Blood sugar diet and depression?

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  • posted by SkinnyLiz
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    The diet seems to have had an amazing impact on long term depression. Has anyone else experienced this too?

    Here’s our experience:
    My husband has suffered quite severe depression for a number of years. He manages quite well with low/moderate doses of medication but has periodic bouts of debilitating suicidal feelings etc.

    We started the diet on somewhat of a whim to help him lose weight (target 30 lbs) and to recover from gout without taking drugs. He has never explicitly dieted previously, preferring to manage his weight by exercise and moderation. We had a generally healthy Mediterranean-style diet (which unfortunately was exacerbating the gout ) with very little alcohol. He rarely ate sweet stuff (cakes, bread, processed food etc) but loved kiwi fruit (also exacerbating the gout).

    His starting weight wasn’t the highest nor was it the lowest in the last 15 years or so. We followed the diet schedule in the book very strictly. The initial weight loss was good and sensible, but not the fastest rate at which he has ever lost weight – around 1 lb every 3 or 4 days. The gout has generally improved but there have been a few flare ups.

    However the effect on his depression was amazing. It was clear within 3 weeks that he was feeling and behaving differently and after 5 weeks we haven’t had a depressive bout – unheard of for at least 5 years. He is even talking of consulting his GP to stop the medication. I feel I have my husband back. I wouldn’t care even if he doesn’t lose any more weight (16lbs after 6 weeks) and we have to live on this diet for ever!

    It seems for us to be a very exciting way to deal with a debilitating problem – conversely, could modern diets be triggering Serotonin Re-uptake problems. I haven’t found any research papers. Does anyone know of work in this area?

  • posted by Buttermeup
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    SkinnyLiz I am also seeing my Dr next week for official permission to cease taking drugs for depression. I stopped taking them three weeks ago, two weeks after starting the 800. The first thing I noticed was that I was sleeping all of a sudden. No more sitting in the lounge until 2 or 3 every morning knowing I’d be lucky to get just a few hours sleep. I go to bed at 9.45pm every night now and I awaken naturally around 6.30am. This change happened very quickly after starting the 800.
    The next big development for me was a substantial improvement in my mental health. I feel as if I am living my life again, it has been truly transformative. I am clear headed, contented and happy, much like the old me before I became ill in the first place.
    Best wishes for your husband’s improved health 🙂

  • posted by LindaA
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    Hi SkinnyLiz
    I found this article on gout on the dietdoctor website that I thought might interest you.

    Gout and Low Carb

    There’s also a lot of evidence that a LCHF / ketogenic diet can help with not only depression but other mental illnesses including bi polar, epilepsy etc.
    Keep it up, you’re both doing really well.
    Cheers
    Linda

  • posted by pod
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    Wow! This is amazing! Skinnyliz and buttermeup I’m so pleased for you. I know how debilitating depression can be.
    I have long term reoccurring depression and sometimes have gone to deep dark places in my head. I’m on quite strong anti-depressives and when I went to my docs for blood tests just before starting the BSD we discussed upping the dose even further. I said I would wait for 8 weeks to see if changing my diet helped. I felt very depressed at the time and thought at least dieting I could help myself on some level.. Amazingly I stuck with BSD and help It did!!
    I do feel much more “with it” and awake. I also have chronic fatigue Syndrome and used to sleep for hours, now I’m not sleeping very well, but I expect It is my body adjusting to all the changes.
    I’m not ready to come off meds yet, I’m starting my second block of 8 weeks BSD today, I’m hoping the good mood continues.
    LindaA the link you posted is fascinating, thanks very much.
    skinnyliz, hope your husband continues to feel good
    and buttermeup, congratulations on feeling so good you may come off of meds, I’m hoping I will feel that way soon!!!

  • posted by SkinnyLiz
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    Thanks for the comments and information. It’s all very interesting. I am not sure I have found any really sound trials data but there is certainly a lot of anecdotal evidence.

