Depression-Free, Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue, and Anger from Your Life by Joan Mathews Larson

Depression-Free, Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue, and Anger from Your…

byJoan Mathews Larson

Paperback | January 2, 2001

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In this groundbreaking book, nutritionist Joan Mathews Larson, Ph.D., founder of Minnesota's esteemed Health Recovery Center, offers her revolutionary formulas for healing your emotions--biochemically. Through proven all-natural formulas, Seven Weeks to Emotional Healing will help you find the emotional well-being you've been missing your entire life. Inside you'll discover how to

- Screen yourself for emotional and behavioral symptoms
- Recognize the mental and physical clues that indicate biochemical imbalances
- Heal your depression and anxiety with the right vitamins and minerals
- Stabilize your mood swings and protect your well-being with essential fatty acids
- Choose the right foods for optimal mental fitness
- Rejuvenate your body with key natural hormones

Safe, fast, more long-lasting and cheaper than prescription drugs or psychotherapy, Seven Weeks to Emotional Healing will help you find balance and well-being.

About The Author

Joan Mathews Larson, Ph.D., is the author of the national bestseller Seven Weeks to Sobriety. She holds a doctorate in nutrition and is the founder and executive director of the highly esteemed Health Recovery Center in Minneapolis. It was the loss of her seventeen-year-old son to suicide that fueled her search for more effective solut...

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Title:Depression-Free, Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue, and Anger from Your…Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.8 inPublished:January 2, 2001Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

