Depression-Free, Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue, and Anger from Your Life

Overview

In this groundbreaking book, nutritionist Joan Mathews Larson, Ph.D., founder of Minnesota's esteemed Health Recovery Center, offers her revolutionary formulas for healing your emotions--biochemically. Through proven all-natural formulas, Seven Weeks to Emotional Healing will help you find the emotional well-being you've been missing your entire life. Inside you'll discover how to

- Screen yourself for emotional and behavioral symptoms
- ...

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Depression-Free, Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue, and Anger from Your Life

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Overview

In this groundbreaking book, nutritionist Joan Mathews Larson, Ph.D., founder of Minnesota's esteemed Health Recovery Center, offers her revolutionary formulas for healing your emotions--biochemically. Through proven all-natural formulas, Seven Weeks to Emotional Healing will help you find the emotional well-being you've been missing your entire life. Inside you'll discover how to

- Screen yourself for emotional and behavioral symptoms
- Recognize the mental and physical clues that indicate biochemical imbalances
- Heal your depression and anxiety with the right vitamins and minerals
- Stabilize your mood swings and protect your well-being with essential fatty acids
- Choose the right foods for optimal mental fitness
- Rejuvenate your body with key natural hormones

Safe, fast, more long-lasting and cheaper than prescription drugs or psychotherapy, Seven Weeks to Emotional Healing will help you find balance and well-being.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is a treasure trove of vital new information. Because my clients have been using similar strategies for many years, I can testify to their immediate and sustaining effectiveness in correcting even the most severe mood problems. And the elegant clarity of its writing and layout make the book a pleasure to read."
--JULIA ROSS
   Author of The Diet Cure

"Larson provides the checklists of symptoms, possible disorders, and corrective formulas along with simple but thorough explanations of how the biochemistry works. She plausibly links biochemical emotional problems with the gradual shift in the American diet over the last sixty years toward sugary, carbohydrate-laden, and processed foods. Anyone who has suffered from mental lapses, mood swings, and stress will find plenty to mull over here."
--Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345435170
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1 PBK ED
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 250,809
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.18 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Joan Mathews Larson, Ph.D., is the author of the national bestseller Seven Weeks to Sobriety. She holds a doctorate in nutrition and is the founder and executive director of the highly esteemed Health Recovery Center in Minneapolis. It was the loss of her seventeen-year-old son to suicide that fueled her search for more effective solutions to emotional healing. Her clinic has now successfully treated several thousand people over a twenty-year period. She lives in Minneapolis.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1
It's Not All in Your Mind

As far back as he could remember, Peter had been fearful, but he covered it up extremely well. Now married, he supported his family adequately but felt shy and joyless most of the time. He drank beer occasionally to offset those feelings. Still, he seemed to become more of a loner with each passing year. Peter never considered himself a candidate to see a psychiatrist. He was simply living out his life of quiet despair until we met.

Meg was an excellent attorney with a very bright mind. Her facade was take-charge aggressive, and few crossed her. Yet at our first meeting she was in tears because of her angry, erratic behavior. She had no idea why she seemed to exist in a state of such high arousal. . . . This trait was hurting those she loved the most. She wanted to mellow out but knew her career couldn't afford the fog prescription drugs created.

An exceptional designer, musician, and musical director, Eric didn't have the emotional staying power to ignite his career into high gear. Despite his brilliance, his heart pounded with anxiety during performances. He drank a lot of caffeine and was a heavy smoker. His mood swings left him exhausted when he desperately needed extra energy. Ongoing psychological counseling did not change any of this. . . . Now he was considering taking prescribed drugs to relieve his depression and anxiety. He summed it up the day we met, telling me, at age forty-two, "Some days my life feels entirely hopeless."

Donna usually felt scattered. Her thinking was foggy, and her problems concentrating were affecting her job. Memories of her childhood were of a pale, listless little girl who had never felt the world was a friendly place. She had had frequent childhood illnesses--earaches, strep throats,
and colds. Now as an adult, she still felt fragile. She told me she needed help to overcome her muddled thinking and get some joy in her life. But her number-one priority was finding relief from her fatigue, which made her tired right down to her bones. For Donna, life was an uphill battle--and she was slowly losing the war.

