Anti-depression diet

Author: Andre Adrian
Date: 10.Jul.2011, updated 26.Jun.2014


The brain-gut axis
What is depression? Nobody can answer this question in detail at the moment. The standard treatment today for depression is a SSRI drug like Sertraline. The brain can use the existing neurotransmitter serotonin better with the help of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. If a lack of serotonin in the brain causes depression, then enhancing the effect of the available serotonin will help. Increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain is another method. The brain needs the essential nutrient tryptophan for the production of serotonin. The food intake must provide tryptophan, because it isn't produced in the body. One part of the anti-depression diet is increasing the intake of tryptophan and other raw materials which the body needs to produce serotonin.
Approximate 95% of the body’s serotonin resides between the gut nerve cells. Serotonin initiates in the gut peristaltic and secretory reflexes and transmits information to the central nervous system. The nerve cells in the gut are competitors to the nerve cells in the brain for tryptophan and other essential nutrients.
The digestion is more important then the mental processing. The second part of the anti-depression diet is to channel the essential nutrients to the brain cells. Lack of serotonin in the brain is in part a result of conditions in the gut. The gut is affected by the ailments coeliac disease, lactose intolerance, fructose malabsorption (dietary fructose intolerance) and sorbitol intolerance. The gut ailments become brain ailments thru the brain-gut axis.
This anti depression diet has a two part strategy. First: increase the intake of essential nutrients that are needed for serotonin production. Second: guide the essential nutrients to the brain cells. This diet will not help you to loose weight, nor shall it increase your weight like SSRI drugs often do. Only part of your daily food intake is exchanged by this diet. The author assumes that at work or at school one meal per day is consumed. This meal is not influenced by the diet. A mediterrane cuisine is advised.
This diet supports a SSRI drug. If your doctor believes in the brain-gut axis, then he/she will appreciate this diet. If your doctor doesn't believe in the brain-gut axis then he/she should nevertheless respect your opinions. We talk about healthy nutrition here, not about nutritional supplements.


A sad story

WARNING: I am not a doctor of medicine nor do I have any knowledge about the treatment of depression. My aim is to bring together available information. If an anti-depression diet is effective against depression there is the following danger: WHEN YOU START TAKING EFFECTIVE SUBSTANCES AGAINST DEPRESSION YOU GET FIRST MORE ENERGY BEFORE YOUR MOOD IMPROVES: IN THESE FIRST WEEKS OF ANTI-DEPRESSION TREATMENT YOU ARE IN DANGER OF SUIZIDE. PLEASE TALK WITH YOUR DOCTOR OR WITH A PERSON YOU TRUST.
To make the point I will tell you a sad story I witnessed myself: We got a new trainee at work. He was a nice, bright fellow. He was the best of his class. I was one of his teachers for the training on the job. One day I was told this young man has committed suicide. I was perplexed, and I asked myself: did I do something wrong? Did I treat this person in a way that has promoted his suicide? Later I learned parts of his sad story: His girl friend had left him, probably because she could not stand his depression any longer. He moved to a new town, far away from family and friends and started a new job, where I came in contact with him. He had a history of suicide attempts, which he maybe did not tell the new doctor he contacted for anti-depression treatment. He got an anti-depression medicine which was effective for him, and within three weeks he was dead. This young man could hopefully still live today if he had got a stationary treatment of his depression. In a clinic the doctors and the nurses know how dangerous depression treatment can be.

Anti depression diet

The diet improves the intake of  tryptophan, polyunsaturated fatty acids and inosistol. The daily intake is:

orange or grapefruit juice Provides myo-Inosistol whenever you like
1 tablespoon cold pressed flaxseed oil Provides polyunsaturated fatty acids at breakfast
Some teaspoons instant yeast Provides Tryptophan, myo-Inosistol
at breakfast
100 grams hard cheese (parmesan, edam, gouda, tilsit)
Provides Tryptophan at breakfast
100 grams nuts (cashew and/or almond) Provides Tryptophan, myo-Inosistol as snack
1 tablespoon cold pressed flaxseed oil Provides polyunsaturated fatty acids
at dinner
Some teaspoons instant yeast Provides Tryptophan, myo-Inosistol
at dinner

Recipe for instant yeast drink: Fill 2 fingers height warm water in a cup, add some teaspoons of instant yeast and stir with a spoon. The drink gets a better taste if you add fruit or vegetable juice.