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ISBN - 10:0345435176

ISBN - 13:9780345435170

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CHAPTER 1It's Not All in Your MindAs far back as he could remember, Peter had been fearful, but he coveredit up extremely well. Now married, he supported his family adequately butfelt shy and joyless most of the time. He drank beer occasionally tooffset those feelings. Still, he seemed to become more of a loner witheach passing year. Peter never considered himself a candidate to see apsychiatrist. He was simply living out his life of quiet despair until wemet.Meg was an excellent attorney with a very bright mind. Her facade wastake-charge aggressive, and few crossed her. Yet at our first meeting shewas in tears because of her angry, erratic behavior. She had no idea whyshe seemed to exist in a state of such high arousal. . . . This trait washurting those she loved the most. She wanted to mellow out but knew hercareer couldn't afford the fog prescription drugs created.An exceptional designer, musician, and musical director, Eric didn't havethe emotional staying power to ignite his career into high gear. Despitehis brilliance, his heart pounded with anxiety during performances. Hedrank a lot of caffeine and was a heavy smoker. His mood swings left himexhausted when he desperately needed extra energy. Ongoing psychologicalcounseling did not change any of this. . . . Now he was considering takingprescribed drugs to relieve his depression and anxiety. He summed it upthe day we met, telling me, at age forty-two, "Some days my life feelsentirely hopeless."Donna usually felt scattered. Her thinking was foggy, and her problemsconcentrating were affecting her job. Memories of her childhood were of apale, listless little girl who had never felt the world was a friendlyplace. She had had frequent childhood illnesses--earaches, strep throats,and colds. Now as an adult, she still felt fragile. She told me she neededhelp to overcome her muddled thinking and get some joy in her life. Buther number-one priority was finding relief from her fatigue, which madeher tired right down to her bones. For Donna, life was an uphillbattle--and she was slowly losing the war.It is part of the human condition that we keep taking our own inventoryand continually come up short, but it becomes a calamity if the missingpieces prevent us from enjoying a fulfilling, stable life. If, like Peter,Meg, Eric, and Donna, you are saying, "I wish I could feel better, thinkbetter, perform better," it is time to stop wishing and take heart! Thisbook will change your life.Like the case studies just cited, you, too, may be coexisting with anerratic nervous system or brain, and lack the energy, verve, joy, andconfidence that are your birthright. Yet you may be hesitant about seeinga therapist. And, in fact, the idea that a good therapist can solve theseproblems by simply talking to you has been the great bane of the twentiethcentury! Untold millions are filling the coffers of psychologists andcounselors who listen to the tales of misery that such lives produce butaren't able to effect real, positive, lasting changes in their clients.Fortunately, in the last few decades, biochemists and medical doctors havebegun to pinpoint scientific explanations for behavior that used to belabeled "psychological." These researchers have noticed that:* many "psychological" symptoms often cluster in families.* certain physical changes in the brain (and body) can create mayhememotionally.* an internal invasion of yeast parasites may create full-blown mental andphysical illness.* food intolerances strongly affect our emotions.* airborne chemicals can alter our brains.* angry outbursts are predictable from a brain in a chemical state of higharousal all the time.* dozens of biochemical mistakes can result in bleak depression or anxiety.All of these are fixable, if we can identify them!A New DirectionIn 1896, Sigmund Freud predicted that "the future may teach us to exercisea direct influence by means of chemical substances upon the amounts ofenergy and their distribution in the apparatus of the mind." By 1927 hehad become "firmly convinced that one day all these mental disturbances weare trying to understand will be treated by means of hormones or similarsubstances." How right he was! Science now knows it can address such"mental disturbances" biochemically. It is no longer believed that talktherapy and good counseling advice can relieve the agony emanating from achemically disrupted brain.In fact, science has now taken off at a gallop in the direction ofbiochemical repair. One of the leaders in the field is a brilliantCanadian named Abram Hoffer who is both a biochemist and a psychiatrist.In the 1950s, he began to apply pellagra research to psychiatric patients.Earlier, vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency had been established as the causeof pellagra, a disease that causes confusion, disorientation, and memorydisturbance. So here was a classic example of a natural substance thatprevents a psychotic state. In fact, the prolonged absence of niacin inour bodies will ultimately result in death!In 1962, Dr. Hoffer published the first double-blind study in the field ofpsychiatry. He found that, of ninety-eight schizophrenic patientsreceiving megadoses of niacin, the hospital readmission rate was 10percent over three