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Blood Sugar And Mood Disorders

Silent Diseases, Mood Disorders And Blood Sugar

Silent Diseases, Mood Disorders And Blood Sugar

By Jurriaan Plesman, BA (PSYCH), Post Grad Dip Clin Nutr -- (Please find link and credits at bottom) For many people it is difficult to believe that nutrition has anything to do with “mental illness”. Mood disorders may appear out of the blue, without any apparent cause. Often a stressful event may be a trigger, leaving a person with a lasting emotional turmoil, apparently quite unrelated to one’s diet. Mood disorders may be of many forms, from anxiety attacks, depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Disorder (PTSD), to addiction. They all share the experience of sadness, without understanding its causes. But let us focus on depression as one example of the many mood disorders. It is important that when we talk about depression, we must make a distinction between “environmental” depression and “endogenous” depression. From a client’s point of view, he is usually aware of the causes of “environmental” depression (such as rejection in love, death in family, grieving or traumatic event). In environmental depression, the person may often benefit from counselling or “talk-therapy”. In clinical depression, on the other hand, the client is most often NOT AWARE of the causes and this may lead him to seek professional help. Nevertheless, both environmental and endogenous factors can operate in tandem, but in that case we need to treat the biological factors first, before considering “psychological” factors. We need a healthy body to be able to deal with stress. The evidence is overwhelming that “endogenous” depression, sometimes called “clinical depression”, is nearly always due to some inner biochemical abnormality, although it may have psychological elements. Talk therapy and/or drug therapy often fails to bring perma Continue reading >>

The Link Between Sugar And Depression: What You Should Know

The Link Between Sugar And Depression: What You Should Know

Sugar is everywhere in the news, and most of the news isn’t good. The latest comes from a long-term study suggesting that sugar may contribute to depression in men. The results add to a flood of findings linking sugar to a variety of both physical and mental health problems. The study tracked the diets and medical conditions of 8,000 people over 22 years (all part of a larger study called the Whitehall Study II) using surveys about diet and doctors’ visits completed every few years. By keeping tabs on what the participants ate and the sorts of conditions they were seeing doctors to treat, the researchers could analyze correlations between diet and health outcomes. The one that popped out is that men who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with depression in a five-year period than men who ate 40 grams or less. None of the participants were being treated for mental illnesses at the start of the study. The connection between sugar and depression appeared relatively quickly during the first five-year survey, and remained more or less steady throughout the study. The researchers report that the effect was independent of the men's socioeconomic status, physical activity, drinking, smoking, other eating habits, body weight or physical health. The same correlation didn't appear for women in the study, though it's unclear why. This isn’t the sort of study that can prove a cause-and-effect relationship, and self-reporting in surveys isn’t always reliable. But a 23% difference is significant even with those drawbacks. Saying sugar causes depression isn’t a reasonable conclusion from these results, but enough dots are connected to raise legitimate concern. The researchers also looked for the reverse effect, that mood influenced Continue reading >>

Diabetic Mood Disorders

Diabetic Mood Disorders

People today are familiar with diabetes, albeit broadly, and that it mainly consists of type 1 and type 2. That is merely the tip of the iceberg. Apart from it taking a serious toll on physical health, this disorder also can affect your emotions, which in turn can wreak havoc on your diabetes control. Extremes in blood-sugar levels can cause significant mood changes, and research suggests that frequent changes in blood-sugar levels also can affect mood and quality of life for those with diabetes. This includes depression due to diabetes and diabetic mood swings. Let’s learn more about this. DIABETIC MOOD DISORDERS CAUSES Evidence from the diabetes studies across the world also suggests that diabetes can disturb your mental health. It is known to be associated with various mood disorders given below. Depression Approximately 25% of Indian diabetics are found to have depression due to diabetes. Type II diabetics are up to 2 times more prone to develop major depression than general population. Depression due to diabetes further impacts its complications by causing alterations in hormones and glucose transport mechanism as well as increased activation of immune-inflammatory pathway. Anxiety Diabetics are over three times at higher risk for anxiety than the general population. Long term stress related to the presence of chronic illness like diabetes or short term stress due to self-care activities, needle phobia or fear of hypoglycaemia can predispose them to acute or chronic anxiety disorder. Anxiety in diabetics can be associated with poor sugar control. Delirium This is a condition characterized by altered sensorium or confusion and is linked to the acute episodes of hypoglycaemia or diabetic ketoacidosis. Cognitive dysfunction People with diabetes are at about one and Continue reading >>