Bakery instant yeast is available from LeSaffre, Fleischmann's, Red Star and others for reasonable prices (5.89 US-$ for 454 grams). You find it in the super market or via online merchants like

The table below shows the essential nutrients, the Recommended Daily Allowances (EU-RDA) and the values for the food. The EU-RDA is defined in EU Directive 2008/100/EC. The nutrients values are taken from release 23 of the USDA nutrient database. For some essential nutrients like chloride, biotin and others are no values given in the USDA database. The RDA values for amino acids are taken from WHO report 935 and are calculated for a person with 80 kg weight.

Essential nutrient
100 g
oil 13,6 g
100 g
cashew nuts
100 g
edam cheese
100 g
orange juice
200 g

325 kcal
120 kcal
575 kcal
553 kcal
357 kcal
90 kcal
Ca, Calcium 800 mg 30 mg
264 mg
37 mg
731 mg
22 mg
Fe, Iron 14 mg 2,17 mg
3,72 mg
6,68 mg
0,44 mg
0,40 mg
Mg, Magnesium 375 mg 54 mg
268 mg
292 mg
30 mg
22 mg
P, Phosphorus 700 mg 637 mg
484 mg
593 mg
536 mg
34 mg
K, Potassium 2000 mg 955 mg
705 mg
660 mg
188 mg
400 mg
Zn, Zinc
10 mg
7,94 mg
3,08 mg
5,78 mg
3,75 mg
Cu, Copper 1 mg 0,436 mg
0,996 mg
2,195 mg
0,036 mg
0,088 mg
Mn, Manganese 2 mg 0,312 mg
2,285 mg
1,655 mg
0,011 mg
0,028 mg
Se, Selenium 55 µg 7,9 µg 0
2,5 µg 19,9 µg 14,5 µg 0,2 µg
Cl, Chloride 800 mg

CaF2, Fluoride 3,5 mg

Cr, Chromium
40 µg

Mo, Molybdenum 50 µg

I, Iodine 150 µg

Vit C, Ascorbic acid 80 mg 0,3 mg
0,5 mg
100 mg
Vit B1, Thiamin
1,1 mg
10,99 mg
0,211 mg
0,423 mg
0,037 mg
0,180 mg
Vit B2, Riboflavin
1,4 mg
4 mg
1,014 mg
0,058 mg
0,389 mg
0,060 mg
Vit B3, Niacin
16 mg
40,2 mg
3,385 mg
1,062 mg
0,082 mg
0,800 mg
Vit B5, Pantothenic acid
6 mg
13,5 mg
0,469 mg
0,864 mg
0,281 mg
0,380 mg
Vit B6, Pyridoxine
1,4 mg
1,5 mg
0,143 mg
0,417 mg
0,076 mg
0,080 mg
Vit B7, Biotin
50 µg

myo-Inosistol (Vit B8)

1100 mg

278 mg

200 mg
Folic acid (Vit B9)
200 µg? 2340 µg? 0
50 µg? 25 µg? 16 µg? 60 µg?
Vit B12, Cyanocobalamin
2,5 µg 0,07 µg 0
1,54 µg 0
Vit A, Retinol 800 µg 0
242 µg 20 µg
Vit E, alpha-Tocopherol 12mg 0
2,38 mg
26,22 mg
0,9 mg
0,24 mg
0,08 mg
Vit D, Cholecalciferol
5 µg 0
20 IU
Vit K, Phylloquinone
75 µg 0,4 µg 0
34,1 µg 2,3 µg 0,2 µg
Linoleic acid (18:2)
0,017 g
1,727 g
7,782 g
0,418 g
0,058 g
α-Linolenic acid (18:3)
7,249 g
0,006 g
0,062 g
0,247 g
0,022 g
Tryptophan 0,32 g
0,54 g
0,214 g
0,287 g
0,352 g
0,004 g
Threonine 1,2 g
1,99 g
0,598 g
0,688 g
0,932 g
0,016 g
Isoleucine 1,6 g
1,89 g
0.702 g
0,789 g
1,308 g
0,016 g
Leucine 3,12 g
2,92 g
1,488 g
1,472 g
2,570 g
0,026 g
Lysine 2,4 g
3,28 g
0,580 g
0,928 g
2,660 g
0,018 g
0,83 g
0,59 g
0.151 g
0,362 g
0,721 g
0,006 g
0,32 g
0,5 g
0,189 g
0,393 g
0,255 g
0,005 g
Phenylalanine 2 g
1,75 g
1,120 g
0,951 g
1,434 g
0,018 g
Valine 2,08 g
2,31 g
0,817 g
1,094 g
1,810 g
0,022 g
0,8 g
0,91 g
0,557 g
0,456 g
1,034 g
0,003 g