years with no suicides, while the placebo group had a50 percent readmission with four suicides. Also in the 1960s, Dr. Hoffertreated about twenty-five former prisoners of war who had been imprisonedin Japanese concentration camps during World War II. He found that, inorder to be free of the many physical and psychiatric symptoms (i.e.,fears, anxieties, insomnia, depression) they developed during theirinternment, 90 percent of the former prisoners had developed a permanentneed for large doses of niacin.The Canadian Department of Health and Welfare also conducted a study todetermine if the general chronic illnesses seen in the men held inJapanese POW camps, who underwent starvation and excessive stress, werepresent in their brothers who had served in Europe. The differences wereremarkable! The men incarcerated by the Japanese suffered from seriousongoing psychiatric and neurological diseases throughout life, as well asheart disease, premature blindness, arthritis, and a high death rate. Noneof these symptoms was present in their brothers. Clearly, the starvationand stress endured in the Japanese camps had created chronic illness.Fortunately, Dr. Hoffer was able to treat some of these men, extendingtheir lives and saving their sanity with niacin (B3).How Nutrient Deprivation Cripples Us EmotionallyYou may not see a connection between starving prisoners and our own poorlyfunctioning health, but as you read on you will begin to understand howphysical deprivation can trigger uncontrollable emotional behavior, allthe way to madness. I expect many of you are protesting that you are notstarving, by any means! But because of your unique, individual biochemicalrequirements or because of some glitches in how you absorb nutrients, orthe fact that you live on junk food and colas, your brain may never getenough of what it needs. Then you are in the same boat as the young men Iam about to describe:During World War II, scientists in the United States also pondered theeffects of starvation on captured GIs living in Japanese POW camps. Toprovide some answers, a six-month study was launched at the University ofMinnesota using healthy young male conscientious objectors. This studyproduced incredible results (although, of course, this kind of study wouldnot be conducted today).The young men were deprived of more than half their normal food intake.Over the course of six months, many suffered severe physical andpsychiatric changes, and most of these disturbances lingered long afterthe experiment had ended.In the beginning, the men showed a high degree of tolerance andsociability with each other. But gradually they began to avoid groupactivities. There were frequent outbursts of anger and irritability, andmany grew deeply depressed. Some finally required hospitalization in apsychiatric ward. One chopped off three of his fingers in response tostress; another became uncontrollably violent. Many expressed the fearthat they were going crazy; others talked of suicide. They all cried a lotand displayed wild emotional disturbances. Because they felt increasinglysocially inadequate, they now preferred to isolate themselves.Concentration and ability to comprehend became severely impaired eventhough IQ tests showed no drop in their intellectual abilities.After the study ended, the emotional symptoms continued. In fact,researchers noted that some of the men grew even more negative, depressed,and argumentative, directly after the conclusion of the project!What both the U.S. and Canadian studies show is that "emotional" symptomsdevelop as a direct result of the unavailability of brain and bodychemicals. These important chemicals create our stable emotions,behaviors, thoughts, and sanity.Of course, back in the mid-twentieth century, scientists were onlybeginning to discover the many natural vitamins, minerals, amino acids,essential fatty acids, enzymes, endorphins, and neurotransmitters neededfor sanity and well-being. Even today, many people do not seem to graspthe concept that our emotional and physical health depends on having theproper concentration of the natural substances the human body needs tosustain life and normal emotional balance.In fact, until only the last few decades, little was known about how brainchemicals influence emotions. Only a few scientists were dedicated toresolving chemically induced "emotional" problems by restoring adequatelevels of the needed natural chemicals.The growing awareness that natural substances are needed to create optimumbrain functioning should have aroused tremendous interest in thescientific community. Unfortunately, the concurrent worldwide developmentof the drug industry, with its promise of far more lucrative rewards, leadresearchers in another direction. Drug companies give universityscientists generous grants to invent new, artificial, patentablechemicals. There is no profit for them in developing promisingnonpatentable natural brain/body chemicals. And many of these artificialdrugs have toxic side effects, because our bodies regard them as foreigninvaders. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association,prescribed drugs cause 140,000 deaths yearly, yet no drug has ever beenable to totally duplicate the role of natural body chemicals.By pursuing these "patentable" avenues, the pharmaceutical industry todaycomprises some of the most powerful and profitable businesses worldwide!Mind and Body--IntertwinedLuckily, in every generation there are a few truly dedicated geniuses whocare more for science and humanity than for building their fortunes. LinusPauling will be remembered as one such giant. He had already won two NobelPrizes (in 1954 for chemistry, in 1962 for peace) when, in his sixties, hebegan studying mental disorders, focusing on underlying biochemicaldysfunctions. This new interest grew out of his compassion for humankind:I like human beings. I like to think about the possibilities of decreasingthe amount of their suffering. When I remember that 10 percent of theAmerican people spend some part of their lives in a mental hospital andthat half of all hospital beds in this country are occupied by mentalpatients, I do believe that it will be possible to get an understanding ofthe molecular and genetic basis of mental disease [and] therapeuticmethods that will lead to the effective control of a very large part ofmental disease.Dr. Pauling's interest in disturbed mental function focused on physiology,not psychotherapy. He was the first to call mental disorders "moleculardiseases," the result of a biochemical abnormality in the body. And hesaid, "The mind is a manifestation of the structure of the brain itself."His involvement in brain research led him to coin his famous definition oforthomolecular therapy: "Orthomolecular psychiatric therapy is thetreatment of mental disease by the provision of the optimum molecularenvironment for the mind, especially the optimum concentrations ofsubstances normally present in the human body."With that statement, Dr. Pauling gave a scientific identity to the role ofnutrition in psychiatry. He challenged doctors to become aware of theoverwhelming amount of information that was pouring in from all over theworld, documenting the vital role natural chemicals play in brain functionand other medical disorders. This book is based on those principles.I bet you think Pauling's advice to medical doctors is obvious. Yet arecent study showed that while 74 percent of first-year medical studentsbelieved that a knowledge of nutrition is important to their career, bytheir third year of learning how to match drugs to symptoms, the numberdrops to 13 percent!What Pauling is telling us is that the human mind cannot operate in avacuum because it is totally dependent on the brain and its molecularfunction to create your emotional health. In the world of science, wheretwo plus two always makes four, a sane and stable mind is possible onlywith an organically healthy brain.Balanced Brain Chemicals 5 Emotional and Mental HealthThe reward of getting the right chemicals into the brain at "optimumconcentrations" is a joy to witness. Last year a friend complained to methat his three-year-old autistic son, Seth, refused to welcome him when hecame home each evening. Instead, Seth sat there self-involved, shuttingout the world. A therapist visited them twice weekly, but progress waspoor.I encouraged him to start Seth on B6 and magnesium, both of which havebeen shown to work well for autistic children. Within two weeks I receivedan excited call: Seth was waking up to the world around him and startingto interact much more with his folks. Then, weeks later, his familystopped giving him the supplements, thinking perhaps the therapist wasresponsible for the breakthrough. It took very little time before Seth'sautistic behavior reappeared. His parents ran for his nutrients.For this child, B6, which prevents the loss of dopamine from the brain, iscritical, as is the magnesium. This is true for most autistic children.(It is speculated that the high upsurge of autism may be related to amodern medical practice; see Chapter 8.)A number of years ago, a group of neuroscientists meeting at a JohnsHopkins symposium released a joint statement that I love: "Workings of themind become scrambled when brain chemistry goes awry." They noted thatspecifically affected are:* thoughts* feelings* self-awareness* perception* memoryHow can we hope to act and feel normal if our "mental" balance is askew?Another genius, the late Roger Williams, Ph.D., a University of Texasbiochemist, discovered that actual optimal levels of natural brainchemicals can differ widely from person to person. This was an astonishingidea--that any two persons' requirements of these molecular chemicals mightbe vastly different, and so, on the same recommended daily allowance(RDA), one person stays healthy while the other limps through life neverfeeling normal!The Safety of Our Natural Chemicals--and the Healing Power of Our BodiesDr. Pauling devoted much time to determining ideal doses of vitamins andother natural chemicals in the body. He concluded that there was greatmisrepresentation by some medical and scientific journals and by the mediaabout the toxicity and harmful side effects of nutrients taken in greaterquantities than the RDA. He called it "a bias based upon a lack ofknowledge." An example he cited was about a toddler who swallowed theentire contents of a bottle of vitamin A and began to feel nauseous andheadachy. The toddler was treated and then released from the localhospital. Newspapers across the country carried the headline poisoning byvitamin a. Yet every day children die from aspirin poisoning--and thesedeaths go unreported.Natural substances that belong in our bodies have remarkably low toxicity,especially when compared to