Recently in Health Category

When we first saw the sour cherry tree at God's Little Acre Nursery (located on Almaden Road in San Jose), I thought the fruit was for birds only.  It was the prettiest dwarf tree laden with branches of tiny bright red cherries -- perfect for eating off of the tree or baking in pies.  The owners of the nursery, Phil and his beautiful wife, Dolores, became our friends and we've enjoyed several trips to their gorgeous place to purchase fruit trees and a Silver Dollar Eucalyptus.  If you purchase six or more trees, Phil will give a 10% discount...of course, Naoki could not resist such a deal! 

The ones you see in this cup were a few of the last cherries, before our guests and bird, Lucky, finished them.  We'll have to wait until next Spring for the new harvest.  I wonder how the cherry blossoms will look.

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As a parent-to-be, I'm both concerned and torn over when and what to vaccinate. I understand that we need to protect our children from illnesses and disease, but don't feel comfortable taking everything a doctor says as truth (perhaps, it is as they know it, they've been known to be wrong before), it seems negligent to leave the safety and well-being of my baby without doing more research.

So far, since I plan to work from home and will not have our daughter in daycare, we will have her immunizations start at age 2. We'll request vaccines to be free of Thimerosal and order them ahead of time and have her shots spaced apart. This is thinking way ahead. Hopefully by the time she's due for her vaccinations, most of this mess will have been sorted through.

"If a dirty bomb exposed a large segment of US citizens simultaneously to Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, Pertussis, Tetanus, Diptheria, Haemophilous Influenza B, 3 strains of Polio viruses, 3 strains of Influenza viruses, Measles, Mumps and Rubella viruses, the Chickenpox Virus, and 7 strains of Streptococcus Bacteria, we would declare a national emergency. We would call it an " Extreme Act of BIO-TERRORISM" . The public outcry would be immense and our government would act accordingly. And yet, those are the very organisms that we inject through vaccines into our babies and our small children, with immature, undeveloped immune systems. Many are given all at the same time. But, instead of BIO-TERRORISM we call it protection. Reflect a Moment on that Irony." -Dr. Sherri Tenpenny

In recent news: Families will make case for vaccine link to autism
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080512/ap_on_re_us/autism_court_case
After an excellent appointment with my midwife's assistant/doula in Menlo Park, my friend and I headed to downtown Los Altos to indulge in something light and sweet at Satura Bakery. If you've not yet been, I highly suggest taking a trip there on a Thursday afternoon. After eating one of the best choux creams in my life, we walked over to the farmers market. This is one of the rare markets that stays open later in the day. We sampled different types of flavorful cherries that were sweet and not the least bit sour, hearty Jersey Brand milk cheeses, super sweet sweet peas, and dark juicy red strawberries. I left with five small, but crisp and sweet, organic white peaches from Kashiwase Farms, organic Spring Hill Farms garlic curds (made from fresh mozzarella), and also one of their pesto jack blocks, melt-in-your-mouth roasted rosemary fingerling potatoes (we ate those there), and a small basket of unusually pointy, but remarkably sweet strawberries!! Oh, and I also purchased five of Satura's choux creams for Naoki -- three vanilla and two green tea flavored. Forgive all of these foodcentric posts. Occupying my mind most of the time is food, house hunting for friends/clients and ourselves, and this baby.
I came across this wonderful organization that supplies discounted groceries to families and seniors. They do not require meeting any particular criteria; however, they are still working on nationwide deliveries. According to the organization, the food provided is of restaurant and high grade quality.

The cost of groceries has risen significantly since last year due to the economy. Below is a short news clip on how you can reduce how much you spend at the stores (though I believe most people know these tips already...).

Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing grocery relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States.

Blessings by the box

Angel Food's groceries are sold in a quantity that can fit into a medium-sized box at $30 per unit. Each month's menu is different than the previous month and consists of both fresh and frozen items with an average retail value of approximately $50. Comparison shopping has been done across the country in various communities using a wide range of retail grocery stores and has resulted in the same food items costing from between $42 and $78.

