On the blog this week I asked one of my fantastic colleagues at Pure, Alton to guest blog for me. Here, Claire Sendall, a nutritionist specialising in Gut & Thyroid health talks about the link between Anxiety & Depression and Nutrition.
Anxiety & Depression
In my practice as a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist I find it a rarity when someone does not tick the stress/anxiety box on their intake questionnaire; it is pervasive. I am all about finding the route cause of illness and disease, but this is usually only one of their many symptoms. I find that when support is given with anxiety and depression through food, supplementation, lifestyle changes and counselling, the relief promotes motivation and hope. Feeling more positive is a better to place to start when someone is trying to heal from other health conditions.
In my travels in the complementary field of health I came across Dr Dietrich Klinghart who lead me to the condition known as Pyroluria – it is a biochemical cause of anxiety which is both a controversial and understudied condition which has significant implications in the treatment of anxiety. First discovered in the 1950s by Dr. Abram Hoffer, pyroluria is a genetic condition of altered haemoglobin breakdown, resulting in a depletion of vitamin B6. Without adequate B6, the body is not able to convert tryptophan to serotonin. In the absence of adequate serotonin levels, many different psychiatric disorders, like anxiety and depression can develop.
A normal by-product from the breakdown of haemoglobin, kryptopyrroles are found in elevated amounts in individuals with this genetic abnormality. As the pyrroles are being excreted from the body, they bind 2 important nutrients, vitamin B6 and zinc. The elevated levels of kryptopyrroles create a higher demand for B6 and zinc and subsequently may cause a relative deficiency. This relative deficiency results in a myriad of different symptoms that wax and wane over the years, depending on someone’s level of stress. Decompensated pyroluria is marked by symptoms of inner tension, nervous exhaustion and fearfulness.
Vitamin B6 is necessary for the conversion of tryptophan to the neurotransmitter serotonin, and plays important roles in proper protein and carbohydrate metabolism and a healthy immune system. Zinc regulates insulin activity, acts as a powerful antioxidant, plays a central role in immune function and regulates gene expression.
Pyroluria can be tested, but in most cases I start my clients with zinc, vitamin B6 or P5P and evening primrose oil, plus a good multi-vitamin (with manganese and no copper) and a multi-mineral and sometimes additional magnesium.
This doesn’t address the route cause but making dietary and lifestyle changes requires commitment and motivation, and most often these changes when implemented mean that the serotonin in the gut is improved and the client can take back control of their life and health
Hi! I'm Amber.