It is part of the human condition that we keep taking our own inventory and continually come up short, but it becomes a calamity if the missing pieces prevent us from enjoying a fulfilling, stable life. If, like Peter,
Meg, Eric, and Donna, you are saying, "I wish I could feel better, think better, perform better," it is time to stop wishing and take heart! This book will change your life.

Like the case studies just cited, you, too, may be coexisting with an erratic nervous system or brain, and lack the energy, verve, joy, and confidence that are your birthright. Yet you may be hesitant about seeing a therapist. And, in fact, the idea that a good therapist can solve these problems by simply talking to you has been the great bane of the twentieth century! Untold millions are filling the coffers of psychologists and counselors who listen to the tales of misery that such lives produce but aren't able to effect real, positive, lasting changes in their clients.

Fortunately, in the last few decades, biochemists and medical doctors have begun to pinpoint scientific explanations for behavior that used to be labeled "psychological." These researchers have noticed that:

* many "psychological" symptoms often cluster in families.

* certain physical changes in the brain (and body) can create mayhem emotionally.

* an internal invasion of yeast parasites may create full-blown mental and physical illness.

* food intolerances strongly affect our emotions.

* airborne chemicals can alter our brains.

* angry outbursts are predictable from a brain in a chemical state of high arousal all the time.

* dozens of biochemical mistakes can result in bleak depression or anxiety.

All of these are fixable, if we can identify them!

A New Direction

In 1896, Sigmund Freud predicted that "the future may teach us to exercise a direct influence by means of chemical substances upon the amounts of energy and their distribution in the apparatus of the mind." By 1927 he had become "firmly convinced that one day all these mental disturbances we are trying to understand will be treated by means of hormones or similar substances." How right he was! Science now knows it can address such
"mental disturbances" biochemically. It is no longer believed that talk therapy and good counseling advice can relieve the agony emanating from a chemically disrupted brain.

In fact, science has now taken off at a gallop in the direction of biochemical repair. One of the leaders in the field is a brilliant
Canadian named Abram Hoffer who is both a biochemist and a psychiatrist.
In the 1950s, he began to apply pellagra research to psychiatric patients.
Earlier, vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency had been established as the cause of pellagra, a disease that causes confusion, disorientation, and memory disturbance. So here was a classic example of a natural substance that prevents a psychotic state. In fact, the prolonged absence of niacin in our bodies will ultimately result in death!

In 1962, Dr. Hoffer published the first double-blind study in the field of psychiatry. He found that, of ninety-eight schizophrenic patients receiving megadoses of niacin, the hospital readmission rate was 10
percent over three years with no suicides, while the placebo group had a
50 percent readmission with four suicides. Also in the 1960s, Dr. Hoffer treated about twenty-five former prisoners of war who had been imprisoned in Japanese concentration camps during World War II. He found that, in order to be free of the many physical and psychiatric symptoms (i.e.,
fears, anxieties, insomnia, depression) they developed during their internment, 90 percent of the former prisoners had developed a permanent need for large doses of niacin.

The Canadian Department of Health and Welfare also conducted a study to determine if the general chronic illnesses seen in the men held in
Japanese POW camps, who underwent starvation and excessive stress, were present in their brothers who had served in Europe. The differences were remarkable! The men incarcerated by the Japanese suffered from serious ongoing psychiatric and neurological diseases throughout life, as well as heart disease, premature blindness, arthritis, and a high death rate. None of these symptoms was present in their brothers. Clearly, the starvation and stress endured in the Japanese camps had created chronic illness.
Fortunately, Dr. Hoffer was able to treat some of these men, extending their lives and saving their sanity with niacin (B3).

How Nutrient Deprivation Cripples Us Emotionally

You may not see a connection between starving prisoners and our own poorly functioning health, but as you read on you will begin to understand how physical deprivation can trigger uncontrollable emotional behavior, all the way to madness. I expect many of you are protesting that you are not starving, by any means! But because of your unique, individual biochemical requirements or because of some glitches in how you absorb nutrients, or the fact that you live on junk food and colas, your brain may never get enough of what it needs. Then you are in the same boat as the young men I
am about to describe:

During World War II, scientists in the United States also pondered the effects of starvation on captured GIs living in Japanese POW camps. To provide some answers, a six-month study was launched at the University of
Minnesota using healthy young male conscientious objectors. This study produced incredible results (although, of course, this kind of study would not be conducted today).

