Depression and the lifestyle intervention

Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease” -Hippocrates

Depression is not a disease, it’s a symptom of poor lifestyle. Thinking that depression is a disease is a myth that will bring you a lot of suffering. If you struggle with feeling hopeless, sad, foggy, or mentally fragile, you’re not alone. Now a days depression has been the world’s number one public problem, like common cold. But there is grim difference between depression and a common cold. Depression can kill you, fortunately, it is also treatable.

“You can change the way you feel by changing your lifestyle”

Depression don’t hit you overnight. Body throws tantrum after extreme exhaustion and fatigue. Unhealthy lifestyles and depression are highly interrelated.

Let’s say from few days you are observing few symptoms- feeling low, fatigue, mood swings, emotionally imbalance, loss of appetite, despair …… and you go to see your doctor to find out what’s wrong with you?

UH OHHHH … you are back with depression diagnosis and few antidepressants. Case closed! But it isn’t.

For an example-You and your friend both have headache. Your headache is due to too much of drinking wine and your friend’s headache is from being hit on the wall. Both symptoms are same but root cause is different.

Obviously, these two chronic headaches can’t be cured in the same way, because their root causes are different. Ultimately, drugs like antidepressants don’t cure the disease; they just mask the symptoms. It makes things worst with side effects

Functional approaches take a radically different approach to depression; it tries to understand what creates it at the first level.

Your depression is not in your head. It is in your body .When you fix your body, you fix your broken brain. Your energy, memory, focus, and your joy will all increase. Depression will fade away like a bad dream.

“Udaram Vyadhi Mandiram”- Ayurveda (The stomach is abode of all disease)

“All disease begins in the gut”-Hippocrates

If your stomach is depressed ,so you are! Emerging research, reveals a gut-brain connection and depression.  Gut is your second brain. Your healing starts in your gut. Take care of your gut, your gut will take care of you.

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  1. Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  2. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  3. Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  4. Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  5. Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  6. Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
  7. Feeling worthless or guilty
  8. Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  9. Thoughts of death or suicide

The solution involves balancing the seven core systems

  1. Optimize nutrition
  2. Balance hormones
  3. Cool off inflammation
  4. Fix digestion
  5. Enhance detoxification
  6. Boost energy metabolism
  7. Calm the mind

When you struggle with depression, here are some checklist before you work-

  • Do you have low thyroid function?
  • Do you have a vitamin D deficiency?
  • Do you have a folic acid or B12 deficiency?
  • Do you have a deficiency of omega-3 fats?
  • Do you have Gluten allergies?
  • Do you have inflammation? 
  • Do you have gut issues– leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Do you have hormonal imbalances?

Its simple you eliminate things that cause imbalances in core systems and provide your body with the things it needs to heal.

Life style intervention:

  1. Get your Thyroid tested.
  2. Eat whole, real food. Feed your brain and body with a nutrient-dense, whole, fresh, plant-based diet that includes plenty of protein and healthy fats. Your brain is about 60 percent fat, so it makes sense eating plenty of healthy fats (and including anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids) and protein can help heal your brain.
  3. Remove gluten and dairy products. Gluten and casein  found in dairy products has adverse effects on depression.
  4. Eat anti-inflammatory food and omega 3 rich food.
  5. Cut out sugar. 
  6. Exercise and meditate regularly.
  7. Get enough sleep
  8. Take the right nutrients and supplements- Omega 3, Magnesium Citrate, saffron, coffee, Coconut oil, Folate rich food, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C.
  9. Make time for creativity.
  10. Focus on AMP(Autonomy, mastery and purpose)
  11. Take active rest and vacation

Magnesium the antidote for depression:

Think of magnesium as the relaxation mineral. Anything that is tight, irritable, crampy, and stiff — whether it is a body part or an even a mood — is a sign of magnesium deficiency. You don’t have to be in the hospital to get magnesium. You can start taking regular magnesium supplementation today and see results.

This critical mineral is actually responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions and is found in all of your tissues — but mainly in your bones, muscles, and brain. You must have it for your cells to make energy, for many different chemical pumps to work, to stabilize membranes, and to help muscles relax.

Omega 3 fatty acid and depression

Omega 3 are incredibly important for their many functions within the body, especially brain. Most studies are showing that omega-3s may be helpful in treating some forms of depression. Your brain needs the type of fatty acids that are in omega-3s for proper functioning. It’s believed by some that those who experience depression may not have enough EPA and DHA.

In 2009 researchers reviewed data from three studies that used EPA in the treatment of three different types of depression: recurrent major depression in adultsmajor depression in children, and bipolar depression. The large majority of subjects taking EPA in all types showed significant improvement and benefited from the EPA as compared to those with a placebo.

Meditation ,GABA and depression:

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid and neurotransmitter that is naturally produced in the brain through meditation, yoga and exercise. GABA is the primary neurotransmitter responsible for providing calming effects. Research has found that people who experience major depression often have lower levels of the chemical. GABA also plays a role in regulating the immune system, appetite, and metabolism. When a person has low neurotransmitter activity, the result can be anxiety, depression, insomnia, and chronic stress.

