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Nutritional therapy for depression and chronic pain

Aug 27, 2008 - 3 comments

Chronic pain and depression here are ways to help take control. Sometimes that in itself helps us.

With chronic suffering, the systems involved do not realize that there should be an end to your pain you get caught in a cycle. The pain stimulates chemicals that cause inflammation, leading to other chemicals causing more pain – and on it goes. Unless we interrupt the pain, this continuous feedback loop between the nervous and immune systems repeatedly generates inflammation and pain. This is how we end up suffering from chronic pain.

Specific substances in the foods you eat can increase or decrease pain and inflammation. we can influence how much of which kinds of these chemicals we make by changing what we eat and the supplements we take. We make these chemicals – the pain causers as well as the pain killers – in our bodies.

Beware of food allergies that trigger inflammation and pain. It would be wise to try an elimination diet to determine the worst offenders for you. Wheat, corn, eggs, nuts, soy, citrus fruits and juices, and dairy products are the foods most likely to give you problems.

For Chronic pain Omega-3 can help.
Your body needs omega-3 (linolenic acid) and omega-6 (linoleic acid), two essential fatty acids. They are called “essential” because your body cannot make them. They must be supplied by the foods you eat.
Consuming a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids decreases the amount of omega-6 fatty acids your cells absorb. And “long-term” intake of omega-3 fatty acids may even decrease your long-term need for anti-inflammatory drugs.

First step to use only olive oil or canola oil. Go easy on meats, eggs, and milk. And get in the habit of eating more cold water fish, such as Atlantic cod, Atlantic salmon, sockeye salmon, flounder, halibut, mackerel, tuna, bluefish, herring, and striped bass. It’s your very best source of omega-3. Fish are not only brain food, they’re also “anti-pain” food. If you’re not a fish lover, you can also get some omega-3 from nuts, seeds, and wheat germ.

When you eat less meat, you’ll also reduce arachidonic acid, another substance that increases inflammation. The visible fat in pork are especially high in this pain-provoking acid.

How Omega-3 Fatty Acids help Depression
Since fat makes up about 60 percent of the human brain. You can keep your brain running smoothly with the right kinds of fats. It all depends on what you eat. Some experts believe fish fights depression because neurotransmitters, have an easier time moving through fat membranes made a more fluid omega-3 fat rather than any other kind of fat. This means your brain's important messages get delivered.

Since these essential fats are found in seafood you can see how fish can play a major role in brain function. They may even boost your mood.  New medical evidence suggests the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish - called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) - can help drive away depression.

Even just fish oil capsules helped people with bipolar disorder, or manic depression, who go through periods of extreme highs and lows. The omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil may slow down neurons in your brain, much like the drug Lithium, which is used to treat manic depression. It has also been noted that depressed people had less omega-3 fatty acids in their red blood cells than healthy people. Interestingly enough It was also found that the more severe the depression, the less omega-3.  

Fish also has an effect on serotonin levels. If you don't have enough serotonin, you're more likely to be depressed, violent, and suicidal. If you have low levels of DHA, you also have low levels of serotonin. More DHA means more serotonin.
Most antidepressants, including Prozac, raise brain levels of serotonin. You might be doing the same thing just by eating fish.

To get your balance of omega-6 and omega-3, the obvious first step is to eat more fish. Balance is the key. Fatty fish, like salmon, herring, mackerel, and tuna, offer the best omega-3, but all seafood contains at least some. Aim for at least two fatty fish meals a week.

Some people just do not like fish that is ok because you can get some omega-3 from flaxseed; walnuts; and collard, turnip, and mustard greens. Other good sources include dark green, leafy vegetables like spinach, arugula, kale, Swiss chard, and certain types of lettuce.  A great source is fish oil supplements, which are available in health food stores, pharmacies and supermarkets. Just one caution -if you're taking blood thinners, check with your doctor before taking supplements since omega-3 also has blood-thinning effects.

Tryptophan can help fighting pain. Foods like turkey and dairy products contain a lot of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that helps your brain make serotonin, a natural pain buffer.

But these high-protein foods also contain a lot of other amino acids. The tryptophan has to compete with them for access to the brain. Fortunately, there is help for the tryptophan as it struggles to get inside the brain. By combining these proteins in moderate amounts with carbohydrates, like vegetables, fruits and grains, you help it move to the head of the line. A combination dish – like cheese and pasta.

