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Connie Strasheim Medical researcher, writer and author. Web: , , Blog:, Books: Defeat Cancer: 15 Doctors of Integrative and Naturopathic Medicine Tell You How

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    1. Connie StrasheimMedical researcher, writer and author Web:,, Blog:, Books: Defeat Cancer: 15 Doctors of Integrative and Naturopathic Medicine Tell You How Insights Into Lyme Disease Treatment: 13 Lyme-Literate Health Care Practitioners Share Their Healing Strategies and The Lyme Disease Survival Guide Healing Chronic Illness: By His Spirit, Through His Resources

    2. Healing Depression in Chronic Illness -According to E. Shannon, author and medical researcher, “There has been a tenfold increase in major depression since 1945.” -An increase in degenerative, chronic diseases has also created an increase in the number of depressed people -An increasing number of clinicians believe depression is a genetic disorder of mind-body-spirit, when predisposing factors (ie, emotional trauma or genetic weakness) combine with environmental factors (www.healing

    3. Causes of Depression in Chronic Illness Depression is caused by many factors: -Environmental toxins, such as mercury and other neurotoxic chemicals and metals -Pathogens, such as tick-borne infections (ie, borrelia, bartonella, and babesia), T-Palladium (syphilis-causing virus), streptococcal bacteria (which are implicated in OCD, anxiety disorders and anorexia), HIV, mold, candida -Food allergies and sensitivities -Neurotoxic food additives and preservatives, such as aspartame, salicylates, food colorings, MSG (which is often disguised as “natural flavoring” on labels), carageenan and others

    4. Causes of Depression in Chronic Illness (continued) -Childhood or other emotional/physical traumas -Nutritional deficiencies-esp. Omega-3 EFA’s, Vitamins B-6 and B-12, folate, iron, magnesium and zinc -Stress (whether financial, situational, relational or biochemical) -Genetic conditions, whether inherited or acquired, such as KPU (kryptopyrolurria) -Endocrine abrnomalites; ie, hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency -Other disease conditions/biochemical abnormalities, whether acquired or genetic. Ie, Parkinson’s, MS, cancer, diabetes, heart disease. Depression in these instances may be triggered by the disease processes or by the lifestyle problems created because of the illness.

    5. Facts About Anti-Depressants -Many people use anti-depressant medications to control depression. -1 in 10 Americans take an anti-depressant. Their use has tripled over the last decade ( -Women have a 10-25% chance of developing major depression at some point during life. For women with chronic illness, the statistic is even higher. (

    6. Why Don’t Anti-Depressants Work Long-Term? -Don’t address the cause of the disease (ie, serotonin deficiencies, hypothyroidism) -They don’t increase the body’s levels of neurotransmitters-only allow them to make better use of them. Over time, as the body is depleted, anti-depressants stop working -Compromise liver and brain function, so that the brain becomes dependent upon the drug. Can cause other effects which worsen depression, such as insulin resistance.

    7. Fortunately… Scientists now know that neurons in many parts of the brain undergo structural change throughout all of life. This is an amazing discovery because it tells us that we are no longer helpless victims of our biochemistry. Our brains can be rewired and reprogrammed—Douglas Bloch, author, “Healing From Depression”

    8. Supplements that Support Mood Amino acids L-tryptophan and 5-HTP have shown in clinical studies to be more effective than anti-depressants for supporting mood. Some people have trouble making serotonin from these, however, due to methylation problems, adrenal insufficiency, nutrient deficiencies, and other issues common in those with chronic illness. (Note: methylation is a process in which certain chemicals called ‘methyl groups’ are added to various constituents of proteins, DNA and other molecules. This is to keep them in good working order).

    9. Supplements that Support Mood -Co-factors needed to make serotonin from 5-HTP: -Vitamin B-6 -Magnesium -Vitamin C -Zinc

    10. Supplements that Support a Healthy Mood -People with adrenal fatigue and other health problems often can’t effectively utilize Vitamin B-6. When 5-HTP is given in conjunction with L-cystine and P-5-P (pyridoxal phosphate), these people respond better to 5-HTP –J. Poesnecker, Chronic Fatigue Unmasked -A deficiency of any of the aforementioned nutrients will compromise serotonin production.

    11. Supplements that Support Mood Co-factors needed to make 5-HTP from L-tryptophan: -Folate -Iron -Calcium -Vitamin B-3

    12. Foods That Increase Tryptophan Levels -L-tryptophan is the most common amino acid deficiency. It is found in various foods: -Turkey -Cottage cheese -Almonds -Oatmeal -Peanut butter -Shellfish -Tuna

    13. Supplements that Support Mood Dopamine is another neurotransmitter responsible for mood regulation. -Dopamine’s precursors: L-tyrosine, or L-phenylalaline, may be helpful for improving mood and energy. -Mucuna bean powder contains L-dopa, the immediate precursor to dopamine. Used to treat Parkinson’s in some countries (people with Parkinson’s have low dopamine levels).