Conversations

Conversations

Image by Catherine MacBride via Getty Images We know that too much sugar is bad for our waistlines and our heart health, but now there’s mounting evidence that high levels of sugar consumption can also have a negative effect on brain health — from cognitive function to psychological wellbeing. While sugar is nothing to be too concerned about in small quantities, most of us are simply eating too much of it. The sweet stuff — which also goes by names like glucose, fructose, honey and corn syrup — is found in 74 percent of packaged foods in our supermarkets. And while the Word Health Organization recommends that only 5 percent of daily caloric intake come from sugar, the typical American diet is comprised of 13 percent calories from sugar. “Many Americans eat about five times the amount of sugar they should consume,” Natasa Janicic-Kahric, an associate professor of medicine at Georgetown University Hospital, told The Washington Post. It’s easy to see how we can get hooked on sugar. However, we should be aware of the risks that a high-sugar diet poses for brain function and mental well-being. Here’s what you need to know about how overconsumption of sugar could wreak havoc on your brain. It creates a vicious cycle of intense cravings. When a person consumes sugar, just like any food, it activates the tongue’s taste receptors. Then, signals are sent to the brain, lighting up reward pathways and causing a surge of feel-good hormones, like dopamine, to be released. Sugar “hijacks the brain’s reward pathway,” neuroscientist Jordan Gaines Lewis explained. And while stimulating the brain’s reward system with a piece of chocolate now and then is pleasurable and probably harmless, when the reward system is activated too much and too frequently, we start to Continue reading >>

Depression

Depression

Depression is rated by the World Health Organisation as the leading cause of disease burden amongst high income countries. Depression is characterised by feelings of worthlessness or guilt, poor concentration, loss of energy, fatigue, thoughts of suicide or preoccupation with death, loss or increase of appetite and weight, a disturbed sleep pattern, slowing down (both physically and mentally), agitation (restlessness or anxiety). If you think you are feeling down, try our free depression test questionnaire to check your mood. There are many factors that can contribute to the development of depression such as psychological issues or biochemical imbalances, and triggers such as major stress or trauma. There are also a number of nutritional imbalances that can make you prone to depression such as: Essential fats, do you need more Omega 3? Homocysteine, is it too high? Serotonin levels, do they need boosting with amino acids? Blood sugar balance Levels of the nutrients chromium and Vitamin D Food intolerances, could they be making you sad? To find out more about these factors read on, or click on our Action Plan for Depression. Watch Fran, a client of the Brain Bio Centre clinic, talking about how a nutritional approach helped support her depression: More information about the Brain Bio Centre clinic where nutritional imbalances can be analysed can be found here. WHAT IS DEPRESSION? In Britain, 1 in 20, or around 3 million people, are diagnosed with depression. Unipolar Depression is rated by the World Health Organization as the leading cause of disease burden amongst high-income countries. The classic symptoms of depression include feelings of worthlessness or guilt, poor concentration, loss of energy, fatigue, thoughts of suicide or preoccupation with death, loss or incre Continue reading >>

The Role Sugar Plays In Depression And Anxiety

The Role Sugar Plays In Depression And Anxiety

There is a strong link between a diet high in sugar and depression, anxiety, and stress. Learn how sugar harms the brain and what you can do about it. What you’ll learn about sugar, depression and anxiety in this article: Why sugar is so bad for mental health 3 theories that explain how sugar can cause depression How sugar triggers anxiety and stress Why artificial sweeteners are as bad as sugar for mental health How to stop sugar cravings and quit eating sugar We are born hardwired to like things that taste sweet. Preferring sweets is a survival mechanism humans have developed to protect us from eating toxic foods. If you’re feeling stressed out, anxious or depressed, you may crave sweets and find that they make you feel better. Temporarily. Sugar-rich foods and foods that are mostly refined carbohydrates are anything but comforting in the long run. There’s a complicated relationship between sugar, your brain and mental health. Let’s look at how sugar and other sweeteners affect your brain and fuel both depression and anxiety. Understanding Sugar’s Role in the Brain Table sugar is pure white crystalline sucrose usually extracted from sugar cane or sugar beets. It has no nutritive value and in many ways is more like a drug than a food. To understand how sucrose impacts you and your mood, we need to take a look at its two components, glucose and fructose. While glucose and fructose are structurally very similar, they behave differently in the body. Glucose — The Brain’s Main Energy Source Glucose is a simple sugar molecule that’s a building block of mainly plant-based complex carbohydrates such as those found in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. It is essential to life. It circulates in your blood and provides energy to all of your cells espec Continue reading >>

