In a 2017 survey, the National Institute of Health reports that an estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States had at least one depressive episode, more than half of that being among women. (1) That’s us moms! Busier than ever and more sad than ever? It got me thinking.
In the current medical model, most medications prescribed for depression are based on the assumption that there is a chemical imbalance within the brain. And I can’t help but wonder how we arrived at this conclusion.
Lobotomies were outlawed in the sixties, so if we’re not performing an actual brain surgery how is it possible, with 100% certainty that a chemical imbalance exists? Further, one that requires medication and how to arrive at which prescription is the best suited?
When Depression is More than a Chemical Imbalance
Harvard Health states that the onset of depression is far more complex than a brain chemical imbalance, rather, a combination of several forces interacting to bring on the symptoms of depression like: faulty mood regulation, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications and medical problems. (2)
Since any of those forces has an inflammatory component I would go as far as to say any physical, chemical or emotional stress or combination thereof can lead to depression.
I think all busy moms can make sense of this simply through our relationship with food. We stress eat or indulge in certain foods, etc., and can tangibly feel great initially and then sluggish afterwards, or maybe just “not like ourselves” one-two days later.
Like a match to a flame, when we consume inflammatory foods like genetically engineered ingredients, fast foods, convenience foods, and processed foods we are igniting an inflammatory pathway in the digestive tract.
Initially these foods may taste great, but once they set off the inflammatory process in the gut – can lead to everything from a minor headache, inability to sleep, anxiety and depression. A gut that is inflamed (and permeable/”leaky”) can not make happy chemicals!
Serotonin – The Happy Chemical
Brain cells produce neurotransmitters which are responsible for initiating our senses, cognition, movement and mood. The neurotransmitter, “serotonin” regulates our mood, sleep and inhibits pain, which is why I always refer to it as the “happy chemical.” 90% of the serotonin in your body is produced in your digestive tract.
If you have intestinal permeability or “leaky-gut” you have inflammation within your digestive tract that could be interfering with your body’s ability to not only produce serotonin, but also transport (re-uptake) it from your gut to your brain. (FYI: the most common class of prescription anti-depressants is called “SSRI” or, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, meaning these drugs completely block your body’s ability to send serotonin to your brain). (3)
I believe a lack of serotonin to the brain due to intestinal inflammation is one of the main reasons why women suffer so greatly with depression.
Of course there are clinical instances where prescription medication is warranted for moderate to severe cases of depression, but what if getting intestinal inflammation under control left you less symptoms and fewer days of sadness?
I believe getting intestinal inflammation under control is as straightforward as:
- Cut-out the white stuff: refined sugar, white flour, pasta, bread
- Avoid processed, fast or convenience foods
- Shop for grass-fed, organic beef and poultry
- Eat lots of wild-caught fish like salmon and cod
- Load up on lots of organic fresh fruit and veggies
- Cut back (or eliminate entirely) beer, wine and booze
- Eliminate juice, soda, energy drinks and anything that isn’t water
- Make a high quality pro-biotic part of your morning routine to restore good flora (bacteria) in the digestive tract
- Take a pure, high quality Omega-3 supplement nightly with dinner to control total body inflammation
- Incorporate at least 10 minutes of stress reduction daily (yoga, meditation or walking)
If you’re tired of feeling sick and tired (or in this case a “can’t shake the blues” kind of sadness) try getting intestinal inflammation under control. How? Consider rebooting your body’s bio chemistry with my Busy Mom Reboot Camp. It’s an eight-week program designed to reset your mind and body.
In just two months I’ll walk you through a complete detoxification so that you too can experience the effects of more energy, better sleep, increase libido, weight-loss and less depression. Shoot me a quick message HERE for more info 🙂