Is your depression caused by a nutritional deficiency?

June 29, 2017

PROBLEM: Depression is often treated with anti-depressant medications. But did you know that depression can be caused by a nutritional deficiency? But do most doctors test nutrient levels before prescribing medication? Most likely no.


B-complex vitamins

A simple lack of nutrients is one of the most frequent, but least recognized, causes of depression. The most common deficiency in people with depression is a lack of one of the B vitamins, which are powerful regulators of mood. Of all vitamin deficiencies, insufficient folic acid (folate, vitamin B9) tends to be the most frequently seen. Folic-acid deficiency lowers brain 5-HT (5-hydroxytryptamine; the brain hormone serotonin), and we know that low levels of serotonin are associated with depression.

Another common deficiency seen in depression is of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). As this nutrient is essential for converting tryptophan to serotonin, it’s no surprise that there’s a strong correlation between not enough B6 and depression. Other B-vitamin deficiencies linked to depression include riboflavin (vitamin B2) and thiamine (vitamin B1). In the early stages of thiamine deficiency, normally healthy people become depressed, irritable and fearful. It’s also commonly seen in hospitalized mental patients.

Vitamin B12 is yet another B-vitamin deficiency often linked to psychiatric problems. Important for the formation of red blood cells, an inadequate supply can lead to pernicious anemia, characterized by mood swings, paranoia, irritability, confusion, dementia, hallucinations or mania-symptoms that can easily be mistaken for mental illness.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C also appears to have a role in maintaining mood. One of the first symptoms of mild scurvy, the vitamin C-deficiency disease, is depression, along with tiredness and irritability.


Besides vitamins, a number of mineral deficiencies may also bring on depression. Both too much and too little calcium in the blood may be associated with depression.

People with iron-deficiency anemia often feel tired and depressed even after supplementing with iron has cured the anemia. Furthermore, the depression may not be resolved for months. The exact nature of the relationship is as yet unknown, although what we do know is that some areas of the brain have high iron concentrations, leading some experts to speculate that a reduced level of iron in the brain may bring on depression.

Magnesium deficiency often goes hand-in-hand with calcium deficiency, and is frequently seen in depressed patients. Interestingly, the levels of magnesium in cerebrospinal fluid are especially low in patients who are suicidal.

Another potential culprit in depression is low levels of potassium, a particularly common side-effect of diuretics.


Other vitamin deficiencies linked to depression: Vitamin D.


-Test your nutrient levels.
-If deficient, research food sources of the nutrient online. Then eat plant-foods rich in these vitamins and minerals. And take a vitamin B12 supplement. (Also take a vitamin D supplement if your levels are low or if you do not regularly get at least 20 minutes of sun daily with at least 25% of your body uncovered.)
-Still talk with your doctor or therapist. The underlying cause of your depression may not be nutritional but I think you should test your nutrient levels to be sure.

Some sources of B Vitamins:

Some studies show fruit and vegetable consumption may be inversely associated with the risk of depression. (source).
And some foods like blueberries promote positive mood and may be a possible way to prevent depression. (source)

Also, some studies point to depression as a symptom of inflammation in the body:
“Instead of being a discrete disease entity, depression is a symptom, like nausea, tremors, sweating, or a cough. The evidence points to an inflammatory cytokine model of depression, whereby inflammatory intercellular signaling molecules like interleukin-1 (IL-1), IL-6, interferon (IFN) gamma, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, produced by the innate immune system, penetrate the blood brain barrier and create mood disorders including anxiety, panic attacks, and depression—which are symptomatic of systemic inflammatory processes (Dantzer, 2008).”

“There is an increasing risk of depression as a consequence of an increasing inflammatory load” (source)

What can help inflammation? Rest and getting the right nutrients through diet.
(1) Turmeric may be the most touted and revered herb (spice) for fighting inflammation. It’s active ingredient is curcumin. It seems curcumin is not as bio-available as one would expect. …You can add a little pepper for its piperine content to enhance bio-availability.
(2) Bromelain is a mixture of digestive and proteolytic enzymes from pineapple cores. It’s the proteolytic enzymes that help relieve inflamed tissues. This is true for proteolytic enzymes, but bromelain is the least expensive and most accessible.”
3) Anti-inflammatory foods like blackberries.


Calcium carbonate is dangerous for you

January 13, 2016

PROBLEM: Some products (such as some non-dairy milks) and supplements/vitamins contain “calcium carbonate“. (it’s elemental/inorganic calcium from rock, bone, shells, etc.)

“Growing evidence suggests that Calcium Carbonate, which is chalk or limestone, is not a biologically appropriate form of calcium for human metabolism.  The primary justification for ingesting Calcium Carbonate is to “support bones,” however, Lancet and the British Medical Journal, recently published the results of two extensive clinical trails which concluded that Calcium plus Vitamin D does nothing to prevent bone loss.”