25 Signs To Tell If You’re Hypoglycemic

25 Signs To Tell If You’re Hypoglycemic

Today, I’d like to educate you a little about reactive hypoglycemia, a condition that not enough doctors recognize or accept — and one that’s been tied to weight gain and carb cravings. You may be astonished to learn that if you have hypoglycemia (also called low blood sugar), you could have as many as 125 ailments! (To understand more about this condition and how it’s often misdiagnosed, read the excerpt from my book). In fact, hypoglycemia has been called the “Great Imitator” because its strange, startling symptoms can mimic an astonishing array of diseases and conditions. For instance, people with reactive hypoglycemia have been misdiagnosed as having bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, neurosis, migraines, Parkinson’s syndrome, paroxysmal tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), rheumatoid arthritis, mental retardation, alcoholism, hyperactive disorder, and even senility. It’s absolutely horrifying to think about all these people, who’ve been wrongly told that they have another illness or disease. (By the way, in SUGAR SHOCK!, I share some scary stories about people getting misdiagnosed.) 24 Hypoglycemia Symptoms If you or a loved one is suffering from some mysterious ailments, you may want to learn if hypoglycemia and/or a sugar problem are to blame. ..So, here are 24 symptoms, which could signify that you have hypoglycemia: Cravings for sweets Mental confusion Mood swings Unexplained fatigue and exhaustion Weak spells Cold sweats Depression Headaches Heart palpitations Digestive disturbances Forgetfulness Insomnia Anxiety Obesity Internal trembling Crying spells Lack of sex drive (females) Impotence (males) Allergies Blurred vision Night terrors and nightmares Muscle pains Allergies Itching and crawling sensations on the skin My Personal Experience I’m not Continue reading >>

Why Sugar Is Poison For Depression

Why Sugar Is Poison For Depression

I have a theory: Many people who suffer from chronic severe depression and anxiety are allergic to sugar and foods like white flour that the human body processes like sugar. Like most of my theories, I have tested this one on my 13-year-old son, because his brain is most like mine in our family (poor guy). After he has consumed three pumpkin muffins, his character completely changes, like the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn) in Spider-Man. Depending on the amount of fructose corn syrup in the muffins, his head sometimes spins around like Linda Blair's in The Exorcist, and his pupils can do a 360 in the eye sockets. He is horribly obnoxious for about three hours — twerking at the refrigerator, riding his lacrosse stick like a horse through the living room — and then he starts sobbing: “I hate my life!! Someone please shoot me!” Often the next morning he will wake up hungover, with purple circles under his swollen eyes. You would think that two somewhat intelligent parents would have picked up on this connection between his behavior and his diet in the first decade of his life, but it has only been in the last year we’ve been documenting the experiment. It’s harder than you think to get your kid excited about vegetables and steer him away from any kind of food offered in a vending machine. Whenever we try to encourage positive eating habits, something seems to go terribly wrong. Like the time we thought we’d have a fun family outing at Potbelly. Eric: “David, do you think you could get a salad?” Katherine (11-year-old): “I’m getting a sub!” David (crying): “It’s not fair! I hate my brain!” Eric: “Well, Katherine didn’t get the skinny gene.” Katherine (crying): “You think I’m fat!” Eric: “Let’s just go home. I feel badly for my lit Continue reading >>

Mood, Food And Bipolar Disorder: A New Prescription

Mood, Food And Bipolar Disorder: A New Prescription

If you’re one of the estimated 5.7 million U.S. adults dealing with bipolar disorder, you know the potent control it can have on your moods, energy and emotions. What you may not know is how much power you have to control it. Thanks to an emerging science called epigenetics, researchers have learned that DNA is no longer destiny and that each of us has the ability to influence how our genes express themselves to the rest of the body. With healthy lifestyle choices and environmental changes, we can actually alter our own destiny. For those with bipolar disorder, it’s an empowering message: No longer are you a prisoner of your genetics, thought to play a key role in the disorder. And through healthier lifestyle choices, you may be able to decrease your reliance on medication to manage your illness, although this remains a critical part of the overall treatment equation. By taking a holistic and integrative lifestyle approach that includes the practice of mindfulness and stress reduction, using nutrition based on whole foods, and adding a more active lifestyle — what I like to call my Mind, Mouth and Muscle blueprint — you can reduce the effects of the bipolar condition and improve the quality of your life. This isn’t just theory. I work directly with those with mood disorders and have seen firsthand the benefits that can result from choosing the apple over the doughnut, meditating rather than obsessing and ruminating over a life stress, and going for a walk instead of sitting for hours watching mindless TV. With each healthy choice that’s made, you’re influencing the proteins that switch genes on and off and affecting the messages that are delivered throughout the body. Consistently good choices translate into a better reading of your genetic script. You’r Continue reading >>

