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Laminine/Young Tissue Extract for Depression and General Health

Young tissue extract (YTE) is a Norway-patented formula extracted from fertilized eggs. Recently, it has started to appear in multiple skincare products and health supplements due to its numerous benefits. YTE extract supplements are famous for their anti-aging benefits. However, many latest studies show that it can also boost cognitive function, mood regulation, and stress management. [1]

The Origin of Young Tissue Extract 

John R. Davidson was the first one to discover Young Tissue Extract in Canada in 1992. He observed the fertilized egg of the hen and noticed that the egg experienced a remarkable growth spurt after the ninth day – the embryo tripled in size. His research concluded that the rapid growth shows that the egg yolk has extremely powerful nutrients on the 9th day.  [2]

Much later, Norwegian researcher Dr. Bjoedne Eskeland rediscovered Young Tissue Extract in the 1990s. He found an array of 22 amino acids with minerals, vitamins, proteins, protein fractions, and peptides all-powerful nutrients leading to multiple health benefits. 

Since then, multiple studies and trials have been conducted to explore and investigate the various benefits of YTE for the human body. 

What is Laminine? 

YTE has been transformed into various blends and supplements, the most popular being Laminine a proprietary blend of Fertilized Avian Egg Extract, Phyto proteins, and fish proteins.

Laminine is derived from ‘Laminin,’ a substance found at the cell level that literally ‘holds us all together.

Young tissue extract includes the Fibroblast Growth Factor (a crucial natural growth factor for the repair and regeneration of cells). It dissipates as we age. However, Laminine has FGF2, so when ingested by humans, it signals the body to maintain and repair damaged or aging cells making you feel younger, stronger, and more energetic. Laminine is believed to be the only known external source of FGF in adults. 

Benefits of Laminine/YTE 

The amalgamation of complex nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and peptides with FGF, makes YTE a potent supplement for the human body. 

The beneficial impacts of Laminine/YTE are: 

  • Improved Brain Function: It improves cognitive function, having positive impacts on memory.
  • Better Skin: Improves skin by reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Increased libido: Consuming laminine can improve stamina and sexual dysfunction. 
  • Improved Emotional Health: Improves the quality of sleep and reduces stress and emotional stability. 

Laminine/Young Tissue Extract and Mental Health 

Many studies and clinical trials yielded results indicating that Laminine/YTE can improve depression and other mood disorders. 

  • Helps Produce Essential Hormones [3]

Many factors cause depression, but one of the leading causes includes higher levels of cortisol (stress hormone), leading to high glucocorticoids. This exposes the body to a prolonged state of stress, resulting in various health concerns, including depression. 

YTE catalyzes the production of various hormones. Studies reveal that it reduces cortisol and increases dopamine (one of the primary neurotransmitters). [4] Thus, it helps the body combat stress and stays relaxed, relieving various signs of depression such as: 

  • Insomnia 
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety 
  • Nausea 
  • Feeling burnt out 
  • Helps in Mood Enhancement 

Recent studies show that YTE can also enhance mood and control depressive symptoms due to its ant depressive properties. [5]

Evidence

Dr. Bjodne Eskeland, LGPN Nutritional Adviser, said: 

“In a recent study, we discovered a 23% reduction of cortisol levels in individuals after 12 days of taking Laminine.” [Source: ]

  • The Clinical Trial

In a clinical trial, researchers measured the salivary cortisol levels of 28 subjects (16 women and 12 men) of ages 36-83. 16 participants took higher laminine intake (4 capsules a day), while the remaining 12 took a lower dosage (1 capsule per day). Overall, laminine supplementation reduced cortisol levels by an average of 23.7 percent. The participants had reduced stress and anxiety. [6]

  • The Study 

According to a study, participants who received 1,680mg of YTE daily for a month observed that YTE has “antidepressive effects” compared to a group that took a placebo. [7]

  • The Book 

Dr. Eskeland published a book in 2006 called Dr. Eskeland’s Young Tissue Extract: Norway’s Anti-Aging Miracle. It is one of the most comprehensive guides about YTE and how it impacts the human body. 

Dr. Eskeland believes the mood-enhancing properties of YTE could be linked to various factors like: 

“An increase in the desire to engage in sexual activity, an increase in the ability to reach orgasms, [and] enhanced intensity of orgasms,” specifically among those who are already taking antidepressants.

Young Tissue Extract Supplements

Young tissue extract comes from fertilized hen eggs incubated for nine days. The core nutrients of the egg yolk are condensed in the form of a powder extract and then encapsulated as supplements.  

Some of the best-known YTE supplements for daily dosage include:

  • Get Your Boom! Back Amino Boosters (1600mg of Norwegian YTE)
  • LifePharm Global Laminine (620mg YTE formula) 

 

Note: Remember to always consult a nutritionist, naturopath, or general physician before adding a new supplement to your regimen or diet. Also, inform your psychologist or therapist before starting any new supplements if you are already under treatment for any mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder

References

  1. Make your brain “happy”: https://www.supplement.altheadistributor.com/laminine-brain-supplement-dopamine-cortisol/
  2. Young Tissue Extract Review: https://supplementpolice.com/young-tissue-extract/
  3. How Laminine Reduces Stress Hormone, Cortisol?: https://www.altheadistributor.com/laminine-cortisol/
  4. What Can Laminine Do For You?: http://laminine9health.blogspot.com/2014/10/laminine-benefits.html
  5. Laminine, a natural antidepressant: https://youtube.com/
  6. Laminine (fertilized avian egg extract/marine protein/phyto protein) – Full Prescribing Information: https://www.pdr.net/full-prescribing-information/Laminine-fertilized-avian-egg-extract-marine-protein-phyto-protein-359/
  7. The Effects of Powdered Fertilized Eggs on Depression by Ester Solberg. 2011. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133680/
  8. What is laminine?: https://janecurnow.com/what-is-laminine
  9. The EGG—beyond Incredible Youth Tissue Extract YTE: https://totalhealthmagazine.com/Anti-Aging/The-EGG-Beyond-Incredible-Youth-Tissue-Extract-YTE.html