Generally, one unit of food assists in feeding a family of four for about one week or a single senior citizen for almost a month. The food is all the same high quality one would purchase at a grocery store. There are no second-hand items, no damaged or out-dated goods, no dented cans without labels, no day-old breads and no produce that is almost too ripe. Also offered are specialty boxes such as steaks, chicken and pork. Many participants in this bonus program appreciate the expanded choices. Additionally, there is no limit to the number of units or bonus foods an individual can purchase, and there are no applications to complete or qualifications to which participants must adhere. Angel Food Ministries, like most all other retail grocery stores, also participates in the U.S. Food Stamp program, using the Off-Line Food Stamp Voucher system.

It's both a Bargain and a Blessing!

Addicted to Kabocha (pumpkin)

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KabochaUncooked.JPG cookedKabocha.jpg

Ever since returning from Japan a few weeks, I'd been craving the simmered pumpkin that Naoki's mother made many times while we were there. Luckily, I found that Nijiya, our local Japanese food market carries organic Kabocha! The first time I purchased one, I selected the smallest (in case I made any mistakes in cooking it).

> It was simple to cut, scoop out the seeds, and slice into 1 1/2 inch or so pieces.
> To finish, place pieces of the pumpkin into a large pot, fill one third of the way with filtered water, soy sauce, and mirin (Japanese cooking wine).
> Sugar is optional, but I usually leave it out, as this vegetable is sweet enough (to me).
> Heat on high until boiling, then reduce to a simmer until the pumpkin is easy to cut through.
> Add a small drizzle of olive oil towards the end (my mother-in-laws suggestion) and serve hot or cold.

* My dear friend, who has the most amazing cooking skills, recommends adding butter. I have to agree that I love that richness it adds, but can do with out the extra fat, salt and calories.

* This lovely little dish makes a welcome addition to a packed lunch. It is rich in beta carotene, with iron, vitamin C, potassium, and smaller traces of calcium, folic acid, and minute amounts of B vitamins. <= last part pinched from Wikipedia.com

Eating Healthy in Japan

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MieDinner_1stNight.JPG MieBreakfast_1stMorning2.JPG MieDinner_1stNight2.JPG MieBreakfast_1stMorning3.JPG

We just arrived in Japan yesterday after a long journey by car, plane, speedboat, and minivan!

Our first place to visit was my in-laws in Mie. My lovely mother-in-law, Misako-san, prepared a wonderful assortment of dishes of different types of sashimi, homegrown edamame (soybeans), lots of fresh vine-ripened veggies from their garden, and mixed rice loaded with yummy bits of shitake mushroom, tofu, and other greens. In addition to their green tea, they also have a huge garden of tomatoes, cucumbers, shiso (a type of basil), grapes, and much more.

For breakfast this morning, we had grilled mochi (rice cakes) wrapped in seaweed, miso (w/tofu, seaweed, and more mushrooms), fishcake stuffed with cucumber, and more melon and white peaches...yum!

Green Tea for Health

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greentea.gif

For the past few months there have been numerous (but not new) reports on the benefits of drinking tea, especially the green kind! Naoki's family has a beautiful green tea farm in Mie, Japan and they are ready to ship 2007 spring leaves. The cut off date to order will be this Thursday, May 10.

This green tea tastes different and has a sweeter and fresher flavor than what is available in most stores here. It can be cold brewed as well as served hot. Please allow boiled water to cool for a few minutes before adding the delicate tea leaves to prevent burning, which can alter the taste. Hadaseicha's tea is dark green in color, has a bold taste and was carefully harvested by Naoki's parents. Orders are available only once a year and large orders can be stored in the freezer to preserve freshness. My mother likes to order the teabags in bulk and repackage them to give as gifts to her health-conscious clients.

