Antibiotics: Side Effects and Alternatives

KellyBroganMD.com
Dr. Kelly Brogan
February 20, 2020

We use a lot of antibiotics. For coughs, cuts, urinary tract infections, and many times “just in case.” You could be considered reckless or ignorant if you opted to not use them. “But you could die of a deadly infection that could kill you!” chants the choir of voices entrained by a system that sees dangerous enemies lurking behind every life experience.

What may surprise you is that the real danger could lie in assaulting your body with an “anti-life” (the actual meaning of the word!) chemical that could very well be a Russian Roulette of unintended harms. Some of these harms are so significant that they could change the course of your entire life as you know it. Given that, I bet that if you knew that there were effective, safe “alternatives,” you’d seriously consider them.

To make your own decisions about health, you must inform yourself. Informed consent around medical interventions involves exploration of the risks, benefits, and alternatives. In our reactivity, however, we are accustomed to focusing only on the promise – knock that infection out and feel better quick! – without any meaningful information around the full breadth of scientifically-evidenced risks and treatment options.

The Benefits

Antibiotics obviously work, right? Well, we are learning that our dogmatic assumptions about the sacred cows of conventional medicine may be leaning on a house of cards. Or a house of placebos to be more exact. The reality is that infections have a natural course with an inbuilt capacity for robust recovery, so we may be giving undue credit to antibiotics. This appears to be possible based on the published literature. For instance, this study[1] on rhinosinusitis concluded:  “…the risks of potential side effects need to be weighed against the potential benefit that antibiotics give to the patient. This is especially pertinent as usage of the placebo has shown to be almost as efficacious as using the antibiotic therapy, and also much safer.”

WIth rising rates of antibiotic-resistant infections (which have resulted from rampant antibiotic use), and fewer novel medications in the pipeline, it seems we are coming to a point of reckoning around our belief that the rampant extinguishing of life is a health-promoting practice.

The Risks

“Catherine, you have an upper respiratory infection. We aren’t sure whether it is necessarily bacterial, but you should go ahead and take that Z pack just in case…oh, and it’s unlikely, but it’s possible that you could be left bed-bound from neurological damage, develop a serious opportunistic infection, and possibly even a brand new psychiatric diagnosis like Bipolar Disorder. Hope you feel better soon!”

Microbiome-dependent risks

With the discovery of the microbiome, conventional medicine as we know it should have gone back to the drawing board. With the understanding that an inner ecosystem drives our epigenetic expression, ranging from nutrient production to metabolic health to hormonal balance to immunity and inflammatory response, the ‘body as machine’ model became obsolete. We need to better understand what makes a microbiome healthy and what hurts it.

So far, we have been left with many questions and few answers[2]. We have looked at super healthy modern hunter gatherers to try to quantify their gut health, we have studied the beneficial effects of probiotics, and we have learned that chemicals like Monsanto’s Roundup wreak havoc on our bugs. We have learned that the transfer of bacteria occurs well before birth, and continues throughout breastfeeding, setting the stage for adult health by age 2. And it has almost become common knowledge that the indiscriminate killing of bacteria through the use of antibiotics may come with a cost. But will the cost really be anything more than a yeast infection or a bout of diarrhea?

Perhaps. We have ample evidence that antibiotics take out the “good” with the “bad” bacteria and leave a trail of imbalance that leaves the patient more vulnerable[3]. A 2017 review[4] references the increased risk of foodborne infection, including antibiotic-resistant strains, in those who took antibiotics during travel, with unpredictable recovery rates that seem to get dismally worse with repeated antibiotic exposure:

Even short antibiotic exposures disrupt the gut microbiome up to a year or more, and repeated exposures appear to attenuate recovery from ever occurring.”

Similarly, up to a one-third reduction in biome diversity can persist longer than 6 months, even after one short course of the popularly-dispensed antibiotic, Cipro.[5] This decrease in diversity can, itself, be a precursor to new illness. For instance, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is one of several chronic illnesses associated with low levels of beneficial bacteria[6]. Dysbiosis (imbalanced gut bacteria) is also a precursor to autoimmunity,[7] obesity, and weight gain[8].

Yeah, we all should be using less antibiotics – but what if we have to take an antibiotic? Then can’t we just take a probiotic afterward?

There is, unfortunately, scant evidence to support this seemingly logical integrative medicine practice. While hamster studies suggest recovery of damage is possible[9], the broad spectrum of antibiotic effects and probiotic options makes personalization of this support method challenging. Most probiotics contain only a few bacterial species, and our gut contains thousands.

Microbiome-independent risks

As if that weren’t enough to slow your pace to the CVS pharmacy counter, there is a growing body of literature focused on the non-microbiome-based risks of antibiotics. From slowed fracture healing[10] to acute liver injury[11], antibiotics have effects at the cellular level beyond simply inducing dysbiosis. These include changes in up to 87% of gut metabolites[12] functional in the gut, injury and destruction of mitochondria (the energy centers of the cell), and damage to gut tissue.

Of significant interest to me are the known and well-documented psychiatric risks of antibiotics. I imagine there are few patients consented for acute onset psychosis or suicidality before being prescribed an antibiotic. An excellent 2017 review by Zareifopoulos and Panayiotakopoulos[13] suggests that patients should be told of these risks including irritability, confusion, encephalopathy, suicidality, psychosis, and mania. These researchers conclude:

“The neuropsychiatric effects of antimicrobial drugs are extensively documented in the literature. A number of antimicrobial drugs have the potential to exert CNS effects and many are associated with stimulant, psychotomimetic and epileptogenic properties, mediated by GABA antagonism (beta-lactams, quinolones and clarithromycin), NMDA agonism (D-cycloserine, aminoglycosides, and perhaps quinolones), MAO inhibition (linezolid, metronidazole and isoniazid weakly) as well as more exotic mechanisms, as in the case of trimethoprim, isoniazid, ethambutol, rifampicin and the tetracyclines.”

In fact, the term ‘antibiomania’ has been coined around the potential for antibiotics to induce manic symptoms. In a recent review, two-thirds of the mania-inductions were in male subjects[14]. The resolution of acute-onset mania with charcoal suggests that these psychiatric risks may be both microbiome-dependent and independent. Relatedly, data suggests that there is a dose-dependent risk of new-onset depression; the higher the antibiotic exposure, the higher the risk of depression[15].

If you don’t know to connect these dots, then you could end up believing that your “mental illness” is an entirely new diagnosis requiring lifelong treatment.

