Integrative Health Blog

Preventing the Winter Blues: An Integrative Approach to Mental Wellbeing

Posted by Brad Snyder, M.S., F.N.P.-C. on Tue, Nov 08, 2016

depression_holistic_approachAs the seasons are changing, a lot of people are getting worried about its effects on their mood. Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) is real, as well as dysthymia (essentially, mild depression) and moderate to severe depression.The goal of this blog is to help you get a nutritional jump start on your mental well being!

The Gut-Brain Connection

More and more research is supporting the link between the Gut - Brain - Microbiome as well as the effects of inflammation on mental health. This past weekend, NIHA had one of the leaders in this field, Dr. Marco Ruggiero, speak to medical professionals. Recently I attended the Integrated Medicine for Mental Health Conference and this was a huge focus of the four days. The Gut- Brain - Microbiome is a theory that explains the link between Gut Health and Brain Health and how they both greatly affect each other. 

Did you know the gut produces about 95% of the body’s supply of Serotonin? This research is present in both integrative medicine literature as well as conventional western research. The findings are clear, we must improve our gut health if we are to improve our mental health!

The other element here is the role of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. These play critical roles in the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin & dopamine, which affect our mood.

I could go on and go about this and highlight extensive research using vocabulary like TNF-alpha, IL-6, opportunistic microorganisms, and reactive oxygen species but I won’t bore you - let’s keep this simple.

Here’s where to start:

  • Clean Up Your Gut
    1. A good probiotic & nutritional enzymes are key
    2. Eat more fermented foods like kimchi and drink some kombucha
    3. Eat Organic - you know this already - those pesticides have been shown to really mess up the GI system
    4. Identify and eliminate food allergies (we have a great test that looks at 96 foods for $99)
  • Eat Whole Foods (not the store, but the concept)
    1. Less Processed - More Natural
    2. Use a nutrient-dense smoothie as your multivitamin
  • Take a good multivitamin & mineral supplement
    1. Folate & Zinc help the body produce serotonin & melatonin
    2. Iron & Vitamin B6 help the body produce dopamine
    3. Magnesium supports the role of GABA as a relaxer in the body

This is just the beginning - there’s a lot more to discuss, but starting here can really help you optimize your mental wellbeing.

Get Started with Integrative Medicine!

Come with your mental health questions and discuss the roles of specific vitamins, minerals & supplements on mental health. Get testing done to see your levels of vitamins like B12 and D as well as inflammatory markers, genetics and allergies. Connect with our psychotherapist Kuno Bachbauer or Carol Richardson for emotional wellbeing, energy work and spiritual support.

Start now and beat the winter blues with NIHA's comprehensive, integrative approach to emotional and mental wellbeing.

 

 Sources

  • American Psychological Association, Carpenter, S. September 2012, Vol 43, No. 8
  • The Emerging Field of Nutritional Mental Health: Inflammation, the Microbiome, Oxidative Stress & Mitochondrial Function. Kaplan et al. Clinical Psychological Science 2015
  • Integrated Medicine for Mental Health Conference. Washington, DC.  September - October 2016