Beating the Blues

By David P. Amrein, Owner

With winter coming to an end and the sun peaking out to greet us, people are starting to venture outside, shaking off those cobwebs from the long, cold winter, letting our vitamin D-deprived bodies out into the sunlight. Some people struggle with the winter season and dealing with feelings of sadness and one would think that once spring hits, everything would be fine. But, that is not always the case! Sometimes people need a little more help getting back to happy. Luckily, there is much that can be done to avoid the blues.


WORK ON A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

It starts with heeding some lifestyle guidelines; get enough sleep, keep a daily routine, exercise, reduce alcohol and other psychoactive substances (especially the ones that are depressors, like alcohol), and keep an active social life. In short, all of the things that are recommended as a generally healthy lifestyle are also advisable to counteract the effects of depression. Also, get rid of things that make you feel bad. Do you feel terrible after watching the news every day? Stop watching the news. Is your job making you miserable? Find a job you like. Do Susie and Jon pull you down emotionally every time you see them? Then maybe find a couple of new friends who have a more uplifting influence on you.

As for the physical aspect, get outside as much as possible and soak up that vitamin D that your body has been without for so long. 


A HEALTHY DIET HAS MANY BENEFITS

Diet is another factor that you may want to consider. Eating a wholesome diet is the basis of good health. The shortest definition of such a diet would be; less processed, more fresh and natural, and a lot of plant-based foods. Keep in mind that we are not talking about weight management here. Weight management has little bearing on the emotional state. We are just talking about a sensible, healthy, and balanced diet.

A particluarly important factor with regards to the diet is sugar. Blood sugar spikes lead to the release of neurotransmitters, similar to what drugs do to the body. That is why some say that “sugar is a drug”, or that it is addictive. Unfortunately, for all that is currently known, this saying is quite true, and an ever-growing body of science points in this direction. Besides the detrimental effects of sugar on the body in general – such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, weight issues, cholesterol and blood fat issues, to name just a few – sugar also strongly influences the mood. It lifts you up when you have a blood sugar spike, and pulls you down when that spike turns into a hypo--meaning low, down, or below normal. 


It is easy to determine whether you are a sugar addict. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you get cranky when you are hungry?

  • Do you get hungry only a few hours after your last meal?

  • Do you want to eat something sweet even if you have just eaten and are not really hungry?

  • Do you feel horrible if you stop all sugar for a day, or a few days, and have a generally hard time to cut out sugar?

If you are a sugar addict (and don’t feel bad if you are – about 2/3 of the population now consumes excessive amounts of sugar), you may have to cut down on it over some time, as the withdrawal symptoms may be severe. I can say from personal experience, that it takes time. But once you have done it, you will reap the benefits; not only in terms of physical and emotional health, but also because you will experience food from a totally new perspective, and discover a range of actual taste sensations, rather than just “sweet”. Cutting down on sugar does not mean you have to live a frugal, unhappy life. It means that you will discover new worlds that are much more interesting.

A sensible amount of sugar to consume would be somewhere between zero and 25 grams per day. But, be wary about all of the hidden sugars found in yogurts, dressings and sauces, ketchup, even bread and processed meats!


BOOST YOUR MOOD WITH THESE NUTRIENTS

When you eat a balanced diet, you will get most of the nutrients you need from your food. There is, however, a list of nutrients that you can supplement as well, which will sustainably boost your mental state.

Vitamin D is called the “sunshine vitamin”, because your skin can make it when it is exposed to sunlight. While about half the population is deficient in vitamin D in general, this is even more the case in winter, when there is little sunshine. And while all vitamins are vital, vitamin D has a very broad range of effects, because it is really a hormone. Its importance can’t be overstated, and it quite deserves the attention that it has received in the past few years.

Mountain Meadow Herbs’ SunshineDrops, with a healthy dose of vitamin D, is made from the only source of vegan vitamin D3. Other vitamin D products either are not vegan or contain vitamin D2 from plants, but vitamin D3 has been shown to be superior to D2. Take one serving (2,500 IU) per day. This is already a high dose, but if you suspect you have been deficient in vitamin D, you could take 10,000-20,000 IU for a couple of months without any ill-effects.

Tryptophan is another product that has been recommended for mood-boosting. It is an amino acid and a precursor of serotonin, which is your happy hormone. It also helps you find rest at night. Take 1,000 mg a day for effective support. Additionally, the B vitamins have positive effect on the nervous system. A high-dosed B complex supplement can be taken daily. A vitamin that is especially beneficial from this group is vitamin B12. After many years, this is the one that has finally stopped my nightmares! It protects the nerves and can even promote regeneration of nervous tissue. It is a true life-saver and I suggest taking 1,000 mcg per day (which is the same as 1 mg). Make sure to use methylcobalamine, rather than cyanocobalamine, because taken at this high dosage, the cyanide in the cyanocobalamine starts to be toxic.

Other nutrients which have been clinically shown to enhance the mood  include Omega 3 fatty acids – a product which I strongly recommend anyway, because it has so many important functions, and only positive side effects (take 3 high-dosed capsules per day) – folic acid and zinc (take 1 mg and 30 mg per day, respectively).


GET RID OF TOXINS

Heavy metals have a strong neurological impact. It is well-documented that the old Romans went crazy because of their exposure to lead from the drinking water, which ran through lead pipes. Mercury is another metal that has an affinity for neurological tissues. Inspect your life to find out whether you might have substantial sources of heavy metals, and eliminate them.

A frequent culprit are the teeth. Dental amalgams contain large amounts of mercury, and despite what your dentist might tell you, it will seep out and go directly into your body, mostly into the kidneys, intestines, and the nerve tissue. High doses of mercury alone can make a person crazy or depressed.

If you have sources of heavy metals or other toxins in your environment, the most important thing to do is to eliminate the sources. Then you can set out to eliminate the toxins already in your body. This can be done by cleansing your excretory organs, specifically the kidneys, liver and intestines. There are also some supplements you can take to eliminate some specific toxins. Thioctic acid and MSM, for example, are a great combination to help eliminate heavy metals from the body. MSM is low cost, but can’t enter the cells; thioctic acid, on the other hand, is more costly but can clean out the heavy metals from inside the cells, so it is best to complement decent quantities of MSM with some thioctic acid.


HERBAL MOOD ENHANCERS

Finally, there are numerous herbs that will help to lift your mood. You have likely heard of many of them; St. John’s Wort, Lemon Balm, Lavender or Hops, to name just a few.

Mountain Meadow Herbs’ Blues Buster contains several of these that work together synergistically: (Ashwagandha root, Eleuthero root, Ginkgo Biloba leaf, Lemon Balm leaf, Lycium berry, Passionflower leaf, Rhodiola root, Sage leaf, Tribulus Terrestris fruit). Take this product as directed on the bottle.

While it may seem like an overwhelming task to naturally support a better mood, it’s far better than the chemicals and other methods prescribed by some doctors. Remember, as with many natural solutions, time and consistency are important. While you may not see results overnight, soon enough you will notice a lift in your mood and it will be worth the effort.