The Alternatives

Fortunately, many alternative strategies exist that resolve bacterial imbalances without the side effects of pharmaceutical antibiotics. Even better – many of the plant-derived therapies can be easily incorporated in your everyday meals as a tasty preventative approach to resiliancey.

Colloidal Silver

Also called silver nanoparticles, colloidal silver has been used for over 2,000 years to resolve bacterial infections[16]. As such, silver is commonly used in intravenous catheters, dental fillings, wound dressings, and bone implants[17]. Though the exact antimicrobial mechanisms are still debated, colloidal silver generally works by damaging the cell membranes of pathogenic bacteria. Depending on the surface charge of the silver nanoparticles and the type of bacteria, bacteria can be killed by the formation of free radicals, accumulation of nanoparticles in bacterial cell walls, or depletion of cell membrane components[18]. Colloidal silver is effective both as a topical treatment for skin infections, like MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus)[19], as well as an oral antibiotic[20].

Botanical Herbs

For centuries, botanical herbs have been used as antibiotics. Since there are countless herbal remedies for various types of infections[21],[22],[23], I’ll just list a few common herbs that have been validated by modern research. For example, the herb Inula helenium, also called elecampane, was shown to be 100% effective against 200 isolates of Staphylococcus aureus (commonly known as “staph infection”).[24] Similarly, a study that evaluated Alpinia galanga, a plant in the ginger family that has been traditionally used in Asian countries, found that this herb was effective against Salmonella typhi and E. coli, as well as against other drug-resistant bacterial strains.[25] Extract from Nigella sativa, a flowering plant native to south Asia, kills MRSA,[26] while cinnamon and oregano are potent selective antibiotics against many drug-resistant species[27]. Similarly, easy-to-find spices like cumin[28] and rosemary[29] are powerful antimicrobials, as are child-friendly options like elderberry[30],[31]. Many high-quality herbal products combine evidence-based herbs such as oregano[32],[33], echinacea[34],[35],[36], and goldenseal[37],[38],[39] into an effective immune support formula.

Probiotics

A great way to prevent imbalances from making you sick is by strengthening your beneficial bacteria, also called probiotics. Incorporating probiotics improve your metabolic and immune functioning while also crowding out pathogenic bacteria. Probiotics can resolve bacterial infections ranging from oral gingivitis[40] to H. pylori-mediated gastric infections[41] to bacterial vaginosis[42]. As one of the earliest and richest sources of probiotics is breastmilk, it isn’t surprising that breastmilk probiotics have been shown superior to antibiotics to treat mastitis, a common infection during lactation[43] (just another reason to breastfeed!). I recommend that people get probiotics through fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut[44], as these contain many more complementary bacterial strains than supplements for daily prevention.

Garlic

‘Let food be thy medicine,’ decreed Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine – and he would have ranked garlic as one of the most medicinal foods. Numerous studies have shown the antimicrobial effects of garlic, including a report in which researchers tested garlic-water against 133 multidrug-resistant species, showing remarkable antimicrobial properties[45]. A randomized controlled clinical trial showed that garlic was more effective than a standard antibiotic, metronidazole, for bacterial vaginosis. Authors remarked that garlic provided both increased therapeutic efficacy as well as decreased side effects[46]. Garlic is an effective treatment for stomach infections caused by H. pylori[47] and C. difficile,[48] as well as for pneumonia[49] and other lung infections[50]. Amazingly, consuming garlic not only protects against bacterial infections, but also lowers blood pressure[51],[52], stabilizes blood sugar[53], and decreases cancer risk.[54]

Manuka Honey

Raw Manuka honey is one of the tastiest ways to stay healthy. This honey comes from bees in New Zealand who pollinate the Manuka bush, and it has been used for thousands of years by various cultures to promote wellness. This high-antioxidant golden honey is a popular ingredient in high-end skin care products, as it is broadly anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial[55]. Inside the body, manuka honey can cure antibiotic-resistant C. difficile infection[56],[57], Strep throat[58],[59], urinary tract infections[60], and MRSA[61]. A bonus of eating honey is that it can include propolis, a mixture of bee saliva and wax known as “bee glue,” which contains over 300 therapeutic compounds that fight cancer[62],[63] as well as harmful bacteria[64],[65].

Here is where I recommend purchasing high quality supplements.

Make a Truce

It requires a mindset shift to stop fighting. Stop fighting each other, stop fighting nature, and stop fighting our own bodies. We need to break out of our patterned programs of control and domination and understand that this only strengthens our perceived enemies. We need to reconnect to the sacred complexity of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding as the origin of our health resiliency rather than a time to throw pharmaceuticals into the black box of undisclosed risks. The microbiome itself has taught us – through the poetry of biology – that we are inextricably connected to and dependent upon the web of the natural world. And that it is not possible to simply pull one thread of that web while leaving the rest of it intact. Remember that symptoms give us an opportunity, and perhaps the next time you have an antibiotic prescription dancing in your sights, you might see what it feels like to bring your body love and support rather than the detonation of grenades.

Visit the research dashboard on greenmedinfo.com to do your own exploration of risks, benefits, and alternatives to conventional pharmaceuticals. 

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25756071
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4831151/
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4831151/table/Tab1/
[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28520993
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19018661
[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12583961
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15158604
[8] http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v444/n7122/abs/nature05414.html
[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28529928
[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15688263
[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22891208
[12] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1043661812001661
[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28197902
[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28550767
[15] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26580313
[18] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17379174
[19] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18372271
[20] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18854209
[21] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27899152
[22] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030608/
[23] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28377931
[24] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20095126
[25] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19501283
[26] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19610522
[28] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20548937
[29] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17900043
[30] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28198157
[31] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25395702
[32] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27994215
[33] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27051475
[34] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19748859
[35] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16398593
[36] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9043936
[37] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22814821
[39] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11509983
[40] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27829746
[41] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22452604
[42] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16697231
[43] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20455694
[44] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18979556
[45] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15383227
[46] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4166107/#A19118R8
[47] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27761418
[48] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28489336
[49] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12602248
[50] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16339933
[51] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25837272
[52] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24035939
[53] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26693740
[54] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21473867
[55] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28474502
[56] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28417271
[57] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28257905
[58] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22294681
[59] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23043914
[60] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27787156
[61] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28438282
[62] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28472978
[63] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28358699
[64] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28358806
[65] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28603105

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© Kelly Brogan MD. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Kelly Brogan MD. For more articles, sign up for the newsletter at kellybroganmd.com.”
_________________________________________________________________

Kelly Brogan, MD

Kelly Brogan, M.D. is a Manhattan-based holistic psychiatrist, author of the New York Times bestselling book, A Mind of Your Own, and co-editor of the landmark textbook, Integrative Therapies for Depression. She completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from MIT in Systems Neuroscience. View full bio. Want to share this article on your own blog? View our reposting guidelines.