    We spoke with a friend in the pharma sector who explained more about oxidative stress, for which there is a lot of published information. I wish we had known more of this years ago, dietary changes might have helped avoid some challenging times – GPs please take note.

    We’re now converts and are boring everyone about diet to manage depression!

  • posted by crabbycams
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    These posts are very interesting, because at the end of week 7 I realise something strange has happened to me. This week I voluntarily did exercise. Usually unheard of.

    Normally I plan to do some the following day, really plan, visualise etc, and then find myself unable to do it. Just getting up to go to work is like climbing Mt Everest every, single, bloody day. Weekends I tend to sleep in as long as possible (it’s one way to do intermittent fasting) and then move from bed to chair with occasional forays to the kitchen or bathroom as needed. Every weekend I would have plans for gardening, exercise, going out somewhere, but never, ever, actually do it. It is like mental quicksand.

    But this week,nNot only did I exercise, I walked to work and back on two days and today, I rode my bike. This is big. I fell off immediately after purchasing it and hurt myself a lot. I realised I needed to learn to ride the bike again. I’ve been having dreams about riding it even! But on the diet, I’ve found my balance improving.

    Yesterday evening, after walking home from work, I went to the garage and pumped up the tyres. I did think that perhaps this morning I would have my usual mental block, but no. I did get the bike out and I did ride to work and I didn’t fall off. Triumph. Mind you, the slight slope on the way home defeated me.

    And it gave a whole new meaning to ‘knee trembler’ because that’s what my knees were doing after only 1 kilometre of riding.

    And now it’s the weekend. I’m wondering what I will manage to do. It’s now 1.30am, typical for a Friday night.

    Depression tends to see me putting off going to bed because I know I’m going to have to ‘do’ it all again tomorrow.

    I’m curious to see what will happen next.

    Does this resonate with anyone else? Starting to exercise should help alleviate the depression as well, I hope. It would be nice to not feel the way I’ve been feeling for the past 20 years.

  • posted by GrumptoGlam
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    This thread has brought a tear to my eye. It is very familiar to me. Having gone through the 8 weeks 800cal around a year and a half ago (the weight dropped off me) I looked at photos of myself on a holiday the week before I’d started it. We all know the face of someone depressed don’t we. Its not only that I’m pale and bloated but its my dead eyes. The difference in my eyes even a couple of weeks in to the diet was un deniable, Id light in there again. I unfortunately had a bad time of it a few months back and started to carb it up big style, in denial that it would take any major affect on my mental state, only that I may go up on the scales. I put weight on again and went into self destruct mode, isolating myself and comfort eating again. This started the vicious circle of depression off again and I found myself at my lowest around a week ago, even talking to friends was difficult and I was low, very low. I made the hard slog of the first 3 days (headache and cravings) I’m now on my 5th day of the F800 and Im so astonished at the difference in me already. Its like the weight has been lifted and the fog has cleared. It seems so simple to me as I type this but I am still experiencing anxiety, and not out of the woods at certain stress points in my day so lets hope with some mindfulness and the Pilates sessions Im now booked in for, I can take control of this again. I hope you guys who have started this thread continue feel better every day and motivated to enjoy life again. Even if the evidence is anecdotal, Its true for me. I truly believe now – you are what you eat. xx

  • posted by SkinnyLiz
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    Really pleased to see that the diet helps others with depression too. We’re now in week 13 of a “BSD” lifestyle (ie slightly less strict but following the general principles) and the emotional benefits still seem to be there.
    I hope everyone who has responded also retains the long term benefits and keeps trying to stick with the BSD even on the worst of days.

  • posted by RobOnAMission
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    SkinnyLiz – I’ve been a gout sufferer for years (all the males in my family get it around 30). Last year I also suffered a breakdown and have only returned to work on a reduced-hours phased return after 9 months of therapy for depression, anxiety and PTSD. My thoughts are as follows:

    – there’s a chicken and egg thing for me on depression as a change in my meds made me feel well enough to take control of my diet. As I’m entering my 10th week on the BSD I have lost well over 3st and am feeling so much better. So better mental health helped me to diet but I also firmly believe that the diet (and seeing the results!) are helping improve my mental health. A virtuous circle!