drugs, which, in general, are highly toxic andsometimes prescribed in doses close to lethal levels. For example, aregistered nurse in her forties came to my office recently to discuss herfear that she was becoming disabled from prescribed drugs. Between herphysician and her psychiatrist, she was taking nine different drugs. Someof them were addictive; others were combining to create an unsafe level oftoxicity. I couldn't believe it when she told me that her doctors weretreating the side effects of her prescriptions with more drugs!Furthermore, I was horrified that even a registered nurse had unwittinglyfound herself on a regimen where she ingested enough toxic substancesdaily to systematically worsen her health!Fortunately, there was another way to treat this woman's health problems,and it involved giving her body the nutritional means to heal itself.That's a very important concept: Our bodies are supposed to healthemselves. When we get an infection, the body is supposed to cure it.When we are injured, the body is supposed to heal. It does thisinnumerable times each day of our lives.Dr. Albert Schweitzer put it eloquently: "We doctors don't do anythingexcept help the doctor within." Our bodies are hardwired to beself-healing, but to do so they must be given the optimum naturalsubstances needed. And compared to drugs, these natural chemicals arequite safe. So, you may wonder, why did the U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services set the RDA levels so unrealistically low? Dr. LinusPauling also asked that question, and answered it himself. After studyingthe RDA standards thoroughly, this famous Nobel Prize winner concludedthat the RDA's daily nutrient allowances are "enough to keep people barelyalive in ordinary poor health."Repairing Biochemical Error andReaching Organic EquilibriumOnce in a great while, a researcher with a doctorate in chemistry decidesto become a medical doctor as well--a lucky break for mankind! CarlPfeiffer, Ph.D., M.D., was such a scientist. In the sixties, Dr. Pfeifferdiscovered that blood histamine levels were elevated in the lab tests ofobsessive-compulsive individuals. As these patients improved, theirhistamine levels dropped and their depression lifted. In patients withvery low levels of brain histamine, Pfeiffer found that they were likelyto be paranoid and have hallucinations. Thus, individuals with either highor low levels of histamine showed some degree of thought disorder andoverarousal. True to his chemistry background, Pfeiffer then began thesearch to determine which natural substances could make or block histaminein the brain. (Chapter 7 applies his valuable discoveries to your ownneeds.)So, thirty years later, are psychiatrists systematically testing thehistamine levels of their patients? Not yet! (You will see the array ofabnormal histamine symptoms when you do the written screening tests forlow/high histamine levels on page 219. You'll also learn what lab tests totake to confirm what you suspect, and last, how to repair this biochemicalerror.)It makes much more sense to restore the natural levels of biochemicals, tore-create optimum balance. This organic equilibrium is called homeostasis.From that state you have the best shot at reaching your potential in life!And this is what we will try to achieve in Seven Weeks to EmotionalHealing. The role of drugs in your emotional health should be short-term--abridge until proper natural balance has been achieved.In the seventies, Carl Pfeiffer confirmed the presence of what he calledthe "mauve factor." Sometimes the urine of normal individuals under stressor individuals suffering from mental illness changes to a mauve colorafter lab tests. He named this kind of anxiety disorder "pyroluria." Acluster of psychological and physical symptoms are identifiable in thesepeople, not the least of which is a high level of inner tension andanxiety that steadily worsens with age. Pyroluria appears genetic, as itseems to run in families. Here is a description of an extremely pyroluricclient:Ted brought his mother with him to our appointment. His shyness was almostpainful to behold as he let her answer my questions. This man was acomputer whiz and a gifted writer. Still unmarried in his mid-fifties, hehad never had a sexual experience because he was just too fearful to datewomen. He had worked at the same job all his life and kept a low profile.He still lived at home.Ted had been separated from his family as a toddler, and blamed hisdeep-seated fears on that circumstance. But my thoughts went immediatelyto pyroluria. Judging by Ted's pale complexion and his answers to a listof symptoms, I was sure of it. He seemed so miserable that it was hard notto blurt out right then and there that there was probably a biochemicalanswer to his anxiousness.Two weeks later his lab results confirmed my suspicions. (You'll find outmore about pyroluria and how to treat it in Chapter 5.)If doctors looked for such biochemical mistakes before writingprescriptions for benzodiazepine tranquilizers, treatment centers acrossthis nation would not be full of miserable patients powerfully addicted toLibrium, Ativan, Valium, and Xanax and struggling to endure the painfuland long-lasting symptoms of withdrawal.The Fats Our Brains Depend OnIn the 1970s, another door opened to our understanding of the substancesthat are vital to our sanity and health: prostaglandins, which