Starving cause depression? Need info 
Author Message
 Starving cause depression? Need info

Does anyone know where I can get information about how starving messes
up the brain's serotonin system? It seems like all the pieces are there
to show that starving maintains depression, but searching Medline I
can't find any
research on this subject.

It's widely believed that serotonin is involved in causing depression.
It also seems clear that the precursor of Serotonin is Tryptophan, so if
we don't eat enough Tryptophan, we don't manufacture enough serotonin.

If heavy dieters/starvers are not getting enough tryptophan, there's not

enough of the precursor available, and so the supply of serotonin is
reduced. That logically ought to result in a dysregulated brain/mood
system.

So heavy dieting/starving robs the brain of serotonin, probably causes
depression, and makes it even harder for the starver to feel good enough
to eat more.

It seems like a cruel system in which starving leads to depression which
in some people maintains the starving.

Has anyone seen a book or web link, or know of a researcher who may be
looking into this circular link?

Thanks,



Tue, 27 Feb 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 Starving cause depression? Need info

Quote:
>Does anyone know where I can get information about how starving messes
>up the brain's serotonin system? It seems like all the pieces are there
>to show that starving maintains depression, but searching Medline

Look, I think it is a little more complicated than you are making it out to be.
 Starving causes multiple hormonal changes which can cause depression.  One of
them is low T3 thyroid levels (which happens during a starvation response, to
conserve energy).  I have been told that if T3 levels are low, or any
hypothyroidism is present, the SSRIs will not work.  But, like I said, all
kinds of different hormones are involved.  BL


Wed, 28 Feb 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 Starving cause depression? Need info
I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I think this is simple. I am very
interested in ALL the possible linkages between malnutrition and depression.  I'll
have to add Thyroid dysfuncton to my already substantial list of complications that
could result from restricted diet/semi-starvation.

The one linkage that strikes me as being very powerful is the tryptophan/serotonin
connection. In the 80's when Tryptophan could be obtained from health cooking.net">food stores,
it was widely regarded as a valuable nutritional supplement, the idea being that
the more  Tryptophan is available in the diet (and crosses the {*filter*}-brain
barrier), the better would be the brain's chance of effectively regulating
Serotonin. To me, that implies the opposing possibility that too little Tryptophan
in the diet could challenge the brain's ability to effectively regulate Serotonin.

Since there is a clear and straightforward knowledge that Tryptophan is a precursor
of Serotonin, and since there is such a wide spread interest in the connection
between Serotonin and mood regulation, I would think there would be more scientific
dialog about the relationship between starvation/dieting and depression.

Jerry Waxler

Quote:

> >Does anyone know where I can get information about how starving messes
> >up the brain's serotonin system? It seems like all the pieces are there
> >to show that starving maintains depression, but searching Medline

> Look, I think it is a little more complicated than you are making it out to be.
>  Starving causes multiple hormonal changes which can cause depression.  One of
> them is low T3 thyroid levels (which happens during a starvation response, to
> conserve energy).  I have been told that if T3 levels are low, or any
> hypothyroidism is present, the SSRIs will not work.  But, like I said, all
> kinds of different hormones are involved.  BL



Thu, 01 Mar 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 Starving cause depression? Need info

Quote:

> I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I think this is simple. I am very
> interested in ALL the possible linkages between malnutrition and depression.  I'll
> have to add Thyroid dysfuncton to my already substantial list of complications that
> could result from restricted diet/semi-starvation.

> The one linkage that strikes me as being very powerful is the tryptophan/serotonin
> connection. In the 80's when Tryptophan could be obtained from health cooking.net">food stores,
> it was widely regarded as a valuable nutritional supplement, the idea being that
> the more  Tryptophan is available in the diet (and crosses the {*filter*}-brain
> barrier), the better would be the brain's chance of effectively regulating
> Serotonin. To me, that implies the opposing possibility that too little Tryptophan
> in the diet could challenge the brain's ability to effectively regulate Serotonin.