 

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French Maritime Pine Bark Extract (Pycnogenol) For Depression and General Health

Maritime Pine trees grow in southwestern France. For centuries locals used its extract as a natural remedy to cure wounds. Later, in the 1940s, a scientist named Jacques Masquelier started exploring the health benefits of pine bark after discovering that North Americans were consuming pine bark tea to treat scurvy and wounds. [Source: Masquelier’s OPCS]

Since then, many studies have investigated the effects of French Maritime Pine Bark extract (also known as Pycnogenol – US registered trademark name). Pine bark extract is also sold under other trademark names. The most common include: 

Recent research and studies have shown conclusive evidence that it can also be effective in treating depression.  

Benefits of Maritime Pine Bark Extract

Maritime pine bark extract contains health-promoting plant compounds, one of which is polyphenols. Pine bark extract has the following notable polyphenol nutrients: 

  • Catechins: A antioxidant-like flavonoid family to protect cells from oxidation and free radical damage. 
  • Procyanidins: A flavonoid that serves as an antioxidant and offers many medicinal properties. All Pycnogenol maritime pine bark extract is standardized to contain at least 75% procyanidins. 
  • Phenolic acids: A group of polyphenols with high antioxidant activity. 

These compounds make the pine bark extract an antioxidant [3], antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. 

Thus, Maritime pine bark extract is found to improve physical health and boost overall cognitive performance.Here are a few key health benefits of using Maritime pine bark extract:

  • Improved Cardiac Health  

A study in 2016 found that 24 high blood pressure patients had improved HDL cholesterol levels and low systolic blood pressure after taking 150 mg Oligopin pine bark every day for five weeks. It also reduces fat buildup, oxidative stress, and the risk of blood clots. [Source: Healthline]

Research shows that Pycnogenol is effective for the prevention and control of allergic asthma.  

  • Improves Athletic Performance

A study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that Pycnogenol improves athletic performance by boosting muscle performance, increasing endurance, and reducing cramping in recreational athletes and triathletes. [Food Navigator]

It also reduces symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). [Source: PubMed]

  • Enhances Cognitive Function 

A study published in the Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences reveals that extract from French maritime pine tree bark helps improve memory, attention span, decision-making, and other cognitive functions. [1]

  • Reduces Symptoms Of Depression

A peer-reviewed study of 59 participants (ages 35-55) at Chieti-Pescara University published in 2014 the Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences revealed: 

30 participants who took Pycnogenol (50mg/three times a day for 12 weeks) with a controlled health plan (regular sleep, balanced meals, and daily exercise) experienced significant improvement in mood as compared to 29 participants who only followed the controlled health plan.

  • Bolsters Immune Defenses

Pine bark extract seems to boost the immune system when it receives a possible threat. For example, taking Pycnogenol for common colds prevents severe symptoms. [Source: PubMed]

  • It’s Anti-Inflammatory 

A recent study shows that the anti-inflammatory properties of pine bark extract could help people recover from COVID-19.  

Maritime Pine Bark Extract and Depression  

There is not much evidence supporting how French Maritime pine bark extract improves depression. Still, recent studies do show a connection as it helps in mood regulation and oxidative stress management. Moreover, pine bark extract also improves symptoms of other mental health disorders such as ADHD. 

Here is how maritime pine bark extract indirectly helps in preventing and treating depression: 

  • Contains Polyphenols [5]

Polyphenols are plant compounds with immense nutritional value. Many studies have investigated the impact of polyphenols on depression and psychiatric disorders. [4]

Another research called The Polyphenol Intervention Trial (PPhIT) revealed that a high polyphenol diet improves psychological well-being. The results showed heterogeneous findings regarding the effect of a polyphenol on psychological well-being. It also showed positive effects on depressive symptoms. 

A study found that one month of taking pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) improved concentration, coordination and made the subjects calmer. And stopping the pine bark extract supplementation worsened their symptoms. The results were conclusive and convincing enough that researchers suggest pink bark extract as an effective natural supplement for relieving ADHD symptoms. [Source: PubMed]

  • Lowers Stress Hormones 

Another study reveals that Pycnogenol lowers stress hormones by 26.2 percent, playing a significant role in managing depressive symptoms. [Source: Eurekalert]

  • Improves Depressive Behaviour 

Oxidative stress is a significant mechanism of depression. Research shows that Pycnogenol improves stress-induced depression symptoms due to its potent antioxidant activities. [2

How To Use French Maritime Pine Bark Extract?

Nowadays, French Maritime pine bark extract is readily available commercially. Commercial pine bark extracts are commonly sold as supplements in the form of capsules, tablets, and powders. Liquid tinctures are also available.

Though other patented formulas exist, Pycnogenol is one of the most common pine bark extracts available out there. It is also found as the main ingredient in other supplement blends.

Dosage of French Maritime Pine Bark Extract 

Pine bark extract’s daily dosage of 60 to 300 mg has been studied in many clinical trials. However, commercial supplements typically suggest a dosage of 150 mg per day. 

It is recommended that the amount of pine bark supplementation should be determined by a certified health professional. The dosage may vary depending on factors like age, body weight, health conditions, etc.  

That’s why you should consult a physician or doctor before taking pine bark extract, as it is best used under the supervision of a trained healthcare provider as they can help you determine the best dosage for you.

