I am going to describe some biochemical processes which are important to consider in depression states, with emphasis on postpartum depression.
The average standard western based allopathic physician does not think about a patient from a biochemical perspective. They are not trained to consider human biochemistry while going through their medical training. Patient’s issues are regarded from a pharmaceutical perspective. Such an approach is considered to be “standard of care,” and will keep the referals coming in from physician peers, and may serve to lower a physician’s malpractice profile. Such an approach is nothing short of a “herd mentality.”
In medical school we were exposed to information that is a mile wide and an inch deep. Over time, I learned to investigate information bit by bit by taking it apart, an inch wide and a mile deep. The rabbit holes of knowledge one can pursue in this fashion are endless. One can start with this investigation just by considering one’s own life. Nice place to start. Lots of inches to cover, and they are all miles deep; like to Infinity.
The pharmaceutical approach is flawed when considering the long term approach to a patient’s maladies. Drug complications are very common, including the lethal sort. Drug nutrient depletions are uniform, and result in chronic problematic chemical imbalances. Serious negative side effects and negative synergistic drug interactions in patients on polypharmacy (use of many different drugs at once) are common.
However, the pharmaceutical approach is most valuable in treatment of acute life threatening disorders. This is where such an approach excels. One of my sons is in Emergency Medicine. I think he picked the right field of medicine. He will help and save many by utilizing medicines correctly in life threatening situations. Pharmaceuticals are essential in the ER setting and other acute care settings (ICU, OR settings, other hospital settings) to halt and reverse difficult medical circumstances.
The rhetorical questions and critiques I pose in this entry, which are aimed at Big Pharma, are not intended to throw you off of the intention and theme of this Journal entry. The intention of this Journal entry is to give you a view of the important biochemical variables at play in depression states. These chemistries are under your control, assuming you are seeking out good advice from a good guide.
However, I think it is important that the reader be aware of how Big Pharma has insinuated itself into every arena of allopathic medicine, and is actively and aggessively engaged in legislative attempts to thwart the growth of the natural healing industries.
Explaining biochemistry can become involved. When I sit with clients, I write out with pen and paper the important pathways of biochemistry which are germane to depression states. When I write it out, the client can see it unfold, so to speak, and can see how it all ties back into itself. Then it is not so overwhelming. They are usually already overwhelmed.
The chemical pathways which I consider in postpartum depression are the same ones I consider in the more ordinary forms of depression. In post partum depression, however, there is one glaring significant chemical difference from other forms of situational or reactionary depressions.
The main chemistries to consider in both forms of depression involve the sex steroid hormones and the neurotransmitters. Other important chemical pathways to consider are thyroid hormone status, and the central cellular energy pathways which produce the energy molecule of the cell in the mitochondria. This mitochondrial energy molecule is known as adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.
This last paragraph involves a lot of chemistry. Let’s first consider that one glaring difference between postpartum depression and other depression states. This major issue has to do with the hormone progesterone, and its precipitous decline post delivery.
The word pro-gesterone implies that this hormone is pro-gestation; i.e., progesterone is the hormone which allows the pregnancy to initiate, and carry. Ordinarily, during the mid luteal phase of a 28 day menstrual cycle in a premenopausal woman the corpus luteum of the ovary is producing about 20 mg. of progesterone/day. This is around week 3, or day 21 of the cycle. If there is no insemination, then luteal phase production of progesterone falls, and menstrual flow begins again.
If pregnancy occurs, then there has to be enough progesterone present to carry the pregnancy through the first trimester until the placenta has grown to the point that it can take over progesterone production. In the third trimester the placenta is producing a whopping 300 mg. per day of progesterone!
That is a lot of progesterone circulating constantly. It can produce the feeling of euphoria, and has been noted by some women as felling like they “are on a drug.” One can assume that these women feel like they are on a happy pill of some sort. Perhaps happiness in their life has been hit and miss because of various processes linked to one’s self esteem.
When the placenta is delivered, the large progesterone production of 300 mg. per day comes to a sudden halt.
