Sunday, April 30, 2006

How To Save The World: Farms, Drugs and Mental Health

A few years ago my family and I stayed with a doctor that said when he was a med student he volunteered to be tested for effects of LSD. I found this so interesting, and especially because this took place in a rural area in Canada. Since then I have been doing a fair bit of reading about the doctors involved in the LSD research in prairie farmland Canada in the 1950's.I remember hearing that if someone was taking psychedelic drugs and wanted to "come down" or sober up to take mega doses of Niacin (part of vitamin B complex). I did not realize that medical response was discovered in Canada and led to understanding the conditions of some mental illnesses.

When ever I meet someone who suffers from depression, or stress I know right away that they have severe vitamin B deficency. A major contributor to our low level malnutrition isn't because we aren't eating enough, it's what we eat. The thing is, almost no one believes this when you tell them. It is impossible to convince most people that their diets and the lifestyle to create these farm diets may actually be the source of their depression and poor physical energy. One fifth of the average diet is from wheat or farm products. Minimum. And these food products are sadly lacking in high nutrition, often the nutritive value has been synthisized and added after processing (cereals, flour, noodles and bread for example all have synthethic iron and vitamin B added. These synthetic vitamins are not as easily absorbed by our system as natural food supplements and food sources.) Even so-called natural or whole grain bread and noodles still offer very few benefits, in fact they leave us hungry and we over eat to compensate for malnutrition, and then often gain weight. Depression may be from our agricultural lifestyle. Is farming the worst mistake in human history? Jared Diamond (author of Guns, Germs and Steel thinks so...he wrote an article that still is compelling in here...

Excerpt from an interesting website..."Sometime afterward, I tried niacin to see if it would help my own touch of sleeplessness. I found it worked nicely, and it only took a little to do so, perhaps 100 milligrams at most. Any more and I would experience a warm “flush.” But then I found that when I ate junk food or sugar in quantity, I could hold 500 mg or more without flushing a bit. And when I took all that niacin, instead of flipping out, I was calm. In Vitamin B-3 and Schizophrenia, Dr. Hoffer explains why this is so:

1) As a rule, the more ill you are, the more niacin you can hold without flushing. In other words, if you need it, you physiologically soak up a lot of niacin. Where does it all go? Well, a good bit of it goes into making nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD. NAD is just about the most important coenzyme in your body. It is made from niacin, as its name implies.

2) Niacin is also works in your body as an antihistamine. Many persons showing psychotic behavior suffer from cerebral allergies. They need more niacin in order to cope with eating inappropriate foods. They also need to stop eating those inappropriate foods, chief among which are the ones they may crave the most: junk food and sugar.

3) There is a chemical found in quantity in the bodies of schizophrenic persons. It is an indole called adrenochrome. Adrenochrome (which is oxidized adrenalin) has an almost LSD-like effect on the body. That might well explain their behavior. Niacin serves to reduce the body’s production of this toxic material.

How could some of this research apply to learning challenges for children?

Or relieve depressions and stress for adults? Stress, depression and eating habits are also linked to our hormones. Farm foods like bread, wheat, flour, rice, noodles break down very quickly in our stomachs and turns to sugar. These foods turn to sugar much quicker than nutrient rich foods like meat and fiberous vegetables. This warns our hormones that we are in a sugar high and need insulin. So then we are pushing extra insulin into our systems too quickly. Our bodies are being over exposed to hormones. Mood disorders have been associated with several hormone malfunctions including thyroid and diabetic diseases.

Osmond and Hoffer not only worked on LSD but also on niacin, which is now called vitamin B3. It is Bill W. himself who made this term popular, after he realized, thanks to the two researchers, the antipsychotic potential of this vitamin when given in supraphysiologic doses. B3 became known as a treatment for alcoholism, as well as for LSD-induced and schizophrenic psychosis[ Vitamin B-3: Niacin and Its Amide by A. Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.]. The underlying adrenochrome and kryptopyrrole (mauve factor) hypotheses were met with stiff, unsubstantiated opposition. The B3 protocol for alcoholism, despite encouraging results, fell into oblivion amongst the Alcoholics Anonymous organization, which gradually became a faith-based organisation reflecting the orientations of the other AA co-founder.
Beyond his interest in drug- and vitamin-assisted therapeutics, Osmond conducted research into the long-term effects of institutionalization, and began a line of research into what he called "socio-architecture" to improve patient settings, coining the terms "sociofugal" and "sociopedal", starting Robert Sommer's career, and making fundamental contributions to environmental psychology almost by accident.

Dr. Osmond died a couple years ago but I think the work he and Dr Hoffer did still offers us much science to reject the farm lifestyle with poor nutritive products and the stress that adds to malnutrition and then mental illness and a lowered quality of life and happiness. Why are we so obsessed with farming? Why do we even believe it is a wonderful romantic occupation? Why do we insist on eating processed farm products like wheat, bread, flour, noodles, sugar and rice? Are we addicted to depression?

Is there another way to make a living?

Check out the terrific blog called How To Save The World sometime. Dave Pollard has all kinds of resources and cool links, this post is just a namesake for his enthusiasm.


Wandering Coyote said...

Very interesting post, Candy. Long have I been told of hte benefits if B vitamins, but not niacin in particular. I currently get 100mg of niacin through my multi and my B50 complex. Perhaps I should get more.

