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
thought it was due to its gloomy weather.
most suicides occurred in the spring. There
are a few reasons for that phenomenon. One reason
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
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.
|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. 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). 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. Because humans cannot
synthesize certain essential fatty acids, notably
omega-3 fatty acids, these must come from the diet.
|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.
|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
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
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.
Spend some time outside every day getting sunlight
and fresh air. These things are of utmost importance
for feeling in harmony with your world.
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.
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.
Find out more....