Drinking more water to help fight pain. The water in the disks of your spinal column supports as much as 75 percent of the weight of the upper part of your body. As a matter of fact, water is an important element in all your cartilage. This protective material helps keep your bones from scarping painfully against each other when you move.

You need at least eight 6-ounce glasses of water a day. Drinks containing alcohol or caffeine draw water out of your body. And sugary drinks can cause you to put on weight, which can put pressure on painful joints.

Spice it up with Turmeric it can help fight pain. If you are hungry for relief from your aching joints, sit down to a dish of curry-flavored stew. The curcuminoids in the spice turmeric, the ingredient that give curry powder its yellow color, can be as powerful as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) in fighting inflammation. Talk to your doctor if you are interested in taking daily doses in the form of supplements.
What to Eat to help with pain:






Olive oil

What to Avoid:




Wheat germ

Canola oil

Foods containing omega-6 fatty acids, such as corn and soybean oils.

At least one study connects caffeine with chronic back pain.


If hurting has become a way of life for you, keeping a positive mental outlook will give you some relief You can help depression by eatting very simular foods.

Helping control  depression with  B Vitamins

Vitamin B6 works by keeping your brain's neurotransmitters in balance. These chemicals control whether you feel depressed, anxious, or on a steady keel.   Depression can also signal a deficiency in thiamin, also known as vitamin B1.

Eating these fro depression

Sweet potato,  spinach, asparagus, avocados, navy beans and bananas are particularly plant sources rich in folate and vitamin B6 or pyridoxine. Most fruits, many  vegetables have good amounts as well.   Deficiencies in these two B vitamins, experts believe, can actually bring on the symptoms of depression and high folate levels can help defeat it.  

Chicken, liver, and other meats to feed your brain vitamin B6.
Stick with whole-wheat breads, meats, black beans, and watermelon to punch up your thiamin levels. These foods might help you feel more clearheaded and energetic.

Fighting depression with Iron
A sour mood is a major symptom of a lack of iron. Iron-deficiency anemia often attacks pre-menopausal women, people who regularly take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's) and others at risk for chronic blood loss. It's a good idea to visit your doctor if you suspect you're anemic. Over two billion people suffer from this condition and even more live with less-serious iron deficiency. Other symptoms include pale skin, sluggishness, and trouble concentrating.

To get more iron in your diet,  With Meat the darker the cut, the more iron it has.  For vegetarians, stick with legumes, fortified cereals, quinoa, kale and other green leafy vegetables. Remember to take  vitamin C, like lemon juice. The vitamin C will help your body absorb the iron.

Selenium also helps with depression.
You probably heard selenium fights cancer, but you might not know the mineral banishes bad moods, too. People who do not eat enough selenium-rich foods tend to be grumpier than people with a high dietary intake, according to recent research. Eat some high-test selenium foods - like seafood, poultry, mushrooms, sea vegetables, and wheat - and feel the effects for yourself.
Selenium also helps with pain

it does many things, supports immune function, neutralizes certain poisonous substances, and may help combat arthritis

Natural ways to Combat Detox Depression

Aug 27, 2008 - 1 comments

Depression and ways to fight it in your daily diet


Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Vitamin B3 (niacin)

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Vitamin B-12

Folic Acid


Vitamin C

Vitamin E


Calcium and magnesium





Amino Acids

DL-phenylalanine (DLPA)


S-adenosyl- L-methionine (SAM or SAMe)

Trimethylglycine (TMG)


Serotonin and Tryptophan

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Evening primrose oil

Depressive symptoms are exacerbated by nutritional deficiencies.

Nutritional deficiencies may include:

The frequent consumption of caffeine
Consumption of sucrose (sugar)
Deficiencies of biotin, folic acid and vitamin B, vitamin C, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium or potassium.  
Excesses of magnesium or vanadium
Imbalances in amino acids
Food allergies.

Complete blood test
As part of the evaluation of your condition, your doctor will order the following tests:

Thyroid Function Test-T(3)-T(4), TSH
Urine analysis
Cytotoxic blood test
Hair and nail analysis
This is done so as to find out if there is an allergic reaction of the body or a mineral imbalance that can cause or aggravate the mental symptoms or any other physical problems that may cause these mental symptoms.