References 

  1. New Study Shows Pine Bark Can Improve Cognitive Function and Mood: https://www.nutritioninsight.com/news/new-study-shows-pine-bark-can-improve-cognitive-function-and-mood.html
  2. Pycnogenol Ameliorates Depression-Like Behavior in Repeated Corticosterone-Induced Depression Mice Model by Lin Mei,Miyako Mochizuki and Noboru Hasegawa. 2014. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4036684/
  3. Antioxidant Potential of Bark Extracts from Boreal Forest Conifers by Jean Legault, Karl Girard-Lalancette, Dominic Dufour, André Pichette. 2013. Retrieved from:  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26784337/
  4. Psychiatric Disorders and Polyphenols: Can They Be Helpful in Therapy by Jana Trebatická, and Zdeňka Ďuračkova. 2015. Retrieved from: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2015/248529/
  5. Polyphenols and depression: from chemistry to medicine by Antoni Sureda, Silvia Tejada. 2015. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25601603/
  6. Pine Bark Extract: Uses, Benefits, and Side Effects: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pine-bark-extract
  7. 7 Health Benefits Of Pine Bark Extract: https://www.naturesfare.com/health/7-health-benefits-pine-bark-extract/
  8. Maritime Pine: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1019/maritime-pine
  9. Pine Bark Extract: https://nootropicsexpert.com/pine-bark-extract-pycnogenol/
  10. Pine bark Shows Brain Health benefits: https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2011/12/07/Pine-bark-extract-shows-brain-health-benefits-Study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Benefits of Omega 3 Fish Oils For Depression and General Health

Fish and fish oil are regarded as one of the best additions to a healthy diet because of their immense nutritional qualities. Fish and fish oil supplements have also proven very effective for treating depression and other mental health disorders. Research shows that depression is less common in nations where people eat large amounts of fish. 

Why Are Fish Oils So Good For Depression? 

Besides being a great source of protein, fish contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), an essential nutrient in the structure of every cell in the human body. 

The latest research shows multiple benefits of omega-3 for both physical and mental health. [1] Two omega-3 fatty acids — eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — are thought to have the most benefit for people with depression and mood disorders. 

The first news about the connection of omega-3 and depression gained attention in 1998 when a researcher noted that patients suffering from depression had significantly lower omega-3 levels in the red blood cells. [Source: WebMD]

Since then, many studies have discussed the deficiency of omega-3s as an increased risk of mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder [2], depression, and dementia – prompting researchers to investigate if fish oils can help improve psychiatric disorders and other mental conditions. [Source: ScienceDirect]

Omega-3s can be added to the diet in different forms: 

  • By eating more fish, especially salmon, trout, tuna, and shellfish
  • Taking algae oil

As stated earlier, fish oils offer various health benefits; these include:

  • Improves skin health
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces triglycerides
  • Improves cardiac health 
  • Improves mental health disorders

Now, let’s take a closer look at the mental health benefits of consuming fish oils:  =

Reduces Inflammation [3]

The latest research shows that depression is an inflammatory disease. Psychiatrist and director of the depression clinical and research program at Massachusetts General Hospital, David Mischoulon, MD, Ph.D., says: 

“Inflammation is not the only pathway to depression, but we think it is a contributor.”

Since omega-3s can lower inflammation, it is proven to be beneficial for depression. According to research published in 2019 in Frontiers in Immunology, omega-3s reduce various inflammatory products like tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-2, -6, and -1 beta (anti-inflammatory processes that help regulate mood).

Balances Neurotransmitters 

Multiple factors contribute to the etiology of depression, including an imbalance in the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Consuming omega-3 enhances the regulation of serotonin and dopamine transmission, thus improving mood and symptoms of depression. [Source: PubMed]

The Evidence 

Research 

According to the May 1999 Archives of General Psychiatry, Andrew Stoll reported a study of fish oil in 30 manic-depressive patients. 64% of patients that took 10 grams of fish oil per day for four months showed significant improvements, whereas only 19% of those receiving the placebo benefited. [Source: WebMD]

Clinical Trials 

Over 30 clinical trials have tested the omega-3 and depression link. Studies have used omega-3s as an add-on therapy for depression patients taking prescription antidepressants. Other studies have examined omega-3 therapy alone. Most of these clinical trials use EPA or a combination of EPA and DHA. The result showed conclusive evidence that omega-3 consumption improved depressive symptoms. [Source: Harvard]. [4]

Meta-Analysis [5]

Meta-analyses suggest that omega-3s are an effective treatment for people suffering from depression. The most effective dosage appears to be at least 60% EPA relative to DHA. While DHA is less effective as an antidepressant, it may have protective effects against suicide [Source: Medscape]. 

A recent meta-analysis examined 10 randomized controlled trials of around 1000 people with depression who took either omega-3 supplements or a placebo. The study reported that omega-3 supplements (both high- and low-doses) were more effective in relieving depressive symptoms than the placebo. [Source: BMC Psychiatry]

Do Doctors Recommend Fish Oils for Depression?

Yes, depression or not, doctors do recommend consuming fish oils for optimal physical and mental health. Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends 8 ounces of fish per week for adults. 

Moreover, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends eating 2-3 servings of fish every week. 4 ounces per serving for adults and 2 ounces for children.

A 2019 meta-analysis by Mischoulon in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics shows that fish oil supplements with a higher ratio of EPA to DHA are more effective. Other research suggests EPA be more potent when it comes to depression, according to data published in Molecular Psychiatry in 2016. [Source: WebMD]

Depending on the risks and symptoms of depression or other health conditions, your physician may recommend fish oil supplements. 

What Dose of Fish Oil is Beneficial?