The young men were deprived of more than half their normal food intake.
Over the course of six months, many suffered severe physical and psychiatric changes, and most of these disturbances lingered long after the experiment had ended.

In the beginning, the men showed a high degree of tolerance and sociability with each other. But gradually they began to avoid group activities. There were frequent outbursts of anger and irritability, and many grew deeply depressed. Some finally required hospitalization in a psychiatric ward. One chopped off three of his fingers in response to stress; another became uncontrollably violent. Many expressed the fear that they were going crazy; others talked of suicide. They all cried a lot and displayed wild emotional disturbances. Because they felt increasingly socially inadequate, they now preferred to isolate themselves.
Concentration and ability to comprehend became severely impaired even though IQ tests showed no drop in their intellectual abilities.

After the study ended, the emotional symptoms continued. In fact,
researchers noted that some of the men grew even more negative, depressed,
and argumentative, directly after the conclusion of the project!

What both the U.S. and Canadian studies show is that "emotional" symptoms develop as a direct result of the unavailability of brain and body chemicals. These important chemicals create our stable emotions,
behaviors, thoughts, and sanity.

Of course, back in the mid-twentieth century, scientists were only beginning to discover the many natural vitamins, minerals, amino acids,
essential fatty acids, enzymes, endorphins, and neurotransmitters needed for sanity and well-being. Even today, many people do not seem to grasp the concept that our emotional and physical health depends on having the proper concentration of the natural substances the human body needs to sustain life and normal emotional balance.

In fact, until only the last few decades, little was known about how brain chemicals influence emotions. Only a few scientists were dedicated to resolving chemically induced "emotional" problems by restoring adequate levels of the needed natural chemicals.

The growing awareness that natural substances are needed to create optimum brain functioning should have aroused tremendous interest in the scientific community. Unfortunately, the concurrent worldwide development of the drug industry, with its promise of far more lucrative rewards, lead researchers in another direction. Drug companies give university scientists generous grants to invent new, artificial, patentable chemicals. There is no profit for them in developing promising nonpatentable natural brain/body chemicals. And many of these artificial drugs have toxic side effects, because our bodies regard them as foreign invaders. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association,
prescribed drugs cause 140,000 deaths yearly, yet no drug has ever been able to totally duplicate the role of natural body chemicals.

By pursuing these "patentable" avenues, the pharmaceutical industry today comprises some of the most powerful and profitable businesses worldwide!

Mind and Body--Intertwined

Luckily, in every generation there are a few truly dedicated geniuses who care more for science and humanity than for building their fortunes. Linus
Pauling will be remembered as one such giant. He had already won two Nobel
Prizes (in 1954 for chemistry, in 1962 for peace) when, in his sixties, he began studying mental disorders, focusing on underlying biochemical dysfunctions. This new interest grew out of his compassion for humankind:

I like human beings. I like to think about the possibilities of decreasing the amount of their suffering. When I remember that 10 percent of the
American people spend some part of their lives in a mental hospital and that half of all hospital beds in this country are occupied by mental patients, I do believe that it will be possible to get an understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of mental disease [and] therapeutic methods that will lead to the effective control of a very large part of mental disease.

Dr. Pauling's interest in disturbed mental function focused on physiology,
not psychotherapy. He was the first to call mental disorders "molecular diseases," the result of a biochemical abnormality in the body. And he said, "The mind is a manifestation of the structure of the brain itself."

His involvement in brain research led him to coin his famous definition of orthomolecular therapy: "Orthomolecular psychiatric therapy is the treatment of mental disease by the provision of the optimum molecular environment for the mind, especially the optimum concentrations of substances normally present in the human body."

With that statement, Dr. Pauling gave a scientific identity to the role of nutrition in psychiatry. He challenged doctors to become aware of the overwhelming amount of information that was pouring in from all over the world, documenting the vital role natural chemicals play in brain function and other medical disorders. This book is based on those principles.

I bet you think Pauling's advice to medical doctors is obvious. Yet a recent study showed that while 74 percent of first-year medical students believed that a knowledge of nutrition is important to their career, by their third year of learning how to match drugs to symptoms, the number drops to 13 percent!

What Pauling is telling us is that the human mind cannot operate in a vacuum because it is totally dependent on the brain and its molecular function to create your emotional health. In the world of science, where two plus two always makes four, a sane and stable mind is possible only with an organically healthy brain.