Cold shower and depression:

Taking a cold shower for up to 5 minutesdaily or 2 to 3 times per week , was shown to help relieve symptoms of stress and depression in a clinical trial. For people with depression, cold showers can work as a kind of gentle electroshock therapy. The cold water sends many electrical impulses to your brain. By getting more noradrenaline, your brain releases more happy hormones into the body.

Sunlight ,serotonin and depression:

Sunlight and darkness trigger the release of hormones in your brain. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. At night, darker lighting triggers the brain to make another hormone called melatonin. This hormone is responsible for helping you sleep.

Without enough sun exposure, your serotonin levels can dip. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of depression

Sunlight cues special areas in retina that triggers the release of serotonin. So, sungazing and sunning seems to be beneficial in depression.

Give yourself phototherapy to heal!

Vitamin D and depression:

Studies shows that vitamin D deficiency – sunshine vitamin and depression may travel together, and that filling up the ” vitamin D tank” may help relieve some of the symptoms. Vitamin D insufficiency (≤20 ng/mL) has been associated with depression. If your depression is severe, you are more likely to benefit from correcting an insufficiency.

High antioxidant coconut oil and depression:

Coconut oil is made up of a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The oil contains close to 12 g of saturated fat per tablespoon. This makes up nearly 60 percent of your daily recommended saturated fat intake. It contains about 6 g of lauric acid, a type of medium-chain fatty acid.

Studies shown that using a high quality virgin coconut oil can rival anti-depressant drugs without the dangerous side effects. It is encouraging to see researchers consider natural foods as alternatives, given the fact that they do not have all the serious side effects that psychiatric drugs do.

One area where virgin coconut oil really outperformed was in the area of oxidation and elimination of free radicals. 

Stress is known to increase oxidative stress, leading to neurological damage and death. Antioxidant and anti stress coconut oil , on the other hand, reverse this trend and help prevent further neurological damage and depression.

Attached testimonial on depression from one of my client from Delhi;

DISCLAIMER: If you are at risk for suicide, or other harm or injury, please do not try and treat it on your own. There is help. 

References:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46674.Feeling_Good

https://www.lifehack.org/375978/cold-shower-powerful-way-to-improve-your-mental-health

https://www.firstforwomen.com/posts/health/cold-shower-benefits

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_ERDxxzvQE

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20021205/unraveling-suns-role-in-depression

https://www.jabfm.org/content/28/2/249

https://www.jabfm.org/content/28/2/249

https://examine.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-and-depression/

Author: Gunjan Mishra

Holistic Wellness Coach ,Functional Medicine Practitioner, NLP and CBT Practioner, A Certified nutritionist from Stanford University(US), Diploma in health and fitness from Shaw Academy(UK), Advanced Diploma in Principles of Nutrition(UK), Personal Trainer (GFFI Academy, India), Advanced Diploma in Ultimate body Transformation(UK), Co-founder of Cosmic wellness centre.

11 thoughts on “Depression and the lifestyle intervention”

  1. This is such a beautiful and a well researched article.
    I seriously admire the way you explained the lifestyle part ( along with the diet) in reference with depression as it’s the most unexplored or rather something we don’t talk about alot.
    It’s quite enlightening .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We hear about depression too often now then under the sun. People are getting into an endless trap of drugs both medecinal and non medicinal ones.
      But in this post , you have dived deep into the subject with actual ways to kill it from very core.
      Related with the “Sunlight ,serotonin and depression” and “magnesium” part which I have seen in lot of people developing recently .
      Your through research with simple and clean mode of explanation serves the purpose of actually dealing and finishing off this new found culture of mordern age.
      Thank you

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This article is an eye opener to those who think that depression is non curable or a person under depression has to take medicine for long. It is so relevant in the present day scenario of COVID-19 when people are finding difficult to ventilate. Actually, food is the real medicine and this article gives all the prescription for free.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gunjan, indeed the post depression was splendid and very informative . You have very nicely explained all the aspects of depression and its outcome…It was a very good knowledgeable input for a lay man and would surely help is all to stay fit with your guidance…

    All the best..
    Samar Bhattacharjee

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing this informative article . The role of diet in treating depression was a definite eye opener . Very well laid out facts with simple explanation makes it a must read in these testing times .
    Great work Gunjan !!
    Keep sharing 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The article is extremely informative. Many ways of fighting depression without using chemicals are the need of the hour and your article has immense substance to understand the origin of depression and how one can cure it in the most effective and healthy manner. Thanks for enlightening us.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It is a very well written article which explains many aspects in a simple, organised way. Role of diet in curing depression is something new for many.
    Keep doing the good job, Gunjan.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What an empowering article. It gives one courage of overcoming a low pattern of your life and thought process by following simple but powerful daily rituals. Thanks for being our strength and never giving up on us.

    Liked by 1 person

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