    – I have dieted before but whenever I started to lose weight I had a gout attack. My doctor explained that sometimes when the body can’t deal with toxins it stores them in fat cells. As these break down, they release their contents – in my case, the uric acid that causes gout. Knowing this, before starting the BSD, I asked to go onto a daily dose of Allopurinol to help reduce my uric acid levels. If your OH isn’t already on this, you might want to talk t your GP. If he is, it may be worth upping the dose. It’s a well-established drug with limited common side effects. 2.5 months into a strict following of the BSD (and still enjoying meat, fish, shellfish etc) I have not – touch wood! – had even a minor gout twinge.

    – But mostly I manage my gout through a really good knowledge of what foods cause me the most problems and I will return to a drug-free control regime once I am at my target weight. When I was living in the USA a few years ago I was lucky enough to see one of their top gout specialists because his wife was my GP-equivalent. He said that considering how long gout has been around, we really don’t know as much about it as we should. The general ‘food rules’ for gout are pretty sound but it seems some folk are more sensitive to some potentially gout-inducing foods than others. For instance, I am especially sensitive to caffeine in coffee – two cups in a day and I can feel my toe begin to throb by the evening. Shellfish is another issue for me, so I avoid having prawns for lunch and crab for dinner! But the kiwi fruit that seems to hamper your OH has no effect on me.

    – Is it really gout? Sounds almost silly to ask, doesn’t it? But another thing my US doc and my UK doc agreed on was that there are a few other things that present like gout. For example, there’s a condition called ‘pseudo gout’ which is about iron deposits in the joints (so a v similar effect). Even blood tests can be misleading. The only way to be absolutely certain is to take a sample of fluid from the joint during an attack.

    All the very best to you and to your husband.

    Rob

  • posted by Cara54
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    I’ve just read all the posts and they are really interesting. I’ve never been diagnosed with depression but I can definitely relate to the apathy and can’t be botheredness (probably not a real word but I use it a lot!!) I’ve read the link to the Ketovangelist blog and I’m going to follow that advice as much as I can. Thanks LindaA for sharing.

    Thanks to all of you who have shared your inspirational stories and best of luck for the future.

  • posted by Ancient Weaver
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    SkinnyLiz, did your (his) protein consumption go up by starting this diet?
    I have to get going now, but will post more later.
    Google ‘protein deficiency’.

  • posted by SBA
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    The fast800 is making me feel as though I am on antidepressants. That’s not an exaggeration; it’s real. I’ve been depressed since becoming (happily & deliberately) pregnant with my first child who is now 18. I’m 8 weeks in and for the past 5 weeks I have, strangely, almost forgotten what I felt like when I was depressed. I recognise my old self again and my energy levels are markedly up. This is a stunning and unexpected benefit and I am addicted to the feeling.

  • posted by SkinnyLiz
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    Really pleased for you. I hope you continue to benefit but don’t feel a failure if you have relapses. Several years on, for us, the stituation is better so medication rarely needed but it’s still an underlying issue which we have to take seriously

    Over the last few years it has become apparent from published research that depression and autoimmune conditions are inextricably linked with gut bateria
    Skinny Liz

  • posted by SkinnyLiz
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    I don’t think protein consumption increased but carb consumption definitely decreased

  • posted by SkinnyLiz
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    Definitely gout.
    Determined not to resort to allopurinol but used on those rare occassions when we don’t seem to be able to get the gout under control. Which, interestingly always coincides with a bout of depression. I can now predict it. – if his fingers start getting stiff and painful it’s 36 hours till the selfloathing etc starts (even if there’s no pain). Get the gout under control and the depression is also controlled.

    Skinnyliz

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