Balanced Brain Chemicals 5 Emotional and Mental Health

The reward of getting the right chemicals into the brain at "optimum concentrations" is a joy to witness. Last year a friend complained to me that his three-year-old autistic son, Seth, refused to welcome him when he came home each evening. Instead, Seth sat there self-involved, shutting out the world. A therapist visited them twice weekly, but progress was poor.

I encouraged him to start Seth on B6 and magnesium, both of which have been shown to work well for autistic children. Within two weeks I received an excited call: Seth was waking up to the world around him and starting to interact much more with his folks. Then, weeks later, his family stopped giving him the supplements, thinking perhaps the therapist was responsible for the breakthrough. It took very little time before Seth's autistic behavior reappeared. His parents ran for his nutrients.

For this child, B6, which prevents the loss of dopamine from the brain, is critical, as is the magnesium. This is true for most autistic children.
(It is speculated that the high upsurge of autism may be related to a modern medical practice; see Chapter 8.)

A number of years ago, a group of neuroscientists meeting at a Johns
Hopkins symposium released a joint statement that I love: "Workings of the mind become scrambled when brain chemistry goes awry." They noted that specifically affected are:

* thoughts

* feelings

* self-awareness

* perception

* memory

How can we hope to act and feel normal if our "mental" balance is askew?

Another genius, the late Roger Williams, Ph.D., a University of Texas biochemist, discovered that actual optimal levels of natural brain chemicals can differ widely from person to person. This was an astonishing idea--that any two persons' requirements of these molecular chemicals might be vastly different, and so, on the same recommended daily allowance
(RDA), one person stays healthy while the other limps through life never feeling normal!

The Safety of Our Natural Chemicals--and the Healing Power of Our Bodies

Dr. Pauling devoted much time to determining ideal doses of vitamins and other natural chemicals in the body. He concluded that there was great misrepresentation by some medical and scientific journals and by the media about the toxicity and harmful side effects of nutrients taken in greater quantities than the RDA. He called it "a bias based upon a lack of knowledge." An example he cited was about a toddler who swallowed the entire contents of a bottle of vitamin A and began to feel nauseous and headachy. The toddler was treated and then released from the local hospital. Newspapers across the country carried the headline poisoning by vitamin a. Yet every day children die from aspirin poisoning--and these deaths go unreported.

Natural substances that belong in our bodies have remarkably low toxicity,
especially when compared to drugs, which, in general, are highly toxic and sometimes prescribed in doses close to lethal levels. For example, a registered nurse in her forties came to my office recently to discuss her fear that she was becoming disabled from prescribed drugs. Between her physician and her psychiatrist, she was taking nine different drugs. Some of them were addictive; others were combining to create an unsafe level of toxicity. I couldn't believe it when she told me that her doctors were treating the side effects of her prescriptions with more drugs!
Furthermore, I was horrified that even a registered nurse had unwittingly found herself on a regimen where she ingested enough toxic substances daily to systematically worsen her health!

Fortunately, there was another way to treat this woman's health problems,
and it involved giving her body the nutritional means to heal itself.
That's a very important concept: Our bodies are supposed to heal themselves. When we get an infection, the body is supposed to cure it.
When we are injured, the body is supposed to heal. It does this innumerable times each day of our lives.

Dr. Albert Schweitzer put it eloquently: "We doctors don't do anything except help the doctor within." Our bodies are hardwired to be self-healing, but to do so they must be given the optimum natural substances needed. And compared to drugs, these natural chemicals are quite safe. So, you may wonder, why did the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services set the RDA levels so unrealistically low? Dr. Linus
Pauling also asked that question, and answered it himself. After studying the RDA standards thoroughly, this famous Nobel Prize winner concluded that the RDA's daily nutrient allowances are "enough to keep people barely alive in ordinary poor health."

Repairing Biochemical Error andReaching Organic Equilibrium

Once in a great while, a researcher with a doctorate in chemistry decides to become a medical doctor as well--a lucky break for mankind! Carl
Pfeiffer, Ph.D., M.D., was such a scientist. In the sixties, Dr. Pfeiffer discovered that blood histamine levels were elevated in the lab tests of obsessive-compulsive individuals. As these patients improved, their histamine levels dropped and their depression lifted. In patients with very low levels of brain histamine, Pfeiffer found that they were likely to be paranoid and have hallucinations. Thus, individuals with either high or low levels of histamine showed some degree of thought disorder and overarousal. True to his chemistry background, Pfeiffer then began the search to determine which natural substances could make or block histamine in the brain. (Chapter 7 applies his valuable discoveries to your own needs.)

