found in your gut as well). If you were admitted to the hospital for anything, the first thing you got was an ENEMA. Why? The medical community still understood that a clean bowel helped people heal better / faster ---- no matter their problem. And while people were certainly clean, they were far less likely to be OVERLY CLEAN like we tend to be today.
If you want to get a handle on any sort of Chronic Illness (including DEPRESSION or AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE), you need to first get a handle on GUT HEALTH. Gut Health is so critical to overall health that I created a website called ENDOGUT (the relationship between the Endocrine System, the Immune System, and the Gut) to help you understand how it all works together. And none of this even begins to address the issue of LEAKY GUT SYNDROME. If you are suffering from Depression, Anxiety, GI Disorders, or a wide array of health problems that could potentially fall into the category of "Functional", take a few minutes to read the links (AS WELL AS THIS).
SEROTONIN AND THE CONNECTION
TO LOW CARB DIETS
Not too long ago, I wrote a post about the relationship between OBESITY, DEPRESSION, AND LOSS OF LIBIDO. As typical, I suggested a LOW CARB OR PALEO DIET as part of the solution to this problem. Not surprisingly, I had a few people email me links to the research by Dr. Richard Wurtman of MIT who has produced forty years worth of studies on sleep, mood, nutrition, and their relationship to neurotransmitters. He has studies showing that Serotonin (the 'feel-good' neurotransmitter whose lack is thought to be a huge factor in developing Depression), is released due to the ingestion of dietary carbohydrates. His wife is Dr. Judith Wurtman (also of MIT) who has published a book on the topic called The Serotonin Power Diet. As you might imagine, she advocates a higher carb / low fat, lower protein approach to eating in order to boost mood. There are many similar books on the market. We have Potatoes Not Prozac and Natural Prozac by Dr. Joel C. Robertson (he advocates a higher carb approach). But there are also books advocating a low carb approach such as Dr. Michael J. Norden's (Psychiatrist) Beyond Prozac. What is the truth? Our goal today is to sift the evidence and see what we find.
One of the big reasons that I am such an advocate of Paleo-type eating is that it is a highly non-reactive diet (HERE). This is critical for those dealing with things like LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, AUTOIMMUNITY, HASHIMOTO'S THYROID DISEASE, FIBROMYALGIA, and a host of others. I am personally very carb-sensitive --- particularly when it comes to grains. In my clinic, I see lots of others who struggle with the same problem. In fact, it is my opinion that grain sensitivity has become the new norm. Just be aware that Paleo does not mean "Carb Free". However, also be aware that a KETOGENIC DIET (virtually no carbohydrates) can often be a lifesaver for people struggling with seizure disorders or other Neurological / Psychiatric problems, including Depression.
WHAT CAUSES DEPRESSION?
Although there are many others, a few of the more common neurotransmitters include things like.....
- Epinephrine (Adrenaline)
- Nor-epinephrine (Nor-adrenaline)
When any of these neurotransmitters get depleted or out of balance in relationship to each other, bad things start to happen. It can affect your mood, your sleep habits, your ability to think logically, your sex drive, your ambition, as well as a host of others. Today we will spend some time touching on the relationship between the amount of carbohydrates one chooses to eat or not eat, neurotransmitters, and Depression.
DOES A SIMPLE LACK OF SEROTONIN CAUSE DEPRESSION?
WILL EATING LOTS OF CARBOHYDRATES BOOST
SEROTONIN PRODUCTION AND MOOD?