Progesterone is a natural antidepressant, and a rather significant one. And so are the other sex steroid hormones. However, progesterone is more powerful in this regard. In addition to its own antidepressant effect and calming effects, progesterone supports 2 essential neurotransmitter pathways: serotonin pathways and gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) pathways.
So, let’s take a short diversion away from progesterone, and delve into a little primer about the major neurotransmitters.
A Neurotransmitter Primer
Serotonin is the antidepressant neurotransmitter that a large multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry of serotonin mimickers and agonists has been built around. Why not just give people the serotonin precursor, 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HTP), and let their own biochemistry build up the serotonin needed? This is the approach utilized by holistic practitioners, and it works.
Serotonin gives the person a sense of rhythm and balance. It helps promote good states of REM sleep. If a person is deficient in serotonin, they will feel depressed, overwhelmed, and apathetic. They might crave salt and carbohydrates. Serotonin pathways are supported by the sex steroids pregnenolone and progesterone. Aerobics, sleep, and trauma resolution (meaningful psychotherapy) also support serotonin pathways.
GABA is the neurotransmitter that produces relaxation and calm in the body. A whole multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry of GABA mimickers and agonists has been built up around this natural chemical as well. Why not just give anxious GABA deficient patients natural GABA? This is the approach utilized by holistic practitioners, and it works.
GABA also promotes good states of REM sleep. GABA deficient individuals feel anxious and tense, and may crave protein. Protein is a source of branched chain amino acids, from which GABA is made. Pregnenolone and progesterone also support GABA pathways. GABA deficiency can also produce a craving for chemicals such as alcohol and marijuana. Sleep, aerobics, and consensual satisfying sex support GABA pathways.
In addition to serotonin and GABA, the principle neurotransmitter dopamine can also be low in depression states. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter which gives the central nervous system power and voltage. You know dopamine dominant people; they are the high powered, hard driving types who are addicted to satisfying those reward centers in the cingulate gyrus of their brains. If dopamine depletes in the brain, that drive and power will wane. If it continues to deplete, Parkinson’s disease develops.
A whole multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry has been built around dopamine mimickers and agonists. Why not give dopamine deficient people the amino acid which dopamine (and thyroid hormone) is made from? That amino acid is tyrosine. Tyrosine can be taken orally and dopamine levels and functionality can be restored.
Testosterone, estrogen, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), cortisol, and thyroid hormone support dopamine pathways. Caffeine and cocaine and ephedra mimic it. A craving for sugar and caffeine may be noted in dopamine deficient individuals. Aerobic exercise and sex placate the pathways.
I assess clients’ needs for dopamine, serotonin, and GABA with the help of questionnaires, which are quite accurate in defining dominant and deficiency states. Urinary metabolites can also be tested if someone wants the hard data. After so many years of feeling clients out on this, I can sense their deficiencies, but I invariably utilize the questionnaires to help educate the client and reassure them that there is some legitimate thought behind my recommendations.
These 3 neurotransmitters are the principle ones which can be out of balance in depression states, and these are the first ones I consider. Serotonin and GABA are the most important primary neurotransmitters to consider in this regard. Dopamine deficiency is secondary, but can be rather important as a negative synergist.
Dopamine deficiency can indicate that the precursor of dopamine, tyrosine, is also deficient. Tyrosine is also the precursor of thyroid hormone. If thyroid hormone is low, then physical and psychical depression is unavoidable. I will cover more on thyroid hormone later on in this Journal entry.
For the sake of completeness, there are 2 other major neurotransmitters which can be rather important. The first one is acetylcholine which gives the central nervous system speed, youthfulness, and memory. The acetylcholine dominant personality is the creative type. If acetylcholine deficiency develops, and goes unchecked over time, then the result is dementia states, the most common one being Alzheimer’s disease.
If a person has a slow moving brain and nervous system, I can see how they might be susceptible to depression. And so acetylcholine deficiency may be important to consider as a secondary source of depression, not unlike dopamine deficiency.