So, thirty years later, are psychiatrists systematically testing the histamine levels of their patients? Not yet! (You will see the array of abnormal histamine symptoms when you do the written screening tests for low/high histamine levels on page 219. You'll also learn what lab tests to take to confirm what you suspect, and last, how to repair this biochemical error.)

It makes much more sense to restore the natural levels of biochemicals, to re-create optimum balance. This organic equilibrium is called homeostasis.
From that state you have the best shot at reaching your potential in life!
And this is what we will try to achieve in Seven Weeks to Emotional
Healing. The role of drugs in your emotional health should be short-term--a bridge until proper natural balance has been achieved.

In the seventies, Carl Pfeiffer confirmed the presence of what he called the "mauve factor." Sometimes the urine of normal individuals under stress or individuals suffering from mental illness changes to a mauve color after lab tests. He named this kind of anxiety disorder "pyroluria." A
cluster of psychological and physical symptoms are identifiable in these people, not the least of which is a high level of inner tension and anxiety that steadily worsens with age. Pyroluria appears genetic, as it seems to run in families. Here is a description of an extremely pyroluric client:

Ted brought his mother with him to our appointment. His shyness was almost painful to behold as he let her answer my questions. This man was a computer whiz and a gifted writer. Still unmarried in his mid-fifties, he had never had a sexual experience because he was just too fearful to date women. He had worked at the same job all his life and kept a low profile.
He still lived at home.

Ted had been separated from his family as a toddler, and blamed his deep-seated fears on that circumstance. But my thoughts went immediately to pyroluria. Judging by Ted's pale complexion and his answers to a list of symptoms, I was sure of it. He seemed so miserable that it was hard not to blurt out right then and there that there was probably a biochemical answer to his anxiousness.

Two weeks later his lab results confirmed my suspicions. (You'll find out more about pyroluria and how to treat it in Chapter 5.)

If doctors looked for such biochemical mistakes before writing prescriptions for benzodiazepine tranquilizers, treatment centers across this nation would not be full of miserable patients powerfully addicted to
Librium, Ativan, Valium, and Xanax and struggling to endure the painful and long-lasting symptoms of withdrawal.

The Fats Our Brains Depend On

In the 1970s, another door opened to our understanding of the substances that are vital to our sanity and health: prostaglandins, which are made in the brain from omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids (EFAs) and which regulate the neurocircuits throughout the brain and body.

According to researcher David Horrobin, M.D., "the level of prostaglandin
E1 (PGE1) is of crucial importance to the body. A fall in the level of
PGE1 will lead to a potentially catastrophic series of untoward consequences including increased vascular reactivity, elevated cholesterol production, diabeticlike changes in insulin release, enhanced risk of auto-immune disease, enhanced risk of inflammatory disorders, and susceptibility to depression." At Health Recovery Center, we have consistently seen suicidal depression completely lift in only one week by normalizing PGE1 levels in the brain! (I'll explain how in Chapter 6.)

Hyperactive children have long been involved in studies with the EFAs.
Richard Passwater, Ph.D., describes one such study by Dr. Horrobin, at the
Institute for Innovative Medicine in Montreal:

About 20 children were treated with substantial benefit in about two-thirds of them. Some responses were dramatic! In one case a boy who had been threatened with expulsion from school because of his impossible behavior was put on primrose oil (gamma-linolenic acid) without the knowledge of the school authorities. After two weeks on GLA, the teacher,
who was unaware of the treatment, contacted the parents and said that in thirty years' experience she had never seen such a dramatic and abrupt change for the better in a child's behavior [emphasis added]. Some children do equally well no matter whether the oil is given by mouth or by rubbing into the skin. In others, there is the distinct impression that skin absorption, which will bypass malabsorption problems, may have a better effect.

In the last decade, we have seen an avalanche of exciting studies on essential fatty acids. During that time I heard molecular biologist Donald
Rudin, M.D., present his research at a Huxley Institute training session in New York City. He spoke passionately about the connection between omega-3 fatty acid deficiency and mental illness. omega 3 is vital because it provides the base from which the powerful prostaglandin hormones are created. These hormones regulate every neurocircuit throughout the entire brain and body.