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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression & How Women Can Heal Their Bodies To Reclaim Their Lives by Dr. Kelly Brogan M.D. & Kristin Loberg
Psycho Neuro-Iimmuology – Uncovering The Roots Of Mental Illness
Drugs, The Illegality Of Healing & Pharmageddon
Dr. Belisa Vranich On The Intricacies Of Breathing [Video]
The Dark Side Of Food [Video]
Cancer Is Serious Business – Burzynski [Documentary]
The World According To Monsanto [Documentary]
Thimerosal – Let The Science Speak – The Evidence Supporting The Immediate Removal Of
Depression Most Likely Not Caused By Genetics

 

 

 

 

Birthing Bliss, Birthing Trauma, and the Role of the Perinatal Patient


KellyBroganMD.com
Dr. Kelly Brogan
February 8, 2020

I remember looking out of my living room window, drawing on my connection to all the women in the world who had felt this energy before, all that were in that moment, and all that would in time to come. This energy, this incredible power, was like a wave that I was riding for a brief window of my life, and sharing with my baby to move us through time into a new type of union. To me, this wasn’t anything to resist, to be afraid of, or to suppress. All I had to do was be there to witness, and keep my mind from getting in the way.

I came to a place of strong advocacy for homebirth because I am a tireless student of research, opinions, and “radical” theory espoused by critical thinkers. I believe in being an informed individual first and a patient second and surrendering my decision-making to a physician trained to perceive childbirth as a pathological process requiring management was not consistent with that perspective.  I knew that there were caregivers out there who believed in supporting the body’s natural process in a gentle way and who knew how to provide that support, actively and passively.  These are midwives.  They are the primary birth attendants in most of the 40+ nations in the world with more favorable maternal and infant mortality rates than our own.

So, how does a woman get to a place where she can turn her back on a society that teaches birth is a painful nuisance at best and a horror show of danger at worst?

Through active engagement in informed consent.  A careful review of some of the epidemiologic literature and an excellent book on the subject called Pushed by Jennifer Block will inform that prospective mother of the fact that countries with the best maternal/infant outcomes have 20-30% of their babies at home, and a caesarean rate of no higher than 15%.  In these healthy births, labor begins spontaneously, the woman is free to move about for whatever duration necessary, and she pushes in an intuitive position.

This soon-to-be-birthing reader might be prompted to question some of the casually accepted “rules” of hospital birth including induction of labor post-dates, the ban on eating and drinking, and active intervention after 24 hours after rupture of membranes.  She might note that continuous electronic fetal monitoring is a ubiquitous mandate in the hospital setting despite an absence of randomized, controlled studies demonstrating any benefit with regard to maternal/infant outcomes (and a noted higher association with caesarean section given the attendant immobilization and anxious interpretations of “the strip”).  Here is the informative Lamaze-sponsored handout I give my patients which highlights the discrepancy between known evidence (including Cochrane reviews, and even ACOG recommendations) and common practice, often militantly imposed.

Pushed discusses a WHO study which identified that only 10% of maternity care is justified by scientific evidence (as opposed to insurance constraints, convenience, liability, and habitual practice).  This wouldn’t be such a concern if the risks associated with interfering in a physiologic birth weren’t so troubling.  Here are some tidbits she reviews:

  • Infants born by caesarean are 3x more likely to die in the first month, and mothers are 2x more likely to die.  Caesarean carries risks of infection including necrotizing fasciitis, organ damage, adhesions, hemorrhage, embolism, hysterectomy, dehisance, poor respiratory adaptation for the baby, and future development of a major undesirable – placenta acreta (at an incidence of 1/533 in 2005 births from 1/19,000 births in 1970)
  • Epidurals decrease blood pressure, slow contractions, and lengthen labor, increasing the likelihood of tearing, fever, and instrumental delivery
  • Vaginal birth after caesarean has a rate of rupture of 1/200 which is comparable to the rate of miscarriage with an amniocentesis, but is all but impossible to obtain given the reflexive second, third, and fourth caesarean birth plans
  • Homebirth is comparably safe with lower intervention rates according to common sense and seminal studies.

The problem with the application of these interventions is that they serve to disempower the laboring woman, and force her to cope with the unintended consequences of the intervention domino effect.  Wresting autonomy from an individual in the interest of a questionably-evidenced system has feed-forward implications for generations.  Perhaps both psychiatry and obstetrics are guilty of pathologizing processes that scare us, and in our effort to subdue, we use crude and inexact implements in acute settings without consideration of the collateral damage.

Even the donning of a hospital gown on arrival puts a woman in the role of a sick patient rather than a conduit for life’s most transcendent contact with creation.  I hear frequent reviews from my patients, stating, “the room looked like a battle ground”, “I felt like I was drugged…like it wasn’t my baby”, “I was offered an epidural so many times, I thought I really needed one”.  This is not an arena in which we can expect Ina May Gaskin’s “sphincter law” to play out successfully – a woman needs a sense of calm, safety, and privacy open her body to the world and bring forth a baby.

Interfering with the sophisticated process of a physiologic birth may have unintended short, medium, and long-term effects.  Studies like this allude to the role of vaginal birth in the foundational seeding of the infant’s microbiome, but are there any benefits with regard to mom’s postpartum mood?  Does mode of delivery influence the risk of postpartum depression?  To my mind, it certainly seems possible that disruption in oxytocin feedback loops through interference with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-gonadal axis would set a woman up for near-term difficulty buffering the transition to new motherhood.  If a physiologic birth is interfered with, the woman is left to go through the motions unaided by appropriate hormonal cascades – like walking across hot coals without shoes.

Despite the intuitive connection between a mother’s birth-related trauma and postpartrum depression, data addressing the question of whether mode of delivery influences risk is equivocal: some propose no risk associated with caesarean, like this study in which depressive symptoms after caesarean were resolved by 6 months and this that suggested being a housewife with a history of depression were primary risk factors, and this metanalysis. Others, like this Armenian study, suggest that caesarean, and particularly elective caesarean, may put a woman at greater risk for postpartum mood disturbance.  A prospective cohort study in China found that, at two weeks, by Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), women were 2x more likely to be depressed if they had a surgical birth. Myriad confounders compromise this data, and I would argue that a woman’s psychological orientation toward self-empowerment – what an empowered birth looks like to her – may be more important than the disruption of the hormonal cascade.