Fish oil (or omega-3) dosages for depression can range from >1g/day to 3g/day. If your doctor determines that it is good to start fish oil supplements, he will set the dosage based on your diet and personal history. 

References  

  1. Omega-3 fatty acids and the treatment of depression: a review of scientific evidence by Ab Latif WaniSajad Ahmad Bhat, and Anjum Ara. 2015. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5481805
  2. Omega-3 for bipolar disorder: meta-analyses of use in mania and bipolar depression by Jerome Sarris, David Mischoulon, Isaac Schweitzer. 2011. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21903025/
  3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Could Reduce Depression Symptoms Through Anti-Inflammatory Effects: https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/omega-3-fatty-acids-could-reduce-depression-symptoms-through-anti-inflammatory-effects
  4. Fish oil and depression: The skinny on fats by Mansoor D. Burhani and Mark M. Rasenick. 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6087692/
  5. Efficacy of omega-3 PUFAs in depression: A meta-analysis. Retrieved from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-019-0515-5
  6. Omega-3 fatty acids and mental health: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S241464472030004X
  7. Omega-3 Dose Was Likely a Factor in Recent Anxiety & Depression Study Review: https://omegaquant.com/omega-3-dose-was-likely-a-factor-in-recent-anxiety-and-depression-study/
  8. Omega-3 and Depression: https://www.healthline.com/health/omega-3-depression
  9. Fish Oils Supplements can Improve Depression: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/fish-oil-supplements/faq-20058143
  10. Omega-3 Fatty Acid For Mood Disorders: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/omega-3-fatty-acids-for-mood-disorders-2018080314414
  11. What Are The Benefits of Fish Oil For Depression: https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/what-are-the-benefits-of-fish-oil-for-depression/
  12. omega-3 Fatty Acid For Mood Disorders: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/omega-3-fatty-acids-for-mood-disorders-2018080314414
  13. Fish Oil and Depression: https://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/depression-12/depression-news-176/fish-oil-and-depression-644950.html

 

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Zinc for Depression and Anxiety

Most people don’t realize how important it is to have adequate zinc in their diet. Zinc is an essential mineral that can only be obtained by eating certain foods or by taking zinc supplements. If you fail to maintain adequate zinc levels, you may become susceptible to several problems, including mental health issues. Specifically, experts have found that there is a strong correlation between zinc levels in the body and levels of depression (Swardfager, et al., 2013).

Why is Zinc Important?

Zinc performs all sorts of important functions in the human body. It helps with cell growth and metabolism. It is also useful in the regulation of the endocrine system. Zinc has a direct impact on the functioning of the thyroid which aids in metabolism. Low zinc levels can cause serious disruptions in the metabolic process. 

Low zinc can also cause issues with your immune system. Since zinc plays a critical role in the regulation of cellular immune systems, a deficiency can leave you susceptible to  infection. 

Finally, the brain and nervous system is impacted in several ways. For example, since zinc is associated with neurotransmitter concentration at the hypothalamic levels, it can affect a person’s appetite and has been linked to anorexia. 

Several studies have found that people who do not have stable zinc levels in their body are more prone to suffer from depression and depressive symptoms (Swardfager, et al, 2013). 

In a study conducted by Nakamura and his team in 2019, they found that Zinc, along with copper and manganese, play a vital role in mental health. Specifically, the study found that subjects with depression were likely to have much lower levels of those three minerals (Nakamura, et al., 2019). 

What Are Some of the Symptoms of Low Zinc Levels?

There are some symptoms that are associated with low zinc intake (Kubala, 2018). If you think you may have any of these, it’s a good idea to start taking a zinc supplement, the best form of which is zinc picolinate:

  • Diarrhea
  • Thinning hair
  • Lower appetite
  • Depressed mood
  • Slow wound healing
  • Dry skin
  • Acne

If you don’t eat foods that are rich in zinc, you should probably consider taking a daily supplement (Kubala, 2018). 

What Foods Can Help Increase Your Zinc Intake?

Certain foods contain zinc and can help replenish your body when levels get too low. One of the reasons vegetarians and vegans have issues with their zinc levels is because they do not eat animal products, which , that are high in zinc (Kubala, 2018).

Some of the high zinc foods you should incorporate into your diet include:

  • Fish and shellfish
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Nuts and legumes
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Grains
  • Certain vegetables such as peas, spinach and lima beans

If you don’t regularly eat these foods or don’t eat enough of them, you should take a supplement. 

Certain Groups are at a Higher Risk of Low Zinc Levels

Since diet is the main factor when it comes to zinc levels, certain groups are at a higher risk of zinc deficiency. These are groups who naturally do not eat enough foods rich in zinc. Some of these groups include:

  • Vegetarians and vegans
  • Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding
  • People with sickle cell anaemia
  • Those with kidney disease
  • Alcoholics

While it’s certainly possible that members of these groups may have lower zinc levels, there’s no guarantee that this is the case. The only way to know for sure is to see a doctor and have them run blood tests. However, you may be able to solve the problem with a zinc supplement.

Zinc Supplements Help with Pyroluria

Pyroluria is a condition caused by elevated levels in pyrroles. The technical term for this condition is hydroxyhemepyrroline-2-HPL. People with this disorder are more likely to develop psychiatric problems such as schizophrenia, anxiety and depression (Warren, 2021). One of the best treatments for this issue is taking zinc and vitamin B6 supplements. 

How Does Zinc Affect People with Depression?

Surprisingly, many psychiatric medications can impact a person’s zinc level. If someone is already being treated for depression and their zinc levels decline, their depression could become more severe (Petrilli, et al., 2017). Not surprisingly, many doctors use zinc as a treatment for depression (Petrilli, et al., 2017). 

