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Dr. Tara Skye Goldin's Newsletter Natural Medicine that Gets Results!
August 2008

Greetings!

It is back to school time with all of its craziness. I think that I have had 3 school related potlucks this week alone. It is fun but a bit much as you may imagine. One interesting thing that occurred this summer is that I inherited some of my mother's old bottle collection. I grew up with those in our windows and they would rattle quite a bit whenever the garbage truck would drive by. I always had a fondness for them and they were a part of what came to represent "home" for me. Now that they are in my posession I have a new appreciation for them. Most are old apothecary bottles of some sort from the 19th and early 20th centuries when naturopaths and homeopaths ruled. Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia (where I'm from) was originally a homeopathic hospital. My career choice is curious in that I wonder if I was subliminally influenced by that bottle collection. By the time I was born in 1961 herbal and homeopathic medicines were pretty much non- existent or at least very much underground. Many in the collection are old cod liver oil bottles. It is interesting that fish oils have seen a resurgence in popularity after their health benefits have been documented more recently. I once heard someone say that one of the major public health tragedies of the 20th century was that people moved away from having cod liver oil as a major part of everyone's health routine. Other bottles of note are several bottles of "Swedish Bitters" "Neutro's Herpicide for the Scalp" a "Kidney and Liver Tonic" and my ALL TIME FAVORITE that says..."Bumstead's Worm Syrup. One bottle has killed 100 worms. Children cry for more! Just try it!" Please note that I am now at my new location. The address is 2825 Marine St #203, Boulder, CO 80303. My phone number is still (303) 443-2206.

in this issue
A Good Vitamin Supplement Could be the Perfect Remedy for Depression 5-HTP and the Serotonin Connection How to Recognize Depression Facts About St. Johns Wort Mood Biochemistry of Women at Midlife Tomatoes!

5-HTP and the Serotonin Connection

The amino acid tryptophan, present in protein foods, plays a role in a number of biochemical reactions in the body. Some tryptophan becomes protein, some is converted into niacin (vitamin B3) and some enters the brain to become the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin, a key brain chemical, is responsible for producing, among other things, a feeling of calm and well-being. Three decades of research connects various states of depression and anxiety with altered amounts of serotonin. From Healthy Place.com


How to Recognize Depression

In the briefest possible terms, here are the warning signs, or symptoms, of depression. If you, or someone you know, exhibits 5 or more of these signs, for more than 2 weeks, then you, or he or she, needs to get help.


Facts About St. Johns Wort

This fact sheet provides basic information about the herb St. John's wort-common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. St. John's wort is a plant with yellow flowers whose medicinal uses were first recorded in ancient Greece. The name St. John's wort apparently refers to John the Baptist, as the plant blooms around the time of the feast of St. John the Baptist in late June. From the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine


Mood Biochemistry of Women at Midlife

This study examines the effect of hormone and amino acid levels on mood changes in women at mid-life. The research involved both a clinical trial of the application of hormones and amino acids to effect mood changes is women at mid-life, and a laboratory analysis of synthetic and natural progesterones. The clinical trial involved a detailed biochemical study of two women and a less intensive study of two other groups of women identified as Estrogen Dominant or Estrogen Deficient. Depending on whether the women were Estrogen Dominant or Estrogen Deficient, they responded well to natural progesterone or estrogen, respectively. Even when natural estrogen was given, it was never without natural progesterone. by Phyllis J.Bronson, PhD


Tomatoes!
tomatoes

For some reason probably known to "A-list Gardeners" I am having a terrific tomato season this year. This morning after the heavy rains subsided I went out into the garden and picked 9 large ripe tomatoes and numerous cherry tomatoes. Needless to say I decided to make some tomato sauce to freeze and ratatouille for supper tonight (as there was also a beautiful zucchini). I tend to use the old hippie recipes from my old stained copy of the Moosewood Cookbook from my college years. Here is an online version a little different than the one I use but similar enough to be delicious. I use fresh tomatoes only and no canned tomatoes or tomato paste.


A Good Vitamin Supplement Could be the Perfect Remedy for Depression

Normally I write my own articles in the Featured Article section. Due to lack of space and so much good information, I am including this article from About.com. Enjoy!

Did you ever wish that you could take a vitamin for depression? Well, for some of you it may be just that simple. There are a variety of vitamin deficiencies that can lead to depression symptoms.

