Has anyone seen improvement in depression with the Paleolithic Diet?
Yes. When all is said and done, I think the present depression epidemic will be thought of as just another "disease of civilization" caused by chronic overconsumption of gluten (or perhaps fructose). The links between gluten and both bipolar and schizophrenia are highly suggestive as well.
Not me. Paleo eased many many things for me in the last year and a half but the chronic depression is not one of them. It's been my biggest disappointment, actually, but a good reminder that diet is not everything, and Paleo is not a cure-all.
There has been some research into EPA/DHA supplementation in treating depression. You can google those terms and read for yourself. In theory, many versions of the paleo diet would increase your O-3 and decrease your O-6 levels. Some people believe a 1:1 ratio of those omegas are ideal for optimal health.
You may want to dig through these old questions:
Personally, I had some issues with depression after coming home from the Peace Corps in 2006. No doubt due to health/gut issues, poor diet (almost no protein, lots of imported grains and vegetable oils... yuck), and also some very difficult life experiences. It lasted a long time and finally resolved itself within a few months of going Paleo. I was very surprised at the time, not so much now. Exercise helped a little, other things did not, but Paleo made it go away as if by magic.
At the time, I was not eating a very good Paleo diet, either -- still eating processed meats, nothing grass-fed, and using canola oil due to lack of knowledge.
It's a complicated question to say the least. Depression can have many different causes/agitators. If your particular brand is caused by a nutrition-deficiency, hormonal imbalance or eating/body image issues, then Paleo is probably going to be awesome for you.
In my own experience (I've had major depressive disorder for about 13 years and tried almost everything short of electro-shock therapy) the paleo diet has helped to relieve some symptoms by increasing my ability to get good sleep and feel good about myself. Having more energy in general is also helpful. I'm not sure how much my brain chemistry has changed, I've only been paleo for a year, so it may take more time. But all this is to say that anything that isn't harmful to you and has the capacity to make you feel good about yourself, improve your body functions, and get more sleep is going to help relieve depression to some extent. I'm not convinced yet that paleo is a "cure" for all depression the same way it is for diabetes, but in my experience, it has been helpful. Time will tell just how helpful, I am hopeful.
I actually typed in depression into the search here...because I think mine got worse. I hated myself before, but now I feel worse. I cannot believe how much weight I've GAINED eating more fat. I just don't know if it's right for my body. Damn that coconut oil. I wish there was some sort of invention that would suck out all my fat, but eh, whatever.
I've had depression and social anxiety among various other problems for a very long time, and I don't think paleo is going to fix it, even when I start eating what's right for my body. I think a lot of my problems stem from experiences and my perceptions of it and not from nutrition so I have to somehow fix that shit. I'm not the kind of person who thinks that good nutrition is going to save the world of all ailments.
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