A large number of serotonin subtypes are associated with anxiety and other negative emotions. A quick look on Wikipedia about these subsystems will quickly dispel any notion that they are all positive uplifting systems. I would guess, having researched it a fair damn bit, that far more negative emotion comes from the serotonin system than positive - largely around negative social and self perceptions. Paleo Hacks website
Serotonin research is relatively new, but it rivals estrogen research for the level of incompetence and apparent fraudulent intent that can be found in professional publications.... Extremely serious mistakes about the nature of the solar system didn't matter too much until interplanetary travel became a possibility. Extremely serious mistakes about brain "transmitters" and "receptors" didn't matter too much until the drug industry got involved. From Dr. Ray Peat's "Serotonin, Depression, and Aggression: The Problem of Brain Energy"
There is a growing body of evidence that seems to show that Dopamine is probably more associated with well being and feeling good than is Serotonin. While there are a whole host of drugs that modulate specific areas of the brain or neurotransmitter function, it can be done naturally as well via DIET / EXERCISE, SLEEP, touch, SEX, certain emotions, and even sunlight. It is important to remember that Serotonin (particularly 'excess' Serotonin) should probably not be thought of as a 'feel good' hormone. In fact, there are many who believe that the nature of Serotonin might actually be 180 degrees opposite of what we have learned. Part of the problem is that Serotonin is known to upregulate the steroid hormones --- including the glucocorticoids; namely CORTISOL --- your body's primary stress hormone (think adrenal glands here).
From the early 1980's (Fuller in 1981, Petraglia in 1984, Stark in 1985, Potter in 1985, Lesieur in 1985, Frances in 1987; Manier in 1987, etc), we have known that SSRI-like medications can stimulate the body's adenergenic system (adrenaline or nor-adrenaline) to the point that Cortisol levels are doubled. If you have even a cursory understanding of what Cortisol does to the body, this should at least make you apprehensive about SSRI's. Yes, they may very well make you feel "good". I have never told patients that Cortisone will not make them feel better --- at least for the short-term. However, I do tell them that the side-effects of this medication are numerous, brutal, and frequently permanent (HERE). It all begs the question as to what happens to endogenous Cortisol production in a person who is taking daily doses of Serotonin-boosting substances? It's simple. Among other things, they kick in the adrenal glands, potentially moving patients towards a state of SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE. While this certainly gives them a seeming 'boost' of energy, it is frying their system and dumping in Cortisol.
Thus, Serotonin --- particularly increased levels ---- is not necessarily the mood panacea that it has been made out to be. As you are beginning to see, Serotonin is actually a component of the body's response to stress. Take it to the next logical step. Since higher levels of Serotonin increase Cortisol levels, and high Cortisol levels are associated with weight gain --- particularly BELLY FAT, is it any wonder that SSRI's are themselves associated with weight gain (as are most Psych Drugs). So much so that Dr. Judith Wurtman, author of The Serotonin Power Diet, wrote an article for the Huffington Post almost exactly three years ago called, "10 Tips to Prevent Weight Gain on Antidepressants".
The thing that is critical to grasp is that SSRI's cover the effects of Depression by providing a prolonged boost of stimulation via the adenergic system. And when you want to get off of that SSRI, it's going to be tough because the Serotonin System has been down-regulated ---- part of the reason that the statistics for SSRI use are so shockingly high. Creating an artificial imbalance in your neurotransmitters may for a short time make you feel better, but in the long run it will cause problems and create a dependence. Anytime you have what the body believes to be 'enough' of a certain substance in the body, it will down-regulate it. Let me give you an example of down-regulation from the world of hardcore Strength Training / Bodybuilding.
In the pursuit of bigger, stronger muscles, many individuals have taken Anabolic Steroids (synthetic forms of Testosterone or GH). How does the body respond to this surge in male androgenic hormones? Men (and women) get cranky ('roid rage'), aggressive, and horny (that is what testosterone does for both men and women ---- but it also causes PCOS, in which case it actually diminishes sex drive). As you might have already guessed, this can be a potentially dangerous combination. But there is obvious evidence that the system, while being artificially pumped up, is actually being down-regulated and suppressed. One of the common male side effects of taking steroids is testicular atrophy (shrinkage). Think about why this might be true. Oversimplified; since there is an over-abundance of testosterone in the body, it says to itself, "hey; I don't need any more of this stuff". Thus, it down-regulates testosterone production in the testicles. In the case of Anabolic Steroids, this can be so dramatic that the testicles dramatically atrophy / shrink / shrivel. Since shriveled testes don't make much testosterone, the bodybuilder will either go back on the steroids, or try and take a substance (a popular one is human chorionic gonadotropin --- does anyone remember the hCG diet?) to 're-start' their own endogenous production.
