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drug muggers

  • Dear Pharmacist,

    I am saddened by the suicide of Robin Williams. I've dealt with depression on and off for years, and I was wondering if you have any natural suggestions for me to ask my doctor about?

    —L.C., Gainesville, Florida

    Answer: When I hear a person say they've battled depression "on and off" for a long period of time, I ask the question why it is on and off? Something you are eating, doing, or taking is impacting you so much so, that your mood is affected. Hormone imbalances are frequently the problem, especially estrogen and testosterone. Thyroid hormone is my specialty, and if it drops too low, you get depressed. When it moves into a healthy range, you feel happy and content. When I say "normal range" I don't mean the normal reference range indicated on your lab test. My opinion is that the so-called normal range is based upon a sick and hypothyroid population. This may explain why you feel terrible but your levels are "normal." I don't go by labs, I go by clinical presentation.

    I adored Robin Williams, he was brilliant, and behind his smiling eyes and hysterical jokes, he battled depression for years. You may feel the same way as you read this today, and I am glad you're still holding on. Depression is one of those conditions that people judge. Here are some reasons for depression that you might explore with the help of your physician:

    Hypothyroidism and hypoadrenia—I've mentioned this one already, however, I want you to get a copy of my Thyroid Healthy book so you learn how to test properly. Testing and treatment is the key to your happiness. Also, do not take thyroid medicine until your adrenal glands are strong and healthy. You may need to be supported adaptogenic herbs, a healthy diet, relaxation and other stress reducers.

    The Pill—Synthetic hormones for birth control or menopause reduce your body's levels of B vitamins and minerals to the point where you cannot manufacture happy brain chemicals. A reduction in key neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin causes depression. It could be on and off as you describe.

    Statins and Binders—We know these drugs reduce CoQ10, but do you realize they crash your ability to activate vitamin D? Ever heard of seasonal affective disorder or SAD? That is often related to low D levels so you might need D if you take cholesterol reducers.

    Medications—Drugs mug life-sustaining nutrients. Ibuprofen steals folic acid, and diabetic drugs steal B12. Read my Drug Muggers book for more drug-induced nutrient depletions. If you take medications periodically, then you can't make neurotransmitters, then you deal with that "on and off" situation you describe.

    Infections—Last on my list but huge news. Certain infections that we carry in our body can affect the brain. You can have bipolar, depression, insomnia and/or anxiety because of Bartonella, Lyme, syphilis, HIV, fungal infections (and their mycotoxins), herpes and many others. Clearing the infection improves mood better than any prescribed antidepressant.

  • What makes one person depressed and another happy? Certain conditions are commonly associated with depression such as hypothyroidism, Crohn's disease or colitis, migraines, diabetes, chronic infections and cancer. Lifestyles such as drinking alcohol and smoking are correlated and the biggest secret of all is drug mugging! In my book Drug Muggers, I describe how drugs "mug" you of vital nutrients which you need to produce "happy" brain chemicals termed neurotransmitters. Today I'll teach you what popular drugs lead to depression just by the mere fact they mug you of vitamins. No amount of Zoloft replenishes the nutrient steal.

    There are three primary neurotransmitters in your brain, serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine. Serotonin is involved in emotion and mood control. Did you know that 95 percent of your serotonin is in your gastrointestinal tract, not your brain? Noradrenaline also known as "norepinephrine" is involved in your 'fight or flight' response. Dopamine is part of your inborn reward system which allows you to feel passion and pleasure. These three neurotransmitters are made in the body every second and they depend on adequate levels of B vitamins which you can get from eating right and keeping your gut healthy:

    Thiamine or B1- The journal Neurology, showed a thiamine deficiency contributes to a decrease in serotonin which can lead to depression and anxiety, as well as weight gain. Drug muggers include antivirals, oral contraceptives and hormone replacement, raw oysters, antacids and antibiotics.

    Niacin or B3- Tryptophan is metabolized in your brain into 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) and goes on to form serotonin and dopamine. You need niacin for this biochemical reaction to occur. Acid blockers, antacids, cholestyramine and loop diuretics are drug muggers. Just so you know, serotonin is broken down at night to form melatonin, which makes you sleepy.

    Pantothenic acid- This B vitamin makes for healthy adrenal glands; it's often low in people with hypoglycemia. Speaking of blood sugar, use your computer to tune in to a free online event www.DiabetesSummit.net where I am giving a free one hour interview along with 40 other experts. Blood sugar abnormalities cause mood swings. You need this B vitamin to make noradrenaline as well as your memory molecule acetylcholine. Deficiencies in vitamin B-5 are tied to decreased alertness, fatigue, memory problems and depression. Acid blockers, cholestyramine and antibiotics are drug muggers.

    Pyridoxine or B6- Pyridoxine is found primarily in beans, legumes, meat, eggs, fish and bread but you can't eat enough to make adequate levels of serotonin and dopamine. By improving the production and function of serotonin and dopamine, you can reduce the severity of certain types of seizures, neuropathic pain and Parkinson's disease. Drug muggers are corticosteroids, oral contraceptives(estrogens), loop diuretics and antibiotics.

    Folate or B9- This is folate not "folic acid" by the way. Up to 70 of depressed people have a genetic 'personality' such that they have what's called an "MTHFR" polymorphism or what we call a SNP (pronounced "snip"). This situation compromises your body's ability to turn folate from your foods into L-methylfolate which you need to make neurotransmitters, especially your passion hormone dopamine. Drug muggers include metformin, fluoxetine, warfarin, oral contraceptives and high doses of niacin.

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