The mind is a powerful filter.  Perhaps the most provocative study I have come across is an fMRI evaluation of women responding, in multiple brain regions, to their own baby’s cry, and how this response is blunted after a surgical birth.  Could this evolve to be corrected for?  I would imagine so, but it suggests that surgical birth should be reserved for the <10% of true emergencies that could not otherwise have been prevented by allowing a woman to labor at her own pace, in her own comfort zone, without any interventions… the way it’s been done for millions of years.

Read More At: KellyBroganMD.com

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This post originally appeared on Mad in America as Birthing Bliss, Birthing Trauma and the Role of the Perinatal Patient.

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Kelly Brogan, MD

Kelly Brogan, M.D. is a Manhattan-based holistic psychiatrist, author of the New York Times bestselling book, A Mind of Your Own, and co-editor of the landmark textbook, Integrative Therapies for Depression. She completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from MIT in Systems Neuroscience. View full bio. Want to share this article on your own blog? View our reposting guidelines.

Psycho-Neuro-Immunology: Uncovering the Roots of Mental Illness

KellyBroganMd.com
Dr. Kelly Brogan
Holistic Psychiatrist & Author Of A Mind Of Your Own
February 4, 2020

Nine months after the birth of my first daughter, I felt off. Flatness, forgetfulness, cold, and tired. If I hadn’t discovered my formal diagnosis of an autoimmune thyroid condition, I could easily have been offered an antidepressant. Instead, I delved into the complex physiology of the immune system and its relationship to seemingly unrelated areas like the gut and brain. I learned pathways and the role of nutrients in their optimization. I changed my lifestyle, and my life changed as a result. What if this diagnosis wasn’t just a result of chemical exposure, lack of sleep, and a horrendous diet? What if it meant something, specific, to me, for me, and about me?

• • •

Psychoneuroimmunology: Gut-Brain Science

According to my credentials, I have fellowship-level expertise in Psychosomatic Medicine. What does that phrase mean to you? Undoubtedly, it conjures notions of hysteria and attention-seeking illness fabrication. Almost in an effort to escape these implications, this advanced medical training has, at some sites, been rebranded as Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, to invoke the seemingly more legitimate study of psychiatric symptoms emerging in medical and surgical patients.

Psychiatry has been seeking to scientifically substantiate itself for the better part of a century, and we have all fallen prey to the allure of the biological explanation, the organic cause, the mechanistic descriptor for a given pathology. Many a patient has felt relief at being told that they have a “chemical imbalance.” A chemical imbalance is, by definition not your fault. In fact, there’s nothing you can do about it, except, of course to fill your prescription and take it forever, like a good patient.

The Physical Origins of Mental Illness

Even with my left turn from conventional psychiatry, I have spent a decade steeped in vanguard biomedical models of depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia. Models that explore the contributions of various systems including endocrine, immune, and neurochemical. I have even been criticized by other psychiatry-dissenters as simply substituting one physiologic illusion for another that continues to pathologize what is appropriate human angst and response to trauma. These critics say, it’s all mind, not body.

What if there is a new conversation happening in the medical literature – one that encompasses the whole person, all at once?

Entitled Symbolic Diseases and “Mindbody” Co-Emergence. A Challenge for Psychoneuroimmunology, Broom et al take the progressive field of Psychoneuroimmunology to task and demand an even more nuanced and sophisticated approach to the human experience.

Gut-Brain: Just The Beginning

On many levels, psychoneuroimmunology is an exciting revelation simply because it decimates false boundaries between different systems and allows more cohesive assessments to be made. No longer are there many blind men feeling parts of the elephant describing a rope and a tree trunk. We begin to understand that the immune and endocrine systems appear to be mediating a dialogue – bidirectional – between the gut and the brain.

In this model, the gut influences the brain and the brain influences the gut but they are still two separate entities communicating through biochemical signals. Where are YOU in this relationship? Where are the elements of the human experience that reflect your deeply held beliefs, thoughts, and relationships? What about your history and experience of yourself up until this point? Are we still just reducing humanity to bubbles of substances?

Gut-Brain-Mind: Adding Another Dimension

The mind is invited into gut-brain physiologic conversation in the form of stress. Stress has been used as a cause-all vector of bodily illness, a perspective that still reigns in the literature including data that demonstrates that perceived stress mobilizes inflammatory immune cells in the bone marrow. But the mind is more than stress, isn’t it? Is the personal meaning of the stress relevant?

Dr. Candace Pert has confirmed as much through her discovery of the bodily opiate receptor and research on neuropeptides demonstrating that that emotions are literally encoded throughout organs and tissues. Her perspective seems to elucidate why and how one person could weep after 8 minutes of raised arms in a kundalini yoga class and another might barely find it challenging. We get closer to a more personal experience of the physical body that blurs the boundaries between mental and physical.

In fact, the interpretation of the physical by the mind can actually then lead to changes and shifts in the physical – this is called the placebo effect. An emergent phenomenon, the placebo effect is physical and mental and both in the context of your personal beliefs, history, and expectations. It is not a mental factor. It is not a physical factor. It is a totality of you brought to the experience of healing.

So if it’s not just a broken body, why do we get sick?

Since the dawn of the microbiome, exosomes, and placebo research, no longer can we hold onto the cold comfort of our genes. We weren’t simply “born with” our illnesses and struggles. They have been co-created by us in our environment. But are they meaningful beyond that? Purposeful, even? Teleology is the study of purpose as a driving force of nature. It flies in the face of the mechanistic, reductionist perspective that life is random, nature is meaningless, and that force, effort, and exactitude dictate all outcomes.

The attunement of the organism to the world is reciprocated by the action of the world on us. The world or environment is not something inert, passive, something waiting to be acted upon. – Maurita Harney

Far from being new age woo, this field is supported by burgeoning disciplines such as quantum physics and biosemiotics, non-linear exploration of top-down informational exchange in web-like matrices. The one gene-one pill-one ill model of random bad luck is a skin this snake has shed.

The Meaning of Your Illness Matters

I firmly believe that there is a personal invitation in every diagnosis, and even every symptom. It is an invitation to examine everything and anything from diet to spiritual beliefs, but could illness carry personal symbolism and meaning? Broom et al, the authors of the previous paper, suggest that:

“Some persons will represent their meanings and “stories” clearly in language, some in behavior, some in the body, and some (maybe most) in multiple ways.”