Acetylcholine is made from acetyl-L-carnitine, phosphatidyl serine, and glycerophosphocholine. A whole multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry has been built around acetylcholine mimickers and agonists. Why not give the acetylcholine deficient individual these vital precursors, while at the same time trying to determine what life-style factors or toxins, if any, may be contributing to the decline of any of these major neurotransmitters?
All of the precursors I have mentioned are available from good supplement and nutraceutical companies, the best one, in the opinion of many of us, is Designs for Health. The nutrition science professionals at this company have done the best neurotransmitter work of any company that I know of. See www.designsforhealth.com.
Acetylcholine pathways are supported by HGH (Human Growth Hormone), DHEA, and estrogen. Aerobic exercise, including aerobic sexual exercise, supports the pathway. A deficiency may be marked by a craving for fat containing foods.
The final neurotransmitter to consider is histamine. Histamine does more than mediate allergic responses. Inside the brain histamine is important in all sorts of reactions. In the histamine deficient individual (histapenia), there may be paranoia, suspicion, abnormal ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and other aberrations in the auditory mechanism. In the histamine excessive individual (histadelia), another set of symptoms may predominate: hyperactivity, compulsive behavior, sexual obsession, abnormal fears, compulsive rituals, crying easily, suicidal ideation, and depression.
Histadelia, or excessive histamine, may be a very important consideration in depression states. If the other neurotransmitters mentioned previously are relatively balanced, then histadelia becomes a primary consideration. The condition can be treated with daily doses of the methylating amino acid methionine, avoidance of high protein diets (reduces the amino acid histadine from which histamine is made), use of vitamin C, vitamin B6, inositol (regulates serotonin amongst other important actions), raising depleted levels of acetylcholine (see above), and the curious use of low dose Dilantin, 100 mg./day.
Dilantin is an anticonvulsant medication. European physicians started using it in low doses decades ago and validated that it reduced depression states. In 1997, a well known financial wizard from my hometown of Montgomery, Alabama wrote a book about his battle with depression and how he found his cure by using low dose Dilantin, which improves histadelia states. The book is A Remarkable Medicine Has Been Overlooked, and the author is Jack Dreyfus, founder of the Dreyfus Fund. It is a good read. It also exposes some of the preposterous aspects of the pharmaceutical industry and the medical system which is controlled by Big Pharma.
We can’t have cheap low dose Dilantin usage wiping out a number of significant multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industries, now, can we? The goddamn economy might tank!
The complete histamine story is beyond the scope of this Journal entry, as is the story of dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA, and serotonin. I am attempting to shed some light on these important chemicals so that you will not overlook their importance in consideration of situational/reactionary and postpartum depression states. There are innumerable and excellent references, such as these:
1) The Edge Effect by Eric Braverman, M.D.
2) Depression Free, Naturally by Joan Mathews Larson, Ph.D.
3) Change Your Brian, Change Your Life by Daniel Amen, M.D.
Back to Sex Steroid Hormones
OK, so, progesterone is a natural antidepressant, and it also supports serotonin and GABA pathways. Progesterone has a lot going for it when utilized to help people with depression, most notably those with postpartum depression.
Since a postnatal woman has also delivered the placenta which made all of the euphoric progesterone, and since the mother may be lactating (nursing), which shuts down the return of the natural menstrual cycle, why not give this woman some natural progesterone?
I recommend natural progesterone via the transdermal (rubbed on cream forms), or oral routes. The oral route can be by way of an ingested pill, or sublingual drops. Rectal suppositories work also.
The key word mentioned above is the word “natural.” The pharmaceutical industry has created yet another multibillion dollar industry by taking natural progesterone made from the Mexican wild yam and from soybeans, and then adding some extra chemistry to the molecule to produce a number of different C-19 and C-21 progestins. The “C” terminology refers to the carbon position on the progesterone ring structure which is tampered with.
