There are many causes of depression. Diet is one of them. Dr. Daniel Perlmutter wrote, Grain Brain. He discusses the role of wheat, sugar, and carbohydrates in depression and other mental health issues. Dr. William Davis wrote, Wheat Belly. He attributes wheat to being one of the causes of depression. Both doctors have significant success with their patients by eliminating wheat/sugar from their diets.
Trauma can cause depression. A close friend or relative dies unexpectedly. This loss becomes a mental train wreck for some. Stress induced problems must be dealt with differently than dietary ones. I advocate treating causes not symptoms. However, most doctors only treat symptoms.
I also advocate balanced nutrition for good health. If you are deficient in a critical nutrient day after day, your health can begin to decline. I developed osteopenia because of dietary choices. I thought that weight bearing exercises and running would allow me to enter my prime with strong bones.
I found out differently. The foods I chose to eat left my body in a process called acidosis. Calcium was leached from my bones to keep my blood pH in the normal range. This happened over years. Now I live in an alkaline environment by choosing the right foods.
A simple deficiency in B vitamins can lead to your body producing homocysteine, a non-protein amino acid. High homocysteine levels can lead to depression, cardiac problems and more. Homocysteine is produced in the body by the breakdown of the amino acid, methionine. We get methionine from many sources in our normal diet.
Vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folate are required to prevent the creation of homocysteine. Vitamin B12 is found in shellfish, liver, crab, red meat, low-fat dairy, cheese, and eggs. Vegans avoid these sources and must supplement. Vitamin B6 is found in fish, beef liver, organ meats, potatoes and non-citrus fruits. Folates are found in dark leafy green vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruits, beans, peas, etc.
A word of caution. Many supplements contain folic acid. It is a synthetic version of folic acid. The real difference is that folates begin the absorptive process in our bodies in the mucosa of our small intestine. Folic acid is initially processed in the liver and requires a specific enzyme to convert it for processing in our intestine.
The efficiency of this process is very low. There is a risk of low levels of the enzyme, dihydrofolate reductase,
and high levels of folic acid that can leave your body with high levels of unmetabolized folic acid. Not what you want. If you want an acceptable folate supplement, look for 5-MTHF, not folic acid.
Please note that additional information on this topic can be found in the August 2016 edition of Life Extension Magazine or lef.org.