are made inthe brain from omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids (EFAs) and whichregulate the neurocircuits throughout the brain and body.According to researcher David Horrobin, M.D., "the level of prostaglandinE1 (PGE1) is of crucial importance to the body. A fall in the level ofPGE1 will lead to a potentially catastrophic series of untowardconsequences including increased vascular reactivity, elevated cholesterolproduction, diabeticlike changes in insulin release, enhanced risk ofauto-immune disease, enhanced risk of inflammatory disorders, andsusceptibility to depression." At Health Recovery Center, we haveconsistently seen suicidal depression completely lift in only one week bynormalizing PGE1 levels in the brain! (I'll explain how in Chapter 6.)Hyperactive children have long been involved in studies with the EFAs.Richard Passwater, Ph.D., describes one such study by Dr. Horrobin, at theInstitute for Innovative Medicine in Montreal:About 20 children were treated with substantial benefit in abouttwo-thirds of them. Some responses were dramatic! In one case a boy whohad been threatened with expulsion from school because of his impossiblebehavior was put on primrose oil (gamma-linolenic acid) without theknowledge of the school authorities. After two weeks on GLA, the teacher,who was unaware of the treatment, contacted the parents and said that inthirty years' experience she had never seen such a dramatic and abruptchange for the better in a child's behavior [emphasis added]. Somechildren do equally well no matter whether the oil is given by mouth or byrubbing into the skin. In others, there is the distinct impression thatskin absorption, which will bypass malabsorption problems, may have abetter effect.In the last decade, we have seen an avalanche of exciting studies onessential fatty acids. During that time I heard molecular biologist DonaldRudin, M.D., present his research at a Huxley Institute training sessionin New York City. He spoke passionately about the connection betweenomega-3 fatty acid deficiency and mental illness. omega 3 is vital becauseit provides the base from which the powerful prostaglandin hormones arecreated. These hormones regulate every neurocircuit throughout the entirebrain and body.Rudin particularly urged using omega-3 fatty acid in the form of linseedoil to treat schizophrenia. Immediately he had my attention, as I was thenattempting to stabilize a middle-aged man who was an alcoholicschizophrenic.Carl had been referred to our clinic by our county's chemical and mentalhealth unit, and was busy terrorizing my staff to the point where we wereready to part company with him. As soon as I returned from the New Yorkconference I began giving him large doses of omega-3 fatty acid in theform of linseed oil (as per Rudin), along with megadoses of certain othernutrients.What emerged was a soft-spoken, brilliant minister, who told me that, as ayoung man, his bishop had chosen him to study advanced theology inSwitzerland because of his exceptional gifts. I could not believe thepersonality change! At this point in time he lived on welfare, but said hewas going to approach his bishop to ask for support to reenter his chosenprofession.To make a long story short, the bishop knew Carl had had schizophrenia formany years, and turned him away. With his spirit crushed, and having nomoney or support, Carl stopped taking the omega-3 fatty acid replacementtherapy. A year later he had regressed into his schizophrenic world.Since that time we at the Health Recovery Center have pondered on much ofthe omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids research, and we have applied itto those clients who showed marked deficiencies. The results have beenrewarding, as you will see.The Role of Amino Acidsin Our Well-beingThe eighties brought another explosion of exciting nutrient knowledge.Thanks to researchers like Eric Braverman, M.D., and Richard Wurtman,M.D., amino acids emerged as powerful tools for psychiatry because theyconvert to, or are our, brain neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitterscreate the chemical language of the brain, enabling it to function, tohave memory, emotions, thoughts, feel-ings. They stimulate the mind,control depression, produce sleep, and create energy, excitement, and allmanner of human responses.I know this must seem somewhat complex, but it's important to take in thefull meaning of that statement. These natural brain substances arecreating sanity and well-being. And now, in many cases, the levels ofthese substances in our bodies can be measured by lab tests andsupplemented as needed.The impact of amino acid research on psychiatry should be monumental. Butonce again they have the misfortune of being created by Nature, not man;drug companies cannot patent and sell them at exorbitant prices. So thereis little monetary reward for researchers who pursue the secrets of aminoacids.NATURAL SUBSTANCES VS. DRUGS:POLITICS FOR PROFIT?The emphasis today seems to be on creating artificial drugs that mimicamino acids. For people who are depressed because of too little serotonin,the rush to artificially duplicate the work of the amino acid tryptophan,which converts into serotonin, has resulted in many SSRI-type* drugs thatfail to increase serotonin but do play with it in the brain. What the SSRIdrugs do is hot-wire the serotonin's neurotransmitter