I am twenty one years old and have been in depressive moods off and on for two years.. I have no focus and do not feel motivated a lot of the time. I have been doing horribly in school (college) so I quit for a little while. I haven't done much while I was away from school to be honest. I am struggling with shyness and anxiety around people.. I get depressed and angry sometimes.
Basically what I want to know is how does paleo affect the mind? I read somewhere that humans are always striving to improve and grow etc. etc.. Why am I not striving? Will paleo take away my anxiety and depressive moods? Will I become more motivated for my future? Anyone with experience?
Thank you for reading!
There is a very well known connection between the brain and gluten grains. You can google this. The Gluten File is a great resource and has a section on neurologic manifestations.
I did not realize just how depressed I was all my life until I gave up gluten. It was like a fog lifted from my brain. I am now grain free/paleo/primal because that makes me feel even better.
I mention gluten because if one is gluten sensitive, small amounts can make a difference. If I get the tiniest bit through cross contamination, my depression. along with agitation and brain fog and other symptoms, returns for a couple of days.
No one can tell you how a paleo diet will change you, but you will be able to tell us.
Although I am no Paleo expert (or even journeyman), I do know about how food can change your brain.
Walking away from sugar and grains as well as adding a weird kind of meditative swim session (two or three times a week) surely saved my brain.
My husband and I both noticed that unprovoked rages, followed by severe depression always followed on the heels of baking day. Licking the batter bowl of a batch of brownies could turn me into Wasp Woman. Unfortunately, wine can cause me to feel the things you describe. Sad, listless, goal-less. We call it going to the Bad Place. (yes, it happened so often, we gave it a name!) Since these reactions often manifested as many as 12 hours later, it took a very long time to figure out what was going on. (there are more triggers, but I think you get the idea) Until we did figure it all out, I really thought I was losing my marbles. It has changed the way I think about 'crazy'. Crazy isn't fun or funny and it certainly isn't a synonym for eccentric or daring.
You haven't mentioned what you do eat now, but I'd have to say, yes, cleaning up your diet can make a huge difference in your mind function. Additionally, if you've been taking anti-biotics and/or cortisone, you might want to look into the possibility of systemic candida.
Changing you omega 6/3 ratio is the first thing you must do to fix this problem. Every cell is surrounded by a cell membrane. Within this cell membrane resides all your protein signaling receptors. When the neurons are recycled if your CM are omega 6's they break down by a process known as autophagy and the byproducts of the omega sixes become inflammatory eicanosoids that increase your highly sensitive CRP to cause neuronal damage and lead to depression. You must increase the omega 3's, add 1200 mgs of Mg malate, and three B complex vitamins when you go paleo. Paleo will help tremendously
Read Emily Deans blog too.....she is a real resource for a person like you. It's called Evolutionary Psychiatry.
Good Luck and keep us informed to how you fair.
There are a ton of great discussions on this forum and I really recommend you read all of them. If nothing else, you'll find the many ways people have self-treated depression.
I've been self-treating and I use Paleo as one component. It has helped and totally listen to what Quilt said about the 6/3's. However, Paleo is not a cure-all despite what a lot of people say. It was working well for me but I slipped into a depression despite being as close to paleo as possible. I am bi-polar II and can say that combined with Paleo, Magnesium, taurine, fish oil, and sunlight (sometimes I do a tanning bed too), I have not had one hypomanic episode but still getting the blues.
I'm a huge believer in self-experimentation so what I mentioned about supp's above was done over months and with care in tracking. I know I can't go w/o the magnesium but I can go without the taurine. So really track what you're doing/taking including your sleep, exercise, time of day you eat as well as your moods throughout the day. This has helped me discover patterns and to change things up. It also helped me identify optimal times of the day for me to eat. For instance, I found after months of IF I don't do well on one huge meal but do better (mood-wise) eating a few small meals.
One final note: looking into cognitive therapy and doing some kaizen exercises (small steps) has been huge benefits to me. Based on what I'm tracking I think the improved nutrition helped me find these last two components. Look at triggers of depression are huge - not just saying you're depressed.
Depression usually can't be cured by one thing and sometimes it is a factor of several small issues. Paleo has really proved to assist me in clearing my head enough to find smaller issues. You're on the right track, man. Good Luck!!!
Changing my lifestyle (including my diet) had a huge effect on my moods. i could not pin one special aspect of my "clean" diet to the mood changes except for the fact that I now eat regularly which keeps me from getting brittle. There seem to be a huge number of connections between nutrition and psyche, though. Vitamin D, tryptophan, saturated fat...
I would not rely on your diet to solve your problems, though. In your situation I would just try to find something that makes you happy. No matter whether that's playing an instrument, diving into videogames or watching every TED (www.ted.com) video there is (make sure to watch Ken Robinsons talk). Try to get yourself inspired.
I WISH I had found Paleo in college. I was in the same boat as you man! My family history includes Manic Depression, or Bi-Polar if you're PC, and I definitely have tendencies. I struggled with it for a long long time, dropped out of college after failing miserably, drinking way too much, doing lots and lots of drugs, blasting through a chunk of inheritance money insanely (ha, pun intended I guess) fast.
Making a long story short, I continued to struggle with self-esteem issues, depression, bouts of mania and insane (there it is again) and irresponsible money-spending until very recently, I'd say about a year and a half or 2 years ago.
I cut back on my drinking, started correcting my late late late night owl sleep patterns with Melatonin, started supplementing with high doses of fish oil "for my brain," I quit smoking, quit all drugs and began eating what I thought was a healthy diet. I got a little better. I now have a wonderful girlfriend, I'm not desperately alone and despairing of life all the time. But I wasn't motivated to DO anything! I know how you feel.
Then I started going to the gym. I had read that exercise can balance moods. It helped a little bit too. Because of the gym I started to read about IF, minimal running and better diets. I found Paleo and never looked back.
Maybe if I'd started with Paleo, I would've noticed a revolutionary change, but on top of everything else, I still do notice that my motivation has gone through the roof. It's an uphill battle, and no ONE thing is the answer. It sure helps to be healthy though!
So far I haven't had any bouts of depression, or extremely manic behavior (although my spending habits will probably never be healthy...I don't have a credit card though, thank the gods!) and I feel great.
i think your symptoms are not uncommon to your age. i am no expert, but i believe it has to do with hormones and brain growth combined with a lack of purpose. so you are not alone and you are not going to stay this way.
this is just my opinion, so take it for what its worth. your reality is what you believe it is. and you can decide what you believe.
decide what you want to believe and behave as if it is the truth.
At least for me I find that depression is more correlated for me in not believing in what I am doing than anything at all to do with diet.
I need to feel like other actual humans need me to do a job to be happy, once I realized that and stopped reacting to depression with indulgence and isolation things got much easier for me.
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