Studies show that 19-24% of all people suffering from major depression fail to respond to antidepressants alone. Therefore, many doctors prescribe zinc supplements to help decrease depressive symptoms (Baltaci, 2013). 

Zinc Deficiencies Can Cause Other Mental Health Disorders

Depression isn’t the only mental health disorder associated with zinc deficiencies (Deans, 2013). Research has shown that reduced zinc levels can also lead to disorders such as:

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Aggression
  • Violent tendencies

A zinc supplement can help reduce the chance of these issues occurring. 

What Kind of Evidence is There to Show that Zinc Impacts Depression Levels?

Over the years, researchers have investigated the role zinc can play when it comes to mental health. What they have found time and time again is that there is a high correlation between zinc levels and severity of depression (Swardfager, et al.., 2013). 

In a review of 17 studies, Swardfager (2013) found that people with depression had much lower zinc levels than those who were not depressed. They also found that zinc deficiencies can increase the severity of depression (Swardfager, et al., 2013). 

Another study conducted in 2013 showed that up to 50% of people diagnosed with depression had nutrient deficiencies. According to this study, zinc activates hippocampal neurogenesis by regulating brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Greenblatt, 2016). Without zinc, the brain can’t generate new neurons the way it’s supposed to. 

What Can You Do to Improve Your Zinc Levels?

If you are already suffering from depression, make sure you talk to your doctor, a nutritionist or a naturopath before making any changes to your diet or regimen. You also shouldn’t take any supplements if you’re already being treated for depression without talking to your doctor.

The best form of Zinc I have found, is NOW Zinc Picolinate 50mg, take 1 capsule per day.

References

Baltaci, A., Mogulko, R. and Baltaci, S. (2019). The Role of Zinc in the Endocrine System. Pakistani Journal of Pharm Sci, 32(1), 231-239. Retrieved from https://uam-web2.uamont.edu/facultyweb/sims2/Zinc%20and%20Endocrine%20System.pdf

Deans, E. (2013). Zinc: An Antidepressant. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201309/zinc-antidepressant

Greenblatt, J. (2016). Evidence-Based Research in the Role of Zinc and Magnesium Deficincies in Depression. Psychiatric Times, 33(12). Retrieved at https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/evidence-based-research-role-zinc-and-magnesium-deficiencies-depression.

Kubala, J. (2018, November 14). Zinc: Benefits, Deficiency, Food Sources and Side Effects. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zinc#deficiency

Nakamura, M., Miura, A., Nagahata, T, and et al. (2019). Low Zinc, Copper and Manganese Intake is Associated with Depression and Anxiety Symptoms in the Japanese Working Population: Findings from the Eating Habits and Well-Being Study. Nutrients, 11(847), 1-10. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30991676/.

Petrilli, M. A., Kranz, T. M., & Kleinhaus, K. (2017). The Emerging Role for Zinc in Depression and Psychosis. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2017.00414/full

Ranjbar, E. (2013). Effects of Zinc Supplementation in Patients with Major Depression: a Randomized Clinical Trial. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, 8(2), 73-79. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3796297/?report=reader

Swardfager, W., et al. (2013). Zinc in Depression: a Meta-Analysis. Biol Psychiatry, 74, 872-878. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23806573/

 

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What is Metacognitive Therapy? An Introduction

Back in the late 20th century, medics promoted the monoamine theory of depression in that imbalances in neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine were responsible for mental illness.

The theory was that if you were to increase or rebalance these biochemicals, you would fix the problem and the patient would get better. During this time, drugs like Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor and Paxil were hailed as a panacea for those who had the blues or any nervous disorder.

Along with psychiatry providing treatment using drugs like the above came a huge growth in talk therapy, whereby the patient would talk to a psychologist or a therapist about their problems in order to perhaps gain better perspectives.

But despite using antidepressants and therapy, there are many who stay stuck or who get worse rather than better. There is, however, a new body of evidence that is gaining a lot of momentum, which strongly suggests that anxiety and depression are caused and maintained by unhelpful thinking styles and an unhelpful way of relating to thoughts and feelings, which is also under the control of the individual.

Once we learn to relate to our thoughts and feelings in a more resourceful way, melancholy sadness, depression and anxiety can be reduced or eliminated entirely. Yes, pharmaceuticals and psychotherapy can help, but they are rarely fully or even partially effective at alleviating symptoms. They are often just band-aids over a gaping wound.

We need a new solution, one which really works and keeps working and which can be self-directed without long term engagement with therapists needed.

Those with mental illness tend to ruminate and worry a lot. If you do this, your ruminations and worries are likely maintaining and often worsening your already poor mental health. You might agree, at least to a certain extent, with this assertion.

Trying to figure a way out of your illness and your life’s problems can backfire and worsen the very problem it’s trying to solve. Rumination causes and maintains and worsens depression. Sadness and despair. Worrying causes, maintains and worsens anxiety, OCD and impulsiveness.

“But thinking happens by itself” you say. “I have no control over it,” you say. The first statement is true, but fortunately, the second statement is completely false.

Even for those who suffer for years, if you can focus on making a cup of tea for yourself or brushing your teeth or tying your shoelaces, you can successfully practice metacognitive therapy. This is the therapy that would help you to get well and stay well. Metacognitive therapy, or MCT for short, is extremely effective at reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, and it’s also very easy to use, albeit potentially hard to get your head around at first, and it may be hard to believe how simple and effective it can be also.

This article is a brief introduction to metacognitive therapy, but it’s not a complete guide in itself on how to practice it. I am not a qualified therapist, and therefore I’m not in a position to give you a guide on how to practice metacognitive therapy. My account here is to record and convey the amazing recovery I’ve experienced from learning and using MCT and also to give you a decent overview of the therapy.

