Depression and Mental Health

Depression or some form of mental health issue has touched most of us at some time of our lives.  Nearly a fifth of all adults in the UK have suffered from some form of anxiety or depression.  So even if you have not been a statistic yourself, the chances are that you are caring for, or are worried about someone who has.

The obvious place to start is with anti-depressants – we have all heard about them and many people have taken them.  But my approach is to boost our own anti -depressants.  In this post I will take you through a few of my top hormone balancing, mind and morale boosting nutrients.  Ones that don’t come with the range of side effects listed in association with the likes of Prozac.

I should first say that our brains are full of fatty membranes, the solid part of our brain being made up of about 60% fat.  So making positive changes to the types of fat that we eat is going to have an effect.  It is old news now but switching to an omega 3 strong diet of wild fish and ground flax seed with added supplements of krill oil, fish oil or flax seed oil will be beneficial in calming down inflammation and boosting the flexibility of our brain cell membranes.  This means that our cell membranes will be able to control our neurotransmissions of calcium to a much better degree.

So next stop Magnesium, known as a key element in optimum brain function…and can I just say that I recently read about a man who read about magnesium as a treatment for depression on a website, thought it too simple and so didn’t take it…when he finally gave it a go, it worked for him and his response was to get shitty with the website for making the solution seem too simple, so much so that it delayed his treatment.

Magnesium directs and guides our calcium response in our synapses.  With insufficient magnesium our nerves fire in all directions.  Think machine gun when a well aimed pistol would suffice.  The damage that is caused when calcium goes awry is inflammatory and causes oxidative stress.  It damages our brain cells and the  ill-timed and chronic misfiring of neurons depletes our adrenal glands, which keep responding to the stimuli by producing among other things the stress hormone cortisol.  It is tiring to be constantly bombarded with hormones that should only be used in instances that require fight or flight responses.  Signs of magnesium deficiency are fatigue, depression, irritability, anxiety and hyper excitability.  Headaches, insomnia, compulsive behaviour, SAD, drug and alcohol abuse can all occur when we fall below required levels of magnesium.

Modern processing methods, massively depleted soils and calcium rich diets (calcium is somewhat antagonistic to magnesium) have devastated our naturally occurring magnesium supply through foods.  Some have explained the dramatic rate of increase in depression over the last few decades, by such malnutrition of this mineral.

There are some fantastic case studies offered by a study conducted by Eby and Eby: Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment., published by Medical Hypotheses 2006.


 59-year old man experienced life-saving bene-
fit from magnesium. The first night after starting
magnesium, sleep was restored essentially to nor-
mal. Within the following 4 days, depression was
greatly reduced for 4–6 h after each magnesium
dosage. Anxiety steadily disappeared. Tetany and
headaches rapidly disappeared. On occasion,
2:00AM doses were also required to maintain a
feeling of wellness. Over the following months,
normalcy was maintained only by frequent magne-
sium ingestion. In this patient, depression always
occurred 1 h after taking a 500 mg calcium (carbon-
ate) dietary supplement, which was extinguishable
within 1 h only by administration of 400 mg of mag-
nesium. This man was extremely sensitive to cal-
cium, and elimination of all dairy and
supplemental forms of calcium was mandatory for
mental stability. Osteoporosis due to low calcium
intake was feared, but a high magnesium and low
calcium diet did not have an adverse effect on his
bone density over a 5-year observation period. Nor-
mal life free of depression was difficult to maintain
without frequent magnesium treatment, until Ke-
fir, a rich source of beneficial intestinal flora and
inulin (vital for magnesium absorption [8]), and
indole-3-carbinol (200 mg per meal) were added
to his diet. These nutrients seemed to stabilize
the beneficial effect of magnesium, perhaps by
improvements in intestinal absorption, digestion
and immunity. After incorporation of these agents
into his diet, total wellness occurred, which was
easily maintained with much less magnesium.
In addition to this they cite the case of a 23 year old woman who:
After 1 week of magnesium treatment,became free
of depression. Unex-pectedly, her short term
memory and IQ also returned, benefits only
previously shown in rats [9] when immediately
treated with magnesium after traumatic brain injury.
However, her mental acuity returned nearly
immediately upon magnesium treatment, even
though the trauma had occurred 5 years earlier.
Then a:

 40-year old man found himself free of his

symptoms within a week, and unexpectedly found
his craving for smoking, dipping, cocaine and alco-
hol to disappear also. It seemed that magnesium
deficiency caused his habituation. He also noted
that his ravenous appetite was suppressed, and
beneficial and desired weight loss ensued.

Zinc is also anti inflammatory and has anti depressant qualities.  It works in the same way as magnesium in our brain receptors, controlling the calcium flux, but to a lesser extent.  It plays a regulatory role in the human nervous system and also promotes growth of new brain cells. Zinc is found in its highest levels in the brain.

Some can struggle with absorption of zinc and Pyroluria, one of the conditions associated with this can be helped by taking a combination of zinc and B6. This relationship was discovered by C Pfeiffer who used zinc and B6 in the successful treatment of depression and schizophrenia.