Iron Supplements

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To get the most out of iron supplements, avoid
taking them with coffee, tea or milk. These beverages
contain substances that can inhibit the absorption of iron.

Wait 90 minutes or more to drink coffee, tea or milk,
after taking the iron.

Orange Creamsicle

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ORANGEDRINK.JPG This past weekend, I had the worst craving for an Orange Julius drink. Do you remember those? There are still some stands in select malls around the Bay Area. This super sweet orange drink is like a liquid creamsicle, the orange popsicle with vanilla cream center. I know we could have probably stopped at the grocers to purchase the mix, but due to it's high sugar content, artificial flavoring and color, I passed.

To satisfy my fix, I blended two scoops of French Vanilla low-glycemic shake with one heaping scoop of naturally flavored orange fiber/energy mix (no, not Metameucil for those of you wondering!) along with a cup and a half of cold filtered ionic water and a handful of ice (also made from the same water). The taste and flavor was spot on, and the plus side was that this frothy drink was low-glycemic, high in protein and fiber.

This same concoction makes a lovely sorbet if blended til smooth then placed in the freezer for 30 minutes! Yum :)

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Sophie's beautiful mother recently ordered us a bazooka-load of these delicious organic, sundried dates from Oasis Garden Farms!

When I was younger, my friend's mother used to make the most amazing homemade chicken soup and used these types of dates to give it a touch of sweetness. The dates also flavor tea in the most remarkable way too. What's special about the dates we received is that they're organic, do not contain sulphur, and their huge size. Most of the ones sold in markets are small and have a tiny seed, whereas you can tell that these were allowed to grow to full size before harvesting.

Please contact me via email if you would be interested in ordering any of these dates. You can learn more about these special fruit (sometimes known as "jujube" Chinese, "daechu" Korean, or "natsume" Japanese) on Wikipedia!

This past Wednesday evening was spent celebrating the birthdays of two friends, Nao and Carla. I met both of them earlier this year at a beautiful and elaborate dinner party hosted by one of Naoki's fellow Toastmaster friends, Fumie. My dear friend, Sophie (she decorated the table and created the lovely party favors!), and I attended Carla and Andre's housewarming party this summer and met up with Nao again. Good friendships keep us all young and healthy!

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Gerald Ellison, Ph.D., director of Psychoneuroimmunology Services at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is another proponent of friendship for managing stress. He observed,

"Friends keep us from becoming isolated and lonely; they offer encouragement and support; and they help keep our thinking in line with the real world... When we're missing friendship, we experience isolation and loneliness. These feelings are associated with illness, discomfort, and general ineffectiveness as a person... Having friends can also be especially helpful if you're already seriously ill... Friends--if supportive and encouraging--can increase our hope when dealing with illness and trauma. And increased hope is associated with higher levels of immune system functioning."

Summary:
Friendship is a sound prescription in times of stress, for both our emotional and physical health. Dr. Ellison's statement seems a fitting summary:

"Friends--if supportive and encouraging--can increase our hope when dealing with illness and trauma. And increased hope is associated with higher levels of immune system functioning."

The Secret

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I've watched "The Secret" DVD three times now (actually 2.5 times - the first time was on our Alaskan cruise in their theatre. I'd fallen asleep after staying up late one too many nights in a row.) Every time I've watched it, I've come away with something new. All of it good in my opinion.

This documentary-style movie stirred up a lot of buzz within our group of friends, colleagues and also online with many of the Yahoo Groups I'm a part of. If you haven't seen it yet, it's something I would highly recommend be watched to my family and friends.

If you live nearby me (in San Jose, California) and are interested in watching it, please let me know. You can also go online and view it yourself for $4.95 at http://www.theSecret.tv or purchase it via that site or at Amazon.

cranberryorangerelish2.JPG Ok, not the best picture, but this cranberry/orange relish is delicious with turkey. The color is off in this photo and it's actually a deep dark red with flecks of orange.