My cravings for sugar and comfort foods are a symptom of the illness, I don't think a product of. Because I generally have a pretty good diet otherwise. I do have IBS which makes some types of fibre difficult for my to digest, so I don't eat a lot of whole wheat or raw veg because I simply cannot tolerate it (gas, diarreah - very unpleasant and the health benefits aren't worth the pain and discomfort).

While I'm not convinced that taking niacin will cure me, I may take some extra to see if it relieves my symptoms.

Candy Minx said...

What is super important WCoyote is that you have natural source vitamin B complex. And see, you said you don't eat a lot of wheat, babe don't eat wheat. Don't eat any starches. Your body reads it as sugar. No rice. No beans. No noodles. No cookies. I mean, start there, we'll talk about vegies and raw vegies later. Maybe in email.

Anonymous said...

Hi Candy,
I remember reading somewhere, a long time ago, about a trend in Japan to take vitamin B injections to stem many symptoms, including insomnia and I think depression. This trend was quite a few years back, (perhaps the late 50's, early 60's?) so I think the Japanese were still eating alot of their traditional foods, (rather than junk food and/or wheat - I know you lump the two together!). I just thought it was interesting to note that they were doing this even though they were eating what is thought to be a more healthy diet than our western one.
I will try to get you more concrete information on this if you like, rather than my somewhat unreliable memory.
I love to be the devils advocate, its in my nature.

Candy Minx said...

HI that is great. An association with the health of the japanese diet is that they didn't eat hardly any wheat. That is contemproary. Heart disease has grown in Japan because of the populations growing consumption of wheat. I link wheat to junk food because of the way we digest it. Starches like potatoes, rice, wheat, noodles digest quickly in our system. All food turns to sugar for us to digest it...but meant turns to sugar much slower than starches. Is this clear?

Its extrememly rough on any one suffereing from depression or lowblood sugar or small bodies like children to eat so much "starch" .

There may be a moral perception between a slic of bread and a slice of cake...but I suggest that the stomach and hormones do not know the difference. They are digested at similar speed.

Candy Minx said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Candy Minx said...

Oops I had so many spelling mistakes there I had to delete it. Um, I don't know if you had time to read all the links with this post, but did you read that Osmond also participated in a Native American Church which was part of the peyote cult. I just think all of this was so interesting.

I am scrubbing my kitchen floor right now(see above post ha ha) and so a little scattered.

Also, PBS is re-playing Guns Germs and Steel.


Have a friend who was 'addicted to depression' n it was found his diet was causin it. He hung himself before the diagnosis. When he kicked the stool away and swung the ceiling caved in and he fell to the ground full of plaster. Now he eats only 'organic' n could never hang himself as he'd giggle to much at the memory...

Candy Minx said...

Wow, what a story 4Dins, I love it. Its like that old movie "The End" where Burt Reynolds character keeps trying to kill himself, but something always saves him.

But this idea I'm looking into is really also for quality of life and mind for people who aren't even suicidal...but always feeling tire, lackluster, unmotivated. A kind of worldweariness.

But I babble.

Wandering Coyote said...

Ever read Sally Fallon's Nourshing Traditions. I highly recommend it, Candy. A great, controversial book. Unfortunately, The Wasband got custody of it. But look into it; I think you'd get a lot out of it.

rauf said...

Causes of depression are different in different societies. Less in Asian countries as people live in joint families. More than the medication, family support and will to come out of depression is important. As the families are breaking down, depression rate is going up. Same can be said about divorce rate.

rauf said...

A newly married couple lives with 12 other family members. When a child is born the mother is not alone. She has the guidance of many sets of grand mothers uncles and aunties. There are problems here too. But the child grows up with lot of people around and other kids to play with. Joint family culture has already disappeared in the cities of Asia. Lack of space is one big reason.
Newly married couples seek to live separaptely.

Candy Minx said...

HI Rauf, very good points. My friend in Canada grew up in Persian household and he said the concept of "privacy" is nonexistant, even an eccentric idea if someone is private, maybe they are ill/depressed. I grew up living with grandparents and parents, it was a lot of fun, always lots of attention and adventures. My grandparents were very colourful folks.

Um, another difference with Asia, is the diet. A lot less wheat is eaten. More vegetables. Wheat is associated with heart disease(the high fat and meat was a mistaken corelation). In Japan more rice is eaten compared to how we eat wheat in Europe North America.

I love hearing stories of your life in India Rauf, thank you!

Jessica Doyle said...

Niacin eh? Candy this post was great to read. Vitamin B's... I think that is why I crave Kipper Snacks from NB. Fish.

Maybe it's time for me to visit my doctor again. They have a nutritionist on staff that I saw before. I honestly got scared. I know what is proper to eat. What I don't know how to do yet, is give up soda.

Here's an odd bit of pharmeceutical truth. On my London Drugs receipt for my Paxil prescription is an attached HOW to and FYI for the patient. It says:

"May cause drymouth; Use candy or gum for relief."

I am aware that the Paxil did not cause my addiction to regular Soda however they certainly are not promoting the drinking of water or eating of an apple or orange to quench one's thirst for relief of drymouth.

Having family around right now is a feeling i miss right now. But once I became receptive to the offers of help and began answering the phone I find my friends and aquaintances are my family also. And that in my books is beautiful. And this includes you Candy as a blogger aquaintance. Thank you for your many thoughtful comments on my blog. *hug*

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