Lactose intolerance and fermented milk products

Hart cheese

Symptoms often occur 30 minutes to 2 hours after having milk products. Large doses of milk products may cause worse symptoms. Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas (flatulence)
  • Nausea
Milk products may be easier to digest include:
  • As a result of the fermentation, very little lactose remains in kefir. People with lactose intolerance are able to tolerate kefir
  • Buttermilk and cheeses (have less lactose than milk)
  • Fermented milk products, such as yogurt
  • Goat's milk
  • Ice cream, milkshakes, and aged or hard cheeses

Hunter-gatherer diet

The anti-depression diet above, which exchanges two of three daily meals, is part of a full hunter-gatherer diet. The diet of a hunter-gatherer has prey (game), eggs, insects, vegetables, root vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. The hunter-gatherer diet has no gluten (no bread), no lactose (no milk), no sugar, no caffeine, no nicotine and only a little alcohol (even animals know and like fermented fruits where part of the fruit sugar was converted to alcohol). Living a hunter-gatherer diet today is no problem. An important part of the hunter-gatherer diet is the food preparation. Hunters eat meat and fish raw or nearly raw. That is, in the restaurant, you have to order your steak raw. Or as in japanese cuisine, you eat sashimi, raw fish. The instant yeast as food in the anti-depression diet above replaces the insects as food. Insects were eaten raw and did not only deliver protein like lean meat, but a lot of essential nutrients. Real insects as food, like roasted grasshoppers, are still in favour in some parts of the world, for example Thailand.
A modern gatherer breakfast can be created out of buckwheat, sesame seeds, orange juice, nuts and fruits. A modern hunter lunch is liver cheese with mixed salad or sashimi with daikon and carrots. As snack the modern gatherer eats nuts and seeds like cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds. For more recipes look for example at gluten-free girl and the chef.
The hunter-gatherer diet can be extended with rice, corn, potatos and cheese. Rice, corn and potatos are gluten free. Hard, aged cheese has little lactose. Most adults with lactose intolerance can eat hard cheese without problems. Well known hard cheese varieties are emmental, cheddar and gruyčre. Gouda cheese is offered with different mature times. Young gouda is mild, but still has lactose, old gouda is salty and has very little lactose. Extra hard cheeses have a mature time of 15 months and more, like the parmesan and the sbrinz.
Attention: The hunter-gatherer diet contains eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish (including shrimp, prawns, lobster and crab) and tree nuts (including cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts and chestnuts). These food are major allergens as reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Be careful if you start a new food. If you are unlucky, you react allergic to the new food.

food preparation
brew sausages like liver cheese (heated up to 68°C), bacon (salt-cured meat), steak roasted "raw"
sashimi (tuna, salmon, squid), soused herring (kippered herring)
soft-boiled egg (heated up to 70°C for protein coagulation)
instant yeast drink as replacement
peppers, kiwifruit, salad, tomatos, peas, .. are eaten raw.
root vegetables
carrots, sweet potatos, garlic, onions, .. are eaten raw
fruits are eaten raw
nuts are eaten raw
seeds are eaten raw after crushing or grinding (e.g. sesame flour, buckwheat flour, )

Essential nutrient
Liver cheese
100 g
kippered Herring
100 g
boiled Egg
100 g
Sesame flour
low-fat 100 g
flour 100 g