My next big one is Vitamin C.  I mentioned earlier the detrimental effects of oxidative stress; if we need to counter the effect of this we need antioxidants.  Hailed by Dr Levy as a cure all we can see that it would be remiss not to give this incredible vitamin some air time:

…all toxins cause oxidative damage – at least 100 percent of the over 100 toxins that are researched in the literature; and to this end, high doses of intravenous vitamin C, or other elegantly applied forms of vitamin C – will neutralize botulism, snakebite, organo-phosphate insecticides, all the different heavy metals. To the best of my knowledge there’s no need for anything known as an antidote – other than vitamin C. Similarly, all infectious diseases ultimately inflict most of their damage via oxidative damage – increased free radicals. Whenever you hear pro-oxidant, increased free radicals – all of these things can be quenched by a large enough supply of electrons.”
Dr. Levy


It appears that we as a species are rare by the fact that we do not produce our own vitamin C.  Under stress, animals (that produce their own vitamin C) will often increase their production of this vitamin by 10 times as much as their normal output.  It must be important then.

Vitamin C is used to regulate our stress hormones including cortisol, adrenalin and norepinephrine.  This does seem to be our Achilles heel when it comes to the chronically overwrought lifestyles that many of us try to maintain. Rather than preserved for the ‘fight or flight’, ‘life or death’ situations that it has been designed for – we are now placing demands on our stress responses for hours and days at a time.  Vitamin C is depleted when we initiate the stress response and as we know that we don’t make our own – we need to replenish our stores.  If we don’t our responses will be sub optimal an our health and state of mind compromised.  If Vitamin C cannot be called upon when required to return excess cortisol levels to within a normal range -symptoms will start to emerge; fatigue, insomnia, mood disorders to name a few.

Vitamin C is also responsible for maintaining the healthy function of mucous membranes in our body and also those of the secreting glands; the adrenal, pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid, testes and ovaries, the thymus, eye and gastrointestinal tract can all be compromised resulting in reduced health and longevity.

An approach to depression should not be all about pill popping (even if they are beneficial supplements).  Exercise should not be overlooked.  It is one of the most effective treatment strategies for depression.   Exercise triggers neurotransmitters such as endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, and GABA which play a crucial part in controlling our moods.

I will come back to this and add some more when I can.

You can read some great further insight at Dr Mercola’s site, which talks about the role of inflammation in depression:

If such supplements do not make enough of a difference.  It may be wise to get tested for Pyroluria through a nutritional practitioner.  For some the breakdown of B6, Fatty acids and Zinc can be challenging or virtually non-existent.  As nutritional therapists we would start right back at the beginning to work on hydration through various methods.  So it would always be best to talk things through with a practitioner before making any radical changes to your diet or lifestyle.

In the meantime – drink your clean water, eat a few soaked nuts and seeds (if you are OK with them), plenty of dark green vegetables and understand that for some, supplementation may provide the necessary ‘spark’ to bring back light where there is dark.


Energy Efficient Appliances – Finally a list to understand!

This last year we have had to replace almost every one of our major kitchen appliances. Doing a major overhaul on building work has made making decisions even more painful than they might otherwise have been, so too has money been an issue. So added to the:- “well I like the handles on that one”,or “it has to look fifties”, wading through the quagmire of energy efficiency leaves me not just overwhelmed but positively mind numbed. So here is a link to a discussion and a list that I would use now. It even has the cost per yer to run, which I think is just fabulous:

Written by the organization 10:10 who are fighting climate change locally and globally…one for you then Russell Brand.
Gemma x

An in depth treatment of causes of chronic illnesses such as Autism, Fatigue, Chronic pain, Lyme disease, Epstein Barr infections, parasites; looking at Electromagnetic Radiation and smart meters, cordless phones, mobile phones and masts.

Have you lost your zest for life?
Are you living a half life?
Watch this:

Spreading the word
Gemma x

Why I keep getting on my high horse about Monsanto.

A great summary of how we are on a knife edge with the daily food that we eat and how this one company can literally poison our food supply (and is doing so systematically).

Groups are standing up to challenge this and are fighting for this toxic food to be labelled (yes most of this stuff is bought without us even knowing – even supermarkets in the UK are now stocking meat that has been fed on GMO grains).  We are already on the slippery slope.  They are getting it in through the back door, despite the UK shoppers voting with a huge NO to these foods.


Be part of the challenge and the change.

Gemma x


My amazing daughter Freja sent me this photo that she found.  It prompted me to celebrate the riot of colour that has really lifted my day. (sorry for the lack of credits, if I find them I will add them).

autumn photography image 04 Wonderful Pictures of Autumn Leaves and Autumn Wallpapers

Ode To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

No regrets.

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”
― William Jennings Bryan

The Mountain Road Bridge

© Marilyn Barbone | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Have you, in the past couple of years taken a step backwards and thought about your happiness?  Have you considered that your life’s path might not be heading in the direction that you would have chosen?  Rather have you found yourself backing up a one way street that when you were young you thought that you would avoid?

Are you stuck?  Falling apart?  Just need a little nudge in the right direction?

Time for change.  Time for a look at yourself and what you really want; to place a bit of time aside for re-shaping your hopes and dreams so that at the end of it all, you have no regrets.

Tony Robbins created this.  He has since updated it and has made a much more hand held and lengthy version.  This is naive, out of date and makes you wonder what the hell you are doing, but stay with it.  It is worth it as you see a path generated, that shows you step by step, where you want to be, and how bit by little bit, you are going to get there.

If you need to re-fathom your life follow the link and create some life goal pages:

Here is a much more succinct version that might be easier to help you get your goals established:

Robert Frost

“The Road Not Taken’
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Robert Frost

With love

Gemma x