Avoid coffee, sugar, alcohol, dairy products.

Depression has been associated with a high intake of caffeine. If you drink four or more cups of caffeine in a given day, try substituting decaffeinated coffee and soft drinks.

Several studies have looked at caffeine intake and depression. In a study of healthy college students, moderate and high coffee drinkers scored higher on a depression scale than did low users. Other studies have shown that depressed patients tend to consume fairly high amounts of caffeine (more than 700 mg per day). In addition, the intake of caffeine has been linked with the degree of mental illness in psychiatric patients: the higher the intake, the more severe the depression.

Excess intake of refined sugar via sweet foods and/or from junk food can aggravate depression.

The combination of caffeine and refined sugar is even worse for depression than either substance consumed alone. Several studies have found an association between this combination and depression. In one study, twenty-one women and two men responded to an advertisement requesting volunteers "who feel depressed and don't know why, often feel tired even though they sleep a lot, are very moody, and generally seem to feel bad most of the time." The subjects were placed on a caffeine- and sucrose- free diet for one week. The subjects who reported substantial improvement (about sixty percent) were then challenged in a double-blind fashion lasting up to six days. They were given either caffeine and sucrose or Kool Aid and NutraSweet diet. About fifty percent of test subjects became depressed during the test period with caffeine and sucrose. In another similar study, seven of sixteen depressed patients were found to be depressed with the caffeine and sucrose diet, but became symptom-free when given a caffeine- and sucrose-free diet or a diet consisting of cellulose and NutraSweet.

If you are suffering from depression, stay clear of caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and dairy products if you are lactose-sensitive.

Fresh green vegetables, some fresh fruits, whole cereals and beans well cooked, unroasted seeds, seed sprouts, and soy protein, to supply whole protein to the body. Avoid any processed food, artificial colors, stimulant food, canned foods, smoking, dairy products, meats, eggs, and fish.

Avoid poultry in the beginning of the therapy. Avoid processed food that contains artificial coloring and preservatives.

Special attention should be paid to avoid foods that may cause allergic reaction, tiredness, heaviness, or any other bad feelings.

The amount of protein should be calculated according to the behavior of the patient. In hyperactivity, aggression, violence-yang conditions----about 0.5 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. In hypoactivity, passive reactions, brain fatigue, depression-yin conditions-about 1.0 gram protein per kilogram of body weight. Include tofu, beans and seafood in the diet for adequate protein.

Suggested Meal Plan

Vegetables: 3-5
Fruit: 2-4 (1 serving = 1/2 cup or 1 piece of fruit)
Bread, cereals, grains: 6-11 (1 serving= 1 slice or 3/4 cup Cereal)
Dairy products: 2-3; 3-4 for teens, pregnant or nursing women (serving= 1 cup milk or yogurt, 1 slice cheese)
Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes: 2-3 (serving = 3 ounces lean meat; 2 eggs; 1-1/4 cups legumes)

Limit your total daily fat intake to 30 percent of your total calories. Try not to consume more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day, and limit servings of meat, fish, and fowl to three ounces each.

For breakfast, eat a Swiss muesli made with rolled oats, almonds, fresh grated apples, milk and natural, plain yogurt. Nutritional yeast is a good source of B vitamins. Sprinkle nutritional yeast flakes onto muesli and salads or stir into sauces, drinks and soups. If you suspect that your depression is caused by a deficiency of iodine, take watercress.

Pancakes, oatmeal, pasta, potatoes, and other foods loaded with complex carbohydrates can help a person keep depressed moods under control. Complex carbohydrates elevate brain levels of serotonin.

Try eating at least one meal a day that includes pasta primavera or a hearty potato soup that is very high in complex carbohydrates without lots of protein.

Seek out seafood. Eating tuna, salmon, and other fish loaded with omega-3's, a type of polyunsaturated fat, may help bolster your mood. The scientists postulate that low levels of omega-3's in your nervous system may increase your vulnerability to depression. So regular consumption of fish once or twice a week may prevent the depression. Lobster, crab, shrimp, and other shellfish also contain some omega-3's.

