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Maybe one of us could have saved Heath Ledger--Part 4

Posted May 13 2008 5:32pm

This is the last of four articles that will go over the natural treatment of insomnia, anxiety and depression. We are not suggesting that anyone discontinue their drugs?especially if they are working. But since drugs address symptoms and not the cause of a problem, we can use the information provided by a successful drug therapy to learn about source of the problem. Using natural health care we can then fix the infrastructure of the body and with a little luck, alleviate the symptom.

This is the final installment of this series. Here is a protocol for the natural health practitioner to utilize with a patient who suffers from depression, anxiety and/or insomnia:

  1. Diet: The patient needs to get off of all refined starches and sugars. No hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated oil or deep-fried food should be consumed. About half of the volume of food consumed should be fresh produce. He or she should absolutely eat all meals?especially breakfast (which should contain some protein). He or she should get enough water and should strictly avoid food additives (including artificial sweeteners). Alcohol should be avoided.
  2. Exercise: Exercise helps the body to produce serotonin. Even a brisk walk for 15 minutes each day is helpful. You can go to and read some of the research about this.
  3. Digestion: The concept of hypochlorhydra is controversial, but many practitioners address it and get good results. The idea here is that if the stomach is not producing enough HCl, then protein is not digested well. This can cause the shortage of tyrosine and/or tryptophan. If the patient belches after meals, the fingernails break easily, they dislike meat, or supplements make them ill, low stomach HCl may be a possibility. Ironically, a lot of people suffering from ?acid reflux? actually do not produce enough stomach acid. You can go to and read some of the research about this.
  4. Supplementation: Of course every patient is an individual, but here are some ideas:
    • B-complex: B-vitamins are necessary for production of all of the neurotransmitters that have been discussed: serotonin, norepinepherine and GABA.
    • Vitamin B12: This deserves a special mention. Deficiency is usually because of poor absorption, so if it is given orally, it should be given in large doses (larger than is available in most B complex tablets). The serum B12 test does not seem to be all that accurate, and you can test for methylmalonic acid. However the supplements are cheap, and have no side-effects and the test is expensive, so you can do no harm by just giving the supplement (give it in combination with folic acid). If you take a CBC, commonly the MCV will be larger than 90 in folks that need B12. Also consider B12 supplementation in people over 40 and in people with digestive problems (they won?t absorb it well). Also, this is a vitamin that is found in animal products, so all vegans should consider taking it?especially if they are tired, depressed and have CRS (can't remember stuff).
    • Fish oil: Neurons are encased in fat. The quality of oil you consume is vital to good neurological health. Be careful with fish oil'some supplements have dioxin and mercury. You MUST know and trust the quality control of the company you choose. We usually recommend BioMega-3 from Biotics?they test for toxins and harvest from small fish in the Southern Hemisphere (less pollutants). If you cannot be sure of the quality of the oil, use flax seed oil.
    • Lecithin or phosphatidylcholine: Taking either of these will also ensure the health of the nerve cell.
    • Magnesium: Magnesium can help you to sleep, improve your mood and help you to control blood sugar. It is also a cofactor for the production of neurotransmitters?especially GABA. You can go to and read some of the research about this.
    • Amino acids: Amino acids, especially tyrosine and tryptophan are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Taking a general amino acid supplement is often helpful.
    • Trace minerals: This is just from clinical observation, but commonly trace mineral supplementation helps mood?especially in people with poor digestion.

For depression, anxiety or insomnia, this is the natural health equivalent of seeing that the car is in gear, it has gas and the battery is charged. This is basic stuff, but you will be amazed at how well it works. When I think of some poor guy, depressed, anxious and unable to sleep, there must be a way to save him. Basic, simple health care can work miracles.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are hormonal issues?like the thyroid and adrenal glands (see earlier blogs for these topics). There is heavy metal toxicity. One thing that you commonly see is someone who suddenly develops fatigue, forgetfulness and depression and you find that they rehabbed a house shortly before developing symptoms. The symptoms occurred because they picked up lead from the paint dust. There is chemical toxicity and exposure, allergies and other health issues that can cause these symptoms. Also we have not touched on some of the herbal therapies like licorice, St. John's wort, valerian and other substances that have been shown to help with depression. There are hands-on techniques like acupuncture, chiropractic and craniosacral therapy. All we have really covered here is the basics; but you will be surprised at the results when you make sure that basic health issues are addressed in your patient.

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