304 kcal
217 kcal
155 kcal
333 kcal
335 kcal
Ca, Calcium 800 mg 8 mg
84 mg
50 mg
149 mg
41 mg
Fe, Iron 14 mg 10,83 mg
1,51 mg
1,19 mg
14,22 mg
4,06 mg
Mg, Magnesium 375 mg 12 mg
46 mg
10 mg
338 mg
251 mg
P, Phosphorus 700 mg 207 mg
325 mg
172 mg
757 mg
337 mg
K, Potassium 2000 mg 226 mg
447 mg
126 mg
397 mg
577 mg
Zn, Zinc
10 mg
3,7 mg
1,36 mg
1,05 mg
10 mg
3,12 mg
Cu, Copper 1 mg 0,383 mg
0,135 mg
0,013 mg
1,425 mg
0,515 mg
Mn, Manganese 2 mg 0,200 mg
0,050 mg
0,026 mg
1,396 mg
2,030 mg
Se, Selenium 55 µg 36,5 µg 52,6 µg 30,8 µg 0
5,7 µg
Cl, Chloride 800 mg

CaF2, Fluoride 3,5 mg

Cr, Chromium
40 µg

Mo, Molybdenum 50 µg

I, Iodine 150 µg

Vit C, Ascorbic acid 80 mg 3,0 mg
1,0 mg
Vit B1, Thiamin
1,1 mg
0,212 mg
0,126 mg
0,066 mg
2,516 mg
0,417 mg
Vit B2, Riboflavin
1,4 mg
2,227 mg
0,319 mg
0,513 mg
0,269 mg
0,190 mg
Vit B3, Niacin
16 mg
11,768 mg
4,402 mg
0,064 mg
12,533 mg
6,150 mg
Vit B5, Pantothenic acid
6 mg
3,536 mg
0,880 mg
1,398 mg
2,745 mg
0,440 mg
Vit B6, Pyridoxine
1,4 mg
0,470 mg
0,413 mg
0,121 mg
0,142 mg
0,582 mg
Vit B7, Biotin
50 µg

myo-Inosistol (Vit B8)
346 mg

Folate (Vit B9 Folic acid) 200 µg 104 µg 14 µg 44 µg 29 µg 54 µg
Vit B12, Cyanocobalamin
2,5 µg 24,55 µg 18,70 µg 1,11 µg 0
Vit A, Retinol 800 µg 5252 µg 40 µg 148 µg 0
Vit E, alpha-Tocopherol 12mg 0
1,54 mg
1,03 mg
0,32 mg
Vit D, Cholecalciferol
5 µg 0
86 IU
87 IU
Vit K, Phylloquinone
75 µg 0
0,1 µg 0,3 µg 0
7 µg
Linoleic acid (18:2)
3,090 g
0,178 g
1,616 g
0,618 g
0,877 g
α-Linolenic acid (18:3)
0,330 g
0,141 g
0,048 g
0,011 g
0,071 g
Tryptophan 0,32 g
0,206 g
0,275 g
0,208 g
1,097 g
0,183 g
Threonine 1,2 g
0,651 g
1,078 g
0,821 g
2,081 g
0,482 g
Isoleucine 1,6 g
0,631 g
1,133 g
0,933 g
2,157 g
0,474 g
Leucine 3,12 g
1,331 g
1,998 g
0,861 g
3,841 g
0,792 g
Lysine 2,4 g
1,178 g
2,258 g
1,229 g
1,608 g
0,640 g
Methionine 0,83 g
0,342 g
0,728 g
0,533 g
1,656 g
0,164 g
0,32 g
0,328 g
0,264 g
0,397 g
1,012 g
0,218 g
Phenylalanine 2 g
0,328 g
0,960 g
0.908 g
2,658 g
0,495 g
Valine 2,08 g
0,806 g
1,266 g
1,043 g
2,800 g
0,646 g
0,8 g
0,393 g
0,724 g
0,405 g
1,476 g
0,294 g


L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. The body can not produce essential substances. In the brain tryptophan is changed into serotonin, the neurotransmitter which is manipulated by Prozac and other SSRI drugs. The recommended daily intake is 3.5mg to 6mg per kilogram body weight. A 80 kg male needs 400mg tryptophan per day. Meat and cheese are easy sources of tryptophan.