> Since there is a clear and straightforward knowledge that Tryptophan is a precursor
> of Serotonin, and since there is such a wide spread interest in the connection
> between Serotonin and mood regulation, I would think there would be more scientific
> dialog about the relationship between starvation/dieting and depression.

Could you tell us please, what exactly is the purpose of your analysis?
What are you driving at and trying to prove?

Certainly, any cooking.net">food restriction which causes a lack of sufficient
quantity of any essential nutrient will cause problems related to the
need for that nutrient by the body. This is simply a truism! Whether
those who are starving or anorectic, etc. will be depressed by the
mechanism which you suggest will depend upon whether their diet includes
sufficient tryptophan or not. Clearly, not all starvation diets will be
deficient in tryptophan (of course there may be many other
non-tryptophan causes of depression too).

Those people who are on a calorie restricted diet for the purpose of
life extension, are extremely careful to make sure that they still
receive adequate amounts of all essential nutrients. Many of them call
the diet CRAN (calorie restriction with adequate nutrition) for that
very reason.

--Tom
Tom Matthews

The LIFE EXTENSION FOUNDATION - http://www.***.com/ - 800-544-4440
A non-profit membership organization dedicated to the extension
of the healthy human lifespan through ground breaking research,
innovative ideas and practical methods.
LIFE EXTENSION MAGAZINE - The ultimate source for new
health and medical findings from around the world.



Thu, 01 Mar 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 Starving cause depression? Need info
Hi Tom,

Thanks for your response. I am doing a graduate research paper for a Master's program in
counseling psychology. The topic I've chosen is the relationship between restricted diet
and depression. My interest is in the many people who focus little conscious attention on
getting the proper nutrients. Much has been written about the body-image dieters who
cyclically put themselves into semi-starvation. This class of people, in my experience
and reading, has an angry, negative relationship with food, and tend to see it as " the
enemy" and therefore don't spend much time trying to research and analyze what cooking.net">food will
provide the most nourishing calories required to sustain life.

While these constant dieters have been widely commented on a written about, I would like
very much to find scientifically published studies regarding the effect of their diets on
their mood.

My hypothesis is that by depriving themselves of nutrients they are affecting their
brain's ability to regulate mood. Many nutrients may be involved. Some dieters are very
low fat, and possibly are providing insufficient Essential Fatty Acids. Others are
extremely low in protein, and other diets may be insufficient in particular nutrients
such as tryptophan. With the current antagonism against salt, some people who don't take
a multi-vitamin or eat fish may be getting inadequate iodine. You suggest that it is a
"truism" that diet effects mood. And it may be obvious on its face, to you.

But the counseling movement, the psychology and psychiatry fields, and even the
disordered eating literature doesn't say much about this truism. I'd like to bring across
these known facts from the study of nutrition into the counseling world, and try to state
a clear scientific case, hopefully backed up by research, that points counselors to
consider  inadequate diet as part of their treatment for depression.

Physicians and psychiatrists prescribe anti-depressants, but few coach, counsel or even
investigate details of a person's diet. I think if a very thin woman came into my office
depressed, I'd be curious to know if there was a relationship between the cooking.net">food she was
eating and her mood. But without scientific research, I would be guilty of speculating,
and would be stepping into territory that I couldn't back up with facts.

That's why I'd like to know if there are any good scientific studies that show the
relationship between dietary restiction of nutrients and mood dysregulation.

Sincerely,
Jerry Waxler



Fri, 02 Mar 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 Starving cause depression? Need info

Quote:

> Hi Tom,

> Thanks for your response. I am doing a graduate research paper for a Master's program in
> counseling psychology. The topic I've chosen is the relationship between restricted diet
> and depression. My interest is in the many people who focus little conscious attention on
> getting the proper nutrients. Much has been written about the body-image dieters who
> cyclically put themselves into semi-starvation. This class of people, in my experience
> and reading, has an angry, negative relationship with food, and tend to see it as " the
> enemy" and therefore don't spend much time trying to research and analyze what cooking.net">food will
> provide the most nourishing calories required to sustain life.

