Metabolic Reasons for Depression and Anxiety
Posted Feb 09, 2021
Living through a pandemic means heightened anxiety and depression for many. It is crucial that we learn better coping mechanisms to disarm negative feelings during a period of isolation and beyond. Here are four common metabolic reasons for depression and anxiety:
1. Food Allergies
Chief among them are unrecognized food allergies, especially to wheat and dairy. These are often what we call “cerebral allergies” because they affect brain chemistry and typically do not show up on the regular allergy tests, including food tests. There are special tests to detect cerebral allergies that can be done by alternative healthcare practitioners.
You can also sometimes determine if you have a cerebral allergy by keeping a food diary of everything you eat and noting which foods seem to make you feel down or anxious after consuming them. Your response to some foods may take three days to manifest in symptoms, so something you ate on Tuesday will not show up in how you feel until Friday. Once you determine some possible food suspects, avoiding those foods for a 3-week period and watching for changes will often provide insights into your food allergies.
2. Environmental Toxins
Environmental mold and intestinal fungal infections can also lead to severe depression, sometimes with suicidal manifestations. These causes are often missed by doctors. They can be detected by special tests for fungus, mold and other intestinal pathogens by an alternative healthcare practitioner. There are local government agencies and private companies that can detect and locate mold in your house or where you work, and even identify the fungi or molds. The best treatment to eradicate mold in your home or work space is a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution sprayed on the affected areas and repeated in a few days, plus fixing the leak or other problem that created conditions for the mold to grow.
3. Adrenal Function
High or low adrenal output can cause anxiety and/or depression. S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), gamma amino butyric acid (GABA), and magnolia bark (Magnolia officinalis) are nutrients that can address a chronically overstressed system.
4. Thyroid Function
High or low thyroid function can cause anxiety and/or depression. A good general indicator for low thyroid is your basal body temperature. To determine your basal body temperature, take your temperature upon waking in the morning before you move. An inexpensive “basal” thermometer is available from most pharmacies (chemists). Track your basal body temperature for a month if you are menstruating or for a week if not. If the majority of scores are below 97.8ºF (36.55ºC), you should have your thyroid function tested done.
The most valuable thyroid tests I have found are the blood tests Free T4 (FT4), Free T3 (FT3), Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody (TPO) tests, taken as a group. It is best to consult an alternative physician for proper interpretation of these tests. Many cases of low thyroid are from a chronic iodine deficiency.
Another common reason for low thyroid is eating foods with bromine in them, which makes iodine unavailable. Bromine is found in soft drinks, pesticides, plastics, bakery goods such as bread and rolls, some medications, and bromine-based hot tubs and swimming pools. David Brownstein’s book on hypothyroidism, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders, is very helpful.
Therapies for Anxiety and Depression
The best overall therapy I’ve seen for both anxiety and depression is exercise. Both anxiety and depression are immobilizing but when you are in motion, you are at least doing something. And just moving along with deep breathing helps bring your hormones, neurotransmitters and blood sugar into balance, offering at least temporary relief from the stranglehold of the anxiety and depression.
If you are trying to tackle depression or anxiety that is interfering with your life or is disabling, it is best not to try to do it on your own. You need outside support. Have someone you trust to confer with, to help you make good decisions and to be there when you need a helping hand. Asking yourself, “What am I anxious about? What am I depressed about?” can help give insight into where your insecurities and sources of depression might lie. Many times I have found that both the anxiety and depression are related to some sort of fear, so the question to ask is then, “What am I afraid of?” Facing and working through your major fears are often the keys that unlock the barriers to happiness and can be life changing.