I used two containers of fresh cranberries, one navel orange cut into small pieces, xylitol, and pure blackberry honey. All of the fruit and honey is organic. After using the chop feature on the blender, I stored the contents in a jar for this Thursday's Thanksgiving dinner. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or a light dash of ground clove can be added.

To keep from overeating during the holidays, I'll usually have a light meal two hours before consisting of food that I'm used to eating on a daily basis, such as brown rice, fish or chicken and a dark green veggie on the side. When we arrive at my family's place, I'll use a small plate to keep portions under control. If I'm too lazy to fill a second serving, I've probably had enough to eat.

My sweet-loving family also always have a variety of desserts to gorge upon. Mom's pecan pie is my weakness, so I'll have a sliver and a nice hot cup of cinnamon tea to accompany it. This time I'll bring a lovely chocolate port from Sonoma Port Works (I blogged about this earlier) for my sister. It's heavenly drizzled on vanilla bean ice cream.

This is news to celebrate! Send me an email from now until the end of the year and I'll send you great health information and a free piece of my favorite dark chocolate :) jeanette337 at gmail dot com or visit my site and complete a contact form for two pieces of dark chocolate!


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By Maggie Fox, Health and Science EditorTue Nov 14, 6:38 PM ET

They were so addicted, they just could not give up their favorite daily snack -- not even in the interest of science.

But chocolate lovers who flunked out of a Johns Hopkins University study on aspirin and heart disease helped researchers stumble on an explanation of why a little chocolate a day can cut the risk of heart attack.

Video: What's in your flu shot?

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Check what's in your vaccine by clicking on the link below. It's frightening to see what some people unknowingly allow to be pumped into their bodies and into their children without careful research.

http://www.informedchoice.info/cocktail.html

Last weekend on Saturday, October 21, the ANA (American Nutraceutical Association) held it's annual Nutraceuticals and Medicine Fall 2006 Conference in Memphis, Tennessee. The focus was on the role of nutraceuticals, diet and nutrition in disease prevention. This continuing education program provided CME credits for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and other medical practitioners.

The cover of the program featured a DNA strand interlaced with fruits and vegetables, quite similar to a recent Newsweek cover that discussed the same topic.

Can what we eat/consume influence our genetic makeup and can we take a preventative approach to developing the diseases that are coded in our genes?

When our bodies are fed well and cared for properly, they are able to perform the most remarkable feats that we're often not aware of. In the first videoclip, you can see how the quickly Listeria bacteria infections can spread. In the second, you will see a macrophage cell the human body sends out to consume and kill the bacteria.

* 100% Pure Organic Blackberry Honey from Oregon. - My dear friend introduced us to the best honey that makes everything you put it in tastes dreamy! That's not an exaggeration either. She is also able to get other wonderful natural bee products like propolis and royal jelly from the same beekeeper. Honey is currently on hand, so if you'd like to make a purchase let me know.

* All Natural Gelatin-free Gummy Bear Snacks - These contain a blend of freeze-dried fruits and veggies, along with other added essential nutrients. (No colors, fillers or preservatives) They are so tasty, I find them hard to resist eating by the handful.

* Natural and Super Fresh Tasting Japanese Green Tea - Brewed hot or cold, this is honestly the best green tea I've ever had. Most of the tea we buy at the supermarket has been sitting forever on the shelves or have been overprocessed. This tea is actually green and makes the perfect substitute to coffee in the morning. Does contain caffeine, but does not cause the jitters like coffee.

* Travel size Aloe Gel
- Oftentimes most aloe products do not contain the active ingredients that fresh aloe does. This easy to carry gel is soothing to burns, cuts, and irritations. The healing ingredient of aloe has been stabilized in this product. Sunburns, papercuts, scrapes and bug bites are a few of the things we use this get on.