Rudin particularly urged using omega-3 fatty acid in the form of linseed oil to treat schizophrenia. Immediately he had my attention, as I was then attempting to stabilize a middle-aged man who was an alcoholic schizophrenic.

Carl had been referred to our clinic by our county's chemical and mental health unit, and was busy terrorizing my staff to the point where we were ready to part company with him. As soon as I returned from the New York conference I began giving him large doses of omega-3 fatty acid in the form of linseed oil (as per Rudin), along with megadoses of certain other nutrients.

What emerged was a soft-spoken, brilliant minister, who told me that, as a young man, his bishop had chosen him to study advanced theology in
Switzerland because of his exceptional gifts. I could not believe the personality change! At this point in time he lived on welfare, but said he was going to approach his bishop to ask for support to reenter his chosen profession.

To make a long story short, the bishop knew Carl had had schizophrenia for many years, and turned him away. With his spirit crushed, and having no money or support, Carl stopped taking the omega-3 fatty acid replacement therapy. A year later he had regressed into his schizophrenic world.

Since that time we at the Health Recovery Center have pondered on much of the omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids research, and we have applied it to those clients who showed marked deficiencies. The results have been rewarding, as you will see.

The Role of Amino Acidsin Our Well-being

The eighties brought another explosion of exciting nutrient knowledge.
Thanks to researchers like Eric Braverman, M.D., and Richard Wurtman,
M.D., amino acids emerged as powerful tools for psychiatry because they convert to, or are our, brain neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters create the chemical language of the brain, enabling it to function, to have memory, emotions, thoughts, feel-ings. They stimulate the mind,
control depression, produce sleep, and create energy, excitement, and all manner of human responses.

I know this must seem somewhat complex, but it's important to take in the full meaning of that statement. These natural brain substances are creating sanity and well-being. And now, in many cases, the levels of these substances in our bodies can be measured by lab tests and supplemented as needed.

The impact of amino acid research on psychiatry should be monumental. But once again they have the misfortune of being created by Nature, not man;
drug companies cannot patent and sell them at exorbitant prices. So there is little monetary reward for researchers who pursue the secrets of amino acids.

NATURAL SUBSTANCES VS. DRUGS:POLITICS FOR PROFIT?

The emphasis today seems to be on creating artificial drugs that mimic amino acids. For people who are depressed because of too little serotonin,
the rush to artificially duplicate the work of the amino acid tryptophan,
which converts into serotonin, has resulted in many SSRI-type* drugs that fail to increase serotonin but do play with it in the brain. What the SSRI
drugs do is hot-wire the serotonin's neurotransmitter firing mechanism to artificially speed up the pumping of serotonin into the brain. In addition, they block serotonin from being reabsorbed back into the neurotransmitters, as it was designed to do. This results in serotonin accumulating within the brain, artificially creating what humans generally create naturally--that is, enough serotonin to avoid depression. The human body normally does this by supplying enough of the natural amino acid tryptophan, which then converts to serotonin, fully loading all our serotonin neurotransmitters. This is nature's design. Unfortunately, it is almost always true that our firing mechanism works fine, but there is just very little serotonin to fire in certain brains. (And many SSRI drugs can't increase the amount.) What depletes it? Ongoing stress, genetics,
poor nutrition, alcohol, and drugs shortchange our natural supply of tryptophan to serotonin. And studies have correlated the depletion of tryptophan, and the decreased ratio between tryptophan and other amino acids, with suicide, depression, and even violence.

SSRI drugs cannot make serotonin. Nor can they supply serotonin. They can only play with the brain's uptake mechanisms--even though it is almost always true that the mechanism that fires serotonin into the brain is undamaged.

Taking SSRI drugs can lead to a myriad of unfortunate results, including severe agitation, violence, and suicide (such results were made public in hearings conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September
1991). To better understand the SSRI drugs and their possible effects, I
recommend Talking Back to Prozac by Peter Breggin, M.D. (St. Martin's
Press, 1994). Dr. Breggin suggests another sinister outcome as a result of ongoing use of these antidepressants: To overcome an SSRI-induced glut of serotonin, the brain compensates by down-regulating, or shutting down,
excess serotonin receptors. Dr. Breggin documents animal studies that show the numbers of receptors drastically diminished. The most likely explanation is that they have died off, but no one really knows if these serotonin receptor losses are permanent. Drug companies will not

* Serotonin-stimulating receptor inhibitors; for example, Paxil, Prozac,
and Zoloft.

undertake this testing--undoubtedly because a finding of irreversible receptor loss could generate a rash of class action lawsuits.