firing mechanism toartificially speed up the pumping of serotonin into the brain. Inaddition, they block serotonin from being reabsorbed back into theneurotransmitters, as it was designed to do. This results in serotoninaccumulating within the brain, artificially creating what humans generallycreate naturally--that is, enough serotonin to avoid depression. The humanbody normally does this by supplying enough of the natural amino acidtryptophan, which then converts to serotonin, fully loading all ourserotonin neurotransmitters. This is nature's design. Unfortunately, it isalmost always true that our firing mechanism works fine, but there is justvery little serotonin to fire in certain brains. (And many SSRI drugscan't increase the amount.) What depletes it? Ongoing stress, genetics,poor nutrition, alcohol, and drugs shortchange our natural supply oftryptophan to serotonin. And studies have correlated the depletion oftryptophan, and the decreased ratio between tryptophan and other aminoacids, with suicide, depression, and even violence.SSRI drugs cannot make serotonin. Nor can they supply serotonin. They canonly play with the brain's uptake mechanisms--even though it is almostalways true that the mechanism that fires serotonin into the brain isundamaged.Taking SSRI drugs can lead to a myriad of unfortunate results, includingsevere agitation, violence, and suicide (such results were made public inhearings conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September1991). To better understand the SSRI drugs and their possible effects, Irecommend Talking Back to Prozac by Peter Breggin, M.D. (St. Martin'sPress, 1994). Dr. Breggin suggests another sinister outcome as a result ofongoing use of these antidepressants: To overcome an SSRI-induced glut ofserotonin, the brain compensates by down-regulating, or shutting down,excess serotonin receptors. Dr. Breggin documents animal studies that showthe numbers of receptors drastically diminished. The most likelyexplanation is that they have died off, but no one really knows if theseserotonin receptor losses are permanent. Drug companies will not* Serotonin-stimulating receptor inhibitors; for example, Paxil, Prozac,and Zoloft.undertake this testing--undoubtedly because a finding of irreversiblereceptor loss could generate a rash of class action lawsuits.The choice American consumers might have had to relieve depression was a$12 bottle of L-tryptophan capsules or a $200-a-monthProzac-type drug. But very shortly before Prozac made its debut, the FDAremoved tryptophan from the U.S. market--because a limited supply oftryptophan had been contaminated by its manufacturer, Showa-Denka. Whilethe rest of the world can still readily buy tryptophan, in the UnitedStates it has remained available only by prescription and is onlydispensed from a few pharmacies in certain cities. The cost has increasedto close to $55 per bottle as of this writing--plus your doctor's visit.*This is an example of politics played for profit. It also sheds light onwhy you may have little awareness of what science really knows about thenatural chemicals creating your emotions. The good news is that we canmeasure our amino acid levels with lab testing--and once we attain a properbalance, we will experience huge improvements in terms of our emotionalcontentment.Discovering the Chemistry of Emotions and BehaviorTo sum up, many dedicated researchers have been burning the midnight oilfor you. You'll get to know their work and apply their findings to yourown problems in the pages ahead. While we all live with a neurosis or two,some are serious enough to interfere with our happiness. In Seven Weeks toEmotional Healing I'll help you to identify the clues that point tochemistry, not personality, as the cause of your emotional woes. Theactual studies and the formulas we have tested at the Health RecoveryCenter are in the chapters ahead. You will soon have the tools you need tohelp yourself back into balance so that you are emotionally content,extremely well-balanced, and full of energy and vigor.* A supposedly "safe" form of tryptophan, 5HTP, is now available over thecounter, but while 5HTP raises the serotonin levels in the body, little isadmitted to the brain unless another drug, carbidopa, accompanies it. (InEurope, 5HTP is used with carbidopa.) And too much serotonin around theheart will do the same damage as we saw with fen-phen (fenfluramine, dietpills), which raised serotonin levels in the body, causing serious heartdamage and death! Warning: Use tryptophan, not 5HTP, to be safe.

Editorial Reviews

"This book is a treasure trove of vital new information. Because my clients have been using similar strategies for many years, I can testify to their immediate and sustaining effectiveness in correcting even the most severe mood problems. And the elegant clarity of its writing and layout make the book a pleasure to read."--JULIA ROSS   Author of The Diet Cure"Larson provides the checklists of symptoms, possible disorders, and corrective formulas along with simple but thorough explanations of how the biochemistry works. She plausibly links biochemical emotional problems with the gradual shift in the American diet over the last sixty years toward sugary, carbohydrate-laden, and processed foods. Anyone who has suffered from mental lapses, mood swings, and stress will find plenty to mull over here."--Publishers Weekly