Tryptophan in 100 grams
Seeds, sesame flour, low-fat
1097 mg
Seeds, sunflower seed flour, partially defatted
735 mg
Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried
576 mg
Cheese, parmesan, shredded
560 mg
Pork, ground, 96% lean / 4% fat, cooked, pan-broiled
409 mg
Beef, round, top round, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, choice, cooked, braised
405 mg
Cheese, edam, gouda or tilsit
352 mg

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

The essential fatty acids play a role in inflammation. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5 n-3) reduces inflammatory actions of the body. EPA is found in fish. The body can produce EPA out of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is found in seeds.
The normal Omega-3 (ω-3) fatty acids pills are produced by using fish intestines. The fish innards ω-3 fatty acid can be polluted with mercury, arsenic, cadmium or other heavy metals. The UK Food Standards agency (FAS) wrote in 2006: "High levels of mercury were found in samples of tuna and swordfish .. The highest levels of arsenic (30.84 mg/kg) and cadmium (3.7 mg/kg) were both found in individual samples of crab".
A new method is to use algae to produce ω-3 fatty acids, but there are not many suppliers of algae ω-3 products on the market. The third source for ω-3 fatty acids is oil pressed out of seeds. The risk of contamination is low in seed oil.

eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
Fish oil, salmon
13.023 %
Fish oil, sardine
10.137 %
Fish oil, herring
6.273 %

Linnaean name
α-Linolenic acid (ALA)
Salvia hispanica
64 %
Perilla frutescens
58 %
Linum usatissimum
55 %

Table 1 tells the EPA and ALA values of different oils. ALA or 18:3(n-3) is like EPA or 20:5(n-3) an ω-3 fatty acid. Cold pressed flaxseed oil is easy to get. An important point in the anti-depression diet is food preparation. All essential nutrients for the brain are destroyed by heat (cooking). The oil mill should only cold press the oil (flaxseed) or use steam distillation (perilla). Every other production method will destroy too much of the wanted contents of the seeds.


Some years ago, inositol was called vitamin B8. Today we know that the body can produce inositol itself. Since 1995 there are clinical reports about successful myo-inositol treatment for depression, bipolar depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder.
The first source for inositol production was yeast. The organism saccharomyces cerevisiae, a fungus, is with human civilization for thousands of years. The most prominent use of budding yeast is baking and brewing.
The standard commerial source for inositol is corn steep liquor, a by-product of corn wet-milling. The production cost of inositol out of yeast or out of corn steep liquor is minimal. If you like pills instead of food, buy myo-inositol as chemical powder direct in China. For example from Zhucheng Haotian Pharm Co., Ltd in Xinxing Town, Weifang, Shandong. The smallest container size is 25 kg. Compare the price direct of the factory with the price from your scarab and you can imagine the profit margins in the dietary supplement business.

With common food a myo-inosistol diet with 12 grams intake per day for anti-depression treatment is not possible. With a lot of orange juice drinking and nuts eating the myo-inosistol intake can be driven up to 1.5 grams a day. The remaining myo-inosistol intake is by yeast. For an inosistol diet instant yeast is used. This product was first marketed by LeSaffre in the 1970s. Because yeast myo-inosistol was not processed much, the absorption is hopefully better then with crystaline myo-inosistol. A daily intake of 100 grams to 200 grams of instant yeast is possible with a 2000 kcal diet. With the other myo-inosistol carrier like orange juice, bran, almonds and walnuts a myo-inositot intake of 3 grams daily only through diet are possible. Yeast is a good source for essential nutrients. Again, because these substances were created by an organism the absorption is good.

Food with high myo-inositol content is only as good as the food preparation you do. The goal in inositol production is to get as much cyristaline inositol out of the raw product as possible. In food preparation we have the same goal. The basic handling of yeast to open up the inositol is described in a 1966 paper by : "autolyzing yeast for 5 hr at 38°C in the presence of toluene ... To 100 g fresh [yeast] weight of it (29 g dry weight), in a liter flask, 10 ml of toluene was added".

weight needed for equal growth
beef tissue
1 gram
wheat germ
0.25 gram
0.2 gram

Table 2 from V. Reader; growth of S. corallinus; 1928

Table 2 tells us that yeast is the best growth factor.

myo-inositol in mg/g
wheat, stone ground
yeast, dry
prune, dried
beans, great northern, canned
grapefruit juice, frozen, concentrate
(reconstituted 3 part water with 1 part concentrate)
liver cheese
orange, fresh
creamy peanut butter
bran, 40% flakes, dry
Peas, large English, canned
orange juice, canned

Table 3 from Clements, Darnell; myo-inositol content of common food; 1980. The myo-inositol value for yeast was taken from Trevelyan;  Preperation of phosphatidyl inositol from bakers's yeast; 1966.

