Tag Archives: Good Mood

Depression treatment

The Rwandan prescription for Depression: Sun, drum, dance, community.

“We had a lot of trouble with western mental health workers who came here immediately after the genocide and we had to ask some of them to leave. They came and their practice did not involve being outside in the sun where you begin to feel better, there was no music or drumming to get your blood flowing again, there was no sense that everyone had taken the day off so that the entire community could come together to try to lift you up and bring you back to joy, there was no acknowledgement of the depression as something invasive and external that could actually be cast out again. Instead they would take people one at a time into these dingy little rooms and have them sit around for an hour or so and talk about bad things that had happened to them. We had to ask them to leave.” ~A Rwandan talking to a western writer, Andrew Solomon, about his experience with western mental health and depression.

dance community

From The Moth podcast, Notes on an Exorcism. http://themoth.org/stories

Found on underthebluedoor https://underthebluedoor.org/2014/08/18/the-rwandan-prescription-for-depression-sun-drum-dance-community-we-had-a-lot-of-trouble-with-western-mental-health-workers-who-came-here-immediately-after-the-genocide-and-we-had-to-ask-some/amp/

Daily Essential Nutrients Powder: mood supplement

Here I give my thoughts on the Hardy multivitamin & mineral formula with a once-over from the Brain of Rachel.

First, let’s look at some key mood nutrients that are in the Hardy formula.

  • lithium orotate in trace amount
  • ALA
  • acetyl L-carnitine
  • N-acetyl-L-cysteine
  • L-methionine

I cannot address these in this post.  Refer to my list of Mood Repair Books.

Main takeaway. Yes, you might need these key mood nutrients. But, you might also need different ones, or some other ones that are not included in the Hardy formula.  Tailoring this to yourself would be important over the long run.  One strategy would be to try one bottle of the Hardy formula and see if it makes any difference.  If it does, and you want to improve or save money, read on… This post is about combining products.

My caveat: I haven’t done a price comparison yet. I suspect my plan shaves off some dollars. It’s not easier, but it’s likely cheaper. The Hardy formula could get super expensive for an adult. And, my point in this post is that the Hardy is not as complete. The money that I would “save” on my basic multivitamin (which is pretty much what the Hardy formula is), goes toward purchasing the additional bonus supplements that I take.


Piece together a less expensive regimen. It might look similar to mine, with some tweaks. 
Start with a multivitamin such as Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2/day.  I take two and my daughter takes one capsule per day. This is already higher in the major B vitamins (yes, methylated).  It also contains the vitamin K in ample amount. The minerals are chelated.
Add Seeking Health Optimal PC for your choline and inositol in premium form for brain support.
Use Redmond RealSalt for all your food salting needs. This gives you trace minerals including lithium, boron, vanadium, nickel.  Note that these are not in chelated form. Buy more unsalted meats (instead of sausages) so that you can use more of your own salt at home. If you’re putting in a teaspoon or two of salt to a batch of food because you started with unsalted ingredients, this is going to be a good thing.
You could add some Vitamin E (since the multivitamin doesn’t contain as much as the Hardy formula).  Or eat some egg yolks and almonds.
You might add more:
  • calcium (or high quality dairy and spinach)
  • copper – some mood disorders need more, some need less.

Power Up!  Add-ons

Other things you would add that weren’t in the original Hardy formula anyway (not included in that $129 pricetag)
Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega (fish oil).
I also add for myself KAL B-6, B-12 Folic Acid Drop Ins (mis-named “folic acid” because it’s actually folate on the facts label).  I buy this on Amazon.com
Any additional vitamin D you might need.  I buy Thorne Research D & K drops. Cost per drop is cheap. One bottle per year.
collagen – which you can count toward your protein needs for the day (count as a super food).  This contains lots of glycine which is calming.  I buy various kinds of this (tablets, gelatin powder, broth powder). Email me for details.
magnesium – try Magtein (Magnesium L-Threonate).  I buy NOW brand on Amazon.com

The next book I’m reading

I just picked this book up at the library. Thanks for tuning in. I hope everyone is nourishing their adrenal glands this week. And, preparing for a nourishing, relaxing, grateful, connecting-with-someone Thanksgiving.