Now we have a whole class of man-made chemical not found anywhere in any of Mother nature’s mothers, and these many different progesterone look-a-likes are called progestins. They can be patented. Natural substances cannot be patented. There are quite a number of these nefarious progestins. They are used in oral contraceptives along with synthetic estrogens to teach the ovary how not to make eggs. No egg means no ovarian follicle which in turn means no corpus luteum, which means no natural progesterone in a woman’s body in the second 2 weeks of the cycle.
Birth control pill users are entraining the ovary to not be what it supposed to be in the time of life of a premenopausal woman. I am suspicious that birth control pill usage increases the risks of breast cancer, infertility, and depression. And yes, the birth control pill pharmaceutical industry is another multi billion dollar concern, and it is hurting people, women and men.
It is well known that progestins are associated with depression, and many other very bad side effects. You can look it up. A conventional M.D. will not recommend progestins to a postpartum depression patient because of this fact. They also will not recommend natural progesterone because they have not been trained in its myriad of wonderful side effects.
I even recommend natural progesterone to men. I use it for men in formulation combinations with testosterone. It reduces side effects of testosterone metabolism into its metabolite DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which causes male pattern baldness and is incriminated in prostate cancer. It also balances out any aromatization (enzyme conversion) of testosterone into estrogens. Too much estrogen in a man will enhance prostate hypertrophy. OK, back to women.
Aside from ovarian production in premenopausal females, progesterone is also made in the adrenal gland from pregnenolone. This production goes on daily in both sexes and is a normal and critical chemistry for a rather long list of reasons. This type of production of progesterone is different from the production of progesterone by the corpus luteum of the premenopausal female, and is different from the production of progesterone by the placenta.
Progesterone, in such high amounts as occurs via placental production in the third trimester, usually produces a pretty uplifting and euphoric feeling in women. As stated, it is like a drug high for some. The greater the high is for the woman in the third trimester, the more she may have had some relative progesterone deficiency in her premenstrual pre-pregnancy state (OCP usage?).
PMS symptomatology may be more common in this population of women because a healthy progesterone level mitigates the estrogen dominant chemistry which drives PMS symptomotolgy. Also, the greater the high in the third trimester, the greater the fall may be postpartum, especially if there are unresolved psychic issues which are present in the subconsciousness.
Adrenal Gland Production of Sex Steroid Hormones
Cholesterol is the primary molecule from which all sex steroid hormones are made. Aside from this critical life function, cholesterol is essential in cell membrane formation and function. The membrane of the cell is the brain of the cell. This fact is grist for another Journal mill. The important take home point is that cholesterol is essential for life, and so don’t let your doctor bomb your cholesterol into oblivion with a lot of statin drugs, yet another multibillion dollar industry.
Cholesterol is esterified (chemical conversion) in the adrenal gland into the grandmother hormone, pregnenolone. Pregnenolone is essential for numerous aspects of brain and central nervous system health. It is also the precursor molecule for the production of progesterone and DHEA.
DHEA has been extensively researched as an anti-aging hormone, and it has lots of bountiful excellent effects for anyone getting on past 50 years of age. You can look up DHEA and study up on it. It is very supportive of health in the age group that recieves the AARP magazines . I recommend it frequently, in addition to pregnenolone.
Progesterone has too many vital and important functions to list here. One important function that needs to be mentioned, aside from its antidepressant effect, is that it is the precursor molecule from which cortisol is made. Daily cortisol levels begin to rise in the morning hours (about 3 AM) and levels peak around 6-8 AM. It is the hormone that helps get us up and ready for battle, so to speak. It will rise in response to how we view the challenges of the day.
Cortisol has been called the “stress hormone.” It actually helps us deal with stress in a beneficial manner via its chemical effects on the entire system. If the stress is unrelenting, then the adrenal gland will produce too much cortisol which results in hypercorticolism. This condition will enhance the following problems: demineralization of bones (osteopenia/osteoporosis), lowered immune system effectiveness, promotion of dementia states, excess conversion of glucose into fat, and decreased conversion of thyroglobulin (T4, thyroid hormone, biologically inactive) into triiodothyronine (T3, thyroid hormone, the biologically active form).