To appreciate the relevance of symbolism, the whole person must be assessed in a global view with sensitivity to the meaning for a given individual of their symptoms. They pull cases from the literature including;

“A woman developed the precancerous condition oral leukoplakia (and, later, oral cancer requiring seven surgical interventions/reconstructions) at age 33. After 22 years of disease she entered therapy, and, in the first session, it emerged that her dentist father had died by suicide when the patient was age 6 and when he was 33. At age 12, the patient had been told by her alcoholic mother that she, the daughter, had caused the father’s death because she had refused to sit on his knee! There was a profound shame at having “caused” his death. Brief therapy led to a rapid and, thus far, 15-year remission.”

This made me wonder if my postpartum thyroiditis symptoms of cloudiness and fatigue so many years ago were representative of my feeling suppressed and oppressed by my unexpressed self. Perhaps I developed exactly what it is that I needed to become more myself in this life, and that healing it rather than fighting it was the integration that rendered me one with my very personal process.

Broom et al might say yes. They propose a co-emergent framework. This is one in which mind and body are not causing effects in one another but are a part of an unbroken continuity of internal body processes and external interpersonal meanings and influences. In other words, it is a model that takes into account the person, their story, and their environment as all a part of a web that includes the body and its systems.

More Than the Sum of Our Parts

How can we can enter on all of these levels at once – body, mind, and meaning? With the launch of my course, Vital Mind Reset, I have witnessed that self-healing is possible when we escape the reductionist magic pill/magic bullet model and honor our weblike complexity. Medical meditation, examination of beliefs, engagement in community, detox, and nutritional medicine all synergize to bring about results that might not have otherwise been possible. In fact, Bloom states:

“It appears that a co-emergent framework commonly allows recovery from chronic illnesses unresponsive to biomedical treatments.”

When we use this multi-signal, personalized (by you, for you) approach, participants marvel at the simplicity of the interventions yet the robustness of the shift:

FullSizeRender (2) (2)

In fact, we don’t even need to know why this multilevel approach to healing works, or how. We can move beyond the chemical theories, the complex analysis, and simply be in the process of sending the bodymind a signal of safety. Safety looks like ease. Trust. Curiosity. And even surrender. It’s not a fight. It’s not a battle. It’s a cooperative exchange and an exploration. It’s becoming more of our whole selves because we are becoming less fragmented and self-evasive. We stop hiding parts of our personhood from our awareness. We embrace it all in order to heal.

I now look for the story in any physical symptoms that arise in me, and in the physiologic specifics of my patient’s conditions. Exploring these stories often reveals the key to true wellness.

Read More At: KellyBroganMD.com

Book Review: A Mind Of Your Own: The Truth About Depression And How Women Can Heal Their Bodies To Reclaim Their Lives by Kelly Brogan M.D. and Kristin Loberg | #SmartReads #MentalHealth #Depression

“Psychiatric diagnosis still relies exclusively on fallible subjective judgments rather than objective biological tests.”
– Dr. Allen Frances, author of Saving Normal

“Probably as much as 75% of the medicine of sickness is unnecessary and its cost can be avoided.”
–  Dr. Ghislaine Lanctot, Author Of The Medical Mafia

MS

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
February 1, 2020

Dr. Kelly Brogan’s work first became known to me when she addressed countless health issues in an article she penned years back that was shared via the website GreenMedInfo.com which is an absolutely superb website about health.  From that moment forward, Brogan became one of my ‘go-to’ alternative medical doctors whose work I attempt to read as much as possible given how mental health issues are increasing significantly each year.

Bottom line: A Mind Of Your Own: The Truth About Depression And How Women Can Heal Their Bodies To Reclaim Their Lives by Kelly Brogan M.D and Kristin Loberg shows the reader many of the inherent issues within Big Pharma and Big Psych while also outlining many proactive steps individuals can take to take charge of their health in significant ways.

Not only is the reader seamlessly shown countless examples of very troublesome issues regarding medications doled out like candy by Big Pharma and doctors, but also how this health for-profit system of ‘medicine’ is set up by loose strings, which care not for people’s health rights and simply care for profits.

For example, did you know that the U.S. and New Zealand are the only countries which allow drug companies to advertise directly to consumersPrior to 1997, there was a ban in place that restricted pharmaceuticals from advertising to consumers – known as drug-to-consumer-advertising, or DTCA- but this ban was removed, to the detriment of the populace.[1]

Why is this important?  Because that law was in place to protect individuals from the highly specialized, and yet misleading advertising of all drugs.

Another point of serious concern is how the great majority of prescription drugs sold take place due to DTCA.  As Dr. Kelly Brogan notes in her milestone book, which homes in on the efficiency of this specialized advertising:

“It’s been calculated that DTCA [drug-to-consumer advertising] is responsible for nearly half (49 percent) of requests for drugs.  And fully seven out of ten times doctors prescribe based on appeal by patients who learned through their computers and televisions that they have an “imbalance” that must be fixed with a pill.”[2][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]

Predictably, all that already-disturbing information leads to prescription drugs being doled out at 4 Billion per annum[3], it’s no wonder that Medical Errors are the third leading cause of death.[4]  According to a new John Hopkins study, which is covered by the Washington Post:

“Their analysis, published in the BMJ, shows that ‘medical errors’ in hospitals and other health care facilities are incredibly common and may now be the third leading cause of death in the United States — claiming 251,000 lives every year, more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s.”[5][Click here to read the study named Medical Error – The Third Leading Cause Of Death In The US]

You, as an astute reader, might be wondering, okay, what does that have to do with psychiatry?  Excellent question.

About 10% of Americans take anti-depressants, which equates to about 30 million people.  With the downright disconcerting facts that Dr. Brogan brings up in her book A Mind Of Your Own, many of the people that will be railed by the medical system will be within the psychiatric field, and a significant portion of them will be children as well.

What’s disturbing about this is that, as Dr. Brogan herself cautions, most drug research is in fact, short term:

Their patients have never consented to the long-term effects of these medications because pharmaceutical research is, by nature, short term.  There is no incentive on the part of the pharmaceutical  companies to take a good look at what happens to the average individual when she takes a medication for a decade or so.”[6][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]

As an individual who’s had a few friends that have depression and continues to meet people with it randomly through life, and also as a person who has a great interest in all of health, the information presented within this book is paramount to understanding the larger landscape of Big Pharma and health as a whole within the United States.

One of the greatest strengths A Mind Of Your Own showcases is the fact that this book is chock-full of real verifiable data that would shock most people who haven’t begun doing their own research about what happens within Big Pharma and the psychiatric field.

