Mental Health has been a hot topic lately in our homes, schools, churches, workplace, etc. and with good reason. Mothers, fathers, siblings, children, teachers, lawmakers, health care providers, we are all on the same boat, we feel helpless. How do we help? What are the answers? We surely are not deficient in Prozac, Zoloft, or Xanax. Traditional healthcare providers are trained to give anti-depressants, and antianxiety medications. But do these cure the underlying problem? Do you know that 75% of those people on anti-depressants still suffer from depression? We then see ads on TV for use of a second anti-depressant for “resistant” depression! Let us take back our health. What are the causes of mental health issues?
Protocols have been put in place worldwide excluding the United States for all health care providers to first check vitamin B status before prescribing an antidepressant. Did you know that 85% those people DO have a vitamin B deficiency? Why is this not a common practice here in the US? Prescription medications do have a place in health care we just need to know where. We are poisoning ourselves with prescription medications. We need to turn the TV and electronics off and get back in touch with our bodies again. We need sunshine. We need nutritious food. We need sleep. We need exercise. We need fresh air.
Many people have methylation pathway imbalances in the liver. Methylation problems arise from genetic factors. Genes are turned of or on. In patients with decreased activity in the methylation pathway, there is a shortage of methyl groups in the body needed to execute a variety of important functions. Additionally, defects in methylation lay the appropriate groundwork for the further assault of environmental and infectious agents resulting in a wide range of conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, thyroid dysfunction, neurological inflammation, diabetes, chronic viral infection, neurotransmitter imbalances (depression, anxiety), atherosclerosis, cancer, schizophrenia, decreased repair of tissue damage, improper immune function, neural tube defects, Down’s syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, ADD, ADHD, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and autism. Appropriate supplementation with vitamins and nutrients will bypass these mutations to allow for restored function of the pathway.
Another vitamin deficiency can cause depression. It is Vitamin D. Even if you live in Florida you are very likely to have a vitamin D deficiency. For optimal health your serum vitamin D levels should be between 70-100. How do we become deficient? If your liver is not processing your vitamin D, it will not be absorbed. If you take a supplement by mouth and your small intestine isn’t working properly absorbing your vitamins, this can lead to depression! Functional vitamin D levels should be between 70-100. This is a high enough level that your thyroid can use it. Speaking of the thyroid, if you have hypothyroidism you can or may have depression and or psychosis depending on how high yourlevels are. If you have hyperthyroidism you can or may have anxiety and psychosis.
Deficiency of essential fatty acids is another factor in mental health. In the ‘80s everything was “fat free” this and “fat free” that, but fat is our friend! We need fat. We need cholesterol. We just need the GOOD fats in our diet, not the BAD! Essential fatty acids coat the neurons in the brain. If we are deficient our neurons misfire causing mental health issues.
Another common reason for anxiety, insomnia and depression is hormonal imbalances. The number one reason women aged 20-25 and again aged 45-50 is prescribed an antidepressant, anti-anxiety or sleep-aid is due to low progesterone! Low progesterone can cause many ugly symptoms such as ovarian cysts, breast cysts, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia and more. This is why women have the baby blues three days after giving birth; their progesterone levels drop. And when women have postpartum depression it is because their progesterone levels stay way too low and don’t bounce back. A little bio-identical progesterone will stop symptoms. Men who have symptoms of fatigue, depression, lack of motivation, insomnia, anxiety, muscle loss, loss of morning erection, etc., are experiencing low testosterone levels. They may not be extremely low, but not functional for that person. In Functional Medicine they like to see testosterone levels 800-1200.
Lets talk about ADHD. Did you know that most patients who have ADHD are too stimulated by electronics? They should not have any electronics in their rooms, not even an alarm clock. They should have a quiet wind down time 1 hour prior to bed. Sometimes they have food allergies, like to gluten or dairy. Most of the time they are lacking in B vitamins, essential fatty acids and their adrenal glands are burned out. Did you know all that Ritalin does is stimulate the adrenal glands? So instead of taking a synthetic medication to stimulate your adrenal glands, you should be healing and supporting them so they can work on their own!
There are many reasons we have increasing mental health concerns in the United States. Once we educate ourselves of the root cause we then can start to heal. We need to approach this from many different angles. Our soils are depleted in nutrients, we have a fast food restaurant on every corner, our foods are genetically modified, and we have pesticides changing our DNA. We live too busy lifestyles and don’t sit down to healthy meals. Americans tend to look for the quick fix. Vitamins are just a piece of the puzzle. A word of caution that not all vitamins are created equal! Methylated B vitamins are the ones that our bodies can use efficiently. Speak to your Functional Medicine provider today.
Christina Parker is a licensed ARNP, practicing at RESTORATIVE MEDICAL CENTER in North Port, FL. For more information please visit restorativemedicalcenter.com