Motivating Healthy Behavior Changes

What is the most effective way of motivating healthy behavior changes? And how does medical practice best  take advantage of information about what motivates people to make positive changes? It should be obvious that just telling someone that a certain behavior is healthy is often not enough to motivate change. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal …

Higher Carbohydrate Meals Increase Punishment

A study in 2017 finds that the composition of food in one meal can significantly affect behavior in the following hours, higher carbohydrate meals increase punishment behavior. How does this work and what does it mean in terms of understanding how diet affects mood? In the study, a high carbohydrate breakfast boosted tryptophan and lowered tyrosine. Tryptophan is the key …

Circadian Rhythms and Food

Scientists are uncovering a fascinating relationship between circadian rhythms and food consumption. It looks as though when you eat can have a big impact on how your body metabolizes the food and on whether or not you gain weight. It has long been clear that light exposure plays an important role in setting a number of circadian rhythms in the …

Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine may help protect the body against stress and may improve memory and prevent Alzheimer’s dementia. For the last month I have been examining some of the literature on this topic and working with some people in my practice to see if phosphatidylserine seems to be a useful natural supplement. The research literature on phosphatidylserine is intriguing. But first a …

Intermittent Fasting and Brain Health

Conventional wisdom, especially in the realm of diet and health, often turns out not to be right. Conventional wisdom (as it happens, heavily subsidized by grants from the Kellogg Foundation) has argued that “breakfast is the most important meal” and “fasting diets are unhealthy.” An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Casazza in 2013 suggested that the …

Fish Oil for Depression

Is fish oil effective for treating depression? Just this past week a new patient in my practice asked me that question and I said that I didn’t know. I mentioned that ever since a study of people with bipolar depression was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry (the leading journal in psychiatry) by Andy Stoll in 1999 there has been …

S-Adenosyl-Methionine Update

SAM-e S-adenosylmethionine, or SAM-e for short, is one of the few nutritional supplements that has good clinical research to support its safety and effectiveness. Although SAM-e is used for many purposes, we are particularly interested in it as a compound that may have antidepressant properties. Clinical Significance S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) is involved in many reactions that involve methylating chemicals (transferring a methyl …

Can Junk Food Shrink Your Brain?

Did you know that increasing or even maintaining your intake of burgers, fries and soda pop—and pretty much any other hallmark of the “Western diet,” high in saturated fats and refined sugar—isn’t just an efficient way of rotting your teeth out and raising your risk of cancer, diabetes or heart disease, but that you may also be shrinking your brain? …

Omega 3 Prevents Psychosis

The Omega – 3 supplementation story seems to take many twists and turns. At one point, based on double blinded controlled study published by Andy Stoll, et al, from Harvard, in JAMA Psychiatry in 1999, it looked as though omega 3 fatty acids would turn out to be a very effective treatment for bipolar, with almost no side effects. Subsequent …

MIND Diet Prevents Memory Loss

Researchers at Rush University have developed a diet (the MIND diet) that appears to be associated with significantly reduced cognitive decline in aging. The diet was developed from three sources of information: the Mediterranean diet (as elsewhere on this blog), the DASH diet for the prevention of hypertension, and a review of the literature on the effects of specific dietary components …

Mediterranean Diet is Anti Aging

The Mediterranean Diet appears to have an anti aging effect in a just published study. The study, in the December 2014 edition of the British Medical Journal, found that the Mediterranean Diet was associated with telomere length, a biological marker of aging. Telomeres are DNA sequences at the end of chromosomes that protect the chromosomes from damage and allow healthy cell …

Mood Disorders and Summer Nutrition – Arnrow

We recently wrote about healthy eating for people with mood disorders (original post can be viewed here). Today, we bring you some delicious and easy ideas to enjoy in this summer weather—well rather, July in San Francisco that so happens to be co-occurring with the hot and sunny climate in other places. Infused water Drinking infused water is a great and …

L-Methylfolate for Depression

Methylfolate is the active form of folic acid – which is an essential B vitamin. Methylfolate is essential for the brain to make the neurotransmitters that prevent depression (norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine). In other words, a low level of depression can cause or worsen depression because it leads to lower levels of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. Most of us are able to get plenty …

Supplement Update

We got this update from Consumer Labs which reminded us why we think it is a great resource for anyone serious about taking supplements. New Review: Fish & Marine Oils High Quality Fish Oil Supplements Found, But Pitfalls Exist:   We recently completed tests of fish, krill, algal, calamari and green-lipped muscle oil supplements. Although we identified many high-quality supplements (some costing just pennies per day), several others …

Zinc Might Prevent Depression

In several animal studies, zinc deficiency can cause behavior that looks like depression. In other animal studies, giving  zinc can have antidepressant-like activity if the animals are zinc-deficient. And there is some clinical evidence that zinc might boost the effectiveness of antidepressants in humans. Now a large meta-analysis of studies that looked at zinc blood levels in people with depression (Swardfager, et …

Mediterranean Diet and Depression

Boost your brain power naturally! Try this simple intervention to reduce depression, stroke, heart disease and improve cognition. Does that statement make you a bit wary? A recent meta-analysis of 22 studies spanning two decades finds that the Mediterranean diet is associated with significant reductions in the risk of depression and stroke, and significant improvements in cognition. Across the studies, …

Herbal Supplements Often Not What They Claim

A recent study concluded that herbal supplements are often not what they claim to be. The study was published in the journal BMC Medicine and it got front-page coverage on the New York Times website. Using DNA analysis, researchers tested 44 products from a dozen companies. The DNA signatures were compared with samples obtained from horticultural greenhouses. The study was summarized in the New …

Food, Mood and Cognition

We recently got a useful update on this topic from one of the clinicians who works with us at Gateway Psychiatric. She had attended a seminary of the same title from the Institute for Natural Resources. Inflammation can be associated with poor diet for example, high consumption of sugars, especially high fructose corn syrup and high saturated fat intake. Chronic …