Metacognitive therapy and how it can help You.
I’ve personally become peaceful, happy and content, and I want to show you how that is also possible for you. Here I’m going to summarize the theory and practice of metacognitive therapy. But this section is only a short introduction to the therapy. It will help to inform you and give you a basis for the therapy, but as I said before, this is by no means a complete user guide on the subject.

You will need to read the books I mentioned in the recommended reading, given here, or engage with a qualified metacognitive therapist, given here, in order to learn how to use MCT.

I’m sure that many of you have heard of or even used cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT, where users learn to spot distorted thoughts and beliefs and challenge, reduce or replace them with more realistic and useful thoughts.

In the CBT model, a thought like “I’m worthless” would be evaluated and countered with evidence proving your worth using a conceptual process. But, in MCT, the response to this is “what’s the point of even evaluating my worth”, and simply to let the thought go using attention training or detached mindfulness. As Dr Adrian Wells, creator of Metacognitive Therapy, suggests, “Do everything you can to do nothing”.

So, in MCT, we identify the thought like above as a negative trigger thought, and we don’t bother wasting energy by doing anything with this trigger thought.

The process of ruminating over, for example, the thought that you are worthless and then fixating and then ruminating on it with additional thoughts like “nobody likes me, it’s no wonder I’m alone, my life is terrible!” is called the cognitive attentional syndrome, or CAS for short.

MCT provides a few different strategies for dealing with trigger thoughts like this. The main strategies are postponement of worry and ruminating, attention training or switching (to other thoughts, or to sensory stimuli such as your surrounding auditory environment/sound) and detached mindfulness.

I have found that detached mindfulness is the optimal state for the user who is practicing metacognitive therapy. It’s achieved through the resolution of thought brought about by the modification of metacognitive beliefs related to your thinking. The main metacognitive beliefs relating to worry and rumination fall into positive – such as that “worry and rumination are necessary and helpful”, “worry helps me to find solutions” – or negative beliefs about rumination – such as “worry and rumination are uncontrollable” or that “worry and rumination are harmful.” In metacognitive therapy, these are the only beliefs and thoughts that we work on on a conceptual basis. Once these beliefs are changed, which is quite easy, the process of achieving detached mindfulness is much easier, because you have changed your mindset relating to worry and rumination.

You can go from the belief that some or all of the above beliefs are true to the actual fact and reality, which is that the above beliefs are false and erroneous.

This helps to remove the cognitive attentional syndrome (the CAS), simply because it is very hard to continue doing something that you know is harmful, once you realise it as so. I have found in my own experience that it is very hard to continue to worry or ruminate once I realize its uselessness, even if it’s something that I’ve been doing out of habit every day ad nauseum, for literally decades, which was exactly the case for me.

Mindful Detachment, Detachment and Transcendence

Mindful Detachment is a state that is easy to achieve once you have examined and changed and corrected one or all of the metacognitive beliefs relating to worry and rumination. It’s a state where ruminations on worries may still occur in the lower, automatic level of the mind, but they don’t affect you emotionally because you simply allow them to be, you don’t follow them, and you aren’t identified nor attached to them.

You can observe the thoughts come and go, but you aren’t identified with them, nor do you follow them with more ruminations or worries. For me, it’s almost like a transcendental state, which is generally accompanied by a better mood than if you were to become engaged with the thoughts. You may also, when practicing mindful detachment, notice that you have more resilience, energy and stamina than before. This is because engaging in the low level processing and negativity of rumination and worry is very energy depleting. I have personally been able to gain such detachment from worry and rumination that even the trigger thoughts rarely come anymore. If they do, I let them go and they vaporize and disappear with little nor any emotional disturbance.

Years of recursive endless thought about my illness, mental observation, whether verbal thoughts or imagery of my past or future deterioration, mishaps or demise has led me to the firm conviction that trying to solve any mental illness this way is counterproductive. Actually, it’s more than that. It actually is the illness. I speculate that the illness is nothing more than that for many. I call this the personal reflexive (PR) CAS. Yes, there may be external events which form the main focus of the CAS cognitions, but it’s the ones that are worries and ruminations on one’s own illness and its imagined grim implications for the future, which fuel anxiety, worries (future) and depression (ruminations, past.)

Letting go of rumination and worry.

Attention training and mindful detachment is the most effective way to deal with CAS. But there are other ways that are also very effective. Here we will talk about simply the technique of recognizing a trigger thought and letting it go. So we already mentioned that trigger thoughts once engaged with and followed usually lead to the looping process of fixation on negative thoughts which result in deteriorating mood. So anyone can learn to recognize these trigger thoughts and to let them go before your mind starts the fixation process, which constitutes the CAS.

Your cognitive attention in this way strengthens the ability to switch and focus awareness on other thoughts or sensory perceptions, such as sounds, and can greatly diminish the fuel that powers the CAS and therefore a poor mood.

Deliberate attention training using specialized audio tracks or even the ambient noise where you are sitting or standing is particularly effective for this purpose. In fact, daily short attention training sessions using audio that are custom built for this purpose or even using the surrounding sound where you are sitting, lying or standing, has been proven to significantly enhance the user’s ability to switch and maintain attention away from trigger thoughts and from the CAS, and to recover from depression and to stay well. This is especially true for people who suffer from severe depression. I will send you links to free online attention training tracks if you register for the free bonuses at this link.

Examples of trigger thoughts that I used to have are “I feel terrible. I’m still depressed. Why am I so anxious? I’m falling into a hole again. I always fail. It’s getting worse. Why am I such a failure?”

