I recently spoke at the Canadian Mental Health Association on Nutrition and Mental Health. My main focus for the talk was to make clear the key foundational factors necessary for optimal mental health. Too often, people resort to using medications to alter brain chemistry when there are fundamental factors that haven’t been addressed. (This is a common paradigm which I have discussed previously)
I began the talk by discussing some of the research supporting mental health naturally. Many aspects were covered: from IQ in children, to depression, and even violence in prisons. Here is the research I presented:
- IQ scores in children go up ten points when given a multi for eight months. 1 This has been replicated over ten times.
- Dr. Walter Poldinger gave an SSRI (antidepressant such as Prozac) or 5-HTP (nutritional supplement) to depressed patients. 5-HTP outperformed SSRIs on every measure. 2
- Dr. Abram Hoffer treated 5000 schizophrenics with a 90% cure rate. 3
I then went on to discuss the two pillars of mental health and their interrelationship. We went over the importance of addressing both mind and body.
I then went into great detail on the 8 mental health essentials.
1. Balance blood glucose: The nervous system requires a constant and reliable flow of energy. When high-glycemic index foods are consumed, low blood-sugar levels can result causing various mental/emotional symptoms.
2. Essential fats: The brain is 60% fat and made up of the fats you consume. Essential fats are the most important for the health of this system.
3. Phospholipids: Phospholipids make up our cell membranes and are responsible for proper communication between neurons.
4. Amino acids: Neurotransmitters are made from amino acid. An amino acid deficiency (amino acids come from protein) leads to a neurotransmitter deficiency.
5. Intelligent nutrients: Zinc is one such nutrient that is critical for mental health.
6. Move naturally: Exercise is the best antidepressant on the planet!
7. Down shift: We all need to relieve stress. Meditation, yoga, music, socializing, walking, nature, and breathing are all great ways to unwind.
8. Purpose now: Life needs purpose or the mind isn’t fullfilled.
I concluded the talk by reiterating the importance of doing all of the 8 mental health essentials at the same time for maximum benefit.