A growing percentage of the population is now beginning to experience anxiety or depression symptoms that seem to be uncontrollable without the simple fix of drugs, prescribed by doctors or otherwise. Ground breaking work by Dr. Carl Pfeifer, Dr. George Samra and others in the nutritional basis of such symptoms has given us some clinical guidelines that consistently produce results.
We found that a percentage of clients seemed to respond to traditional psychotherapies better than others. On introducing high quality nutrition to our counseling regimen we found a startling increase in effectiveness.
The reasons seem to be as follows:
People who have been under high levels of stress for an extended period of time, or who have placed their bodies under physiological stress through high levels of adrenaline or incorrect nutrition often experience severe perceptual problems or emotional symptoms which “won’t go away.” Stress depletes the level of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in the brain which has a profound effect on cognitive ability and mood. Medications such as Prozac and other Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) do not elevate the levels of serotonin in the system. Nutritional therapy will increase the systemic serotonin levels. Therapeutic doses of B Complex, in unison with tryptophan and other supportive nutrients, are far more effective in replacing serotonin that has been depleted by chronic stress. Michael J. Norden, M.D. a Psychiatrist at the University of Washington has written a very interesting book, “Beyond Prozac: Brain Toxic Lifestyles, Natural Antidotes & New Generation Antidepressants” Please read it!
By way of a simple explanation, mood disorders and cognitive problems begin or are worsened because of shortages in certain vitamins and minerals and other nutrients that are critical to the correct functioning of the biochemical pathways of the brain and other parts of the body. Such deficiencies create havoc in the transmission of signals in the brain and hence in the automatic functions of the body. In the same way, excesses of hormones or neurotransmitters can cause the body to overcompensate. Ultimately, after a period of time in this state, the whole body begins to change, causing symptoms such as:
- Lack of energy—lethargy
- Severe depression
- Poor balance or episodes of dizziness
- Poor concentration and/or memory—thinking through “a fog”
- Poor perceptions—visual and auditory distortions / possible hallucinations
- Cravings for sweet foods or alcohol
- High anxiety levels and mood swings, panic attacks
- “Hair trigger” anger
Warning indicators such as these usually cause distress and even, eventually, symptoms of emotional disorders appear. The distress, and the resultant anxiety, create further biochemical imbalances, which in turn cause higher levels of anxiety, which in turn .......
And so, on it goes. Over a period of time you become locked into an anxiety cycle that seems impossible to break. In reality you are not going “nuts”! It is those biochemical reactions that maintain the high levels of anxiety. Such biochemical imbalances can also cause violent and/or even suicidal thinking. It is essential, therefore, that such physiological disturbances be treated before changes will be made at deeper levels.
If the physically induced symptoms are not dealt with first, psychological strategies will most likely be ineffective or at best temporary. Physical symptoms which reoccur after such backward therapy cause it to appear that the therapy has not worked. That suggestion compounds itself. Once the physiological reactions are removed from the equation the therapy can have succeed with the desired results.
This information covers only the nutritional basis of depression and anxiety. By applying the mechanisms herein described most people are able to eliminate nearly 50% of the intensity or frequency of their symptoms.
WARNING: Under no circumstances are you to reduce or stop your existing medication without consultation of the physician managing your medications. Once effective results are obtained from a nutritional program, your doctor can help you decide about reducing or eliminating your medications. Take particular notice of the section on detox effects.
Your body is made up of tissues, which, in turn, are made up of tiny cells. In appropriate environments each of these cells can survive and most varieties can replicate to produce more cells. Each cell has its own powerhouse to provide it with energy, and its own manufacturing plant to provide it with everything it needs to survive and reproduce. Some cells, like those in your stomach and intestines, replace themselves every few days. Others take longer.
In every case, the structure of the body, the circulatory system, the digestive system, the nervous system, the lungs and every other organ, work to keep up the supply of essential nutrients, eliminate wastes and create a state of harmony and balance.
Anything that upsets this state of balance can cause reactions which present themselves initially as changes in feelings (often ignored by us) and eventually states of dis-ease, followed by physical illness.
Such disturbances can be caused by:
1. oversupply of hormones such as adrenaline, which the body tries to balance. Adrenaline causes the release of higher than normal levels of glucose so the muscles can go into “flight or fight” mode and get you out of danger! The pancreas tries to balance this by pulling the excess glucose out of the system. It becomes so good at this that eventually it removes more than you can supply, and the brain starves for energy. The brain then drives you to find a quick fix of sugar or alcohol. You feel better for a while. Then you go back into feeling bad, until the next fix.
2. undersupply of essential nutrients. One serious mistake made by many nutritionists and much of the medical profession, is not supplying the body with ALL the micro-nutrients needed to make the main biochemical reactions work. This is especially important for the nervous system where microscopic deficiencies can cause such significant problems! I’m sure you know what I mean. For example, the nerve impulses that carry messages around the body rely on the exchange of sodium and potassium ions in and out of the cell. The neurotransmitters that convey these signals from one cell to the next are also basically a chemical reaction.
