This is a good place to start for most mental health issues of any kind, really — and, well, for general well-being too. Good health is actually rather simple. Sadly the human species has traveled a very very long way from simplicity and so it’s not always, by any means, straightforward to get back to good-health. Still we can take many meaningful steps in that direction and over time make some very big changes. I’ve seen it done again and again among those I work with and I’ve done it for myself.
From ABC News:
It’s not a drug; it’s not a procedure; it is a novel, comprehensive and personal approach to treating memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s. UCLA researchers spell out exactly what can be done to reverse what the disease does to the brain.
In the report provided by UCLA, Dr. Dale E. Bredesen explains how Alzheimer’s is a complex disease affected by sleep, diet, even exercise.
“These all — and other things — all contribute to this critical balance in plasticity,” said Bredesen.
Ten memory-loss patients, some with brain-scan-confirmed patterns of Alzheimer’s, participated in a small UCLA trial called MEND (Metabolic Enhancement for NeuroDegeneration).
In the UCLA protocol, patients made dramatic lifestyle changes. They avoided simple carbs, gluten and processed foods. They increased their fish intake, took yoga and meditated. They were instructed to take melatonin, get adequate sleep, incorporate vitamin B-12, vitamin D-3 and fish oil.
Within six months, nine patients saw a noticeable improvement in memory. (read the rest)
For more info see: Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program – although the study has has a technical introduction, the case studies which follow can easily be understood by lay people.
for practical implications of such dietary changes for mental health and well-being see below the page from the navigation menu of this blog:
Nutrition and gut health
Gut / intestinal health is foundational to all health including mental well-being. It’s the first thing attended to when I chose to come off psychiatric drugs. In healing my gut I needed to alter my diet. I’ve collected articles below that speak to these changes I made. Below are many posts and comments that highlight my journey healing the drug withdrawal syndrome, but that also unearths much research about supporting the body and brain for good health so that others might not ever choose psychiatric drugs.
People dismiss the importance of diet for mental health issues and they use the argument that if psycho-social programs like Soteria and Open Dialogue can heal those with “schizophrenia” it’s not very credible that diet has much to do with it. I find this argument rather lacking since, first of all, we don’t see a 100% recovery rate even in these programs. 15 to 20% remain unwell. What if diet were changed in these folks in addition to offering psycho-social supports? Also, being that we’re holistic beings, more than one thing can be causing dis-ease in our body/mind/spirit. We might find that attending to something psycho-socially gets us back on our feet and functioning, but we don’t feel REALLY good until we attend to diet and exercise etc.. It’s all important and it’s all interlinked.
This post has been created to collect links to posts on diet and how it impacts the body/mind.
Update: 1/2013 Wow, my latest discovery really shakes up everything I’ve been doing…though it’s all been part of the journey: histamine intolerance round-up — new discovery, likely to apply to others on psych meds and coming off them too and how this paleo girl went vegetarian (even vegan, for the time being!) **currently adding animal products as tolerated (MOST RECENT
UPDATE HERE: Have you considered histamine intolerance associated with psych drug use and withdrawal?
These dietary discoveries are in keeping with various autoimmune disorder protocols. People are endlessly individual so no one size fits all unfortunately. People need to find their own optimal diets.
See also Foodie Friday posts: a collection of recipes and additional information about food, nutrition and diet
These posts date back 7 years to the beginning of this blog. My knowledge, experience and well-being has been in a constant state of evolution and change. Nothing here should be totally generalized to anyone else…
Gluten: if you’re unconvinced see the collection of studies from medical journals here (with commentary and additional links to info on gluten and mental health)
More recently I posted a wonderful video, with my commentary of a woman who cures herself with a similar diet:
Other most recent pieces:
People who have taken psychiatric drugs often have gut issues. Sometimes these issues predate the psych drug use (as it did for me) and sometimes the psych drugs destabilize the gut and body in general and so the drugs are the cause of such issues. In either case it’s common that the use of psych drugs in time will further exacerbate the problem.
Because everything works together as we are truly holistic beings I was able to heal all sorts of issues I had prior to setting off on this journey…a few of them are listed below.
Diet and nutrition has corrected multiple problems for me. A short list of the things that come to mind immediately is:
- Twenty years of severe irritable bowel syndrome. (I went to dozens of gastroenterologists before discovering my own wellness through my own research)
- Psoriasis, a horrible skin condition, is virtually gone.
- My knees which were suffereing from what seemed to be arthritis for several years are no longer painful.
- My hair is much thicker and shinier than during my whole life. I had incredibly thin and sparse hair. It’s not luxurious even now, but the difference is amazing, striking and visible and palpable.
- Vast improvement of my endometriosis which I’m still working on. (mostly endo pain free these days 2/2012)
That list is taken from the post “Total health and well-being” which is basically just saying what I said above. We’re holistic beings and everything we do effects our whole being. So healthy gut is a somewhat central place to start and it seems to make sense to a lot of people as a large percentage of people have gut issues and an even larger percentage of people on psychiatric meds do.
For more posts more specifically on gut health see below:
The information provided here is by no means exhaustive. It’s a good idea to expand your research beyond what I share below as it mostly pertains to my own particular experience which sometimes includes others, but certainly there will be cases that differ from mine.
- How I cured my irritable bowel syndrome–healthy gut is needed for healthy body and mind
- Another post with much of the above info, but also a critique of using SSRIs for gut issues (they often CAUSE gut issues)
- Healing the gut is imperative if one wants healthy body/mind/spirit: IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be cured — with Dr. Mark Hyman
- Healing the gut for good mental health — probiotics
- Some thoughts on nutrition good gut health stops and starts with what you eat
- Total health and well-being Diet and nutrition has corrected multiple problems for me including a bad gut.
- Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease revisited: have you ruled out gluten causing problems in your life?
- Gut health is important for total wellbeing, both mental and physical
- Mind-altering bugs…
See also: (new)
- Info on food allergies — they can affect body and mind both
- Eating real whole food is important to our mental and physical wellbeing
- MORE INFO ON GLUTEN: Gluten Sensitivity Vs. Celiac Disease Vs. Gluten Intolerance
- Studies show gluten sensitivity in people labeled with schizophrenia and bipolar (and how gluten can effect a lot of us regardless of dx)
Updated note: In our society today whether people eat animal products or not is a hot issue. I would prefer not to eat meat but have found I must. I’ve also found that I’m intolerant of dairy and eggs, so that leaves only meat and fish. I have found others like me in my community with similar physical ailments who have found that animal products are essential. I’ve experimented heavily with purely vegetarian methods of nourishing myself without meat since I deeply value the lives of animals and have failed. This choice does not come without pain. I’m always happy for those who find they can thrive without animal products and I certainly don’t begrudge those who can. I hope someday to regain enough health that I might be able to once again carefully tweak most if not all of the meat out of my diet. I write explicitly about this issue because we are all different and people need to find what works for both their body and their spirit together. Sometimes the needs of the body and the needs of the spirit seem to conflict. Such is life. Never simple. I take comfort in the fact that all of nature eats itself and I’m blessed with a consciousness that can recognize that I am part of this web of life, complicated and lovely as it is.