Learning to spot similar trigger thoughts that you may have is very helpful. You can learn to switch your attention to the ambient sounds around you when you notice a trigger thought. Or to simply let the trigger thought go even if you fail to spot a trigger and you go into CAS (cognitive attentional syndrome). You can diffuse it by switching attention at any point in the process. There’s no perfection here, only practice. Many of those with mental illness worry and ruminate all day for many hours of the day. The extent that you eliminate this is the extent to which your mood and recovery will progress.

Again, it’s progress, not perfection that we’re aiming for here. Don’t compare yourself to others, only to your past self, notice progress where you can.

Worrying that this won’t work for you.
Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room. Many could worry or ruminate their way out of metacognitive therapy not working for them. That’s a very common occurrence. “Oh, it’ll work for them, but it won’t work for me. Nothing ever works for me. This won’t work for me. Nothing does. I’ll fuck this up. I always do.” You may be thinking like this. You may need to read this article, and leave metacognitive therapy alone for a while. Many don’t get it the first time around. This happens to a lot of people and is not uncommon at all. After all, fear, doubt and a feeling of pessimism is often a core feature of the darkness that constitutes any mental illness. I get it. I’ve been there. I’ve lived in that particular prison for years myself. So what I suggest if this is an issue for you is to use metacognitive therapy on that as well. Let it go. Postpone it. Detached from it.

Postponement of worry and rumination.

Many MCT therapists will instruct their clients to postpone their worrying and rumination until a set period later in the day. For example, between six and eight in the evening. Of course, many users will say that the things that they are worrying about are important issues for them, for example, problems that they want to solve.

Acknowledging that this may be true, I will say that negative cognitive processing on the problem is only going to make you feel bad, and it’s also very unlikely to yield any solution.

Simply leaving the problem alone without ruminating on it will almost always leave space for the solution to arise in the mind and usually a much better solution than worrying would have produced. People will also say that if they don’t worry about a problem, they may forget about it and it will be neglected.

Metacognitive therapy will advise that if it’s important, trust your memory to remember and deal with it at an appropriate time later on. So detached mindfulness, attention switching and postponement make up the three main strategies for dealing with worry and rumination that constitute the CAS and the personal, reflexive CAS.

I would also add to this attention training, using audio and using ambient surrounding sounds is a very effective way, to take your focus away and remove the CAS.

Mood Monitoring Behaviour

Many would agree that when you feel depressed and or anxious, you live in a state of constant hypervigilance monitoring for threats. Worry and rumination create a sense of danger, and those afflicted live in a mode of almost constant threat monitoring. This monitoring consists of a scanning of the mind, the body and the environment for anything that could represent danger in the here and now or in the future. And as part of the cognitive attentional syndrome, this scanning can result in a feeling of dread for what may potentially happen and an unwanted sensitivity to events, then when the problem arises, even a trivial one, the person already primed for danger may often have an amplified emotional reaction to it, which would otherwise not occur.

If the threat monitoring sense did not exist, it would, under normal circumstances, have been dealt with without any drama or emotional pain. Under this state of heightened threat monitoring, non-trivial problems which represent greater meaning can result in prolonged experiences of worsened depression or anxiety.

Mood monitoring, mood monitoring behaviour is a form of threat monitoring and is something unhelpful that many with depression constantly engage in. The problem occurs in that unpleasant moods which are bound to occur on occasion are a natural occurrence and a part of being human. If left alone, they will self regulate and therefore will pass given time all by themselves.

Over vigilance in monitoring feelings, emotions and moods is unnecessary and counterproductive in that it can produce cognitive reactions, spiraling into negative thought patterns of the CAS and personal reflexive (PR) CAS.

If detached mindfulness is used in relation to moods rather than close monitoring behavior, they’re allowed to ebb and flow without affecting thought patterns, actions and therefore behavior. Detached mindfulness does not mean that we ignore or are unaware of our mood, rather that we are not identified with it. And therefore, we do not derive our identity or our sense of self from it. This spiral into cognitive attentional syndrome worries and ruminations may cause what began as a slight mood dip to develop into something worse in both intensity and duration. So you can see how mood monitoring is in and of itself, both an aspect of the CAS and also that which causes CAS worry and rumination.

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Magnesium for Depression, Anxiety and General Health

Our body relies on magnesium (Mg) for multiple functions. It is a cofactor for more than 325 enzyme systems helping in various biochemical reactions – including blood pressure regulation, glucose control, protein synthesis, and mood stabilization. [Source: IMMH]

Over the years, many studies and researches have also linked magnesium to depression, anxiety, and ADHD. So, if you suffer from depression or other mental health disorders it might be due to magnesium deficiency.  [1]

Note: Magnesium deficiency may not be the only cause of your depression, but it plays a significant role in mood and stress management. 

Studies show that low brain Magnesium reduces serotonin (key mood-stabilizing and happiness hormone) levels. [Source: NCBI

Therefore, it is essential to maintain adequate magnesium levels to prevent mood irregularities like feeling low, anxious, or depressed. 

Magnesium Deficiency 

Despite its importance, many people suffer from subclinical magnesium deficiency (aka Hypomagnesemia). This common occurrence in clinical medicine often goes undetected because magnesium levels are rarely evaluated. [6]

Recent data indicates that 10%-30% of the population in developed countries has a subclinical magnesium deficiency. Moreover, a review of around 30 plus articles concluded that magnesium deficiency was a possible global public health concern for adults.