Now imagine that this downregulation is going on with the Serotonin System. As the SSRI's inhibit the post-synaptic reuptake of Serotonin (see the first link in this post), the body sees this as an abundance (or over-abundance as the case may be) of the neurotransmitter. What do you think this does? Of course, the body begins to down-regulate the production of Serotonin ----- of which about 95% occurs in the Gut. The actual medical term for this is Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Discontinuation Syndrome. The symptoms include things described as electric shock-like sensations ("brain zaps," "brain shocks," "brain shivers," "brain pulse-waves," "head shocks," "pulses," "flickers," or "cranial zings" are a few of the names for these), as well as dizziness, sweating, nausea, insomnia, tremors, confusion, nightmares, and vertigo. Many people also get symptoms which look suspiciously like Depression.
HOW TO SOLVE MANY CASES OF
DEPRESSION WITHOUT DRUGS
How do we balance neurotransmitters? How do we prevent receptor desensitization on the post-synaptic membrane? And how do we prevent Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Discontinuation Syndrome? The first thing to understand that taking SSRI's is highly likely to down-regulate innate Serotonin production via receptor desensitization. The key is to get the system rebooted and working again after going off these drugs (or making it work more effectively even if you have never taken SSRI's). If, in fact, your body is not making enough Serotonin, the first question you must ask is why. I believe that there are two chief reasons......
- INFLAMMATION: Interestingly enough, numerous "psychiatric" (brain) issues have INFLAMMATION at their root. If you do not understand Inflammation, it is imperative that you click on the link and take just a couple of minutes to learn. Knowing how to address Inflammation will help you with almost any disease process you can imagine --- including Depression.
- POOR GUT HEALTH: As I just told you, the vast majority of the Serotonin in your body is manufactured in your Gut (about 95%). POOR GUT HEALTH, DYSBIOSIS, ANTIBIOTICS, DRUGS OF ALL SORTS (both prescription and non-prescription), food sensitivities such as GLUTEN, as well as a host of others, can upset the body's balance and cause a wide variety of problems, including LEAKY GUT SYNDROME (which almost always ends up as some sort of AUTOIMMUNE ISSUE). Although your doctor will not talk to you about Leaky Gut, it is very real, backed by over 10,000 peer-reviewed medical studies, and is a full-blown epidemic here in America. Be aware that the medical community usually calls it Increased Intestinal Permeability.
The way I recommend that most of my patients deal with these two problems is to eat a LOW CARB / PALEO DIET. Not only is this diet extremely non-reactive, it provides ample protein ---- something which people who follow a VEGAN DIET can be hard-pressed to do.
If Serotonin needs to be boosted, it can be boosted naturally, while essentially remaining on a Low Carb diet. The goal is to make sure that there is ample Serotonin at the post-synaptic receptor without having so much that the desensitization process and subsequent down-regulation of the system occurs. Be aware that certain foods have the capability of accomplishing this. Insulin not only removes sugar from the bloodstream, it removes amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) as well --- that is, it removes all but Tryptophan. Tryptophan is the amino acid that is said to make you "sleepy" (Tryptophan is the precursor to Serotonin, which is the precursor to Melatonin). This is why a glass of warm milk is said to be beneficial in helping people sleep.
The secret to using Tryptophan as a booster of Serotonin is to use it purposefully and at the right time. Simply giving in to a CARB ADDICTION because it temporarily gives you an energy and mood boost via the adrenals, does not fall into this category. Since we know that a high carb diets have the ability to increase Serotonin levels, using this knowledge strategiclly could help us to boost Serotonin levels at the proper time. Just make sure that you eat your carbs at the same time you eat Tryptophan. Another popular Serotonin booster is the supplement 5-HTP --- a precursor of Serotonin.