* Preservative/Paraben-Free Skincare - This line will launch in the U.S. in March of 2007; however, we are able to have our family ship it to us from Japan. It isn't anything like what is currently on the market and the results are remarkable! Did I mention I love the eye cream?

Please contact me directly via email at jeanette337 at gmail.com

New Free Radical Test Kit

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About a half year ago, I joined the ANA (aka American Nutraceutical Association). This organization has a wealth of information and resources to help further along ones knowledge in nutrition, health and medicine. The will have a conference in October on "Nutraceuticals and Medicine" which will focus on the role of nutraceuticals, diet and nutrition in disease prevention. This conference will provide continuing medical education credits for physicians, nurses and pharmacists.

The ANA is also now offering a cost-efficient (non-biased) check up kit to score the amount of free radicals in your system. It is non-invasive procedure that's an easy way to help determine the impact of antioxidant nutrition in the body. Yes, urine is involved, but that seems preferable over the drawing of blood.

There have been studies done to show that too much antioxidants from certain supplements can actually cause an oxidative effect, therefore making it a pro-oxidant and causes much more free radical damage to the cells. More on that later.

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Nothing beats the taste of a freshly picked strawberry or tomato grown in your garden, or in our case, balcony planter. I never believed it til actually trying it for the first time! Our local farmers market carries a fabulous assortment of tasty, organic produce, which I believe probably tastes even more amazing right after it's picked.

We purchased organic baby tomato seedlings and wild strawberries plants from Whole Foods in Campbell earlier this spring. It was the first time I'd ever grown something edible.




Gazpacho is one of my favorite dishes, especially on hot summer days! This is an easy recipe that I modify to my taste using spicy peppers, more garlic and sprouted wheat toast (instead of the stale white bread). Since this is a cold soup, you can add Phyto-Aloe powder to enhance the nutritional value and taste. Enjoy!

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Beautiful white peaches from Kashiwase Farms (Organic, specializing in stone fruit, almonds, and Asian pears (yum!))

Today we headed to the Farmers Market at Santana Row. Thankfully the crowd was light, as I believe most people were swarming around downtown San Jose for the Grand Prix racing event. There were quite a few certified farmers there and a handful of organic vendors as well. We left with decent sized bags of delicious white peaches, white nectarines, shiney red plums, juicy strawberries, and one crisp, j-shaped Armenian cucumber - all organic of course!

Afterwards we made a quick stop over at the Great Mall in Milpitas for something to eat and to get a bit of exercise in. Window shopping at a mall that's the size of four football fields definitely counts as exercise.

This particular mall has a mix of really cool and some seriously junkie stores. I usually have a lot of fun visiting the accessory shops that sell all types of sparkley stuff. It's a bad case of "Magpie Syndrome", being attracted by things that glitter and catch the light. Maybe it was from being full or from shopping the day before at the Gilroy Outlets, but I couldn't find anything to purchase even though there were some excellent sales going on.

Skincare update

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It's been nearly three straight weeks using the skincare line we purchased from Japan and I must say I LOVE IT! Weird, but I can actually see the difference in texture and tone. Out of all the products, my favorites are the cleansing cream which really seems to even out my skintone/color, the skin lotion that tightens and moisturizes at the same time, and the eye cream. Don't get me started on the eye cream! I was happy using the ROC and another eye gel from L'Occitane, but this stuff has really reduced the puffiness and bags and even managed to lighten my dark circles.

Last weekend, I worked an event in Las Vegas and had more make up on than a drag queen/showgirl. It had to be a few layers thick. It usually would take a good scrubbing that would leave my face raw for a few hours to clean the stuff off, but the cleansing oil did a quick and mighty efficient job of removing every last bit of war paint I had on. It took nearly two hours to apply the make up and less than three minutes to wash it off without any irritation. So, I guess I love the cleansing oil which I thought I'd dislike.