P.S. More books on the subject of the healthy intersection of brain and body— and getting to happy from wherever you are:  Mood Repair Books List

B6 capsules on Amazon

Pricing out B6 capsules:

B6 stand alone capsules in P-5-P form

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Eat more turkey! And… Need turkey recipes!

Please send in turkey recipes – especially the tastiest or easiest!

This article extols the virtues of turkey for its amino acid profile. It’s a great place to start to get an overview of proteins in food.

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Why I take 5-HTP. And, CAUTIONS!

*UPDATE 10/14/2016 My sources of folate are: a diet rich in leafy greens and a multivitamin. The brand I’m currently taking is Thorne Research 2/Day. I take one at breakfast with a 50mg dose of 5htp, and again both at 2:00 p.m.  I also take magnesium glycine and taurine. All of these together are the core of my “calm and happy” nutrient supplementation. You can see other posts throughout my site and in the future for more information about other supplements such as brain-critical fats (fish oil and phospholipids) supplements.

Original post:  Continue reading

Fish Oil Guidelines

This post is practical info about buying and taking fish oil, as part of any proper mood repair project. My doctor had me switch off cod liver oil (CLO) to fish oil.  This is because my plan includes taking a high quality multi-vitamin which helps to simplify (somewhat) my supplement plan.  I hope that if you follow along with me on this blog, eventually you will end up at a supplement plan that has you feeling awesome.  I’m feeling much better already, but I continue to plug away at figuring out each component of my supplement plan. Continue reading

Another, different, Amino Acid product

If you are researching amino acids for mood repair, you’ll want to see this one:



Mood Repair Books List


All of these books deal with evidence-based, non-pharmaceutical, natural methods for repairing the biochemical environment of the brain: the body!—through basic and therapeutic nutrition, plus lifestyle changes.  I keep finding more doctors who are trying to get this same message across!  The books each have a different way of approaching it, but all are saying basically the same thing: make some changes and you CAN feel better.

[Added 11/17/2016] A Mind of Your Own by Kelly Brogan, a practicing psychiatrist with a degree in cognitive neuroscience from MIT, and MD from Weill Cornell Medical College, and clinical training from NYU School of Medicine. This book is geared toward women.

The Mood Cure by Julie Ross – Quotes from Larson’s approach (see next). Good starter quiz on her website: Mood Type Questionnaire

Depression Free Naturally by Joan Mathews Larson (her clinic is located in my neighborhood) – This one contains the most info on the chemistry.

Healing Anxiety and Depression: Based on Cutting-Edge Brain Imaging Science by Daniel G. Amen. Dr. Amen is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Look up AmenClinics.com.  This book is on my list. Meanwhile I’ve been listening to an audiobook of his Change your Brain, Change Your Age. And, skipping around in Unleash The Power of the Female Brain.

The Chemistry of Joy and The Workbook– I listened to the audio book.  This book balances the lifestyle changes along with meditative and cognitive approaches.

Ultramind Solution: Fix Your Broken Brain by Healing Your Body First and other books by Mark Hyman, M.D.  – This one goes very much in depth. I haven’t read it (yet), but his books are featured at the clinic where I am going to an integrative doc. I looked over some documentation where he walks you through specific troubleshooting of many different health issues. If you are male, you might want to look at The Chemistry of Joy for a similar approach using a holistic approach to lifestyle impacts.


Multi-Vitamin Breakdown

I looked at four formulas for a basic multi-vitamin for the mainstay of my mood repair project.
The first one:
$32 / 3 capsules =  $0.48 per serving
This is not a tight formula, and I doubt I’ll ever buy it.
Second, Pure Encapsulations’ Pure Genomics is $0.54 per day and it is a much better formula, and great if you’re on a really tight budget, BUT…
Better yet is Thorne Basic Nutrients 2/day. At $0.93 per day, you might be thinking, gee it is twice as expensive!  But, as I look it over, I see that it has nearly twice the amount of many of the nutrients, so in fact you are getting twice.  In other words, you could take half a dose.  Plus, you are getting also some nutrients that you don’t get in the Pure Genomics (see below). Note that the reason I even looked at this one is my doctor recommendation at the Penny George Institute.  She knows her stuff.  Notice that with this formula, I will not add on a B-complex. Cost justified!
The fourth one I looked at was the one sold by Chris Kresser: Designs for Health Metabolic Synergy.  If you buy the bulk bottle it’s $2.02/day and you take 6 capsules.  So, it is twice the cost of the Thorne Basic.
I am buying Thorne Basic on Amazon, but will also check to see if I can purchase at my doctor’s office in order to use my HSA pre-tax funds.