Bittersweet Holiday Treats: How Sugar Affects Your Mood

Bittersweet Holiday Treats: How Sugar Affects Your Mood

I don’t know about you, but this time of year is always tough for me. I am sure many of you can relate to a seasonal pattern for highs and lows – bright, sunny, energetic spring and summer almost always brings about the same in me, and so why wouldn't dull, dreary cold fall and winter do likewise? There are several things that this could be related to. Bipolar disorder is in many ways a disorder of circadian rhythms (our body’s internal clock), and the change in external cues (sunrise and sunset) seems to match our internal cues. The external cues can actually dictate those internal cues, but that is a lengthy discussion and the topic for a future blog entry.There are also a lot of emotionally heavy holidays in the colder months, which tend to be triggers for those with and without mood disorders . Additionally, the colder, darker days also tend to keep us inside more, even here in California. Being cooped up inside all the time causes us to get less exercise, of one of the best natural mood stabilizers.With less energy from the dreary cold, sedentary days, we tend to find ourselves reaching for sugary holiday treats far more often than we would other times of year. I know I am guilty of this if I am not vigilant. Here are a few reasons I try my best to avoid sugar. Sugar is addictive. Like recreational drugs, sugar releases opioids and dopamine. It also has been shown in studies to affect our brain in ways similar to addictive drugs. And what about the components of addictive behavior: bingeing, withdrawal, and cravings. You don’t have to be a research professional to see the similarities . Sugar causes inflammation. Inflammation is associated depression. Refined sugar, including white flour, causes a release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Studies Continue reading >>

-chapter 2- Low Blood Sugar & Mental Health Problems

-chapter 2- Low Blood Sugar & Mental Health Problems

low blood sugar depression and neurotransmitters Natural Treatment and Remedies The premise of this chapter is that in people with mental health problems including depression, anxiety, addiction and bipolar syndrome fluctuations in blood sugar can exacerbate and trigger intense bouts of worse symptoms. The human brain requires a huge amount of fuel to make enough energy to function and it suffers an immediate decline in function when it runs low on fuel. The brain relies almost exclusively on glucose or sugar for energy which it draws directly from the blood, furthermore the brain does not store glucose and only stores tiny amounts of glycogen (reserve glucose) in reserve for times when our blood sugar levels fall. The brains high demand for glucose and its lack of reserves means the brain is highly dependent on a steady supply of sugar from the blood and when blood sugar levels fall either too low or just too quickly the first part of the body to suffer is the brain and consequently our mental function. What happens when blood sugar drops is it diminishes the brains capacity to produce neurotransmitters, transmit signals and perform essential maintenance. Almost everyone will be familiar with this effect, it’s the ‘spaced out’ shaky, irritable feeling and difficulty in concentrating we experience when we haven’t eaten anything for too long. In people without mental health problems this is just an unpleasant experience but in people with mental health problems that already have poor brain function a bout of low blood sugar that compromises brain function even further can trigger a bout of more intense symptoms of the problem, for example it could trigger a wave of increased depression, anxiety or OCD and as you may have already noticed once an intense bout of yo Continue reading >>

Can Diabetes Affect My Mood?

Can Diabetes Affect My Mood?

