Thursday, September 24, 2015

Can eating make you crazy – the Nexus of Nutrition & Mental Health

Knowing what to eat can make you crazy, in the age of information overload – data roles in – minds change – it is hard to know what is best.

It seems odd that the predominance of attention paid to mental illness and nutrition by our medical system is well after the pathogenic effects of poor nutrition are on display. The linkage between nutrition and mental illness is clear in many cases, Berry Berry – B6, medication absorption and B12 … the list goes on. Other linkages are less obvious, essential fatty acids & cognitive function and capacity or the complete amino acid complex for fetal brain development, for examples. In contemplating nutrition as it relates to eating one needs to think about the impurities and additives in food, and their effect on the human brain. Conventional western medicine is tardy here, in the world of nutrition – when the symptoms arrive often the damage is done.

Gut health, and the bacterial complex that resides in our gut play an important role in health in general; hence the growing interest in prebiotics and probiotics – so when I read recently that gut health affects mental health, it was no surprise to me. There are a number of factors at play here in the brains interface with the gut, but the scientific connection has been made. The first time I fasted, I experience a real sense of well being, oddly, I love to eat; after 3 or 4 days a general calmness came over me - having this experience affirmed for me the brain gut connection. I am in contact with people who fast regularly and they almost unanimously report the same sense of wellbeing once into a fast for a few days. This article The Emerging Field of Nutritional Mental Health: Inflammation, the Microbiome, Oxidative Stress, and Mitochondrial Function, will help you understand the linkages and functionality better than I would explain it, what is of interest to me is the absence of this consideration in health delivery in general.

The term “Madder than a Hatter” was used for people affected by mental illness, hat makers treated the beaver felt with mercury – mercury exposure causes a complex of systems related to depression and other illnesses. Lead exposure is blamed for ending the Roman Empire; lead causes a “weak mind” and a complex of symptoms like depression. Oddly however, Chelation therapy is absent in the conventional approach to treating mental illness in western medicine, we never test for it in British Columbia, much easier to push a pill.

Attention to holistic concern, the willingness to take the time to treat illnesses like mental illness is absent in government supplied medical care. We pay for illness in our system, we fail in every way to reward health. Medical doctors receive income solely for treating illness as opposed to the overall wellbeing of their keeps. There is testing available to identify many of the subtle medical occurrences related to mental health and nutrition, they’re left unused in most cases – or used once things have progressed. We need to do better in this regard, perhaps if people had the option to self-direct their medical spending, they would pick the modalities of treatment that promoted health, rather than waiting for illness to come.  

For more on this issue click the links below

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