Monday, April 23, 2012


 (taken from chapter 32 of “The New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind, by Patrick Holford)
 I know I said I was going to do Manic Depression - still on it's way - this topic came up and was a bit more pressing for me so I hope you don't mind the diversion!
  •         One in four people are addicted to SOMETHING – tea, coffee, sugar, nicotine, alcohol, tranquilizers – something!
  •          Genes are important and play a role
  •          But genes are only one side of the equation – predispose it but don’t determine it
  •         “By providing optimum nutrition for a person…their mood, energy, and general well-being can be so substantially improved that compensations using addictive substances no longer become necessary.” (pg356)
  •         One study with mice prove this – two groups – one group given junk food the other given a healthy diet – both with free access to water and/or alcohol.  The junk food mice soon became alcoholic and died prematurely.  The healthy mice did not choose the alcohol and lived to a ripe old age.
  •          Also to note is that the mice, as they became more interested in the alcohol they became less interested in any food – leading to a downward spiral…

Most alcoholics and drug addicts have HYPOGLYCEMIA – one way of raising your blood-sugar level is to smoke a cigarette, drink coffee, eat chocolate, drink alcohol or take a drug.

Addictions have a lot in common with hidden allergies.  Often the allergic substance becomes addictive, and if it is not consumed, withdrawal symptoms set in, which can be relieved by consuming the allergen.

Many people who regularly consume alcohol also become allergic to it, or to something in it.

ALCOHOL: the greatest anti-nutrient of them all.
            Well proven to deplete almost every vitamin (A,B1,B2,B6,folic acid, B12,C,D, and E), mineral (calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and selenium) and amino acid(trypophan, taurine, glutathione etc.) essential fat (omega-3, omega 6) as well as disturbing blood sugar control.
            MANY OF THE SYMPTOMS AND PROBLEMS OF ALCOHOL ABUSE ARISE DIRECTLY FROM THESE NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCES.  For example, tryptophan depletion leads to depression, while B-vitamin deficiencies make you anxious, unable to concentrate, and even feeling like you are crazy.

            In a rat study, rats given B1 vitamins cut their drinking by a staggering 80 %

Lots of nutrients protect the liver too – Taurine, choline, glutamine, glutathione, and many others.

  •          Alcohol: a number of researchers reports have found that mega-doses of a cocktail of nutrients, given orally as supplements or intravenously, can virtually eliminate symptoms of withdrawal.  “A whole-food diet plus a multivitamin kept 81 % of alcoholics off booze six months after withdrawal, compared to 38% left to their own devices.
  •        Cigarettes: an alkaline diet with plenty of fruit and veggies and high doses of Vitamin C and niacin as well as other nutrients.  – most smokers are hypoglycemic so a diet with COMPLEX carbohydrates (brown rice, beans, lentils, no refined white flour products) AND no sugar, tea, and coffee is essential.  Extra chromium, B6 and zinc also help to stabilize blood sugar.  Nutritional factors PLUS counseling are highly effective

In Summary:
  •          get professional help and guidance
  •          deal with psychological issues with a psychotherapist
  •            increase your intake of nutrients, including a high strength B complex plus niacin 500 mg, pantothenic acid 500 mg, vitamin B6 100 mg, folic acid 1 mg, vitamin C 3-10 g a day spread throughout the day.
  •           Take L-glutamine powder, 5 g am and pm plus enough essential fats including GLA, EPA and DHA and minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
  •             Come off your addiction slowly
  •       Eat an extremely healthy diet that supports your brain:
 Eating Healthy    what does it look like? More info in my older posts but here it goes again! 
  •           wholegrains  (such as rice, buckwheat, millet, rye, oats, whole wheat, spelt or quinoa), lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables.  Eat five or more servings of fruits and veggies per day.  Choose dark green, leafy and root vegetables such as watercress, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, green beans and peppers, either raw or lightly cooked and limit your consumption of starchier veggies like potatoes.
  •           Choose fresh fruit such as apples, pears, berries, melon or citrus fruit.   Have bananas in moderation.  Dilute fruit juices and only eat dried fruits infrequently in small quantities preferably soaked.
  •           Avoid sugar and foods containing sugar – this means anything with added glucose, sucrose, or dextrose, malt sugar, honey.  Don’t be tempted to go for sugar substitutes – they all keep sugar cravings alive and most are detrimental.
  •          Combine PROTEIN foods (fish, meat, eggs, beans)with carbs by eating cereals and fruit with nuts or seeds, having carbohydrate rich foods with protein rich foods (fish, chicken, lentils, beans or tofu)
  •          Eat breakfast every day!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sleeping Eazzzzy...