    14. Foods that Increase Dopamine -Any food with high levels of antioxidants, including most fruits and vegetables, since free radicals deplete dopamine levels -Animal protein, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and brightly-colored vegetables

    15. Other Mood-Supportive Nutrients -Omega-3 EFA’s and Phosphatidyl-choline. These repair brain tissue, which is largely comprised of fat. Makes cell membranes permeable and flexible, allowing nutrients to enter cells and garbage to leave cells. Improves cell-to-cell communication. -Sources of Omega-3 EFA’s: fish oil, salmon, halibut, herring, flax and hemp seeds; walnuts

    16. Other Supportive Nutrients -Phosphatidyl-choline (Phos-Chol) is a precursor to choline, from which the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is made. Acetylcholine improves memory and cognition, and may help support mood. -Eggs and lecithin increase the brain’s levels of choline -Phos-Chol can be purchased as a supplement

    17. Other Supportive Nutrients -St. John’s wort- This herb contains hypericin, a substance that increases the concentration of serotonin in the central nervous system, and inhibits two enzymes responsible for its breakdown.

    18. Addressing Methylation Problems S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM-e) One of the principal methyl donors involved in neurotransmitter synthesis is SAMe. SAMe can be taken as a supplement, although trimethylglycine also increases SAMe levels. Methionine is also an essential amino acid from which SAMe is made. Folic acid and cobalamin B-12 likewise support methylation, and N-acetyl-cysteine is amino acid that enhances the bioavailability of methionine.

    19. Addressing Methylation Problems -Magnesium, B-vitamins and zinc support methylation -Dark, leafy green vegetables, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, fish and eggs, beans, walnuts, asparagus, almonds and whole grains also support methylation -Egg yolks, meat, liver and oily fish are excellent sources of B-12, which is heavily involved in methylation.

    20. Other Nutrients that Support Mood -Resveratrol- May improve mood because it increases microcirculation, decreases inflammation, neutralizes free radicals, and lowers inflammation in the brain. -Lithium orotate and aspartate- Protects the brain from the effects of neurotoxins generated by pathogens and environmental toxins

    21. How Eliminating Allergies and Food Sensitivities Supports Mood -Many people with chronic illness have food allergies and sensitivities that can cause or exacerbate depression. Common allergens: Wheat, gluten, eggs, peanuts, soy, corn, chocolate, cheese, tomatoes, dairy products -Pasteurized dairy causes inflammation in many people with allergies -Any GMO (genetically-modified) food can cause allergies.

    22. Other Foods that Exacerbate Depression -Caffeinated beverages and alcohol -Refined sugar (and high-glycemic foods for some chronic illnesses) -All processed foods (The less it resembles its natural form, the less of a “real” food it is) -Food additives and preservatives. If a product has more than five ingredients, an ingredient you don’t understand or which contains lots of letters, it may contribute to mood disorders.

    23. Supporting Mood by Removing Heavy Metals Heavy metals accumulate preferentially in the brain and CNS. Mercury is among one of the most toxic metals to the body, and causes extreme immune suppression. It is implicated in many neurodegenerative diseases such as MS, Parkinson’s, autism, ADD, ADHD, and of course, depression. Many chronically ill lose the ability to detoxify heavy metals. Most people today have some level of heavy metal toxicity in their bodies.

    24. Supporting Mood by Removing Heavy Metals -Alpha-lipoic acid with DMSA chelate and bind heavy metals. See A. Cutler’s protocols for more information -Natural agents: cilantro with chlorella. Cilantro crosses the blood-brain barrier to remove mercury from the brain. Does not bind metals so need a binder as well. Chlorella and DMSA bind (some believe chlorella is a weak binder). -Note: dental amalgams and vaccines contain heavy metals. - Carbon-block or reverse osmosis water filters eliminate metals; wild-caught fish contains fewer metals than farm-raised fish

    25. Supporting Mood by Correcting KPU Kryptopyrolurria, or KPU, is a genetic condition which is inherited at birth, induced by childhood trauma, or caused by certain diseases (such as Lyme) in which the body cannot effectively synthesize heme. Instead, it produces a mauve-like substance called kryptopryrrol, which binds with minerals and vitamins and carries them out of the body. It is estimated to exist in 50% of people with depression and CFS; in 80% of those with Lyme disease. People with KPU have severe deficiencies of Vitamin B-6, biotin, zinc, manganese, chromium, molybdenum and boron.

    26. Supporting Mood by Correcting KPU -Minerals use same receptor sites on cells as heavy metals. Giving the body high doses of certain minerals and vitamins (listed on previous slide) displaces metals from the brain. Doing this protocol rids the body of one source of depression-metals! -Furthermore, since Vitamin B-6 and zinc are needed for serotonin synthesis, a KPU protocol involving high doses of minerals also enables the body to more effectively synthesize serotonin by providing essential serotonin synthesis co-factors.

