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 …

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 …

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 …

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? …

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 …

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 …

EmPowerPlus – Placebo or Nutritional Treatment for Bipolar?

  I have been surfing the web looking for other blogs on the topic of bipolar. It is an interesting and humbling experience. There are so many brave and thoughtful people writing about their struggles (or victories) living creatively with moods. If you haven’t done some surfing (of the web) I encourage you to do so. One of the sites …

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, …

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 …

Hormones and Food

In an earlier post we talked about some of the research on appetite. We reviewed some of the peptide hormones that regulate appetite and how the entire system that controls appetite is really designed to cope better with a time of scarcity than a time of plenty. Here I want to talk more specifically about the interplay between other hormone …

Hunger Regulation

Recently several folks have asked us questions about diet, hunger, weight gain, and nutrition. Certainly for many people with depression, gaining weight is an important issue, both as a cause and consequence of depression. Let’s begin by trying to make some sense of hunger. In other posts we will be talking about how stress and the hormone system relates to …

Effects of Vitamin D on Mental Illness

Current Psychiatry posted an article suggesting that vitamin D levels are related to different mental illnesses. Although more than 50% of psychiatric patients are reported to have vitamin D deficiencies, there is still not enough evidence to say that vitamin D supplementation will help with symptoms. One way vitamin D enters our systems is through exposure to sunlight. UV radiation …

Iron for PMS

A recent study suggested that women who consumed higher amounts of iron (from plant not animal sources) had a lower rate of premenstrual symptoms. Those who consumed more than 20 milligrams per day had about a 30% reduction in PMS symptoms compared with those who consumed less than the average amount  (average intake of 9.4 milligrams per day). This study …

Fish Oil Update

Since so many people with bipolar and depression take fish oil we thought we would pass on some information in a summary form from Consumer Labs. The full information is available if you subscribe. Consumer Labs is the only source of reliable information about supplements (the only place that does any testing) and if you take supplements we strongly encourage …

Something Fishy

Journal Watch (which is published by the very well respected New England Journal of Medicine) recently reviewed the evidence about omega – 3 fatty acids and depression. The editors concluded that fish oil can be helpful but the key to effectiveness is the amount of one of the two fatty acids that are the primary ingredients in fish oil. The …