Table 3 tells us some top myo-inositol sources. Some substances will loose their good myo-inositol content because of food preparation, or do you eat your wheat without baking first? Eating beans without cooking first is not advised. But peas can be eaten raw. Easy candidates are grapefruit juice, orange juice and bran with flakes. Dried prunes, almonds and walnuts are great for snacks. In sausage production, liver cheese is heated only up to 68°C. This is the secret behind the good myo-inositol content. In Germany there are other sausages that are produced the same way, the common name is "Brühwurst" (brew sausage).

Instant yeast content

The instant (dried) yeast  has typically the following content:

Composition : Saccharomyces cerevisiae > 98.5 %
Emulsifier : sorbitan monostearate (E491) < 1.5 %
Gold Label: Ascorbic acid : 2500-3500 mg/kg
Contains no other chemical additive.

- Physico-chemical characteristics :
- Dry matter (D.M.) : 94.5 – 96.5 %
- Proteins (nitrogen x 6,25)/D.M. : 40 – 52 %
- P2O5/D.M. : 2 – 3 %
- Total glucids / D.M. : 35 – 45 %
- Total lipids / D.M. : 5 – 8 %
- Mineral matters / D.M. : 4 – 7 %
- Energy (in Kcal) : » 300 to 400 for 100 g of yeast

Iron 2-4 mg
Calcium 15-30 mg
Sodium 50-100 mg
Potassium 1500-1900 mg
Phosphorous 2300-2500 mg
Thiamin 9-16 mg
Niacin 40-60 mg
Riboflavin 4-6 mg
Vitamin C 250-350 mg

The myo-inosistol content is part of the "Total lipids" number. In the organism myo-inosistol is in the form of phosphatidylinositol, a phospholipid. A phospholipid can be used as emulsifier, enabling oils to dissolve in water. The myo-inosistol content of instant yeast is at least 1.1% or 11mg/g. These numbers are from a 1966 report by W. Trevelyan. With 100 grams instant yeast the myo-inosistol amount is 1.1 grams.

Ketamine, Toluene, Nitrus Oxide

Ketamine is an anesthetic drug. Because it is on the "List of World Health Organization Essential Medicines" the drug is easy to get. Ketamine is used as party drug. With a specific dose, hallucinations and out-of-body experiences happen. Since 2008 ketamine is researched as a drug against depression. The hope it that ketamine opens a door for fast-acting anti-depression drugs. Clinical reports show that ketamine has an effect within 40 minutes. Usual anti-depression drugs need weeks of intake before they help.

Toluene is a common solvent. Toluene works like an inhalation anesthetic, but is not used as such. Toluene is used in the printing industry. A 1999 german report says: "Exposure to toluene in the printing industry is associated with subfecundity in women but not men". Toluene is used by benzene-sniffers to get high, but research with toluene as anti-depression substance is still at the level of mice tests (the professor should just ask the printing industry worker how this drug works on humans). In mice tests toluene is an anti-depressive substance, too.

Nitrous Oxide, Dinitrogen monoxide, E942 or "laughing gas" is an anesthetic drug. The whipped cream canisters use laughing gas as aerosol propellant. The laughing gas is in the cream. If you eat the cream, you consume laughing gas. The name "laughing gas" comes from the short time (30 seconds to 4 minutes) euphoric effects of inhaling the gas. Nitrous oxide functions as a neurotransmitter by diffusing into surrounding cells. Laughing gas induces dopamine release and activates dopaminergic neurons. Laughing gas is used as antipanic (anxiolytic) drug. The use of laughing gas against depression is not researched much, but at least one authority has noted a therapeutic antidepressant action. As with all drugs the dose makes the poison. Very large intake of laughing gas in the lungs can cut down your oxygen supply. In medical use as anesthetic, laughing gas is given with pure oxygen.

