Nutrition and Labeling - I need nutrition vs. depression help

06-10-2008, 02:01 PM
I stopped taking Prozac a few months ago and was doing okay until I recently hit a bump in life's road and now I'm really struggling, especially with anxiety. I don't want to go back on medication but I need to do my homework about alternatives. I have alot to learn. On the bright side, I now understand regular exercise is essential and effective against depression and I'm doing that. I would be grateful for any knowlege you could share about nutrition that might help me wage war against this terrible foe. Thanks.

06-10-2008, 02:11 PM
For me, stabilizing my moods is easiest when I:

1. Get plenty of exercise (but you knew that)
2. Limit refined carbs (white sugar, white flour...leads to mood swings)
3. Get plenty of protein
4. Get plenty of omega-3's. I supplement to make sure I get enough. This is a studied, confirmed effect - DHA and EPA intake are correlated with depression risk:

06-10-2008, 04:46 PM
Thanks. That's a fascinating article at the McMan site.

06-11-2008, 03:16 PM
I second what Mandalinn says.
Omega 3's!
I supplement also but have to take them WITH meals...otherwise...not so pleasant after effects. Drink plenty of water too!

I also have to make sure I get plenty of vitamin D (perhaps not such an issue in Arizona) and calcium. Calcium deficiency can aggravate symptoms. Calcium, Magnesium and B Complex vitamins help your body deal with stress.

And food allergies and food additives can be a factor for some people as well. Concentrate on whole, unprocessed foods. I also try to stick to hormone-free meats whenever possible and I will simply not eat hormone affected dairy. You probably already know to really limit stimulants.

There are SO many things to read out there, but there really are calm, reasoned articles from reputable sources, you will find that the stuff that is "known" common practice will be repeated over and over from a variety of sources.

06-11-2008, 04:39 PM
You probably already know to really limit stimulants.

Actually, up until day before yesterday, I didn't know that. I was roaming around the internet looking for information on this subject and learned caffeine can cause serious havoc with depression. I drink about three cups of black tea a day and wanted to quit cold turkey after reading that (I'm motivated!) but they didn't recommend it, so I've just had one cup yesterday and today. Guess I'll taper off to something herbal by the end of the week. Thanks.

06-11-2008, 05:59 PM
A few thoughts for you. My husband suffers from chronic clinical depression and takes meds for it - always will.

My first question is why do you not want to go back on meds? Is it the Prozac specifically? Would you be willing to try a different med?

- Next, definitely work on getting exercise - that will help.

- Try to be outside in the sunlight for at least 20 mins a day. Natural sunlight is an important part of avoiding depression. There's a reason why there are more instances of depression further north and in places like Seattle where it's often overcast and rainy.

- Try to avoid artificial sweeteners. We've found that any artificial sweeteners tend to exacerbate his depression. It's better for him to have a little real sugar or honey or something than any amount of sweetener.

- Caffeine is a definite trigger, but sometimes consumed in small quantities, it can also help lift a mood. You might have to experiment here to see how it affects you.

- You know to avoid alcohol, I hope. :) Alcohol is a depressive.

- Def. eat as clean and healthy as you can. Lots of protein, enough healthy fats, and lots of veggies. It does help hubby when he eats very clean.

Good luck to you in finding what works! :)


06-11-2008, 08:25 PM
My first question is why do you not want to go back on meds? Is it the Prozac specifically? Would you be willing to try a different med?

- You know to avoid alcohol, I hope. :) Alcohol is a depressive.


Thanks so much for responding. The last straw, the reason I stopped taking Prozac after eight years (this time), was because I read studies that found exercise worked as well or better. I don't know if that is really true, but I'd sure like find out.

I didn't feel human on Prozac. I felt frozen and detached. For example, my dad died and I didn't shed a tear. Two years later my mom died and my eyes reddened. I'm carrying horrible, unprocessed grief for them. In fact, I've wept for my dad twice this week, two and one-half years after his passing.

Desire for sex evaporated and I put on over 30 pounds. My blood sugar has been stable since I quit and I don't crave anything in particular, like tortilla chips and salsa, anymore.

As far as other drugs, I've tried many of them: Tri-cyclics in the old days, Lithium, Wellbutrin, Paxil, etc. Paxil in particular made me very ill. Of all of them, I felt the best on Prozac.

I'm sure not against anti-depressants in theory, in fact, I consider them a gift from God. I was hospitalized for major depression about 20 years ago and we fondly called it Club Meds. If I think suicidal thoughts again, I'll go back to Prozac in a heart beat. I've got two full bottles in reserve just in case.

But I really, really want to try living without it. I'm willing to pray, research, ask questions, and make healthy changes.

One of the ways I self-medicated was with alcohol and I achieved disastrous results. By the grace of God, I've been sober 20 years.

I wish all the best for you and your husband!

06-11-2008, 09:08 PM
Ah .. I see. I understand completely. I see so many people who don't try other drugs and just decide to go off meds because they are anti-depression-meds as a general policy, so I always ask. I look at depression meds as the same as someone with diabetes who takes insulin.

But it seems that you have thought this out well! :)

And congrats on your 20 years! My parents were both alcoholics and it's a horrible way to live. It takes a lot of strength to kick the habit. So good for you! :)


06-11-2008, 09:16 PM

06-11-2008, 11:14 PM

I was listening to this Jillian Michaels podcast today and wanted to come back to share:
It is in the Sunday column, the June 1 show in the far right column. You can listen right on your computer if you have speakers. She hit on ALL of these items we've been talking about here. Foods, food additives, natural food mood boosters, etc. and makes her own case for treating depression nutritionally. Not everyone likes her...but she is SMART and she does her research. Might be an encouraging listen. The part on depression and diet & nutrition starts at about the 30 minute mark, you could fast-forward to there.

I admire you getting serious about finding alternatives if you've experienced a lot of side effects. Trying these things has certainly helped me, more than I thought they would, actually. Sounds like you have thought this through and have a good backup plan. It will take dedication, but it's something you're doing for yourself and your health and you are worth it!

I have an AM pill box and a PM pill box right by my toothbrush and I make sure I get everything swallowed without fail...and I hate taking stuff, but I know this works for me, and it's way better than the alternative, so I do!

Wishing you good strength for your efforts!

06-12-2008, 12:41 AM
Manick, thank you!!! I will listen. I wish you well, too.