SpectraCell Blog

SpectraCell's Nutritional Correlation Chart on DEPRESSION

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 @ 05:52 PM

Depression WheelBelow is a list of various nutrients that affect a person affected with depression.
  • Chromium - Elevates serotonin (feel-good neurotransmitter) levels in the brain; May be particularly effective on eating symptoms of depression such as carbohydrate craving and increased appetite, due to its effect on blood sugar regulation.
  • Magnesium - Deficiency damages NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors in the brain, which regulate mood; Well-documented anti-depressant effects.
  • Vitamin B12 - Depression may be a manifestation of B12 deficiency; Repletion of B12 to adequate levels can improve treatment response; B12 deficiency common in psychiatric disorders.
  • Vitamin B6 - Cofactor for serotonin and dopamine production (feel good chemicals); Studies indicate that low levels may predispose people to depression.
  • Vitamin B2 - Low B2 has been implicated in depression due to its role in methylation reactions in the brain.
  • Vitamin D - Clinical trials suggest increasing blood levels of vitamin D, which is actually a hormone precursor, may improve symptoms of depression.
  • Carnitine - Increases serotonin and noradrenaline which lift mood; In trials, carnitine alleviates depression with few, if any, side effects.
  • Inositol - Influences signaling pathways in the brain; Particularly effective in SSRI  (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) sensitive disorders.
  • Biotin - Part of the B-vitamin complex, biotin deficiency has induced depression in animal and human studies.
  • Antioxidants - Oxidative stress in the brain alters neurotransmitter function; Antioxidants protect our brain, which is very sensitive to oxidation; Several antioxidants – Vitamins A, C and E, Lipoic Acid, CoQ10, Glutathione and Cysteine – play a key role in prevention and treatment of depression.
  • Serine - Regulates brain chemistry; Involved in NMDA receptor function; Acts as a neurotransmitter; Low levels correlate with severity of depression.
  • Zinc - Improves efficacy of antidepressant drugs; Particularly useful for treatment resistant patients; Regulates neurotransmitters.
  • Selenium - Integral part of regulatory proteins (selenoproteins) in the brain; Supplementation trials are promising; May alleviate postpartum depression.

To learn more, visit our Clinical Education Center's handouts section!

 

 

Topics: serine, zinc, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Selenium, Vitamin B6, Antioxidants, Vitamin B12, biotin, inositol, Depression, Vitamin B2, Chromium

The Insulin & Cortisol Factors

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 @ 10:38 AM

The Fatigue Solution resized 600Excerpt from Eva Cwynar, M.D.'s new book, "The Fatigue Solution"

Two hormones in particular affect our energy levels: insulin and cortisol.

The Insulin Factor: Insulin is one of the body's key hormones. It works with a partner, glucagon, ro regulate how the body utilizes food for fuel and therefore energy. Insulin is a storage hormone designed to take excess glucose (sugar) from dietary carbohydrates, excess amino acids from proteins, and other nutrients, and store them as fat. Not only does it store the fat, but it also locks fat up so it can't be released. Glucagon, insulin's biological opposite, mobilizes stored energy (primarily carbohydrates), to be circulated in the bloodstream as a source of energy. Its primary job is to release stored carbohydrate, in the form of glucose, from the liver so that it can be used for energy. So...

Insulin = Stored Energy

Glucagon = Released Energy

An imbalance between these two hormones is usually seen as elevated insulin levels. Excess blood sugar usually responds to elevated insulin by dropping down dramatically, which will decimate your energy level and give you that well-known "sugar crash". Or it can respond by stayin elevated, in which case the body's cells can't handle the excess and simply don't allow any more sugar or insulin to come in. This is known as insulin resistance, which is the body's inability to respond to and use the insulin it produces. This can eventually lead to a variety of conditions, including the accumulation of body fat, diabetes, heart disease, and a decrease in energy levels. So...

Excess blood sugar = insulin resistance

The Corisol Factor: Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands that is critical to your body's ability to mediate stress. This came in very handy in the age of the caveman; cortisol is part of the "fight or flight" process that prepares you to either face and hopefully vanquish your enemy or run away as fast as your feet can take you. Today's stressors may not be as dramatic as facing a hungry saber-toothed tiger, but they are quite a bit more varied. Stressors can be physical, biological, environmental, or even social, from a weekend warrior's overexertion to a sudden viral infection to a chronically abusive screaming boss. Cortisol helps you cope and allows you to respond to different stressors in different ways. However, long-term exposure to unremitting stress (taking care of a parent or child with a chronic illness; a chaotic lifestyle that never slows down) will have dire consequences for your health, as too much cortisol can produce extensive biological damage, and is a leading cause of premature aging and fatigue.

Cortisol has many actions in the body, and one ultimate goal of cortisol secretion is the provision of energy for the body. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. The end result o f these actions is an increase in appetite. That's why chronic or poorlly managed stress may lead you to eat too much, which can show up as weight gain or difficulty losing unwanted pounds. So...

Excess cortisol = premature aging and fatigue

See how SpectraCell's micronutrient testing can assist you with your weight loss and fatigue issues:

To learn more about Dr. Eva Cwynar, visit her website: www.dreva.com

Topics: Fatigue, Weight Loss, Dr. Eva Cwynar, Cortisol, Insulin

Telomeres: De-Stress vs. Distress

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Sep 04, 2012 @ 10:39 AM

The Fatigue SolutionExcerpt from Eva Cwynar, M.D.'s new book, "The Fatigue Solution"

A 2004 study conducted in San Francisco looked deep into the DNA of stressed-out mothers of chronically ill children. They were looking at the mothers' telomeres, the "tip" of a strand of DNA, which protects the DNA from damage. Telomeres naturally get shorter as we age, until eventually the cell dies. That's one reason we lose eyesight, hearing, and muscle strength as we age. The 2004 study showed that stress has a similar effect, shortening the telomeres of the stressed-out moms, and aging them before their time. Women with the highest levels of perceived stress had telomeres shorter on average by the equivalent of at least one decade of additional aging compared to low stress women. The good news is that those mothers who were better able to deal with stress - who had found ways of coping and maintaining a positive attitude - didn't suffer the same damage to their telomeres.

Telomeres get shorter as we age, but that can be accelerated by the way we live our lives (stress, drugs, lack of exercise, etc. accelerate the demise of the telomere). There is a genetic predisposition as to how quickly your telomeres shorten, but we're now finding that things such as growth hormone, estrogen, testosterone, and antioxidants can slow the rate of shortening.

To learn more, read the free full paper or abstract of "Accelerated telomere shortening in response to life stress" (2004 Proc Natl Acad Sci)

To learn more about Dr. Eva Cwynar, visit her website: www.dreva.com

 

Topics: telomere, Stress, Aging, Dr. Eva Cwynar