On the other hand, we may have a condition where not enough cortisol is being made by the adrenal gland because the gland is burned out (exhausted) from the ongoing stress, or there is not enough of its precursor molecule, progesterone, to make the required cortisol. We are back to the all important jack-of-all-trades hormone, progesterone.
If there is not enough progesterone, then the body will demand cortisol anyway in response to the stress triggers. The adrenal gland will shift into production of cortisol by stealing pregnenolone to make it. This aberrant pathway is known as “pregnenolone steal.” Pregnenolone is then taken away from its vital central nervous system presence and supportive functions. Furthermore, since pregnenolone is the precursor molecule of DHEA, then production of DHEA declines as well. People who are so affected by pregnenolone steal will begin to wonder where their resiliency and pop went.
Cortisol deficiency is caused by chronic stress. Pregnancy and delivery and the postpartum period (the 4th trimester) may easily be viewed as a prolonged stressful time in a woman’s life, especially if she is not receiving proper and adequate support. Cortisol deficiency will enhance depression states, and will provoke pregnenolone steal, which further enables the depression problem.
Remember, all sex steroid hormones are natural antidepressants. There are a few other sex steroid hormones in the terminal steps of the adrenal pathways which must be mentioned. To complete the story here, progesterone is taken further via conversion pathways into testosterone production, and into production of the 3 estrogens. These are estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3).
DHEA goes by way of these same conversion pathways into downstream testosterone and the 3 estrogens, although progesterone accounts for most of these downstream sex steroid hormones. The positive effects of balanced natural testosterone and estrogens are too numerous to list here.
I apologize for not listing all of the wonderful and vital positive effects of pregnenolone, DHEA, progesterone, testosterone, and the estrogens. The listing would be rather extensive. I hope that you will research these hormones and their effects on your own. Of course, you can use web searches, and, once again there are so many helpful easy to read texts that you might find in good bookstores, or at Amazon and such vendors.
Some good books on the natural sex steroid hormones were written by the late John Lee, M.D. These books are very informative and are easy reading. They are important books. He first wrote What Your Doctor May not Tell You about Menopause. Then he wrote What Your Doctor May not Tell You about Premenopause. Then he concluded with What Your Doctor May not Tell You about Breast Cancer. Then he left us to figure it out.
These statements give you some ideas about the importance and the intricacies of the sex steroid hormones, even as I did not list all of their incredible beneficial effects. I do hope that your curiosity is sparked here, and that you will find your answers.
There is another hormone which is tied in with sex steroid hormone health. It’s time for that thyroid hormone primer.
A Primer on Thyroid Hormone
Thyroid hormone is essential for maintaining metabolism, and therefore, it maintains and enables all chemistry in the body. This hormone is made in the thyroid gland under the influence of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is made in the pituitary gland. The principle hormone made in the thyroid gland is T4, which is biologically inactive. T4 must be converted into its active form, T3, in peripheral tissues.
This conversion takes place in the brain, liver, muscles, skin, and kidneys via a series of enzymes known as deiodinase enzymes I, II, and III. The deiodinase enzymes are co-factored by the mineral selenium. Sex steroid hormones, namely progesterone, DHEA, and testosterone support the conversion also. Excessive cortisol interferes with this conversion. The pineal gland hormone melatonin also supports the conversion. Vitamins B2, A, and E also support the co-factor conversion. This paragraph contains alot of condensed and vital biochemistry which I suspect even endocrinologists are in denial about.
If someone has depression, it is essential that low thyroid states be examined by utilizing blood studies. I utilize the following studies; TSH, free T4, free T3, T3 Uptake, reverse T3, and thyroid peroxidase enzyme antibodies (TPO antibodies, a measure of thyroid autoimmune disease, known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis).
Your regular M.D. will usually order only a TSH study. Such a single piece of information can be interpreted incorrectly and thus render highly misleading information. A full panel, as I have referenced above, is essential in making sense out of a person’s thyroid health. Most physicians have simply chosen to ignore thyroid gland and thyroid hormone biochemistry.