If you don’t supply all the nutrients required, or if you eat foods that strip the body of essential nutrients, then the appropriate reactions cannot occur and the system fails. We have been finding that processed grains, like white flour and rice, tend to strip the body of essential B vitamins. B3 and B6 are used in the energy system and the development of neurotransmitters. If the necessary nutrients are not consistently supplied your energy is depleted and the nervous system will not function as it should, often creating a state of chronic depression or anxiety. While there are a multitude of examples of similar deficiencies and excesses, suffice it to say that our clinical experience with chronic depression or hyper anxiety reveals some common fundamental problems.
1. There is usually an underlying high stress environment when the client is very young—often as simple as living in a house where the parents argue a lot, or where there is physical violence.
2. The high adrenaline levels often combine with poor diet, high in sugars and white flour, to create a serious biochemical imbalance over a period of 10 - 25 years. The symptoms first surface as low energy, mood swings and foggy thinking. This often raises anxiety levels.
3. Most clients suffer from cravings for sweet foods, coffee, white flour based products like bread, pasta, pizzas, or alcohol that is processed in the body in a similar way to sugar.
So, What Can I Do?
1. Significantly reduce your sugar and sweet food intake over a period of 3-4 days. Watch packaged foods carefully and avoid those with high sugar content. Even cereals are often a problem!
2. Eliminate processed grain based foods and replace with whole grains. This includes pasta, bread, biscuits, cakes, pizza, etc. Vegetable pasta is fine.
3. Increase your protein intake immediately so your body can derive a more stable energy source. Especially chicken, fish, beans, lentils, etc. Get a non-genetically modified, soy based, high protein powder and mix a high energy protein drink when you get up in the morning. Have regular high protein snacks throughout the day.
4. Have lots of fresh vegetables. Don’t overcook them. The closer to raw you can eat them the better because our processing methods do destroy the nutritional content. (By the way, if you are currently eating lots of commercially produced fruits and vegetables you are not necessarily getting an appropriate level of essential nutrients. Foods these days are grown for profit, not nutrition, and then are often stored too long before reaching the consumer. Recent research showed that nutritional value is reduced in foods that are not eaten on the day they are picked by as much as 85%! And on top of that we cook them!
5. Cut out tea and coffee over a couple of days to prevent withdrawal headaches! Replace with mineral water or herbal teas (chamomile is good for anxiety).
6. Drink a couple of liters of water per day. Preferably use reverse osmosis filtered water. This helps with the detoxification process and eliminates the build up of toxic biochemical waste which is produced as a normal part of our metabolism.
7. Get a high dose of a cold processed Vitamin B Complex into your system on a regular basis. It should have a balanced B vitamin mix, including a minimum of 250mg B3 (niacinamide) and 25mg B6. The bottle will probably say take only one a day. Not enough! Experience shows you need TWO with each meal. SIX per day is minimum maintenance dose for the stress filled lives of most of us. Therapeutic dosages are even higher (10 to 20 per day). —best with food to avoid a possible hot flush.
8. Find a high quality, cold processed multiple vitamin and mineral supplement to fill in the cracks in your nutritional regimen. B sure to include an immune booster and a natural detox program to help you remove the accumulated toxins already stored in your cells.
What Can I Expect?
If you maintain the above regimen this is what you will probably find.
1. In the first few days you may feel a little “spacy” as you detox. Make sure you drink plenty of water to flush the system -- 6 - 8 glasses per day.
2. After that, usually within 7 -- 10 days, thinking will start to clear, energy levels will increase, anxiety and/or depression will start to disperse.
3. Within two to three weeks you will find you are handling difficult situations better than you have for years. You will be sleeping more soundly, have more energy, and will be thinking clearly enough for psychotherapy to be more effective.
4. In three months the combination high quality nutrition, exercise and psychotherapy will have given you the opportunity to enjoy a rich, satisfying life.
Warning: There is much misinformation and lack of knowledge about vitamin supplementation. Below is a helpful summary of research work being done by Dr. Michael Pazdon, at the University of New Hampshire. His report is as follows:
“Of the vitamin supplements being marketed in the United States today, we found that there are basically three types (1) Synthetic (chemical), (2) Crystallized (heat processed) and (3) Lyophilized (low temperature dehydration).
These three types were tested by chromatograms prepared by the method of Pfeiffer (BioDynamics 50, 2t), with slight modification.
- SYNTHETIC: A chemical vitamin isolate made from inorganic materials, i.e., petroleum by-products. Sold mainly in drugstores, these vitamins act as drugs in the body. They may set up toxic reactions, and thereby rob the body of its own storehouse of antibodies.
- CRYSTALLIZED: Commonly labeled “organic” or “natural,” these vitamins are isolates derived at perhaps partly from a whole food (organic) source but processed by a less expensive, high temperature process. Products need be only 10% organic to legally carry the label “natural ingredients.” Most of the live enzymes necessary for absorption into the body have been destroyed in this type of vitamin. (Example: If we labeled a dead horse “natural and organic,” our label would be correct. If we wanted to ride him to town, however, we would be out of luck. “Organic and Natural” do not necessarily mean vital or “alive.”) Sold in some drug stores and most health food stores.
- LYPOHILIZED: Whole food is dehydrated by a cold process, preserving the complex of vitamins, bioflavonoids and enzymes found in nature. Enzymes necessary for absorption into the body remain intact. The only company we could find marketing this type of supplement is Shaklee Corporation. Shaklee products are sold by independent distributors and are not available in retail stores.”