Posts by Dr. Robert Hedaya

Nutrition and Depression: Nutrition, Neuronal Protection, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin D and Depression, Part 3

Nutrition, Neuronal Protection and Depression Neuronal protection (protection against cognitive decline) requires glutathione peroxidase (a crucial enzyme which requires selenium, cysteine, carotenoids, zinc,  and vitamin E) is an important aspect of the treatment of mood disorders both because they tend to be recurrent over one’s life, and because they are associated with neuronal loss in specific parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus. R-lipoic acid, vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids are also critical to neuronal protection. Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin D, and Depression There are numerous studies of the efficacy of omega 3 EFA’s in depression.  A recent large-scale
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

Nutrition and Depression: Nutrition, Methylation, and Depression, Part 2

Nutrition, Methylation, and Depression Nutritional support for the methylation cycle is another area in which nutrition plays a critical role.  The methylation cycle is essential for mental and physical health.  It is critical to the metabolism of catecholamines in the synapse via an enzyme (COMT) as well as the synthesis of ‘depression-relevant’ compounds such as melatonin, myelin basic protein, carnitine, CoQ10, etc.  Methylation is required to inactivate histamine. Basic nutrients necessary for normal function of this cycle include B12, glycine, serine, activated B6, selenium, cysteine, methionine and folic acid. Several studies have shown the utility of folic acid as an adjunct to medication
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Nutrition and Depression: State of the Science and Treatment, Part 1

Efficacy and Use of Medications in the Treatment of Depression It is becoming widely recognized that the current treatment of mood disorders (such as depression), while offering better outcomes than several decades ago, leave much room for improvement. The remission rate at the end of the first phase of the well-publicized STAR-D study (1) was only 25%. In fact, a recent review of 4 meta analyses of the effectiveness of anti-depressants by PIGOTT(2) found that of the 4041 patients initially started on citalopram in the STAR=D study, (after 4 trials of medication combinations and psychotherapy), only 108 of those who
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

“Are there Benefits to having Bipolar disorder?”

Let me start by acknowledging what is well known: Manic Depression or Bipolar disorder can be a devastating illness. Affecting at least 1% of the population, it can, untreated, result in suicide, ruined careers and devastated families. Bipolar disorder is often accompanied by alcohol and drug abuse and addiction, criminal and even violent behavior. I acknowledge this, because I do not want to make light of the burden this illness places on people’s lives, their families and communities. On the other hand, the history of the world has been influenced very significantly by people with manic depression – from actors and
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

More on ‘Medicine Masquerading as Science’

In a previous blog, I talked about how many doctors and patients do not know the full story about their drugs or medical treatments because of a widespread problem involving unpublished or biased clinical trials. Here is an update on what is happening. As I mentioned, frequently, medical journals or pharmaceutical companies that sponsor research will report only positive results, leaving out the non-findings or negative findings where a new drug or procedure may have proved more harmful than helpful. “A new review of research about this problem points to hidden or misleading studies for all sorts of conditions, including
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

Scrub the Soap to Save Your Thyroid?

There are over 900 ‘new to nature’ chemicals in our environments, in our blood, and many are even in the blood of unborn children. Now, following the heightened concern regarding bisphenol A (in clear plastics, such as baby bottles), the FDA is beginning to set its sights on Triclosan. Triclosan is an antibacterial preservative used in “76% of liquid soaps and 29% of bar soaps”. Aside from soaps, triclosan is also used in toothpastes, cosmetics, shoes, socks, workout clothes, and many personal care products. Triclosan has been detected in the urine of 75% of Americans, 60% of US streams, and
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

The Teenagers Brain

If you are reading this, you are probably a parent, a teacher, or perhaps even a teen yourself. In any case, you feel confounded by unpredictable and volatile behavior, emotions which seem to arise like tornados from out of the blue, and a parade of identities which seem to change as fast as a runway model’s wardrobe. What causes all this chaos and confusion? In this article I will summarize some of the new research findings, which shed light on this most vibrant phase of life in the teen brain. The structure of the brain I often describe the overall
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

Letter to the Editor of the New York Times

The New York Times had a front page article on May 12th, 2010 entitled: “Doubt is Cast on Many Reports of Food Allergies“. The article reviewed a government report on the concept and prevalence of food allergies. From the NY times report (I have not read the article, as it is not available yet) there are some valid points (e.g., a food allergy must involve the immune system, certain food reactions are not true allergies, such as lactose intolerance). However my concern is twofold: The NY Times summary of the article, and perhaps the publication itself, seem at this point
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

Obesity, Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Mental Health: Part II

As I mentioned in part I of this blog, there is a strong association between insulin resistance, diabetes and mental health. Caught and treated early, insulin resistance is reversible in >90% of patients, and there is a clear improvement in well-being associated with this reversal. To get to the foundation of the problem, you must do a diagnostic work-up, to identify and deal with the layered factors which promote insulin resistance and diabetes. Factors to be assessed include: a) Cortisol-levels which are too high, (as might be the case in anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and psychotic disorders) cause insulin to
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.

Obesity, Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Mental Health: Part I

Insulin resistance is a fully reversible condition in which the cells of the body become insensitive to the insulin signal, which itself is designed to take glucose (sugar) out of the blood and into the cells (for energy). If insulin resistance becomes severe enough, it progresses into type II diabetes. Diabetes is more difficult to reverse, and is associated with frequent urination, increased weight, increased thirst, and a host of other problems. The connection between obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and mental health problems is no longer questioned. There are number of reasons for the association, including the use of psychotropic
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Categories: Health Matters Blog.