I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I am on two different types of insulin, NovoLog and Levemir (insulin detemir). Can diabetes have any bearing on mood swings or sudden “bad mood episodes”? Continue reading >>

5 Foods That Will Put You In A Rotten Mood

5 Foods That Will Put You In A Rotten Mood

Your diet can really wreck your mood—and not just because you still feel guilty for plowing through a pint of praline pecan ice cream the other night. "My clients easily make the connection between being hungry and being in a bad mood—a.k.a. 'hangry'—but they don't often realize that what they eat on a daily basis can also have a direct impact on their mood," says Emily Edison, RD, a dietitian and sports nutritionist in Seattle. There's plenty of research proving the food-mood connection as well—feasting regularly on the wrong menu can spiral you into real depression. Here, the top offenders: 1. Refined carbohydrates In recent years, simple carbs have been vilified for their fat-promoting, nutrient-lacking qualities. Recently, researchers at Columbia University decided to see if having refined carbohydrates in your diet can make you depressed. Well, dust off the Paleo cookbook, because the answer is yes: Using data from the Women's Health Initiative—which is tracking more than 70,000 women—the researchers found that the higher a woman's blood sugar rose after eating sugar and refined grains, the higher her risk of depression. In the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers also found the reverse to be true: A diet high in whole grains and produce actually lowers a woman's risk of depression. (Lose up to 15 pounds WITHOUT dieting with Eat Clean to Get Lean, our 21-day clean-eating meal plan.) 2. Sugar Considering the research on refined carbs, it's easy to see how sugar would also contribute to a higher risk of depression. Sure enough, multiple studies suggest a link. A diet high in sugar can raise levels of inflammation throughout the body and brain—and now research is tying inflammation to higher incidences of depres Continue reading >>

4 Ways Sugar Could Be Harming Your Mental Health

4 Ways Sugar Could Be Harming Your Mental Health

Most people know that eating too much dessert and processed food can contribute to physical health problems like obesity and type 2 diabetes. Far less attention has been given to the impact of a high-sugar diet on mental health, though numerous studies have shown the deleterious effects a sweet tooth can have on mood, learning and quality of life. In addition to inflating waistlines, sugar and other sweeteners, including high fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses and maple syrup, may contribute to a number of mental health problems: The roller coaster of high blood sugar followed by a crash may accentuate the symptoms of mood disorders. Research has tied heavy sugar consumption to an increased risk of depression and worse outcomes in individuals with schizophrenia. There are a couple theories explaining the link. Sugar suppresses activity of a hormone called BDNF that is low in individuals with depression and schizophrenia. Sugar is also at the root of chronic inflammation, which impacts the immune system, the brain and other systems in the body and also has been implicated in depression. Interestingly, countries with high sugar intake also have a high rate of depression. #2 Addiction Although controversial, a growing body of evidence points to the addictive potential of sugar. Both drugs and, to a lesser extent, sugar and processed junk foods flood the brain with the feel-good chemical dopamine, over time changing the function of the brain. In a study by researchers at Yale University, the simple sight of a milkshake activated the same reward centers of the brain as cocaine among people with addictive eating habits. A 2007 study showed that rats actually prefer sugar water to cocaine. Rats given fatty and sugary products demonstrated classic symptoms of addiction includ Continue reading >>

Low Blood Sugar And Your Mind

Low Blood Sugar And Your Mind

One danger of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is that you might not know you’re having it. Low glucose levels affect your brain and can leave you unable to recognize a problem or seek a solution. Low blood sugar is not a symptom of diabetes. It’s a side effect of diabetes treatment. It happens when you have too much insulin for the amount of food you have eaten. You can get hypoglycemia (high-po-glye-SEEM-e-uh) if you take insulin or if you take pills that stimulate your body to release insulin from the pancreas. These pills include sulfonylureas, such as chlorpropamide (brand name Diabinese), tolbutamide (Orinase), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase, Micronase), glimepiride (Amaryl), glipizide (Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL), tolazamide (Tolinase), and tolbutamide (Orinase). Other drugs that raise insulin and can lead to hypoglycemia include the meglitinides, such as repaglinide (Prandin) and nateglinide (Starlix). Combination drugs that contain sulfonylureas or meglitinides can also potentially cause lows. You can see a more complete list of drugs that cause hypoglycemia here. If you have too much insulin and don’t eat enough, or you exercise too much, you will likely develop low blood sugar. The symptoms can range from annoying, like excessive sweating, to life-threatening, like passing out while driving or having seizures. Celia Kirkman, RN, CDE, wrote that “Hypoglycemia is a condition in which the brain does not have enough glucose to carry out its many functions.” You can’t pay attention to things, you’re less aware of your environment; you have less control of your emotions. This is what makes low blood sugar hard to treat and prevent. Your brain is supposed to pick up warning signs and address problems, but your brain is impaired by low glucose. Symptoms of low Continue reading >>

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