    27. Supporting Mood by Correcting KPU -Heavy metal and KPU protocols should only be carried out under the guidance of a competent practitioner, as heavy metals can get redistributed in the body if chelation is improperly undertaken. -For more information:

    28. Healing Depression Caused by Pathogens -When the brain is flooded with pathogens, depression and other conditions (such as anxiety, brain fog and other cognitive problems) result. -Tick-borne infections are a common cause of depression. Lyme disease is the fastest-growing infectious disease in the United States and causes severe neurological symptoms. TBI’s can cause CFS, Fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, MS and other diseases. (See documentary, “Under Our Skin,” P. Weintraub’s book, Cure Unknown and my Lyme-disease treatment book, Insights Into Lyme Disease Treatment, for more information).

    29. Addressing Depression Caused by Pathogens Addressing depression caused by pathogens requires testing for infections and eliminating the pathogens with antimicrobial remedies, according to the guidance of a holistic medical or naturopathic doctor.

    30. Addressing Depression Caused by Pathogens -Mold and candida can also cause depression. -Eliminating ALL fruit, refined sugar, dairy and grains from the diet creates a hostile environment for mold and candida -Candida and mold-killing substances and toxin binders can also be helpful. Cholestepure is one a powerful mold toxin binder. -Candida cleanse products, such as those sold at here at Vitamin Cottage, are good.

    31. Depression Caused by Endocrine, or Hormone Imbalances -Hormone imbalances are common today, due to the plethora of toxins in our environment, our stressful lifestyles, and nutrient-depleted food supply. Chronic illness may be a direct cause, or result, of endocrine imbalances. -Adrenal fatigue, sometimes referred to as “burnout syndrome” which is characterized by unrefreshing sleep, fatigue (especially in the AM), anxiety, depression, blood sugar imbalances, cognitive problems, and other issues, is one cause of depression.

    32. Depression Caused by Endocrine, or Hormone Imbalances Addressing adrenal fatigue, along with low neurotransmitter levels, may help to elevate the mood. -Eliminating major sources of emotional and lifestyle stress, wherever possible, supports adrenal function. -Reducing or eliminating refined sugar and caffeine, alcohol, dairy and other inflammatory food products supports the adrenal glands -Supplementing with liposomal Vitamin C, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B-6, and in extreme cases of fatigue-adrenal glandular extracts, supports adrenal function -Preparing fresh chicken broth to drink daily (can’t be boxed) - provides more info. on adrenal fatigue

    33. Depression Caused By Endocrine, or Hormone Imbalances -High cortisol levels (from adrenal burnout) cause the body to use up serotonin faster. Supporting the adrenals by lowering cortisol levels and removing stressors that increase cortisol: sugar, caffeine, skipping meals, lifestyle stress, lack of sleep, etc.

    34. Depression Caused by Hormonal, or Endocrine Imbalances -Undiagnosed hypothyroidism is a major cause of depression. Standard tests often fail to accurately diagnose hypothyroidism. -Thyroid hormone regulates the amounts and activity of serotonin, norepenephrine, and Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.

    35. Depression and Hormonal, or Endocrine Imbalances -Hypothyroidism may be caused by adrenal insufficiency. Where this is the case, it may be helpful to support both the thyroid and adrenals. -Supplemental iodine and L-tyrosine (amino acid from which hormones are made) may help to support the thyroid, and thereby, mood -Supplemental bioidentical T-4 and T-3, or thyroid hormone made from porcine glands (Armour) improve thyroid function in those for whom iodine and L-tyrosine don’t work. Contact a licensed holistic doctor for more information about their use.

    36. Depression and Endocrine Imbalances -Low levels of estradiol, (a type of estrogen), may also contribute to depression, since estradiol decreases the brain’s ability to reduce serotonin -HRT may improve depression in these cases. Contact a licensed holistic doctor for more information about bioidentical and other natural forms of supplemental estrogen.

    37. Supporting the Gut to Support Mood -People with depression can have an overgrowth of bad intestinal bacteria, which cause abnormalities in micronutrient absorption. These micronutrients are involved in neurotransmitter synthesis. -Eighty percent of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut. -Probiotics neutralize bad bacterial overgrowth.

    38. Supporting the Gut to Support Mood -Replacing healthy flora in the gut with probiotics supports neurotransmitter synthesis. Probiotics containing multiple strains of different bacteria, not just acidophilus, are most effective for this. -Kefir and yogurt provide supplemental probiotic support. Non-dairy sources of kefir (such as coconut) may be preferable if allergic to dairy.

    39. Knowing The Cause of Depression -…is important for healing it! Acupuncture, for instance, may be helpful for balancing the body’s biochemicals, but if the body doesn’t have the raw materials to make those biochemicals, then it may be of limited effectiveness. -The causes of depression are usually multiple: ie, toxins, nutritional deficiencies, and stress, are common to most of us.

    40. Have Hope! I have suffered from lifelong depression issues due to emotional trauma, severe nutrient deficiencies, Lyme disease, CFS, adrenal insufficiency, and as a result of being disabled for nearly a decade, but over the past seven years I have reduced my depression by 80% by employing some of the strategies mentioned in this lecture. If I can do it, you can, too! 