Also, the latest study “involving 24,000 people between the ages of 35 and 64, were even more alarming. Those participants who took a regular calcium supplement increased their risk of having a heart attack by 86% versus those who took no calcium supplements at all.”
(source: “Stoned to death: calcium supplements proven to kill again”)
That article also says that calcium carbonate may end up in places you do not want it to go such as bowels, kidneys (stones), breasts, brain, etc. or create osteoarthritis or hypertension.
” “Brain gravel” is also an increasingly prevalent phenomenon, where autopsied patients have been found to have pebble-size calcium deposits distributed throughout their brains, including the pineal gland (‘the seat of the soul’).”

Inorganic “Calcium carbonate” causes brain lesions. (source: “Taking calcium supplements causes brain lesions”)

almondbreeze.jpg-Stay away from products that contain “Calcium Carbonate”. Always check labels. (Examples of some products that I know contain calcium carbonate include: Silk non-dairy milks and also AlmondBreeze non-dairy milks made by Blue Diamond have it too.)

So look for other non-dairy milk brands. There’s products out there that don’t have it. Always check every label on any product you buy. (stay away from calcium carbonate).

-Instead choose products with other forms of calcium. “Calcium as found in chelated form, e.g. calcium citrate, calcium bisglycinate, calcium asporatate, or in its natural state as Food, is much more readily absorbed and utilized within the body, and does not have the risk factors associated with inorganic calcium ingestion.”

Dairy Alternatives

December 12, 2015

Consuming dairy is very bad for your health and the animals. (example: The China Study showed that the milk protein casein causes cancer. And you are not a baby animal so you do not need a baby animal’s milk.)

So here are some good alternatives to dairy:

Non-dairy milks:
Almond milk, soy milk, hemp milk, cashew milk, rice milk, oat milk, macadamia nut milk, coconut milk, etc. And there are some non-dairy milks that have more calcium than dairy milks.

So Delicious is one brand I use and they make lots of different non-dairy milks, creamers, yogurts and non-dairy ice creams that are delicious. See:

Others: WestSoy soy milk, Rice dream, etc..

Non-dairy cheese products, butter and more:

There are lots of options out there for vegan cheeses but here are some that I like:
Tofutti non-dairy cream cheese. (They also offer non-dairy sour cream, slices, ricotta, and other products such as non-dairy ice cream and frozen foods. And I tried their non-dairy ice cream at the plaza ice cream parlor on main street inside Disney’s Magic Kingdom and liked it.)
Earth Balance vegan cheddar squares taste just like Cheezit crackers. I think they recently won the VegMag survey for best snack.
-If you want another cheesy snack, try the vegan Nacho flavored bean & rice chips by Beanfield’s. See their vegan chips here.
Earth Balance vegan butters.
-Vegenaise by Follow Your Heart is a good vegan alternative to mayonaisse. And they have other products such as vegan cheese, vegan eggs, dressings and more.
Daiya sells non-dairy cheeses, pizzas, cheesecakes, yogurt and packaged macaroni and cheese. I like their Daiya deluxe alfredo style Cheezy Mac. (you can find alot of their products at Whole Foods market)
-Amy’s kitchen has some good frozen foods such as “dairy-free rice mac & cheeze” that uses Daiya cheese. I found them in Whole Foods market and my local regular supermarket. Not all products by Amy’s Kitchen are dairy-free but she does have a lot of different vegan products available. See their vegan section here of vegan frozen foods, soups and more. They are widely available. I even saw some at Target.

Non-dairy ice cream and frozen desserts:

There are alot of dairy-free options in health food stores such as Whole Foods market. And now you can find some products such as some of Ben & Jerry’s 7 non-dairy flavors at stores like Walmart, Publix, Target, etc. Plus you can Breyer’s 2 non-dairy flavors at Walmart. (tip: let Breyer’s melt a bit and it tastes even better). And Talenti has a line of sorbettos that are dairy free. Just look for the word “sorbetto” instead of “gelato” on the label. I found it at my regular supermarket, Publix. Plus there’s other brands such as SoDelicious which has many desserts, which I have found at Whole Foods, Walmart and sometimes Target.

So there’s no excuse to eat dairy with so many non-dairy options out there. You can find most products at Whole Foods market or other health food stores. And some products are available in regular supermarkets such as Daiya cheeze, Amy’s Kitchen products, Earth Balance butters, some non-dairy milks and more. Check the health food stores and supermarkets near you. You may be surprised.


What’s wrong with peanuts and cashews?

June 7, 2015

From the 5/6/15 eNewsletter of the Hippocrates Health Institute:

“Peanuts are not the best choice in a healthy diet. Most nuts grow above the ground on trees which keeps them relatively dry. This minimizes the possibility of developing mold, fungus and rot. Peanuts are unique as they grow below the ground making them much more susceptible to mold. Aflatoxin is a potent carcinogen produced by the Asergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus molds, which can grow on peanuts. The syndromes of aflatoxin toxicity are vomiting, abdominal pain, pulmonary edema, convulsions, coma, and even death.

