- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin B6 (P5P/ PLP)
- Adaptogenic herbs
Depression and Anxiety Pt.2
As we discussed in last weeks blog depression and anxiety are a problem for a lot of people. In part 1 we looked at the microbiome and its role in these conditions. The nutritional side of the equation is the main focus here in part 2.
We touched on some of the neurochemistry in part 1, but that wasn’t everything thats involved. Anxiety and stress are closely related in many cases with anxiety even indicating that the stress response has initiated. Also multiple studies indicate that level of vitamin d are associated with severity of depression. Moreover there is even a specific classification of depression, seasonal depression, that is thought to be solely due to low levels of vitamin d.
Not always, but more often than not, there is elevated levels of cortisol and lower levels of DHEA with anxiety.The actions of cortisol are opposed by that of DHEA. By the same token there is also a connection with low levels of DHEA and depression. In fact one study showed a patient receiving DHEA treatment raised her “depression score”, using the Hamilton Rating Score, from 48% to 72%. . One of the actions of vitamin D is that it increases serum levels of DHEA. The actions of cortisol are opposed by that of DHEA.DHEA is also the precursor to our sex hormones (Testosterone, progesterone, etc…).
Next we will talk about vitamin d influence on the feel good neurotransmitter serotonin. While studying vitamin d’s effects on autism, one study found that vitamin d can increase serotonin production by 30 times! It does this by activating certain cells and making others inactive. This leads to higher levels of serotonin in the brain.
I think that it is important to mention that more than 90% of people diagnosed with depression have low serum levels of zinc. First lets start off with the importance of zinc when it comes to protecting the brain. The blood brain barrier, what protects the brain from harmful compounds, uses zinc as a main protective component. When there isn’t sufficient zinc for the blood brain barrier to do its job things can get to the brain that shouldn’t. For instance excess copper can enter the brain. When this happens it facilitates the conversion of dopamine into norepinephrine as copper is a cofactor in this process. This causes symptoms of anxiety. Certain mood regulating neurons, glutamatergic neurons, concentrate zinc and show a noticeable decrease in activity in the absence of this important mineral. There is also a reduction in GABA associated with zinc deficiency.
The highest natural source is the polyrhachis ant, the premier ingredient in mStrength.
Vitamin B6 (PLP/P5P)
Vitamin B6 is very important when it comes to neurochemistry. The brain concentrates roughly 100 times the amount of vitamin b6 than what is found in the blood, just to give you an idea of its importance. Vitamin b6 is also required in the production of serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. Some people have a genetic predisposition to not be able absorb the more common of the supplemental forms, and the body converts it to what is referred to as PLP or P5P, the naturally occurring form, so I would recommend getting it from natural sources. One of my favorite sources is the goji berry, but a few other good sources are avocado, sunflower seeds, and pistachios. If you are a women on birth control, you want to make especially sure that you are getting this important nutrient.
We touched a bit on DHEA earlier and its importance to these conditions. There are a few adaptogenic herbs that can aid in increasing DHEA while lowering cortisol. First we have maca. Not only does this herb boost DHEA, but it also has a decent amount of the mineral zinc as well. It is noted that maca can help with both conditions and these two facts alone, I’m sure are a big contributing factor. A cortisol lowering effect is also seen with the cordyceps mushroom, ashwaganda, astragalus, and rhodiola. In fact rhodiola is so effective that one of the compounds, salisdroside, is being looked at for its pharmaceutical application. One of the other actions that rhodiola has is that it stops the breakdown of serotonin and dopamine.
I would like to point out that all the herbs mentioned in the above paragraph are all ingredients in our mBreakfast. So mBreakfast is defiantly near the top of what I take myself for these conditions. My number one go to is mStrength. The reason for that is the zinc that the ant contains and the vitamin b6 that is in the goji. You can’t go wrong with either and doing both is a daily for me. In the summer I try to get my vitamin d from the sun, but in winter or on days I can’t I go for mVita D3. These can all be picked up at the online store or if you would like to stop by our award winning wellness center I can answer any questions you might have in person.
Say YES to your health!