Furthermore, most doctors only prescribe Synthroid (yet another multi $B industry), which is T4, the biologically inactive form of thyroid hormone. What good is it to give somebody T4 if they cannot convert it to T3? This is a no brainer, in my opinion. No wonder so many Synthroid users complain of not feeling better.
T3 Uptake measures how sensitive a person’s cells are to the influence of T3. T3 Uptake and cell sensitivity to T3 is enhanced by progesterone, good old progesterone, the hormone that got us all here.
If someone has low thyroid function, poor conversion, lack of cellular sensitivity, thyroid hormone metabolism problems in the liver, etc, then depression states are more able to take a footing in the flesh, and thus, in the psyche. Thyroid health is essential to the health of all organ systems, most notably brain, heart, liver, and immune systems.
Thyroid hormone imbues all cellular organ activity with the ability to metabolize a chemical life, and get along as a happy coherent cell, and have a happy life communicating with other cells. Healthy thyroid chemistry is what I call the “gas pedal.”
What is the “gas tank?”
There are actually 2 gas tanks in our intelligent vehicle. One of them has been referenced above. It is the adrenal gland. If this tank is empty, then the pedal will not get a proper response. Adrenal glandular health must be evaluated and supported. If someone is given proper thyroid hormone replacement therapy, which consists of T4, T3, and all of the supporting chemical actors which I referenced above, and if the adrenal tank is empty, then we are going to burn up this engine.
First of all, it is simple to get a fix on the status of adrenal health by running a day long collection of 4 saliva samples taken at specific times of the day, and requesting a measurement of the levels of cortisol and DHEA. The levels of cortisol should be within certain peak and declining parameters. This test is known as an Adrenal Stress Index (ASI) test. Saliva is used by most of us holistic practitioners in the measurement of sex steroid hormones because it reveals levels of free unbound hormone, the variety which is available to act at cell receptor sites.
Blood studies, on the other hand, only reveal how much bound hormone is present in a capacitance type of reserve. The sex steroid hormones are ordinarily transported in the blood bound to Sex Steroid Binding Globulin (SSBG). This bound hormone is not free to act at cell sites. I have never been able to render any meaningful sense from such blood measurements, which are rendered from conventional laboratories. There are a number of excellent laboratories which perform saliva testing, as well as other advanced biochemical evaluations of organ system health.
The ASI test, and testing of the other key sex steroid hormones, plus the thyroid status will reveal helpful information and will guide proper support for the adrenal. Proper adrenal gland support may consist of oral adrenal glandular supplements, herbal adrenal adaptogenic formulations, use of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT, the use of any hormone that is identical to the hormones we produce in our bodies; not synthetic patented pseudo hormones), proper thyroid support or supplemental prescriptional bioidentical T4 and T3, and also, support of the other “gas tank.”
This other gas tank is the cell. We are made of many trillions of cells. These cells turn over at the rate of about 10 million cells per second. In 5-8 months we are a new cellular organism. Bone turnover takes longer. All of our cells want to be well fed, nourished, and fertilized so that they can have happy, coherent, communicative lives. Cellular health is dependent on central cellular energy chemical pathways.
A Primer on Central Cellular Energy Metabolism
The reason we eat protein, fat, and carbohydrates, and the reason we breathe oxygen is so that the cell can produce an energy molecule known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). We have to run the fats, and the carbs, and the protein, and the oxygen through many individual cellular energy factories known as mitochondria. Mitochondria are specialized cellular organelles which take all of these ingredients to give us ATP. There are many mitochondria in each of our trillions of cells.
The chemical pathways of mitochondrial activity which allow for a full production of ATP molecules are known as the Kreb’s cycle and the electron energy transport chain. If these 2 energy pathways are up to speed because they have all of the chemical ingredients called for in the energy production recipe, then this gas tank will be full.
Literally, if you could shrink yourself up into a subcellular sized witness, and go inside of any of your cells, you would witness an extraordinary show of light.
A typical Kreb’s and electron chain cycle should produce about 32 molecules of ATP per cycle. If the essential ingredients are missing, then there will be a drop off of ATP production. It is important that all cells be offered the 6 essential key ingredients for production of ATP. These 6 ingredients are necessary to turn fat, carbs, protein, and oxygen into ATP, the molecule of life and human light.
