Nutrition, Our Biochemical Individuality, and Depression

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Can nutrient therapy, or eating specific nutrients that balance our unique body chemistry, relieve mental health symptoms? One researcher, William J. Walsh, PhD., believes nutrient therapy is crucial for mental health treatment.

For one thing, Walsh points out that the raw materials of our brain’s neurotransmitters are the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids derived from the food we eat.

Nutrients and Neurotransmitters

Although problems with neurotransmitters are frequently caused by genetic glitches, the glitches are generally related to the absorption, processing, or storage of key food nutrients. So, nutrient therapy that successfully compensates for these nutrient glitches can relieve neurotransmitter-related symptoms.

For instance, some people with depression have a genetic pyrrole disorder. This means their body is chronically and severely depleted of vitamin B-6, and our feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin cannot be produced without B-6.

Individuals with pyrrole disorder often report depression relief using serotonin elevating drugs. They might get the same benefit by ingesting more B-6, plus nutrients that support the absorption and processing of B-6. A pyrrole disorder is easily detected using a urine test.

Metals and Depression

According to Walsh, other types of depression have nothing to do with serotonin, but still have much to do with the way our body handles specific nutrients.

Some people are genetically unable to manage trace metals such as copper, zinc, or manganese. Their systems may lack one or two of them but have an overload of others. Some women, for example, have elevated copper which is associated with estrogen intolerance and hormonal depression. Dr. Walsh says that too much copper may prove to be the cause of postpartum depression.

Women with a copper overload must avoid supplements and foods enriched with copper. They can also biochemically stimulate the production of metallothionein—proteins that bind trace metals.

Biochemical Fingerprints

It seems that we may each have a nutritent “fingerprint” every bit as unique as the swirls on our fingertips. If so, a key to good physical and mental health is knowing what unique nutritional needs our body has. Someday, a visit to the psychiatrist may include blood and urine tests to determine the exact nutritional problems affecting our mood and behavior.

To understand more about Walsh’s work with depression and nutrition, go to the Walsh Research Institute website (walshinstitute.org). There are interesting, informative videos available, and you may want to check out his book on nutrition therapy.

Dr. Walsh’s work benefits not only those with depression. He has studied the biochemistry of autism, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, and schizophrenia and has specific nutrient therapy recommendations for these issues as well.

Source: Walsh Institute
Photo credit: Emiliano De Laurentiis

 
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