Dr.Tara Skye Goldin's Newsletter Natural Medicine That Gets Results!
May 2007


May in Boulder is in my opinion one of the prettiest months. The days are (usually) getting warmer and the spring flowers are coming into bloom. Busting out all over as they say. You may wonder why I chose this month of all months to write about mental health. Why not November, or February? The reason is this - when I used to live in Seattle, it was known as the suicide capitol of the country. Mostly everyone thought it was due to its gloomy weather. Surprisingly, most suicides occurred in the spring. There are a few reasons for that phenomenon. One reason is that during the winter, if one is depressed they usually blame their problems on the weather. The spring comes and the weather improves and they are still depressed so they can't blame the weather anymore. Another reason is that when one is truly depressed and their energy is low, they don't have the energy to follow through with their self destructive thoughts. Come spring, physical energy increases and one can follow through with a plan, whether good or bad. In light of the Virginia Tech tragedy this, along with other factors, may have been the case.

On a happier note, please enjoy the outdoors with which we are so richly blessed in this area. Plant your gardens (if you haven't already) and rejoice in and with your communities and families as we enter into this fertile season. Blessings.

in this issue
Spring into a balanced energy and mood! Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Mental Health Increase in Serum GABA May Be Biomarker for PTSD Recovery Complementary Therapies as Adjuncts in the Treatment of Postpartum Depression Asparagus Recipes

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Mental Health

Herbs and other OTC dietary supplements fill many shelves in pharmacies and supermarkets. In general, organized medicine has been slow to recommend these items. A paucity of double-blind, placebo- controlled studies, side effects, and potential interactions with prescription drugs make physicians and pharmacists worry about these substances. Recently, supplementation with fish oil, which contains omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, has enjoyed favorable publicity for its possible beneficial effect on depression and other mental disorders. The interest in supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids has even resulted in new products, such as eggs and chickens available for human consumption which are high in omega-3 fatty acids. The source of these items are chickens fed an algae-based diet, not unlike what ocean fish consume. Other companies have plans to market yogurt and other dairy products from cattle fed an algae-rich diet.[1] In any event, let us look at the current state of evidence supporting supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids. We start off with the interesting fact that over 60% of the dry weight of the brain is composed of lipids whose role in the CNS is structural (eg, neuronal membranes) or functional (eg, membrane-bound receptors and associated neurotransmitter functioning).[2] Essential fatty acid metabolism can influence many aspects of brain development, including neuronal migration, axonal and dendritic growth, and the creation, remodeling, and pruning of synaptic connections.[3] Because humans cannot synthesize certain essential fatty acids, notably omega-3 fatty acids, these must come from the diet. From Medscape

Increase in Serum GABA May Be Biomarker for PTSD Recovery

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Aug 25 - A return to normal serum levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) may be a biomarker for recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a preliminary study conducted by French investigators. From Medscape

Complementary Therapies as Adjuncts in the Treatment of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression affects an estimated 13% of women who have recently given birth. This article discusses several alternative or complementary therapies that may serve as adjuncts in the treatment of postpartum depression. The intent is to help practitioners better understand the treatments that are available that their clients may be using. Complementary modalities discussed include herbal medicine, dietary supplements, massage, aromatherapy, and acupuncture. Evidence supporting the use of these modalities is reviewed where available, and a list of resources is given in the appendix. From the Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health

Asparagus Recipes

I found a link to some asparagus recipes. Though eating asparaus make your urine smell sort of bad, they are really good for you. While not very flashy, this website wins for sheer content! Enjoy!

Spring into a balanced energy and mood!

In the springtime, with the increasingly longer days, some people tend to fall into a more manic behavioral pattern, while in the fall, a more depressive behavioral pattern. One mental health practitioner mentioned to me once that in the spring people are of more danger to others and in the fall more of a danger to themselves. Short of taking psychiatric medication (which is necessary in many cases), here are a few tips to keep your brain more calm and balanced during this season of expansion.

1. Get plenty of exercise. Getting outdoors and hiking, biking, running and climbing or taking a vigorous yoga class can work that excess energy out of you while building your fitness levels. The morning is the best time to exercise as it will leave you balanced and energized throughout the day, though anytime that you can fit it in is fine.

2. Eat plenty of protein. Vegetable proteins are favored this time of year as they are generally more "yin" than animal proteins. Either way eating enough protein will help to keep your brain function and body energies stable, so that you can perform at an optimal level with a calmness and evenness.

3. Incorporate a stress relieving practice into your life. Meditating, yoga, gardening, deep breathing exercises,receiving massage are just a few suggestions.

4. Avoid caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and sugar consumption. These substances are addictive and serve to destabilize your brain function. For those prone to mood issues it is especially important to avoid these things. Please seek outside professional help if you are having trouble getting off of any of these things.

5. Spend some time outside every day getting sunlight and fresh air. These things are of utmost importance for feeling in harmony with your world.

6. Take fish oil. More on that later.

7. Do a spring cleaning with your stresses. This is a good time to make major changes on things in your life that aren't working. Start looking for a better job, eliminate or change unhealthy relationships, rearrange/remodel your house. Clean your closets. You can harness the energy of spring to make positive changes in your own personal world and in the world at large.

8. Seek out positive, inspiring, integrous people to spend your time with. Create or join a community of people with characteristics you admire. This way you can raise yourself up and be inspired to be better. As everyone knows, we all have dreams that we can aspire to.

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