The B-Complex Vitamins

The B-complex vitamins are essential to mental and emotional well-being. They cannot be stored in our bodies, so we depend entirely on our daily diet to supply them. B vitamins are destroyed by alcohol, refined sugars, nicotine, and caffeine so it is no surprise that many people may be deficient in these.

Here's a rundown of recent finding about the relationship of B-complex vitamins to depression:

Vitamin B1 (thiamine): The brain uses this vitamin to help convert glucose, or blood sugar, into fuel, and without it the brain rapidly runs out of energy. This can lead to fatigue, depression, irritability, anxiety, and even thoughts of suicide. Deficiencies can also cause memory problems, loss of appetite, insomnia, and gastrointestinal disorders. The consumption of refined carbohydrates, such as simple sugars, drains the body's B1 supply.

Vitamin B3 (niacin): Pellagra-which produces psychosis and dementia, among other symptoms-was eventually found to be caused by niacin deficiency. Many commercial food products now contain niacin, and pellagra has virtually disappeared. However, subclinical deficiencies of vitamin B3 can produce agitation and anxiety, as well as mental and physical slowness.

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Symptoms of deficiency are fatigue, chronic stress, and depression. Vitamin B5 is needed for hormone formation and the uptake of amino acids and the brain chemical acetylcholine, which combine to prevent certain types of depression.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): This vitamin aids in the processing of amino acids, which are the building blocks of all proteins and some hormones. It is needed in the manufacture of serotonin, melatonin and dopamine. Vitamin B6 deficiencies, although very rare, cause impaired immunity, skin lesions, and mental confusion. A marginal deficiency sometimes occurs in alcoholics, patients with kidney failure, and women using oral contraceptives. MAOIs, ironically, may also lead to a shortage of this vitamin. Many nutritionally oriented doctors believe that most diets do not provide optimal amounts of this vitamin.

Vitamin B12: Because vitamin B12 is important to red blood cell formation, deficiency leads to an oxygen-transport problem known as pernicious anemia. This disorder can cause mood swings, paranoia, irritability, confusion, dementia, hallucinations, or mania, eventually followed by appetite loss, dizziness, weakness, shortage of breath, heart palpitations, diarrhea, and tingling sensations in the extremities. Deficiencies take a long time to develop, since the body stores a three- to five-year supply in the liver. When shortages do occur, they are often due to a lack of intrinsic factor, an enzyme that allows vitamin B12 to be absorbed in the intestinal tract. Since intrinsic factor diminishes with age, older people are more prone to B12 deficiencies. Folic acid: This B vitamin is needed for DNA synthesis. It is also necessary for the production of SAM (S- adenosyl methionine). Poor dietary habits contribute to folic acid deficiencies, as do illness, alcoholism, and various drugs, including aspirin, birth control pills, barbiturates, and anticonvulsants. It is usually administered along with vitamin B12, since a B12 deficiency can mask a folic acid deficiency. Pregnant women are often advised to take this vitamin to prevent neural tube defects in the developing fetus.

Vitamin C

Subclinical deficiencies can produce depression, which requires the use of supplements. Supplementation is particularly important if you have had surgery or an inflammatory disease. Stress, pregnancy, and lactation also increase the body's need for vitamin C, while aspirin, tetracycline, and birth control pills can deplete the body's supply.

Minerals

Deficiencies in a number of minerals can also cause depression.

Magnesium: Deficiency can result in depressive symptoms, along with confusion, agitation, anxiety, and hallucinations, as well as a variety of physical problems. Most diets do not include enough magnesium, and stress also contributes to magnesium depletion

Calcium: Depletion affects the central nervous system. Low levels of calcium cause nervousness, apprehension, irritability, and numbness.

Zinc: Inadequacies result in apathy, lack of appetite, and lethargy. When zinc is low, copper in the body can increase to toxic levels, resulting in paranoia and fearfulness.

Iron: Depression is often a symptom of chronic iron deficiency. Other symptoms include general weakness, listlessness, exhaustion, lack of appetite, and headaches.

Manganese: This metal is needed for proper use of the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. Since it also plays a role in amino-acid formation, a deficiency may contribute to depression stemming from low levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. Manganese also helps stabilize blood sugar and prevent hypoglycemic mood swings. Potassium: Depletion is frequently associated with depression, tearfulness, weakness, and fatigue.

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