Since most people are unaware of magnesium deficiency, it is highly recommended to take magnesium supplements to maintain adequate Mg levels, thus, ensuring a healthy mind and body. [2]

Impact of Low Magnesium Levels on The Brain

In terms of magnesium deficiency and brain health connection, low magnesium levels have been linked to: [5]

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Higher levels of stress
  • Insomnia or sleep disturbances
  • Headaches or muscle pain/tightness

Magnesium deficiency in the brain contributes to the symptoms mentioned above due to:

  • Overstimulation of Excitatory Neurotransmitters

Regulation of Excitatory neurotransmitters is directly involved in mental health and mood disorders. Excess excitatory transmitters can cause overexcitation of brain cells, leading to poor cognitive performance and unhealthy neurological conditions. [Source: IJPSR

Magnesium regulates these neurotransmitters but its deficiency enhances the activity of the stimulating transmitters and weakens calming receptors especially gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. Thus, resulting in a more restless and anxious state. 

  • Increased Production of Stress Hormones 

Low Magnesium results in a higher release of stress hormones such as cortisol which increases the risk of major depressive disorder. [Source: NCBI]

How Magnesium Deficiency Worsens Depression 

As stated earlier, magnesium plays a huge role in brain chemistry and impacts mood regulation through many enzymes, pathways, hormones, and neurotransmitters. So, those with magnesium deficiency may experience a multitude of physical and emotional symptoms. [4] Some can not only complicate and worsen depression but also cause it; these include: 

  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Lower back pain 
  • Migraines and general headaches
  • Chest pain (particularly during an anxiety attack)
  • Muscle aches 
  • Joint pain
  • Digestive issues or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Issues with sleep
  • Low energy and motivation 
  • Poor concentration

The Evidence 

From A Meta-Analysis Study:

An article in The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found a deep correlation between low magnesium levels and depression by testing the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data set from 2004 to 2010. It indicated a 95% risk ratio (RR) of low magnesium intake and presence of depression. [3]

From: Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment by George A Eby et al. Med Hypotheses. 2006

Case histories are presented showing rapid recovery (less than 7 days) from major depression using 125-300 mg of magnesium (as glycinate and taurinate) with each meal and at bedtime

Another analysis of over 8,800 people found that people with low magnesium intake have a 22% higher risk of suffering from depression

From a Clinical Trial: 

The Journal of PLoS One published a randomized clinical trial in 2017 revealing that magnesium chloride intake significantly improved depressive symptoms. The study also concluded that the participants taking antidepressants experienced improved benefits with magnesium, proving it useful in conjunction with antidepressants.

Benefits of Taking Magnesium For Depression 

The beneficial effects of magnesium supplements on mood and depression are so well-known that it has attracted nicknames like the original chill pill,’ ‘nature’s valium,’ and the ‘mind mineral.’ 

Dr. Mark Hyman, a physician, wellness blogger, and New York Times best-selling author, defines magnesium as the most powerful relaxing mineral.’ 

Bassem El-Khodor, Ph.D., has conducted various studies linking magnesium to chronic health disorders. He states that magnesium is ‘the forgotten nutrient, and its supplementation can significantly reduce depression and its symptoms compared to placebo. [7]

Studies show that restoring normal levels of magnesium (magnesium repletion) creates positive changes in both mental and physical health; these include:

  • Better mood and cognition
  • Healthy eating behavior
  • Healthy stress responses
  • Lower risk of depression 
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Better efficacy of other modalities (such as depression medication)

What Can You Do to Improve Your Magnesium Levels?

If you are experiencing mood irregularities or already suffering from depression, add enough magnesium to your diet and eat magnesium-rich foods or supplement with magnesium glycinate

Foods high in magnesium include:

  • Avocado
  • Leafy greens
  • Dark chocolate
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

It would also be best if you got your magnesium levels checked. If you have low magnesium, you can take magnesium supplements. According to NHS UK, a healthy daily magnesium dose for men (19 to 64 years) is 300 mg a day and 270mg a day for women (19 to 64 years). 

Remember: Always consult your psychologist, nutritionist, naturopath, or GP before making any changes to your regimen or diet. Also, avoid taking any supplements without your doctor’s recommendation if you are already under treatment for depression or any mental health disorder. 

References

  1. Institute of Pharmacology Polish Academy of Sciences. Published by Elsevier Urban & Partner (2013). Magnesium in depression. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1734114013710326
  2. Published by Emily K. Tarleton, Benjamin Littenberg, Charles D. MacLean, Amanda G. Kennedy, and Christopher Daley (2017). Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. Retrieved from https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0180067
  3. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment by George A Eby et al. Med Hypotheses. 2006 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1654278/
  4. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine March. Published by Emily K. Tarleton and Benjamin Littenberg (2015). Magnesium Intake and Depression in Adults. Retried from https://www.jabfm.org/content/28/2/249.short
  5. Published by Marie-Laure Derom, Carmen Sayón-Orea, José María Martínez-Ortega & Miguel A. Martínez-González (2013). Magnesium and Depression: A Systematic Review. Retrieved From https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1179/1476830512Y.0000000044
  6. Department of Applied Pharmacy, Medical University of Lublin. Published by Anna Serefko, Aleksandra Szopa, Ewa Poleszak (2016). Magnesium in Depression. Retried From https://www.jle.com/en/revues/mrh/e-docs/magnesium_and_depression_308520/article.phtml
  7. Published by George A. Eby, Karen L. Eby, and Harald Murk (2011). Magnesium in the Central Nervous System. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507265/
  8. Published by Afsaneh Rajizadeh, Hassan Mozaffari-khosravi and Mojtaba Yassini (2016). The Effect of Magnesium Supplementation on Depression Status in Depressed Patients with Magnesium Deficiency: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309886398_The_Effect_of_Magnesium_Supplementation_on_Depression_Status_in_Depressed_Patients_with_Magnesium_Deficiency_A_Randomized_Double-blind_Placebo-Controlled_Trial