Inflammation, Ailments and Depression

"Inflammation is therefore an important biological event that might increase the risk of major depressive episodes" was written in the article "From inflammation to sickness and depression: when the immune system subjugates the brain". Depression is possible without inflammation, but inflammation makes depression worse. A diet against your inflammation is a diet against your depression.
The rhizomes of  the Turmeric (Curcuma longa) or "indian saffron" are known to help against inflammation. Dried, powdered turmeric rhizomes is a yellow powder. As food additive it is called E100. The taste is bitter. Curcuma is used for "yellow rice". Curry, this mixture of spices, contains curcuma.
Some ailments are connected with food. Well known is Coeliac disease. Many adults with subtle disease have only fatigue as symptom. Coeliac disease is caused by a reaction to gliadin, a gluten protein, found in wheat. Corn (maize), rice, buckwheat and millet do not have gliadin.
Lactose intolerance is another common ailment for adults. In Asia and Afrika 90% of the adults have lactose intolerance. Like coeliac disease, lactose intolerance is often without symptoms.
Fructose malabsorption is found in up to 40% of the population of Western countries. Some effects of fructose malabsorption are decreased tryptophan, folic acid and zinc in the blood. Tryptophan is the essential nutrient for serotonin, an important "brain chemical" to avoid depression.
Note: This paragraph is based on the Wikipedia articles about Coeliac disease, Lactose intolerance and Fructose malabsorption.

Depression and Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an ailment that is connected to genetics, nutrition and stress. In USA, 4% to 5% of the people have this ailment, in Japan and China only 0.025% to 0.3%. If we compare the typical food in USA and Asia, we will find that wheat is typical for western nutrition and rice is typical for eastern nutrition. As seen above, wheat is connected with coeliac disease. Psoriasis can be called an inflammation. If a person has depression and psoriasis, every substance that helps against psoriasis should help against depression, too. Fighting against inflammation uses up the same substances in the body that are important to stay away from depression.
The vitamins D and B12 are important to improve psoriasis.

Depression, a disease of civilization?

Coeliac disease, lactose intolerance and fructose malabsorption are common ailments today. If we eat wheat, eat fruit sugar or drink milk we consume a "normal" diet. Maybe your adult body can handle this diet, maybe not. A hunter-gatherer diet of meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds does not trigger the three common ailments.
There is a genetic part in depression, and there is a stress related part in depression, too. A third part for depression is the diet. You can not change your genetic heritage, and you can do not much about stress, but you can do a lot about what you eat. Caffeine, alcohol and even sugar are considered bad for the serotonin level. Food that does not trigger ailments in your body and does not need heating above 68°C in food preparation is considered good for the serotonin level.

Here is my thinking about why depression treatment with diet or drugs works at all: The chemicals in the brain are in a balance that is determined by your intake (food and drugs) and your health (your genetics, your environment). This balance is not totally fixed. It allows you positive and negative emotions around your "normal mood". From a control theory point of view the variations from your normal mood, your "normal operation point" can have two reasons:
Both control loop behaviours can be seen in "normal" people. A normal person can become sad, but not more sad then sad. If sadness is a reason for suicide in people with depression, normal people do not experience such a deep sadness. The threshold kicks in. The proverb "time cures all wounds" shows the control loop behaviour over time. The loss of a dear person produces a deep wound, but over time "normal" people recover and show after some time again the full bandwidth of human emotions.
If we believe that it is valid to apply control theory to the area of depression, we can ask what we can learn from control theory about depression. What can go wrong in a control loop and what can control theory tell us about fixing it?

Not enough "drive" to reach the intended "operation point".
The average behaviour is biased. In average there is more negative mood then positive mood. The control loop sends out the correct signals. But the "drive" has not enough "power" to realize the command from the control loop. If serotonin is needed for the "mood control loop" and there is not enough serotonin, the control loop can not realize the intended "operation point".
Wrong "normal operation point".
The average behaviour is biased.
Change the control loop. This may not be possible for depression if the "normal operation point" is determined by genetics. The only possibility is to flood the system with the substance that drives the working point in the proper direction. This flooding helps if the control loop can not "regulate" away all of the surplus substance.
Connection between control loop and drive is broken.
Stimulation does not change behaviour.
Whatever signals the control loop creates, the "drive" is disconnected. The drive, working on it's own, can produce to much or to little. Only over-flooding the system with the substance that brings the system closer to the intended working point helps.