[sniped rest of description]

This sounds like a very worthwhile thesis. I don't know about research
papers, but there should be plenty of books that relate, everything from
"Sugar Blues" to "Eat Smart, Think Smart".

Good luck and send me a copy.

--Tom
Tom Matthews

The LIFE EXTENSION FOUNDATION - http://www.lef.org - 800-544-4440
A non-profit membership organization dedicated to the extension
of the healthy human lifespan through ground breaking research,
innovative ideas and practical methods.
LIFE EXTENSION MAGAZINE - The ultimate source for new
health and medical findings from around the world.



Fri, 02 Mar 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 Starving cause depression? Need info
WHAT YOU fail to recognize is that if a person has an abusive relationship with
cooking.net">food it is because often they are depressed. you are looking for the chicken or
the egg.

shell



Sat, 03 Mar 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 Starving cause depression? Need info

Quote:

>But the counseling movement, the psychology and psychiatry fields, and even the
>disordered eating literature doesn't say much about this truism. I'd like to bring across
>these known facts from the study of nutrition into the counseling world, and try to state
>a clear scientific case, hopefully backed up by research, that points counselors to
>consider  inadequate diet as part of their treatment for depression.

This is a good idea, and I'd like to see more research that
links inadequate diet to other types of disorders, as well.
It seems to me that our modern medical establishment is
very quick to prescribe {*filter*} for whatever ails ya, without
bothering to check whether what ails ya is a product of,
say, an inadequate diet.  My girlfriend is on medication
for her {*filter*} pressure.  Her doctor never even asked her
about her diet, since, as we have seen in another thread,
MDs know very little about nutrition.  It was just, "Oh,
high {*filter*} pressure?  Here, take these pills."  However, once
we changed her diet to be more friendly to her body's hormonal
systems (i.e. a Zone diet), the {*filter*} pressure went right
down.  The doc still isn't convinced, so she's still on
minimal {*filter*} pressure medication, even though she's
reading about 130/70 now (same as me, and no doc has ever
told *me* I need BP medication).

I know that there is a growing movement towards holistic
medicine, which is great; but I am concerned about the
continuing schism between this movement and the established
medical profession.  I suspect that each has something to
learn from the other.

Steve



Sat, 03 Mar 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 Starving cause depression? Need info
Hi Shell,

Quote:
>>> WHAT YOU fail to recognize is that if a person has an abusive relationship
>>> with cooking.net">food it is because often they are depressed. you are looking for the
>>> chicken or the egg.

Yes, I don't mean to make it sound like an easy problem.

In my image, instead of an "either-or" chicken and egg, I am visualizing it as a
"vicious circle" - jump into the circle anywhere - it goes from abusive
relationship to food, to restrictive diet, to semi-starvation. After
semi-starvation the body reacts physiologically and psychologically, increasing
craving and reducing the brain chemicals that help regulate mood. This hypercharges
the energy of hunger and need. With all this energy, even desperation surrounding
food, the person is that much more sensitized to see cooking.net">food as the enemy, and clamp
down the restrictions, trying to control the craving etc.

I agree that possibly one of the strongest drivers of the circle is seeing cooking.net">food
with negatively charged emotion. But even if you help a person become less self
destructive, through nurturing, counseling, support, they might still be habituated
into a diet that is setting up their brain chemistry in a negative way. The more
awareness one has about how to not only nurture but nourish, the more likely one
will be able to break the vicious circle.

Jerry



Sun, 04 Mar 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 Starving cause depression? Need info
   I read in "Listening to Prozac" that there was an Army study in the 50's or
60's where recruits were deprived of tryptophan. Their diet was sound in all
other regards. These can-do fighting machines became seriously
clinically depressed.

sr



Wed, 07 Mar 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 
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