The serum seems to work well for my husband (yes, he's using it too) and my girlfriend, but I stopped using it after the third day. Vitamin C products tend to cause redness and makes my face burn a bit.

Lastly, the skin cream which is thicker than the skin lotion works well as a night moisturizer, but is a little to heavy for day use. Using it in the evenings really does soften my skin though. Oh and after using the aftershave milk, I haven't had any ingrown hairs or abrasions after shaving my legs!

All-in-all I am really pleased with this product line and am looking forward to see what the company comes out with next! Stay tuned :)

Do parabens (preservatives) in skincare and cosmetics cause cancer? I'm not sure, but there have been a number of studies to show they do. Of course, there are still skeptics and a handful of people that say they don't and that the small amounts in their products aren't significant enough to cause any longterm damage. Others, including myself, wonder about the accumulative effects over time with multiple products. Parabens are in almost everything, even products that are touted as safe and natural. For those with a history of cancer in their family, I think extra care and consideration should be given to what we put in and on our bodies.

When our company recently launched a new paraben-free skincare line that uses a new technology utilizing bacteriostatic water to prevent bacteria growth, I thought it might be a good idea to do a little research. Aside from finding information online, what better way to learn about a new product than to use it?

There are seven (7) products total in this interesting assortment of skincare.

1. Cleansing oil
The idea of rubbing oil of any kind on my face to remove makeup seems foreign (and it is!). Many Japanese and Korean cosmetics have a cleansing oil in their line to gentle take off makeup. The texture is very light and not at all like olive oil or even baby oil. It does a fine job of lifting embedded dirt, foundation and eyeliner.

2. Cleansing cream
Included in our pack was a "foaming net" made from corn husk. It's a light and airy little net that does an amazing job of creating well, foam. It made the most luxurious lather which I couldn't seem to do with water and my hands alone. The cream contained fine particles of a special stone that does an excellent job of exfoliating and evening the skintone.

3. Skin lotion
When I think of "lotion", I think of a cream-based liquid, but this is a clear and very light moisturizing toner without any alcohol. It's cooling and moisturizes well without any heavy feeling.

4. Skin serum
Oh this contains vitamin C and a few other key ingredients meant to help with dark spots and improve dull looking, saggy skin. It's supposed to restore elasticity from within. (We'll see...)

5. Skin cream
This is the other product I really liked! It goes on light, but gives that extra moisture without feeling oily or heavy. It comes with a handy little spatula to pull out the perfect amount. I'll use this day and night.

6. Eye cream
I LOVE this stuff!! It's far better than anything else I've tried and really does live up to the hype. It's only been a few days and I've noticed significant different in a reduction of puffiness and definitely lightening of the dark circles.

7. Aftershave milk (for men or women to use as body lotion)
Haven't done this just yet, so stay tuned...

These products were developed and are currently only available in Japan. We are importing these products into the states until they're launched in the U.S., which is around a year or so from now. If you are interested in ordering them, please let me know. We can usually have them delivered directly to you via air shipping.

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Vitamin for Depression?

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http://depression.about.com/cs/diet/a/vitamin_p.htm

From Nancy Schimelpfening,Your Guide to Depression.
A Good Vitamin Supplement Could Be Just What the Doctor Ordered

Did you ever wish that you could take a vitamin for depression? Well, for some of you it may be just that simple. There are a variety of vitamin deficiencies that can lead to depression symptoms.

The B-Complex Vitamins

The B-complex vitamins are essential to mental and emotional well-being. They cannot be stored in our bodies, so we depend entirely on our daily diet to supply them. B vitamins are destroyed by alcohol, refined sugars, nicotine, and caffeine so it is no surprise that many people may be deficient in these.

Here's a rundown of recent finding about the relationship of B-complex vitamins to depression:

* Vitamin B1 (thiamine): The brain uses this vitamin to help convert glucose, or blood sugar, into fuel, and without it the brain rapidly runs out of energy. This can lead to fatigue, depression, irritability, anxiety, and even thoughts of suicide. Deficiencies can also cause memory problems, loss of appetite, insomnia, and gastrointestinal disorders. The consumption of refined carbohydrates, such as simple sugars, drains the body's B1 supply.