THE LOW CARB / VEGAN DEBATE
Dean, however, is not the only voice crying out from the wilderness. When doing the research for this post, I quickly realized the overwhelming amount of evidence stacking up against the status quo ideas on the subject. There is tons of information out there saying that high carb is not the best solution to boosting mood and aiding those with Depression. In fact, if you were paying attention, you realize that many, if not most of these people, are questioning whether you really want to boost Serotonin in the first place. Regardless, eating Low Carb, does not mean 'No Carb' (although KETOGENIC DIETS have been proven to be quite effective for large numbers of people dealing with Neurological and Psychiatric Diseases).
The thing about carbohydrates is that they are not all created equal --- far from it (HERE). What carbohydrates do I recommend while eating a Low Carb Diet (by the way, in the same way that there about a jillion different versions of Vegans, there are about the same numbers of variations on what constitutes a Paleo Diet)?
- Firstly, remember that if you are eating carbs to boost your mood without eating foods that are high in Tryptophan, you are getting that boost purely from your adrenals. This is dangerous and will lead to ADRENAL FATIGUE / FIBROMYALGIA. Proof of this is the way that your heart races after eating a ton of sugar. This is purely an adrenal response. Overstimulate your adrenals and you end up with all sorts of problems. And unfortunately, when you start throwing one area of the ENDOCRINE SYSTEM out of whack, others are sure to follow.
- Secondly, DO NOT eat your carbs in the form of sugary junk. This should go without saying, but many people will use any excuse to get their hands on some junk carbs --- especially those who are seriously ADDICTED.
- Thirdly, make sure that the carbohydrates you are eating are high in glucose and not fructose. There are a bundle of studies showing that glucose is not nearly the problem that fructose is ---- particularly HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. This means that you may need to stay away from certain fruits.
- Fourthly, GRAIN-BASED CARBS are one of the worst ways to boost carbohydrate intake. My chief source of carbohydrate is Sweet Potato. There are a few others that are fine. I also do some rice (a mixture of brown and wild, long grain).
COMMENTS ARE TURNED OFF FOR THIS POST
OBESITY, DEPRESSION, LOSS OF LIBIDO, AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO POOR GUT HEALTH
I love it! My wife comes home from the gym with a testosterone buzz and attacks me. A patient explaining one of the benefits of his wife's new-found love of Strength Training.
When I woke up mom and dad were rolling on the couch. Rolling numbers, rock and rolling, got my Kiss records out. Cheap Trick from 1978's Surrender.
When you look at lists of the things that most commonly affect one's sex drive in an adverse manner (whether male or female), there are two that seem to come up over and over and over again; Depression and Obesity. If you follow my blog, you'll see that I have written about both topics extensively. My goal is to help those of you dealing with this unhappy triad of OBESITY (be aware that it's possible to fall into this category even if you are 'SKINNY'), DEPRESSION, and Low Libido, get your lives back without feeling the need to resort to dangerous and addictive drugs.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SEX
- Relieving Stress / Lowering Stress
- Lowering Blood Pressure
- Immune System Booster / Less Illness / Less Cancer
- Heart Healthy
- Improved Self Esteem
- Increased levels of Oxytocin / Increased Intimacy / Increased Connectedness
- Endorphin Release / Natural Pain Relief
- Look Younger / Live Longer
- Strengthens Pelvic Floor and Core Muscles / Can be a form of Exercise
- Improves Sleep
- Improved Mood / Anti-Depressive Qualities (INTERESTING STUDY ON THIS TOPIC)
Unfortunately, not only are increasing numbers of couples not having much sex, many are actually in marriages that are, by definition, "sexless" (less than once a month or less than 10 times per year). This begs the question as to how much sex is "normal"? Although every couple is different, over the past twelve years, the average for married couples here in America has dropped from 132 times per year to 103 times per year (-22%). After a little study on the matter, it's not difficult to figure out why.
IF SEX IS SO GOOD FOR PEOPLE, WHY IS THE FREQUENCY DROPPING SO DRAMATICALLY?
