There has recently been a resurgence of interest in the use of small doses of LSD for the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Experiments have shown this – as well as numerous anti-serotonin substances – can reduce symptoms of learned helplessness, and it is likely that improvements in the overall efficiency of thyroid and energy metabolism has a big part to play.
Regardless of the potential effectiveness of such an approach, a lack of access to many of these drugs makes it worthwhile having a look at some of the ways in which similar results can be achieved via dietary and lifestyle modifications.
An under active thyroid metabolism tends to cause a slowing of digestion, which will then generally lead to the promotion of bacterial overgrowth. As bacteria increase in number – greater amounts of endotoxin are released – irritating the intestines – causing serotonin (which is largely found in the digestive tract) to be secreted.
An ongoing increase in the production of these and other related toxic substances can result in the liver becoming overloaded, eventually allowing serotonin – as well as estrogen -to become more of an issue systemically.
Excess serotonin and estrogen circulation interferes with mitochondrial respiration, shifting energy production away from the efficient use of glucose – promoting the production of lactic acid – and increasing the oxidation of fat for fuel.
When the free fatty acids released into the blood are polyunsaturated, there is a far greater likelihood of this chronically slowing energy systems – causing a rise in the release of the stress related hormones adrenalin and cortisol (amongst others) – further promoting excess serotonin and a variety of other factors which together exacerbate the symptoms of depression and learned helplessness.
Cortisol breaks down muscle tissue, increasing the amount of tryptophan circulating in the blood, and the polyunsaturated fats also promote the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin (as well as inhibiting the enzymes which help to detoxify serotonin). Reducing tryptophan tends to lower serotonin levels in the brain.
Contrary to popular belief, removing sugar from your diet will likely only lead to further interference with and slowing of thyroid metabolism, in combination with the promotion of excessive levels of cortisol, serotonin and estrogen, as well as a chronic and systemic inflammatory state.
When glycogen becomes depleted, sympathetic nervous system activity increases and adrenalin is released, thereby slowing metabolic and digestive processes. This once again causes excess bacteria and endotoxin, as well as the release of many other inflammatory mediators of stress and promoters of excessive serotonin secretion. Adrenalin, cortisol and serotonin all interfere with sleep quality, an issue known to be closely associated with many types of mood disorder.
The consumption of grains, beans, nuts and seeds, as well as too much under cooked vegetable matter, starch and many types of fiber – especially when thyroid is already under active – can promote bacteria further and further up the intestines, helping to feed the cycle of stress and excessive serotonin release.
A diet including sufficient amounts of easily digestible protein and carbohydrate from milk, cheese, sweet ripe juicy fruits, fruit juice, honey and white sugar, can help to improve thyroid and liver function – reducing serotonin and related inflammatory substances – and is a rational approach to protection from depression and anxiety.
Increased salt consumption as well as regular daily bag breathing can have a stabilising effect on the nervous system, promoting the proper functioning of thyroid systems and suppressing the release of the polyunsaturated fats and other stress promoting substances. Sufficient exposure to daylight helps to improve metabolism and suppress serotonin and the promoters of stress.
There are numerous ways to approach this topic and I certainly am not attempting to cover all of them in one go.
The role played by serotonin in relation to brain function and mood is complex and probably not fully understood. What is clear however, is that dealing with depression and other such issues by attempting to raise serotonin levels is biologically unfounded and fraught with danger.
It isn’t surprising that so called serotonin raising antidepressants often fail to work and have many ‘unintended’ consequences, including a worsening of depression and anxiety, even suicidal ideation and suicide.
Don’t take this as a prescription with regards to what to eat or what to do – or even which drugs to take or not to take – but rather as an opportunity to open – ever so slightly – some of the doors of your perception, which may be – without your realisation – interfering with happiness and well-being.
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Image: by iateyourcookie5