* Vitamin B3 (niacin): Pellagra-which produces psychosis and dementia, among other symptoms-was eventually found to be caused by niacin deficiency. Many commercial food products now contain niacin, and pellagra has virtually disappeared. However, subclinical deficiencies of vitamin B3 can produce agitation and anxiety, as well as mental and physical slowness.

* Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Symptoms of deficiency are fatigue, chronic stress, and depression. Vitamin B5 is needed for hormone formation and the uptake of amino acids and the brain chemical acetylcholine, which combine to prevent certain types of depression.

* Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): This vitamin aids in the processing of amino acids, which are the building blocks of all proteins and some hormones. It is needed in the manufacture of serotonin, melatonin and dopamine. Vitamin B6 deficiencies, although very rare, cause impaired immunity, skin lesions, and mental confusion. A marginal deficiency sometimes occurs in alcoholics, patients with kidney failure, and women using oral contraceptives. MAOIs, ironically, may also lead to a shortage of this vitamin. Many nutritionally oriented doctors believe that most diets do not provide optimal amounts of this vitamin.

* Vitamin B12: Because vitamin B12 is important to red blood cell formation, deficiency leads to an oxygen-transport problem known as pernicious anemia. This disorder can cause mood swings, paranoia, irritability, confusion, dementia, hallucinations, or mania, eventually followed by appetite loss, dizziness, weakness, shortage of breath, heart palpitations, diarrhea, and tingling sensations in the extremities. Deficiencies take a long time to develop, since the body stores a three- to five-year supply in the liver. When shortages do occur, they are often due to a lack of intrinsic factor, an enzyme that allows vitamin B12 to be absorbed in the intestinal tract. Since intrinsic factor diminishes with age, older people are more prone to B12 deficiencies.

* Folic acid: This B vitamin is needed for DNA synthesis. It is also necessary for the production of SAM (S-adenosyl methionine). Poor dietary habits contribute to folic acid deficiencies, as do illness, alcoholism, and various drugs, including aspirin, birth control pills, barbiturates, and anticonvulsants. It is usually administered along with vitamin B12, since a B12 deficiency can mask a folic acid deficiency. Pregnant women are often advised to take this vitamin to prevent neural tube defects in the developing fetus.

Vitamin for Depression?

Vitamin C

Subclinical deficiencies can produce depression, which requires the use of supplements. Supplementation is particularly important if you have had surgery or an inflammatory disease. Stress, pregnancy, and lactation also increase the body's need for vitamin C, while aspirin, tetracycline, and birth control pills can deplete the body's supply.

Minerals

Deficiencies in a number of minerals can also cause depression.

* Magnesium: Deficiency can result in depressive symptoms, along with confusion, agitation, anxiety, and hallucinations, as well as a variety of physical problems. Most diets do not include enough magnesium, and stress also contributes to magnesium depletion

* Calcium: Depletion affects the central nervous system. Low levels of calcium cause nervousness, apprehension, irritability, and numbness.

* Zinc: Inadequacies result in apathy, lack of appetite, and lethargy. When zinc is low, copper in the body can increase to toxic levels, resulting in paranoia and fearfulness.

* Iron: Depression is often a symptom of chronic iron deficiency. Other symptoms include general weakness, listlessness, exhaustion, lack of appetite, and headaches.

* Manganese: This metal is needed for proper use of the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. Since it also plays a role in amino-acid formation, a deficiency may contribute to depression stemming from low levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. Manganese also helps stabilize blood sugar and prevent hypoglycemic mood swings.

* Potassium: Depletion is frequently associated with depression, tearfulness, weakness, and fatigue.

Jeanette Lee Hada

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