See Also: Holistic Living for Great Ideas for Inspirational Readings and Healthy Recipes

Drugs to help with Cocaine Cravings

Aug 27, 2008 - 2 comments

Cocaine Addiction  
•  Gabapentin  •  Gamma-vinyl-gaba  •  Baclofen  •  N-acetylcysteine  •  Nocaine  •  Disulfiram  •  Modafinil
Please report your experiences with these on our
message board.


What it does: an anticonvulsant which reduces cocaine use, makes cocaine cravings easier to overcome and relapses less severe.

How it works: increases brain GABA

Side effects: sedation

Availability: by prescription from physicians

J Clin Psychiatry 2004:65:84-86 Gabapentin Reduces Cocaine use Among Addicts From a Community Sample,Raby WN reprints ***@****.

What it does: an anti epileptic drug which reduces cocaine cravings.

How it works: increases the amount of the neurotransmitter GABA in
the brain.

Side effects: sleepiness and fatigue.

Availability: Vigabatrin isn't licensed in the USA but is available to people who live in Canada and other countries.

Further information about Vigabatrin can be found by typing in “Vigabatrin and Cocaine” in a search engine.



What it does: a muscle relaxant found to curb cocaine cravings and reduce use of cocaine especially in chronic, heavy users.

How it works: increases the amount of GABA in the brain.

Side effects: drowsiness, weakness, fatigue, nausea, headache, constipation

Availability: by prescription from physicians.

J Clin Psychiatry 2003:64:1440-1448 Randomized Placebo-Controlled trial for Cocaine dependence Shoptaw,S etc- reprints ***@****. Baclofen plus substance abuse counseling significantly reduced cocaine use in recovering addicts compared to placebo plus counseling.

What it does: an amino acid that curbs cocaine cravings and repairs damage in the brain caused by cocaine use in animals. Human trials will begin
in 2004.

How it works: restores glutamate levels to normal in the area of the brain where addiction occurs.

Availability: over the counter.

For specific suggestions of other amino acids that can lessen cravings see nutrition in the Holistic Approaches section of this web site.


What it does: provides a weaker version of cocaine's effects.

How it works: blocks the stimulant effects of cocaine.

Side effects: unknown to us.

Availability: only by participating in research trials.

Information about clinical trials on cocaine can be found at Just enter the word cocaine in the "Search Clinical Trials" box.


What it does: It is an anti-alcoholic agent that makes drinking of alcohol or use of cocaine highly unpleasant.

How it works: It increases acetaldehyde in the blood.

Side effects: nausea and vomiting, sometimes very severe, if any alcohol or cocaine is used.  Other common side effects including rapid heart rate, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, confusion and fainting.

Availability: by prescription from physicians

Recent research suggests that disulfiram (also known as Antabuse), a medication used to treat alcohol addiction, is effective in reducing cocaine abuse, especially in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy.  

Carroll KM, et al. "Efficacy of Disulfiram and Cognitive Behavior Therapy in Cocaine-Dependent Outpatients: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial."  Archives of General Psychiatry. 61:264-272, 2004.


What it does: reduces high from cocaine and also reduces cocaine cravings

How it works: unknown... but it does increase glutamate in the brain

Side effects: most common side effects are headache, back pain nausea, nervousness, insomnia and anxiety.

Availability: by prescription from physicians

Warning: it is a schedule 4 drug so there is some potential for addiction to it

Dackis CA, Kampman KM, Lynch KG, Pettinati HM,O'Brien CP. "A double blind, placebo controlled trial of modafinil for cocaine dependence." Neuropsychopharmacology. 30: 205-211, 2005.


Updated :: August 19, 2008 home | treatment options | addiction medication | holistic approaches | message board | beyond recovery | contact  

Interesting Tip for Fibromyalgia and RLS

Aug 21, 2008 - 2 comments

Those with FMS who used an eye mask and ear plugs to block out all light and all sound found that their RLS stopped.  Before bedtime they go to the bathroom, chew a few TUMS to lower body acidity, drink a little water and put on the eye mask and ear plugs.  Almost to the person they report that they drop to deep, restorative sleep in about 3 minutes and stay there all night.  If they wake in the night, they just repeat the process, then go right back to sleep