Thankfully, not only is this book rather easy to comprehend, but the reader can feel the honesty and concern that have been staples of Brogan throughout her work. This is vital, because in the arena of medicine there are countless doctors who care more about prescribing pills, than they do about the welfare of the patient and actually solving the problem.  This is known personally to me and my family via my many hospitalizations due to poor health, doing exactly what the doctors suggested which was always taking more pills, which never solved any problems.  It was only when seeking my own solutions following nutrition, getting off of medications, and many steps that true healing began taking place for me.

On that note, this is where Dr. Brogan shines because she is doing what should be undertaken by most if not all doctors or concerned individuals within the medical establishment, which is outlining the dangers so many people are going through in respect to side effects by the overmedication of America, as well as – and arguably more important – offering solutions/alternatives to the for-profit (and not for-health) medical system. 

Brogan’s book on the mental health in America is quite unique and reminiscent of the work of another author.  A Mind Of Your Own reminds me of a book called Toxic Psychiatry by Peter R. Breggin M.D., who not only outlines glaring problems within the psychiatric establishment, but also, like Brogan, covers issues with medications that most people would consider safe, but aren’t as safe as they are made out to be by medical doctors.

To be precise, I’m not implying that the Dr. Brogan’s work takes from Dr. Breggin. What I am saying however is that both doctors have great concern regarding mainstream health, and seem to share very similar values in how they think patients should be treated in respect to actual solutions that don’t revolve simply around handing out prescriptions non-stop without seeking to actually solve the underlying issues.

With that said, this particular book ventures into myriad paths.  It rightly gives an extensive look into the flawed theory of depression but also shows how that theory is an outright fallacy.  It also covers many of the ways in which depression symptoms can manifest in people, which at times may be solved with specific vitamins, which is something that goes directly against the Big Pharma prescription medication model.

Keeping all of the above in mind, one would expect that with tens of millions of lives at stake, and with dozens of side effects to boot per medication, a more thorough process would be in place to safeguard individuals against possible iatrogenic mistakes that plague the populace en mass.  But such is not the case unfortunately.

Another great notion Brogan centers in on within her book is done in her chapter called The Great Psychiatric Pretenders.  Within it, Brogan details not only how the one-size-fits-all type of care that is carried out in America is inefficient, but she also provides a few of the circumstances that create bedlam within individuals and are often categorized as depression, but are incorrectly diagnosed.  Please read that again. 

It’s imperative to know this because people are walking around thinking a pill is the only solution to their problems when there are other possible solutions that may be possible.

Brogan also sheds light with a cursory glance at the fact that serious drug fraud has taken place in the past which is unknown to many.

Although there aren’t many doctors out there standing up for what’s right within medicine, Dr. Brogan and a growing number of others are, such as the aforementioned Dr. Peter R. Breggin, Dr. Mercola, Dr. Duzanne Humphries, Dr. Sircus, Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride, Dr. Russell Blaylock, Tetyana Obukhanych Ph.D, and more, are forming new grounds in the field of health – true health.  Each of these individuals all put out very high quality information regularly and are concerned with various aspects of health. But don’t take my word for it, do your own research so you can be better informed.  I cannot stress the ‘do your own research’ part enough

It is vital for individuals as a community to support these people, because they’re in it to HELP people and refuse to throw people under the bus merely for profit.

In any case, if you’ve read any of Dr. Brogan’s work, A Mind Of Your Own employs the same high quality standards of research and thoughtfulness.  Brogan pulls no punches in her journey not only outlining the dangers within the prescription drugs given for depression that individuals should be concerned about, but also in offering holistic solutions that many do not realize are available.

If you’ve made it this far and are really interested in the topic, do yourself a favor and purchase this book. That, or perhaps recommend it to people that might find great value in it because they will find information that’s not only deep, but quite extensive. The information in this book can really change the course of someone’s life if they realize what’s out there.  I’ve seen it happen myself with friends and recommend it any chance I get, whether the person is interested in depression, mental health in a general sense, or merely seeking a deeper understanding of pervasive issues within the pharmaceutical industry.

Anchoring down, not only does holistic psychiatrist Brogan absolutely eviscerate the Depression is a “chemical imbalance” theory with ample data and serious research, but she also gives the reader precise methods in which they can retake their health back, while also seeking to empower women in countless ways.

Now, if that’s not self-empowerment, what is?

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Suggested Viewing:

Depression: Busting Myths & Finding Answers (Full Interview w/Dr. Kelly Brogan)

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Sources & References:

[1] Dr. Joseph Mercola, The Great Bird Flu Hoax, p. 39.
[2] Dr. Kelly Brogan M.D., A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression, p. 52.
[3] http://www.naturalnews.com/037226_drug_prescriptions_medical_news_pills.htm
[4] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/05/03/researchers-medical-errors-now-third-leading-cause-of-death-in-united-states/?utm_term=.d262ea291b26
[5] http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2139
[6] Dr. Kelly Brogan M.D., A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression, p. 35.

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If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

Mental Illness in Pregnancy | To Medicate or Not Medicate


KellyBroganMD.com
Dr. Kelly Brogan

When a woman has a history of severe and relapsing mental illness, but is stable on her current treatment, and is planning a pregnancy or is postpartum, what is the best course of action for her and her baby?

In my conventional training, I spent (and continue to spend) countless hours analyzing the available registry, cohort, retrospective, and prospective studies on the safety and efficacy of psychotropic medications in pregnancy and lactation. As one of approximately 300 reproductive psychiatrists in the world, I am privy to the defensive posture of clinicians who deign to help these women, often perceived by general psychiatrists to be too high liability to treat.  I understand the feeling that psychiatric medications are held to a standard of obstetrical scrutiny that anti-emetics, antibiotics, steroids, and painkillers are not.  I know that there are more than 25,000 cases of SSRIs in the perinatal literature and yet there still isn’t a clear signal of any reproducible, consistent teratogenicity or danger that is definitely not attributable to the underlying illness.

Miscarriage, preterm birth, and neonatal adaptation are all considerations, but are such common and multifactorial outcomes, that it will be some time before clear A-causes-B information surfaces. In many ways, the collective outcome of this data surprises me – we are applying medications (often prepared with unstudied preservatives, dyes, and metals) based on subjective diagnostic parameters, to women who bring other burdens to the table that are largely uncontrolled for in these studies (high glycemic diets, xenoestrogen/endocrine modulator exposure, baseline inflammation).  We are rarely certain that the medication, if taken, has treated their symptoms to remission, and study after study fails to show a signal of serious danger on the order of alcohol, Accutane, or even Depakote.