Obesity is associated with depression.... Persons with severe obesity may represent an “at-risk” population...... This association between severe obesity and depression is also of interest to clinicians, since depression is associated with poorer treatment outcomes. Is Obesity Associated with Major Depression? Results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Johns Hopkins University, from the 2003 issue of The American Journal of Epidimiology
Overall, poor health has a negative impact on sexual function. Illnesses that interfere with endocrine systems are particularly important in the impairment of female sexual desire. Several lines of evidence have revealed a link between sexual desire and levels of androgens [Too little or too much testosterone --- PCOS] in women. Consequently, disorders of ovarian function and of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis have been associated with decreased sexual desire and arousal..... Some drugs (especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and antipsychotics) have also been linked to orgasm disorders...... Untreated depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders have been linked to problems with sexual desire and arousal. Excerpted from From Hence Comes HSDD? Sharon J. Parish, MD, from the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Family Practice.
The numbers speak for themselves. 12% of American women and nearly 7% percent of American men aged 18 and older (over 12 million and 6 million respectively) deal with Clinical Depression --- numbers that skyrocket far beyond this if you figure in sub-clinical Depression as well as those who have never been 'officially' diagnosed. If you factor in the fact that Depression is characterized as a disturbance in one's mood, which is characterized by feelings of sadness, anger, low self-esteem, general loss, and loss of interest in pleasurable activities, you begin to see where this is headed. Take it a step further and notice that the scientific-medical literature on the subject also strongly associates Depression with a PATHOLOGICAL CRAVING for processed carbohydrates. Once you understand that the vast majority (90 - 95%) of the body's serotonin (a 'feel-good' neurotransmitter) is manufactured in the Gut (HERE), the link between Depression and loss of libido starts to become more clear.
A 1995 study done at Massachusetts Institute of Technology called Brain Serotonin, Carbohydrate-Craving, Obesity and Depression, and published in the medical journal Obesity Research, had this to say on the subject, "Serotonin-releasing brain neurons are unique in that the amount of neurotransmitter they release is normally controlled by food intake: Carbohydrate consumption. Serotonin release is also involved in such functions as sleep onset, pain sensitivity, blood pressure regulation, and control of the mood. Hence many patients learn to overeat carbohydrates (particularly snack foods, like potato chips or pastries, which are rich in carbohydrates and fats) to make themselves feel better. This tendency to use certain foods as though they were drugs is a frequent cause of weight gain, and can also be seen in patients who become fat when exposed to stress, or in women with premenstrual syndrome........"
I would think that we would all agree that Depression needs to be treated. The problem though is that treating Depression with anti-depressant medications can be a double-edged sword that often produces a vicious (and sexless) cycle. This is because not only is Depression a libido destroyer in and of itself, but so are the medications used to treat it.
Depression is bad news for the libido because while it is sapping one's sex drive, the antidepressants prescribed to treat it are doing the same thing. The conclusion of a large meta-analysis of studies on this topic was published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry in 2010. The study called, Overweight, Obesity, and Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Longitudinal Studies, said that, "This meta-analysis confirms a reciprocal link between depression and obesity. Obesity was found to increase the risk of depression, most pronounced among Americans and for clinically diagnosed depression. In addition, depression was found to be predictive of developing obesity." And the kicker is that despite most drug's warning labels saying that somewhere between 2 and 16% of those on antidepressants (SSRI's) will develop sexual side effects, many experts say that 40% of those on anti-depressants develop diminished libido. Both groups might be significantly underestimating the problem.
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry published a study clear back in 2001 that looked at the medical records of 1,000 individuals who were being treated for Depression at the University Hospital of Salamanca (Spain). A whopping 57% of the women reported sexual side effects of their treatment --- mostly SSRI's. The most common were loss of libido and orgasm dysfunctions such as inability to orgasm or painful orgasm. And while the women's side effects were considered to be more severe, men were affected at a rate that was actually 5% higher than the women. The results were similar in a South Korean study that was published in a 2010 issue of the medical journal Psychiatry Investigations. After looking again at the effects of SSRI's on sexual health, the authors concluded that, "The incidence of sexual dysfunction was substantially high during antidepressant treatment..... Our study suggests the need for clinicians to consider the impact of pharmacotherapy on patients' sexual functioning in the course of treatment with antidepressants."