The choice American consumers might have had to relieve depression was a
$12 bottle of L-tryptophan capsules or a $200-a-month

Prozac-type drug. But very shortly before Prozac made its debut, the FDA
removed tryptophan from the U.S. market--because a limited supply of tryptophan had been contaminated by its manufacturer, Showa-Denka. While the rest of the world can still readily buy tryptophan, in the United
States it has remained available only by prescription and is only dispensed from a few pharmacies in certain cities. The cost has increased to close to $55 per bottle as of this writing--plus your doctor's visit.*
This is an example of politics played for profit. It also sheds light on why you may have little awareness of what science really knows about the natural chemicals creating your emotions. The good news is that we can measure our amino acid levels with lab testing--and once we attain a proper balance, we will experience huge improvements in terms of our emotional contentment.

Discovering the Chemistry of Emotions and Behavior

To sum up, many dedicated researchers have been burning the midnight oil for you. You'll get to know their work and apply their findings to your own problems in the pages ahead. While we all live with a neurosis or two,
some are serious enough to interfere with our happiness. In Seven Weeks to
Emotional Healing I'll help you to identify the clues that point to chemistry, not personality, as the cause of your emotional woes. The actual studies and the formulas we have tested at the Health Recovery
Center are in the chapters ahead. You will soon have the tools you need to help yourself back into balance so that you are emotionally content,
extremely well-balanced, and full of energy and vigor.

* A supposedly "safe" form of tryptophan, 5HTP, is now available over the counter, but while 5HTP raises the serotonin levels in the body, little is admitted to the brain unless another drug, carbidopa, accompanies it. (In
Europe, 5HTP is used with carbidopa.) And too much serotonin around the heart will do the same damage as we saw with fen-phen (fenfluramine, diet pills), which raised serotonin levels in the body, causing serious heart damage and death! Warning: Use tryptophan, not 5HTP, to be safe.

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 26, 2009

    Good, not great.

    There's a lot of useful information here. In fact, after reading it, I started my own supplement regimen and have to say I've seen some improvement in mood. The only reason I don't give it higher marks is because there are some newer books on the same subject that are a bit more informative and have updated research. That being said, I recommend this book to people battling depression who want to supplement or replace a pharmaceutical therapy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2009

    Helped me seek help

    This is a helpful book because it helped me to see how much physical help I needed. I have been on Zoloft for 12 years and unable to even begin to taper off. After reading this book, I consulted a naturopathic healer who did lab tests and discovered that I have an autoimmune disorder that doctors never found. Now I am being treated with natural supplements and have decreased my Zoloft down by two-thirds.
    I do think it would be too difficult to carry out the suggestions from the book by myself, without the help of a professional.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2007

    This book changed my life!!!!!

    This book changed my life! I spent years going to the doctor trying to figure out the weird symptoms I was having: nausea, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to noise, nighmares, depression, worry, fear etc. My doctor was perplexed and he did not relate the symptoms. But after reading this book and getting on the nutritional regime suggested, the symptoms disappeared within weeks! And to think I suffered all those years needlessly! I had a genetic vitamin deficiency! It's great to feel good! Get this book! It's a book that anyone who is suffering from depression, alcoholism, addictions, emotional issues, anxiety, anger etc can be helped by!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2003

    May be helpful for mild depression

    This book does have the feel of a late night infomercial, filled with statements to pep you up and get you going. I actually don't think that's such a bad attitude for the author to have, especially if the reader is depressed and trying to recover. When you get past the hype, what's left? Well, it does have a good deal of dietary and lifestyle adjustments that will be of use to many people. There is definitely substance here. However, if you suffer from moderate to severe depression or anxiety, I doubt that the suggestions in this book will be enough. Sometimes medication is necessary for complete recovery. Nonetheless, worth a read regardless of the severity of your depression or anxiety.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2002

    amazing

    READ THIS. very good book on how our bodies and mind need nutrition. and how different health problems affect us.

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews

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