These studies are compromised, fundamentally, by the fact that they are not, and will never be, randomized, double-blind-placebo controlled trials.  Analyzing the methodology, reading beyond the abstract, and contextualizing findings for any given patient requires serious dedication of a practitioner’s intellectual resources.  How do we personalize these recommendations? After all, studies are studies, and individuals are individuals.  In my perspective, we assess for a better treatment path for the patient that addresses root cause hormonal and inflammatory contributors and applies interventions that are low risk and potentially high yield, preferably with some degree of evidence base. We start by looking at interventions that have benefits for mom, mood, and baby (diet, exercise, meditation, fatty acids, l-methylfolate, vitamin D, probiotics, etc).

This process is not for the impatient. It can take upwards of a year to truly rebalance a patient’s system, and to properly taper medication.  It is no wonder that data suggests a high risk of relapse. Abrupt discontinuation of antidepressants (and mood stabilizers/benzos/stimulants) places a demand for reequilibration that often overwhelms a system’s ability to achieve that without support, or return to medication. The process of medication weaning is a complex and time-consuming one that, in my experience, requires cell membrane, amino acid, and micronutrient support in the setting of painstakingly slow taper of dosage. I always tell my patients that the ultimate goal is to gently usher the medication out the back door, not push it off the balcony.

When I meet a patient who is already pregnant on medication, wondering what is best for her and her fetus, it is not a black or white decision-making process. We have to consider the central nervous system stimulation of medication withdrawal, potential relapse (often hard to distinguish from the former), safety of supplements in pregnancy, and then the flipside, which is the known and unknown risks of medications, assuming that it is helping her. This web is brilliantly illuminated in this paper, which I would imagine leaves most readers feeling a sense of sky-is-falling nihilism about treating pregnant patients. Oberlander holds all of our assumptions about the interplay between medications, genes, and the epigenome under a microscope, revealing all of the pores and wrinkles we were hoping to obscure with a professional distance. The number of “if, then…” clauses becomes overwhelming.

An example:  If the mother carries a short/short copy of the serotonin transporter gene (which we understand to confer “environmental sensitivity” or lack of resilience, and poor response to SSRIs), and she experienced childhood trauma herself, her serotonin trafficking may look very much like that of a woman with long alleles and SSRI exposure.  He references an animal study which suggests normalization of the stress response after SSRI exposure in utero, alluding to the potential effects of SSRIs that span well beyond the serotonin modulation and may even be protective in some cases.

Then, once the serotonergic imprinting has occurred in utero, the effects are further modulated by postnatal exposures such as nurturing care and breastfeeding so that cortisol levels may be normalized even if there was alteration of serotonin signaling in pregnancy that messed with the hypothalamic pituitary axis. It appears that genetic variants “matter” only in settings of environmental stress, and maybe only if that stress represents a “mismatch” to the in utero level of stress. After all, epigenetics is a means of preparing the baby for the world it appears to be entering.

The summary of this article reads like a “well, maybe, uhh, we’re not sure” conclusion to the examination of just one proposed system of influence – serotonergic tone in utero as regulated by SRIs, genetic variants, and mood disorders. It renders the reductionist model of depression as a serotonin-deficit disease cured by a reuptake inhibitor, embarrassingly simplistic.In light of this, it is important to feel comfortable sitting with uncertainty, giving wellness and healing a cautious and humble best effort while respecting the vast swaths of knowledge that have yet to be achieved. I don’t waste my patient’s time with hand waving about biochemical imbalances as an explanation for their state (I have been known to gesticulate wildly when talking about gluten, though).

Adding to this complexity, we suspect, based on a study by the same author that maternal antenatal depression may increase methylation of the glucocorticoid receptor (shutting down its on switch), leading to elevated stress response in the child at three months. He discusses some 15% of childhood behavioral problems being attributed to antenatal stress/anxiety.  This is a sign of a toxic, inflamed system, and it is no surprise that this maternal inflammation has a negative effect on the fetus.

What else can cause maternal inflammation?  Here’s the short list:

  • Processed foods/trans fats
  • Lack of sleep
  • Sugar and associated insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • Environmental toxins/industrial chemicals
  • Vaccines
  • Chronic infection

I don’t know of many safety studies controlling for these individual variables, yet there are several that examine the deleterious effects on birth outcomes when a woman has evidence of inflammatory markers.

We are operating in a system of medication-driven treatment, and the only real time that medication risks are taken seriously is when a woman has seen that little plus sign on the stick in her bathroom.  Then they are often violently tossed out the window, and deemed contraindicated for the coming 1+ years of gestation and lactation.  We need to be thoughtfully examining how to best support a woman’s system from the time that she gets her first period (and even more so if that is before she is 13!), because engaging this line of rhetoric once she is pregnant is often too little to late, and a ones or zeros, meds or no meds approach does not do justice to the complexity of a system that is hard at work building another system.

Read More @ KellyBroganMD.com

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If you want to delve into more of Dr. Brogan’s work, please consider taking a look at the review of her absolutely stellar book, “A Mind Of Your Own” & The Truth Of How Women Can Heal Their Bodies

This post originally appeared on Mad in America as To Medicate or Not Medicate: That is Not the Question

New Insights on Gut Permeability and Depression


Source: KellyBroganMD.com
Kelly Brogan MD Team

If you know what depression feels like – the brain clouding, the flat moods, the tiredness – you’re not alone. Over 300 million people around the world have depression, and yet there’s a lot that we still don’t quite understand.1

Thankfully, the medical field is developing some new insights that just might help us understand depression better. In a new 2019 study, researchers decided to examine the potential mechanisms of major depressive disorder in teenage girls and found some evidence that could help us better understand exactly how gut permeability (leaky gut) can lead to inflammation, which in turn, leads to depression.

New Insight into Leaky Gut and Depression

In this 2019 study, Baylor College of Medicine researchers are directly looking at gut permeability and major depressive disorder, a study that is the first of its kind.2

With a sample of forty-one 12–17 year-old teenage girls who were medically healthy, the study measured the severity of the girls’ depressive symptoms, the activity of the autonomic nervous system, intestinal permeability, or gut leakiness, and the number of inflammatory cytokines.

To measure whether the girls were depressed, an interviewer performed the Children’s Depression Rating Scale-Revised (CDRS-R) and a clinical interview.  The CDRS-R is a rating scale that requires interviews of both child and parent to understand the severity of a child’s depression. Over the past few decades, the CDRS-R has become the most widely used rating scale for assessing severity and change in depression for clinical trials involving children and adolescents.3 In order to collect data on the autonomic nervous system activity, researchers measured pre-ejection period (PEP) and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) data, which are indicators for the activity levels of the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system respectively. They measured the leakiness of the gut using the lactulose-mannitol ratio (LMR), which involves having the teens first fast overnight and then ingesting a premeasured amount of lactulose and mannitol. The researchers then collected the urine for four hours after ingestion. By looking at the ratio of lactulose and mannitol that passed through the gut lining, researchers could calculate the permeability of the gut lining, or how “leaky” it was. To measure inflammation, the researchers took blood samples and measured inflammatory cytokines.