The symptoms for the different reasons are very similar. Therefore is it not possible to deduce from the symptom to the reason. The fix in all cases is to bring more of the substance into the system that drives the working point into the proper direction. The amount of this substance is different for the different reasons. In the first case, the control loop itself is fine, but there is not enough "fuel" in the system. The system needs a "fair" amount of the substance to reach the correct working point. In the other cases, the control loop is broken. The control loop must be over-ruled by over-flooding the system with the lacking substance. Porting this knowledge from control theory to depression treatment, we can say: There should be patients that need only a little additional amount of serotonin to feel better. These patients have a correct control loop, but not enough serotonin. The other patients need a massive dose that is much above the normal intake. In these patients, the control loop is broken. From the intake of serotonin only a small amount reaches the "interesting places", the receptors. The small amount that "comes through" is because of the imperfection of the control loop. Even if the control loop gives another command, a little of the not wanted substance (not wanted by the control loop) seeps through.
If you are a patient with not enough "drive" to reach the "operation point", an anti-depression diet will help you, hopefully. If you have one of the other reasons, the diet will not provide enough "substance" to over-flood your system. In this case, you have to take drugs. At the moment, nobody can conclude from the symptoms to the reasons. Therefore we do not know how many depression patients can be helped with diet and how many patients need more then diet. We know for sure only one thing: No pharma company wants to spend money in investigation the "diet for depression" treatment. There is no money in this undertaking. The money is in patents for drugs. Public health organizations could investigate the "diet for depression" topic. But these organizations are up to the neck in bureaucracy. And bureaucracy does not like change. The current treatment for depression is you get a drug, not you get a diet.

Essential nutrient

The body can not produce essential nutrients. In the USDA Nutrient Database these substances are listed with codes. The codes are given in the following table. No enriched or fortified foods were used as food examples.

USDA Food example
Ca, Calcium Calcium Cheese
Fe, Iron Iron Rice bran, crude
Mg, Magnesium Magnesium Rice bran, crude
Nuts, brazilnuts, dried, unblanched
P, Phosphorus Phosphorus Pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried
K, Potassium Potassium Beans, white, mature seeds, raw
Cu, Copper Copper Cashew nuts, raw
Mn, Manganese Manganese Rice bran, crude
Se, Selenium Selenium Mixed nuts, without peanuts, oil roasted, with salt added
Cl, Chloride not in USDA

Cr, Chromium
not in USDA
CaF2, Fluoride
not in USDA
I, Iodine not in USDA
Mo, Molybdenum not in USDA
Vit C, Ascorbic acid VITC Peppers, Broccoli, Kiwifruit, Brussels sprouts
Vit B1, Thiamin
THIA Yeast, baker's, active dry
Vit B2, Riboflavin
RIBF Yeast, baker's, active dry
Vit B3, Niacin
NIA Yeast, baker's, active dry
Vit B5, Pantothenic acid
PANTAC Yeast, baker's, active dry
Vit B6, Pyridoxine
VITB6A Nuts, pistachio nuts, raw
Yeast, baker's, active dry
Vit B7, Biotin
not in USDA
(Vit B9), Folic acid Folate Yeast, baker's, active dry
Vit B12, Cyanocobalamin
Liver cheese, pork
Vit A, Retinol
Liver sausage, liverwurst, pork
Vit E, alpha-Tocopherol TOCPHA Oil, sunflower
Vit D, Cholecalciferol
Fish, mackerel, salted
Vit K, Phylloquinone
Fast foods, potato, french fried in vegetable oil
Linoleic acid (18:2)
F18D2 Oil, sunflower, linoleic, (approx. 65%)
α-Linolenic acid (18:3) F18D3 Oil, flaxseed
Tryptophan Tryptophan Seeds, sesame flour, low-fat
Yeast, baker's, active dry
Threonine Threonine
Seeds, sesame flour, low-fat
Cheese, parmesan, shredded
Yeast, baker's, active dry
Leucine Leucine Cheese, parmesan, shredded
Seeds, sesame flour, low-fat
Cheese, parmesan, shredded
Seeds, sesame flour, low-fat
Seeds, sesame flour, low-fat
Seeds, sesame flour, low-fat
Phenylalanine Phenylalanine
Seeds, sesame flour, low-fat
Cheese, parmesan, shredded
Histidine Histidine Cheese, parmesan, shredded
Seeds, sesame flour, low-fat


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About the author

The original article was written some time after my first "depression episode". The 2014 update is written after my second close contact with depression. At both times I needed SSRI medicine. The plan is to live a life without these drugs. To realize this plan I have to find the causes of my depression. These causes may be different to your depression causes.