The 6 ingredients to make a healthy cellular gas tank are:
1) The B vitamins
2) The essential fatty acids, omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are more important here.
3) Coenzyme Q 10, known as CoQ10. This molecule was first called Ubiquinone when it was discovered in 1957 because it is ubiquitous in all plant and animal cells.
4) Magnesium, a mineral which catalyzes hundreds of enzyme functions, and supports serotonin production and function.
5) Lipoic acid, an antioxidant which is the only one that exists in both aqueous and lipid phases to quench all of the oxygen free radicals which are being produced in the mitochondria as a result of the metabolism of oxygen. If the large number of oxygen free radicals produced in the mitochondria as a result of oxygen metabolism are not neutralized, then the mitochondria will cease to function and exist.
6) Carnitine, an amino acid complex which transports fats into the mitochondria for fuel burning. Carnitine is present only in meat. Vegetarians must face the carnitine shortage dilemma at some point. This molecule must be supplemented in vegetarians. It is absolutely critical for healthy chemistry of all cells, most especially brain, heart, liver and immune system.
Our ability to absorb these 6 key nutrients from our foods that we eat, and our ability to manufacture these elements inside of our own cells declines with aging after 40 years of life. Please bear this in mind, no matter how excellent (or not) your state of health may be.
And so, we need to fill the 2 gas tanks. Just this step alone will help most depression related chemistry resolve into a happier milieu.
I have just rendered a little essay on some important biochemical considerations which must be considered in postpartum depression, as well as depression states in those people who are not undergoing pregnancy, delivery, nursing, child care, and just trying to have a life on the side.
The only chemical issue I did not cover above is the chemistry of inflammation. The chemistry of inflammation is foundational to the genesis of all known disease states. This subject matter is rather large and intricate. Here is a basic primer in a nutshell:
The grandmother chemical molecule which gets triggered to produce inflammatory cellular chemistry is a molecule known as Nf-Kappa Beta, or just NfKB. When this domino falls, a myriad of other domino inflammatory pathways are activated. Some of them are Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), interleukin pathways, tumor necrosis factor pathways, leukotriene pathways, cyclooxygenase pathways (COX), lipoxygenase (LOX) pathways, and many other et cetera pathways which are currently under serious investigation.
The most aggressive research (investigation) is funded by the financially well endowed pharmaceutical industries in order to manufacture drugs which interfere with these natural pathways. One of these drugs was Vioxx (Rofecoxib, made by Merck). It was withdrawn from the market in about 2005 after a number of reported heart attacks associated with its usage, and subsequent deaths, and subsequent litigations.
Merck knew about the problem back as early as 2000, but the drug was not recalled then. Too bad. It is in the family of COX-2 inhibitors. The still commonly prescribed COX-2 inhibitor drug, Celebrex, is also in this family. You can read about the story of Vioxx on Wikipedia if you want to.
Inflammatory biochemistry is a broad and important subject to consider in every health condition from osteoporosis to depression. Numerous multibillion dollar pharmaceutical companies have created numerous lucrative drugs to halt the various inflammatory pathways. An example is the NSAID (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) class of agents, drugs like Vioxx and Celebrex. The other NSAID’s are supposedly safer than Vioxx was.
It is now well documented that inflammatory chemistry is present in depression states, osteoporosis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and all of the other common diseases.
All sex steroid hormones are anti-inflammatory. Assumption: as we age, sex steroids decline, and we experience more inflammatory chemical pathways.
Other natural good anti-inflammatory agents are omega 3 fatty acids and stabilized curcuminoids, to name just a couple. Curcuminoids are derived from the Curcuma longa root, commonly known as the culinary spice tumeric. In addition to its effects in limiting the activity of NfKB, it is good to cook with tumeric, especially in meat preparation, as it reduces carcinogen chemistry in the meat which is created by the cooking heat.
Signing off from Crestone and Beyond