They found that in unmedicated teenage girls between the ages of 14-17, depression severity was associated with increased intestinal permeability, as measured by the lactulose to mannitol ratio. The leakier the gut, they found, the more severe the depression and depressive symptoms. They saw that the higher the concentration of the cytokine IL-1β, the more severe the depression. They also found that increased intestinal permeability may be the path between sympathetic nervous system activation and depression severity. Additionally, their evidence suggested that increased intestinal permeability may activate the innate immune system and push the development of depression.

The result of this study also helps clarify the mechanisms through which activating the sympathetic nervous system can increase gut permeability and activate the innate immune system—two things that are likely contributing to depression symptoms.

The Brain, The Gut, and the Immune System

If you’re wondering why intestinal permeability is related to depression, let’s back up and walk through the whole pipeline.

We start with the immune system. Throughout the last century, psychiatry has been exploring the role of the immune system in certain presentations of depression. Importantly, the gut houses over 70% of our immune system, which makes sense given that the lining of your gut is the barrier between your insides and the outside world. The gastrointestinal epithelium usually forms a single-cell-thick barrier that prevents the free movement of toxicants, microbes, and microbial antigens from entering into the rest of your body. This lining usually does a good job absorbing things we need (like food) and interfacing with foreign things that might wreak havoc—which is probably why most of our immune cells are located in the gut.4 The relationship between the gut and the brain is both complex and important. We’ve all felt the butterflies in our stomachs when we’re nervous or anxious, but it turns out that the relationship between the brain and the gut is actually bidirectional. Not only can our brains affect how our guts feel, but our gut can relay its state of calm or alarm to the nervous system and send those immune reactions up the vagus nerve to the brain.

To understand how the gut and depression are related, we should first better comprehend the triggers for inflammation, what inflammation is, and how it happens.

Stress Drives Inflammation

So what IS inflammation in the first place? Inflammation is the body’s defensive response to stresses, like injury or the ingestion of bodily-incompatible chemicals. Upon approaching a stressor, the immune system kicks into a higher gear to heal the body.

Stress is a catch-all term, a trigger that links hormones to inflammation. Essentially, when the body thinks something is wrong, the body releases hormones that tell the body to be on the lookout and get on defense, and inflammation occurs. These triggers can come in all forms, many of which are actually staples of modern American life, from sugar to stress to pesticides and pollution to anxiety to beyond. Whether psychological or physiological, stress drives the inflammation response by telling the brain to release cortisol, the steroid hormone that acts as nature’s built-in alarm system and makes it for our bodies to use blood sugar for energy so that we can flee from whatever is causing the stress.5

Once inflammation is started, not only does inflammation cause more inflammation, but recent studies have linked low-grade inflammation to depression. When inflammation reaches the brain, cells begin to take their limited supply of tryptophan to produce more anxiety-provoking chemicals like quinolinate.6 Medical literature has found that inflammation seems to be a consistent marker of depressive symptoms, like flat mood, slowed thinking, avoidance, alterations in perception, and metabolic changes.

How does inflammation get provoked in the gut?

So let’s understand how exactly a leaky gut can lead to inflammation – the body’s language of imbalance.

When the body is stressed, the junctions between cells in the stomach can be less effective than they should be.7 This allows bacteria and toxicants to enter the bloodstream that can continue to cause widespread inflammation and possibly trigger a far-reaching reaction from the immune system.8 Having leaky gut cause inflammation sets off a problematic chain of events because the gut has a direct link to the brain through the vagus nerve.9

The medical field has been slowly inching up on a fuller understanding of the link between intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) and depression. Previous studies focusing on depression and have found the chemical hints of leaky gut. For example…

Continue Reading At: KellyBroganMD.com

Dr. Kelly Brogan – Depression: Busting Myths & Finding Answers | #Depression | #MentalHealth

Dr. Kelly Brogan’s book, A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression, is not only one of my favorite books on health, but is also a downright magnificent book that deals with the topic of Depression.  The depth and scope of the information presented within that book was not unlike what Dr. Peter Breggin did in his quintessential Toxic Psychiatry.

Interviewed below, Dr. Brogan goes into many of the pervasive myths taking place within the field while offering her insights on issues within psychiatry.
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To learn more about alternative ways of treating depression and other conditions, visit us at http://www.thesacredscience.com/.

A few months ago we had the chance to sit down with Dr. Kelly Brogan, a NYC-based psychiatrist who’s offering a new approach to healing.

Trained in the ways of Western Medicine, but having seen first hand the way the system has evolved into what it is today, under the influence of pharmaceuticals, she is shining the light on some very important truths and turning everything we know about the topic of depression on its head.

The question “is pain and suffering a good thing?” might seem like something only the Dalai Llama would ask, but in our interview, Kelly discusses how going through tough times and hardships actually make us stronger, and equip us with the tools to combat even harder struggles down the line.

If you’re interested in learning about the true meaning of depression and how to treat it the right way, or what we may be losing by the death of the rites of passage, or why all mainstream media outlets said no to sharing the information in her new book “A Mind of Your Own,” even though it was backed by one of the biggest names in publishing, you should definitely watch this interview.

The knowledge she shares will change the way you think about what you or your loved ones have gone through, or are going through now, and more importantly, how to move forward in the best way possible…

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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression & How Women Can Heal Their Bodies To Reclaim Their Lives by Dr. Kelly Brogan M.D. & Kristin Loberg
Eat To Beat Disease – Food’s Medicinal Qualities by Catherine Frompovich
Toxic Psychiatry by Dr. Peter Breggin M.D.
Healing Chi Meditation by Sifu William Lee
Total Chi Fitness by Sifu William Lee
Speed – Facing Our Addiction To Fast & Faster & Overcoming Our Fear Of Slowing Down by Stephanie Brown Ph.D.
Dr. Belisa Vranich On The Intricacies Of Breathing [Video]
The Dark Side Of Food [Video]
Cancer Is Serious Business – Burzynski [Documentary]
The World According To Monsanto [Documentary]
Thimerosal – Let The Science Speak – The Evidence Supporting The Immediate Removal Of Mercury – A Known Neurotoxin – From Vaccines by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Food Forensics by Mike Adams

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If you find value in this information, you are implored to please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

_________________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.