Menopause Support Group Post 12 – Anxiety
Written by: Reba Danson
Just to update you all – Tracy Jo kindly sent me her food diary. I’ve emailed her the observations and some thoughts – remember here, I am not approaching this like people are broke and need fixing, nor am I suggesting that the information I am sharing is universally true for everyone. We all lead different lives, but there are some fundamental truths that the global population has been prevented from knowing and this has very seriously impacted how people regard food and approach the subject for themselves.
I’ll return to Tracy Jo’s post later because something else seems to have cropped up this week.
So, I’ve noticed a huge number of ‘anxiety-related’ posts recently and having struggled with it myself I am of the opinion that there can be many, varied and complex causes. As I have done, sometimes it needs a complete re-evaluation of life, but I am firmly of the view – after 2 months away from that toxic environment – that my particular anxiety was less to do with menopause and hormones than I previously thought, because I’ve rediscovered the peaceful and relaxed me, once in a nurturing, supportive and immensely natural (canals, wildlife, trees, birds, stars etc) environment.
BUT – come on, you knew there was going to be a but – there is one thing I learned many many years ago that I believe has contributed greatly to me leaving my internal depression behind many years ago and never experiencing it again. Note – I do not consider being depressed because of ones’ circumstances – which are changeable – as the same as clinical internal depression.
So, IF you struggle with anxiety then this is for you.
A couple of things to note:
1) The vast majority of anti-depressant drugs operate by elevating your serotonin levels by one of two means – either you make more, or your body is blocked from stealing what you make so more of it is left available.
Either way, depression and anxiety are very often associated with a lack of serotonin – the main feel good neurotransmitter.
So, creating or keeping higher levels of serotonin can positively affect anxiety/depression.
2) Tryptophan is one of the building blocks of serotonin and can be found in food substances or taken as a supplement. BUT before you rush out and buy any, you need to read the next bit.
Having more of the components of serotonin is one part of the equation that can be addressed. Simply eat more foods – more frequently – that have tryptophan in them.
3) To explain the next bit I need you to imagine the inside of your body is a city.
You have a taxi transport system that CAN cope with all the normal daily functions of the city’s population. Basically, there is no other transport system – no trains, no planes, no bicycles – just taxis.
Each day the taxis must get everyone and everything to where it’s needed for the city to function and the roads are your arteries and veins and blood vessels.
Remember, you ONLY have enough taxis to do each job that is needed.
One day, the city is flooded with criminals. The criminals are threatening to destroy the entire city so the Police commission ALL the taxis and they catch all the criminals and take them off to cells where they are locked up.
This means all the normal routine work has to wait and there is a delay.
Later that day, a whole new population of criminals flood into the city. The Police commission the taxi fleet again to catch the criminals and take them off to more prison cells where they are locked up.
Now, the prison facility is full, so the city builds more prisons.
The criminals are now filling taxis so frequently that the good guys, the ones that need to get to their jobs to build the daily routine things that the city needs to function, aren’t going anywhere and vital work is being left undone.
Now, … if I tell you that the taxis are your good cholesterol, the good guys are your food, nutrients, hormones, immune system and all metabolic processes (including building serotonin) and the criminals are the sugars (the ‘oses – glucose, fructose, lactose, xanthose, maltose, deztrose etc) that your body has no option but to deal with each time you eat more than 48g of carbohydrate that over loads the blood stream with sugars. Your body can’t ignore these, because if you are hyperglycaemic then you will go into a coma and die, unless insulin (the Police) comes out and catches the criminals (sugar) and locks them up (in fat cells).
If your entire taxi system is occupied saving your life several times a day, how can tryptophan and all the other building blocks of serotonin ever get to where they need to be to create serotonin and make you feel happy, well and good about yourself?
So, to recap – three things are relevant:
a. The absence of serotonin can have a huge impact on mental well-being.
b. Foods that are high in tryptophan and other building blocks of life (protein) should be eaten frequently and should be cooked sensitively to keep their good properties. Then the body at least has the materials to make your good neurotransmitters.
c. The absence of sugar/industrialised carbohydrate leaves the body’s resources free to make your happy neurotransmitters.
Note, if you add together obesity and depression and look at the gazillions of anti-depression and diabetic drugs being prescribed globally, of course no-one wants the world to realise that sugar consumption is the cause of both.
Imagine that? If losing weight easily and effortlessly also left you happier, less depressed and more able to cope with what life throws at you.
For further reading… 5-HTP nature’s serotonin solution
Please note – I am NOT in any way suggesting that depression and anxiety are not real. I am suggesting that by understanding some of our body’s requirements we can make a big difference.
My depression went in 2003 when I cut out all industrialised carbohydrate and boxed, bagged or beige foods. Literally overnight I got a personality transplant.
This has taught me that the job I was in has been far more devastating than I previously thought. Menopause may be part of it, but it’s not the whole story.