As I go through this book, and as you go through my posts, you will see some common threads.  Though this post is specifically about sleep, it is all interrelated as we are all quickly learning.  If we are not well, then we are often not going to sleep well,  and if we don't sleep well we will very quickly become less well.  Sleep has to be a priority, so rather than ignoring it or turning to over-the-counter, addictive medications, read on and find some simple solutions!
  • Find ways of relaxing and de-stressing in the evening
  • make sure your supplement program includes vitamin B6 100 mg, and zinc 10 mg – up to 30 if no dream recall
  • Supplement 400 mg of calcium and 300 mg magnesium in the evening and eat calcium and magnesium rich foods – such as seeds, nuts and crunchy or dark green vegetables
  •  Maintain blood sugar levels throughout the day– eat protein rich foods at EVERY meal and avoid refined foods, coffee, sugary foods and drinks and minimize alcohol.
  •  Balance your sleep neurotransmitters- serotonin which aids in making melatonin (a neurotransmitter - without which it is difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep)- B6 and the amino acid tryptophan are needed to make these.  Read this post about serotonin, tryptophan and 5-HTP
  • If necessary and you suffer from insomnia supplement either 200 mg of 5-HTP - direct precursor to serotonin (discussed here) before bed. (Incidentally 5-HTP has also been shown to reduce sleep terrors in children when given at an amount equal to 1 mg per pound of body weight before bed.) 
  •  avoid sugar and stimulants (caffeine!) especially after 4 pm
How significant is caffeine and my sleep?
One study done in Israel found that volunteers given regular coffee, compared to decaf, slept an average of two hours less. (pg 189). Melatonin  production is suppressed by caffeine for up to 10 hours.

A note about Valerian - considered nature's Valium and worth a look
**valerian can interact with alcohol and other sedative drugs so please only take under close medical supervision **

One double blinded study in which participants took 60 mg of valerian 30 minutes before bedtime for 28 days found it to be as effective as oxazepam, a drug used to treat anxiety. (pg 193) Recommended 150-300 mg

Sleep well!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


(remember this is a summary from the book by Patrick Holford called New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind - you can purchase it here)

I think I need this one. Bad. Anyone that has seen me in the last few weeks can see it. I’m irritable, I talk quickly, I can’t relax. I need to relax – oh help me relax!!

Do you know that in ONE WEEK in Britain – (okay the author of this book is from Britain so that is why there are so many UK stats) they pop 10 million tranquilizers, puff 10 million joints and drink 120 million alcoholic drinks – don’t’ think for a second that we are any better.

Anti- anxiety drugs (tranquilizers) like Valium (diazepam), Librium and Ativan are very effective at reducing symptoms of anxiety in the short term but they are highly addictive in as little as four weeks. Did you know that doctors are strongly advised to NOT prescribe these for more than four weeks!

Even the new class of drugs = nonbenzodiazepines that were developed in order to be a safer, less side effect option, are proving to be just as bad.

“Dependence can develop in as little as one week of continuous use.”

So... What is the alternative?

GABA – is a neurotransmitter which is the brain’s peacemaker, Holford says. It helps to turn off excess adrenalin and calm you down. Tranquilizers (ie.Valium) discussed above promote GABA.

Natural GABA promoters ensure you produce and release GABA when you need to. Those promoters include amino acids, minerals and herbs and he lists the most effective as being: GABA (it’s a neurotransmitter and an amino acid), Taurine, Kava, Valerian, Hops, Passionflower and Magnesium.

As much as I am not against these options – they all are reasonable and safe options- I am going to spend more time looking at giving your body what it is needing…this is my bent…if you are lacking a specific nutrient for your body, you are going to be experiencing symptoms, so let’s look at what your body is needing if you are experiencing anxiety and stress…

Like Magnesium.

It not only relaxes your mind but it also relaxes your muscles too. Muscles aches, cramps, spasms, anxiety and insomnia are classic symptoms that you need more. We need 500 mg daily. Seeds and nuts are a great source as well as dark green leafy veggies (gotta love kale!) so if you are eating lots of these foods daily, supplementing with 300 mg as well is wise. If you are especially anxious, Holford recommends 500 mg in the evening.

Blood Sugar Level.  Again - this is coming up.  When blood sugar levels are going up and down, your body produces more lactic acid which surprisingly enough has been linked to causing anxiety attacks and hyperventilating - which actually produces more lactic acid again.  (incidentally this is why breathing in to a paper bag works - it levels out the glucose levels in the body)

"Finally, deficiency in vitamin B1 stops the body breaking down glucose properly, again promoting lactic acid.  So, make sure you are supplementing a good B complex or multivitamin."

Also - check for food allergies - see this link for more info.

Coming soon...sleep remedies and manic depression...