To make matters worse, peanuts normally go through a sorting process after they are harvested. The best mold-free peanuts are reserved for roasting and eating whole. The remaining, less-than-pristine peanuts are often ground up and used for making peanut butter. These second rate peanuts may be infested with aflatoxin mold which goes unnoticed once ground up into peanut butter.

A much better option is to use raw almonds and raw almond butter instead of peanuts. Almonds are an excellent source of calcium which helps build strong bones and teeth. Other benefits of almonds include:

  • Reducing the risk of heart attack by lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and raising blood HDL.
  • Protecting artery walls from damage. This is because raw almonds have an antioxidant effect warding off free-radicals.
  • Provides protection against diabetes because raw almonds are a blood sugar balancer.

Make sure your almonds are “truly raw” and that you soak them for eight hours prior to eating or using in recipes. This releases the enzyme inhibitors making them easier to digest and more nutritious.

Most Americans are getting far too many omega-6 fats in their diet compared to omega-3 at a ratio of about 40:1. This is because the Standard American Diet (SAD) includes eating animal products, processed foods, and processed oils. We need a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 oils at a ratio of about 1:1. Cashews contain too much omega-6. 

The other issue with cashews is that they are in the same family as poison ivy and poison sumac. This means that the cashew plant contains powerful chemical irritants, just like the previously named plants. Urushiol is the ingredient in poison ivy that binds to your skin causing a rash, but it occurs in a much smaller amount in cashew husks.

People who are extremely sensitive to poison ivy may even get a rash on their lips from eating cashews. You must be wondering why we are able to eat cashews and not have any reactions? The chemical irritants are only found in the shell and not in the nut itself. To make sure that the cashews are free of these irritants, manufactures heat the nuts in the shell at a very high temperature to destroy them. Even “raw” cashews have actually been heat treated. 

An excellent substitute for cashews is pine nuts and macadamia nuts which are also sweet and creamy. Just like with almonds, make sure your pine nuts and macadamia nuts are “truly raw” and that you soak them for eight hours prior to eating or using in recipes.”

And a recipe from them…

“From the Kitchen – Pad Thai

Trying to ditch the peanuts? Try our amazing version of the classic Pad Thai

Pad Thai with Almond Ginger Dressing Pad Thai, Yield: 4 Servings
1 1/2 C. Spiralized Purple Top Turnips
2 C. Bean Sprouts
1/3 C. Thinly Sliced Scallion
1/2 to 1/4 C. Almond Ginger Dressing
1/4 C. Chopped Dehydrated Almonds

1. In a bowl, combine the radish noodles, bean sprouts, and scallion. Add fresh cilantro and/or basil if desired.
2.Toss the Almond Ginger Dressing with the noodles and scallions.
3. Add he bean sprouts and mix again.
4. Add chopped almonds and mix again.
5. Plate and garnish with additional bean sprouts, scallions and almond.

Almond Ginger Dressing, Yield: 4 Cups
2 C. Chopped Bell Pepper
1 C. Raw Almond Butter
1/2 C. Chopped Scallion
1/4 C. Chopped Red Beet
2 T. Chopped Ginger
1 Clove Garlic
1 1/2 T. Kelp Powder
1 C. Water
1 T. Braggs Aminos or Nama Shoya (optional)
1/2 T. Fresh Lemon Juice
Cayenne to taste

1. In a blender combine all ingredients (of the dressing). Blend well and season to taste.”

Milk does not do the body good

November 29, 2010

It’s sad that most people think that milk is good for them and that they need it for calcium, when in fact the opposite is true.

Animal protein causes bone loss.
Read this article about milk and calcium. (it also lists some alternative sources of calcium):

What else is wrong with milk and why is it not good for us? Read this:

What do I drink as vegan replacement for milk? Almond milk or Coconut milk. Read about some of Coconut milk’s health benefits:

“Half the medium-chain fatty acids in Coconut milk are composed of lauric acid, which is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal. Coconut milk can help boost the immune system.”

and more info in a video about why cow’s milk is bad:

Standard American Diet (SAD)

April 30, 2010

Each year, the typical American on the standard american diet (SAD) consumes 600 cans (or 56 gallons) of soda annually, 150 hamburgers, 200 orders of french-fries, and 180 pounds of meat. And they purchase, on average, 125 take-out meals each year. What is more disturbing is that 90% of foods Americans purchase every year are processed foods lacking in essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants; in 1940, this statistic was only 10%. The number of people eating five servings of fruits and vegetables declined in the last 18 years from 42% to 26%.

And they consume about 140 pounds of sugar each year. That’s the sugar equivalent of 3,628 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in the next 12 months. That’s just crazy. People should switch to raw foods and they’d be alot healthier. Of course the advertisers don’t want you to do that.

Raw and cooked food comparison

April 29, 2010

From the film “Breakthrough” the documentary.