|Carbohydrates And Depression |
I suffer from depression, but I am not on medication.
Why is it that my mood always lifts whenever I eat a lot of
This is a very good question and probably one that is
plaguing all of America, and if not, it will soon plague everyone
as the standard of living drops drastically with the coming
devaluation of the dollar.
I would also suggest that many Americans who are suffering
with depression probably have weight gain, including other
symptoms such as mood swings and carbohydrate (starch) cravings.
On June 2, 2004, a study presented at the National
Institutes of Mental Health's new Drug Evaluation Unit showed
that chromium piccolinate supplementation decreased cravings for
carbohydrates. This manifestation is defined as atypical
depression, which is generally undiagnosed. It is characterized
by mood swings, weight gain and carbohydrate cravings.
Researchers think that atypical depression is a function of less chromium, because chromium has a role in insulin function---Life Extension Magazine, August, 2004, Page 67.
|Mechanism Of How This Works
It has been found that insulin helps improve serotonin
levels in the brain, which helps elevate mood. When serotonin
levels are low, carbohydrate cravings go up as depression
increases. When carbohydrate fulfillment is achieved, at least
for a while, depression tends to drop, because unbeknownst to the
carbohydrate addict who may be suffering depression, it is a
biochemical attempt to stimulate insulin, which in turn causes
brain serotonin levels to elevate.
Now, let's get to the crux of the matter. Serotonin, a
neurotransmitter found primarily in the brain, cannot get past
the blood brain barrier (BBB). However, tryptophane, serotonin's
precursor, can cross the BBB with transport molecules. It is like
passengers on a bus going from one city to another.
But here's the difficulty. Tryptophane, which is converted
into serotonin in the brain, must share its bus ride with other
amino acids, but 5 others in particular compete directly with
tryptophane to get into the brain via the BBB. They are:
- Valine and,
Therefore, you can see that tryptophane is easily
outnumbered by the competition to enter the brain via the BBB,
where it can be converted into serotonin and bring about mood
Serotonin neural circuits help with feelings of:
- Personal security,
- Concentration and confidence.
However, our lifestyle in America is one of arousal--just look at the success of "reality" TV shows. People want arousal and excitement.
All the above are stimulated by dopamine and noradrenaline nerve
circuits. Serotonin circuits counterbalance this tendency of the
brain's dopamine and noradrenaline circuits to over-arousal,
which is illustrated by fear, tension, aggression, etc.
- Agitated depression,
- Obsessive-compulsive actions,
- Especially of carbohydrates,
- Sleep disturbances, and especially of
So one finds that by overeating excessive carbohydrates, he
tends to increase brain tryptophane supply. It happens this way.
Eating Large Amounts of Carbohydrates:
When you eat large amounts of carbohydrates, your body
secretes more insulin to lower the high blood sugars that follow
from the excessive starch, and here comes the rub. The insulin
not only increases protein synthesis, but can also lay down more
fat in the fat cells of the body. Insulin still does one thing
more--it clears from the blood most of the other 5 amino acids
from the transport bus that compete with tryptophane, such that
tryptophane now has a free ride practically all to itself to the
brain to be converted into serotonin.
People who are depressed often subconsciously know that if
they ingest large amounts of pies, cakes, ice creams, breads,
chips, pizza, candy and sweets--all carbohydrates--especially
when feelings of depression are upon them, they start blocking
these feelings and start feeling better because of having eaten
this high amount of starch. This practice, they have found, makes
them feel good and changes their outlook on life. It lowers
arousal and anxiety, thus generating a short-lived sense of well-
being and security.
But remember, if this is short-lived, one such practice
generates another practice, and the side effect is weight gain.
Therefore, this is the carbohydrate addiction, serotonin
elevation and obesity connection.
We suggest, to break this cycle, that one ingest high doses
of B-complex vitamins, a good all-round vitamin, and a separate,
Also you should consume a high-protein diet,
and one of the easiest ways to do this is to take a supplement
such as Muscle Milk by CyberSport, or Enhanced Life Extension
Whey Protein by Life Extension Foundation.
- Mineral tablet high in calcium, magnesium and trace minerals,
Surprisingly, not known to most health food stores or the
average citizen, is that L-tryptophane in 500 mg capsules, has
been back on the market, allowed by the FDA, for 2 years now.
Call your local natural foods store for L-tryptophane.
When To Take It:
Tryptophane should be taken either late at night on an empty
stomach prior to bed, or once or twice during the day, without
any competing foods or drinks. Also drink only filtered water, to
avoid many of the "endocrine disrupters" such as plastic
components and drugs now being found in drinking water.
It is further suggested that if you are a male, (or a
female) you may be low in testosterone, which is very good as a
mood elevator, because a certain amount of testosterone is
converted to estradiol, which is necessary for brain function.
We recommend that you get a 20% testosterone cream. Men should use a dime to
quarter-sized amount on the muscles, spreading it around. Women
should use a dime-sized amount, again spreading it around on the
Mild exercise would be advantageous also, such as brisk
walking, with jogging as the body allows.
Take Melatonin also, to reduce cortisol levels, another
thing that helps serotonin to rise. Get melatonin at your natural foods store.
Compulsive Gambling, Suicidal and/or Thrill-Seeking Behavior, Pyromania :
If you have problems with compulsive gambling, suicidal
behavior, thrill-seeking behavior or pyromania, these and others
have been shown to be connected with neural activity of low-
serotonin nerves, and excessive dopamine and noradrenaline
Tryptophane years ago was used for anxiety and sleep
disturbances. Its use appears to have come full circle, but its
advent back onto the market was so surreptitious, no one knows it
is available again. It is purified, toxin-free and allowed by the
---Vitamin Research News, April, 2004, Vol. 18, #3, Pages 1-2, 10-11.
Tryptophane is the original spelling. However, when the Japanese company did genetic modification with it to have bacteria make it cheaper and more; a toxin was produced by the microbes and it inadvertantly was included with the tryptophane final product. Some people who ingested this "new" manufactured tryptophane from bacteria died, and it was taken off the market. Now, since it is re-introduced and purified, it appears the companies who presently manufacture the amino acid want to distance themselves from the word "tryptophane" and now call it "tryptophan."