The bottom line is that I could quote the scientific research all day long, as there are literally hundreds --- probably thousands of studies on the topic. Instead of doing that, I want to leave you with a few things that you can do to boost your sex drive naturally. These are not gender-specific and unless otherwise noted, will work equally well for both men and women. They are in no particular order.
BOOSTING LIBIDO NATURALLY
- KILL STRESS: I get it. Getting rid of stress is not as easy as simply wishing it away. But remember this. Prolonged stress leads to ADRENAL FATIGUE (the older name for Fibromyalgia). If you cannot get the stressors in your life under control (family, relationships, job, diet, etc), it will be difficult to deal with the underlying causes of diminished libido. By the way, there are lots of studies saying that sex itself is a great stress reliever. Think about this treatment cycle for a moment; more sex, less stress, increased libido, more sex, less stress, increased libido. I realize it's not that easy, but it is definitely a noble goal.
- WORK ON THE RELATIONSHIP: I do not claim to be some sort of 'Relationship Sherpa'. However, my wife is --- she's a marriage counselor, and some of her wisdom has rubbed off on me (she might sometimes debate this). You'll need to communicate well, spend quality time with your spouse (can anyone say "Date Nite"?). Remember though that even though the emotional side of diminished libido gets a lot of play, you cannot neglect the physical side and hope to solve your problem(s).
- CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR: Let me qualify this statement by saying that many people (both men and women) who are at or near a 'normal' weight, are, metabolically speaking, obese (HERE). Virtually everything that is related to health comes back to blood sugar, and whether or not it is being regulated properly --- even if you have not (yet) been told you have DIABETES. One of the single most important things that you can do for your sexual health and libido is to deal with UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR. Listen up men. Your POT BELLY is FEMINIZING YOU! You are not only causing Depression, lethargy, and diminished physical performance, you are essentially castrating / neutering yourself with high blood sugar, high insulin levels, and the subsequent weight gain which, sooner or later, is sure to follow. By the way, if you are a woman who is struggling with female issues in general, please take a few minutes to read my piece called BEATING INFERTILITY NATURALLY (it is not just about fertility). Oh, and what is the best way to control your blood sugar...............?
- EAT A LOW CARB DIET: Have you picked up on the fact that the scientific literature is showing that both depressed and obese individuals lean heavily toward SUGAR / CARB ADDICTIONS? Despite this, there are MANY PEOPLE who promote high carbs to boost both Serotonin and mood. HERE is the information on using a Low Carb Diet to break the cycle and provide A SEROTONIN BOOST. As I stated earlier, over 90% of the "feel good" neurotransmitter Serotonin is found in the gut. Thus, it only makes sense to........
- FIX YOUR GUT: I have already shown you that Gut Health is intimately tied to Depression. My blog also happens to be full of posts on the relationship between Gut Health and Obesity. But did you know that POOR GUT HEALTH is being tied as a root cause of nearly every health issue you can imagine (MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU READ THIS)? If you are one of the tens of millions of Americans who (almost always unknowingly), is dealing with LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, there is no way that you are going to have a healthy sex drive. One of the best ways to positively affect Gut Health is to....
- GO GLUTEN FREE: Gluten Free is not a big leap if you are already eating Low Carb. In case you have not been reading my blog on a regular basis, let me just remind you that almost every health problem you can name is being linked back to Uncontrolled Blood Sugar and GLUTEN --- HERE is one example. Just a few short years ago (2010), a study published in The Journal of Reproductive Health showed how Gluten was directly involved with a plethora "Reproductive Symptoms" seen in prior studies on sexual health. The bottom line is that sick people usually see incredible improvement when they go GLUTEN FREE. Oh, and if you do not understand GLUTEN CROSS REACTIVITY, read the link.
- EXERCISE: Do I even need to talk about this? There are about a jillion studies linking moderate exercise to lower incidence of Depression, Stress, and Obesity. There are probably just as many showing the link between exercise and improved sex drive (I Googled 'exercise sexual health' and got nearly 17 million hits). I am not going to belabor this point, but you should value yourself / your spouse enough to EXERCISE 20-30 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week. If you are discouraged about exercising, READ THIS.
- BEWARE OF MEDICATIONS: Have you seen the list of meds that can ruin one's sex drive? It is downright freaky (HERE). There are a host of meds (including birth control pills, high blood pressure medications, ANTIBIOTICS that all destroy Gut Health, and STATINS) that diminish sex drive. It is critical to remember though, that the number one class of medication for fouling up libido is anti-depressants. Of these, SSRI's lead the way. Interestingly enough, another leading class of drugs known for messing up one's sex drive are meant to affect the Gut (anti-nausea and ANTI-ULCER DRUGS).
- UNDERSTAND INFLAMMATION: Although everyone has heard the term "INFLAMMATION" used about a million times, few people really have any idea of what it is. And since Obesity, Depression, and Diabetes are all considered to be "Inflammatory Diseases", it would behoove you to understand a little bit more about Inflammation, what drives it, and how to squelch it.
- UNDERSTAND YOUR THYROID: If you Google "Thyroid Low Libido", you get over three quarters of a million hits. I would suggest you take the time to visit the THYROID EPIDEMIC site for a better understanding of how this all works together. The really cool thing is that many thyroid problems can be effectively dealt with by following the bullet points on this list. Blood Sugar Dysregulation and Thyroid Problems are both problems of the Endocrine System. Do you recall the quote from earlier in the post from the Journal of Family Practice? "Illnesses that interfere with Endocrine Systems are particularly important in the impairment of female sexual desire."
- TAKE THE RIGHT SUPPLEMENTS: What do I recommend? Firstly, I recommend WHOLE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS as just that ---- a "supplement" to a healthy diet. The problem is that most people want a Viagra-like supplement that allows them to keep on destroying themselves with their crappy diets and self-destructive lifestyles (INTERESTED IN FEMALE VIAGRA?). The best natural Testosterone booster is Tribulus Terrestris. A great general libido booster is Ginkgo Biloba (both by Medi-Herb). I am also sold on Symplex M and Symplex F by Standard Process (for men and women respectively). Again, it is far more about your diet (what you are eating or not eating) than it is about spending a lot of money on supplements. And while you are at it, READ THIS ARTICLE on why boosting Serotonin might not be the panacea it has been made out to be.
- GIVE UP THE SMOKES AND DRINK ONLY IN MODERATION: One of the biggest problems with SMOKING is that it hinders blood flow. Without good blood flow, both men and women are going to struggle with satisfactory sex. Too much alcohol not only does the same thing, it is metabolized very similarly to sugar.
- BALANCE YOUR HORMONES: The big driver of libido for both men and women is Testosterone. That's right ladies, the very substance that drives your husband's libido, also drives yours. However, more is not always better. Increased Testosterone in women is heavily associated with (diagnostic of) PCOS --- the most common female hormonal problem in America ---- a problem that actually decreases sex drive. Although I have a lot of information on balancing hormones, the best thing you can do for yourself (other than following these bullet points) is to make sure you are getting just a little bit of high quality protein every two hours. Also make sure to visit our post on XENOHORMONES as well. Understanding this concept is critical to those of you who are in a state of ESTROGEN DOMINANCE (possibly the majority of you, both women and men). Remember just a few points back when I accused overweight men of feminizing themselves? Estrogen causes weight gain, while fat cells (along with the female organs) manufacture Estrogen. Repeat. See the vicious cycle setting up?
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
Brain Based Therapy
Can You Help
Cardio Or Strength
Cold Laser Therapy
Death By Medicine
Degenerative Joint Disease
D's Of Chronic Pain
Evidence Based Medicine
Gluten Cross Reactivity
Ice Or Heat
Jacks Fork River
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Number One Health Problem
Platelet Rich Therapy
Post Surgical Scarring
Re Invent Yourself
Rib And Chest Pain
Scar Tissue Removal
Sleeping Pills Kill
Stay Or Go
Stretching Post Treatment
Tensegrity And Fascia
The Big Four
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Whole Body Vibration