Thorne Basic vs. Pure Genomics:

I like the Thorne Basic overall formula better than the Pure Genomics. Here are the highlights:
  • Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxal 5′-Phosphate) 20 mg – PG doesn’t contain this activated form of this most important vitamin for our mood repair and reducing estrogen.
  • Thiamin B-1. 50 mg vs. PG’s combined total of two forms of thiamine 3 mg.
  • B12 – you can decide for yourself. Methylcobalamin can be very important for those who need methyl groups. But, agitating to those with problems in their methyl cycle.  I do not understand this. All I know is that I’ve been taking methyl form the past few months and I’m overall way better than before, so I assume that it’s not messing me up and may be helping.
  • 2x chromium, which I sense is important for our blood sugars.
  • There is copper in Thorne but not in Pure Genomics. I’m not going to worry about it. It also contains zinc and I’m eating sesame tahini every day for 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off. And pumpkin seeds the other two weeks.
  • Thorne is missing choline & inositol (see action plan below).
  • My doctor liked the form of zinc Bisglycinate in Thorne better than the zinc citrate in PG.

Thorne Basic vs. Metabolic Synergy

  • Some of the basic stuff is very high in MS, so you could take 4 capsules instead of 6 but then you would be getting less of some of the other important stuff. So, balancing price and nutrients, I think Thorne Basic still wins. However, there are some ingredients in MS that I would like to learn more about or consider adding some other way: potassium, ALA, Carnosine and Vanadium.  Also, I already know I would be adding Taurine and Inositol.  By the way, Carnosine and Taurine are not found in whey or collagen.

Rachel’s Action Plan: (July 2016)

  • Take Thorne Basic Nutrients 2/day
  • Do not add a B-complex. (This is another big benefit to justify the cost of the Thorne Basic.)
  • Add L-5-MTHF  Folate maybe. Or at least be eating lots of leafy greens for folate. UPDATE: Originally I mentioned adding sublingual B12. I will not likely be doing that as I have done a course of sublingual B12. But, I will, as you should also, continue learning whether I need the extra B12 support. The Thorne Basic contains 600 mcg, but it’s not sublingual. Adding more could/should be safe if you need to get some sublingually. But, if you do, be sure to add the L-5-MTHF.
  • If you are taking D, consider taking Thorne D+K drops under your tongue. The dosage math gets complicated but gets you some vitamin K if your gut flora is messed up. (If you have to choose between K drops and probiotics, choose the probiotics. But, the K drops can be pretty darn cheap when you figure out that you only need 1 bottle per year and you can probably share that with your kids.) Update: Yes the Thorne Basic does contain some Vit K.
  • Add inositol (reduce anxiety) and phosphatidyl choline (from sunflower not soy). My doc said take the choline, as opposed to tumeric, which I asked her about.  (I am finishing up products, and haven’t figured out best product yet.) Brands of phosphatidyl choline that she mentioned were: Thorne, Zymogen, Orthomolecular, and Seeking Health.
  • Add Taurine – this is cheap esp. if you buy bulk powder. I’m buying NOW brand.
  • Of course, take additional Vitamin C with every meal.
  • Investigate how much B6 I might actually need. Perhaps I need more? I will keep learning and referencing the mood cure books. Further Investigation: I believe it was a WAPF article that recomnends 100-200mg B6 daily for reducing estrogen and dealing with PMS. How much does Joan Mathews Larson recommend for mood?


I think the general feeling I get looking over the numbers here is that the Thorne Basic is like getting a B-complex already in it.  If I were to take the Pure Encapsulations O.N.E. or Genomics I would have to add a B complex.  I just looked at my Jarrow B Right bottle (I’ve take 2-3 bottles of this the past couple months) and compared it.  I like the numbers of the Thorne Basic as it includes similar amounts of B’s as to the Jarrow B Right.  The Pure Encapsulations O.N.E. or Genomics have very low amounts of B’s.  And, again, the forms of the B’s are looking good in the Thorne (activated forms).  There could be some questions for different people about the form of the B12, whether you want methylcobalamin, or adenosylcobalamin/ hydroxycobalamin (which the Pure Encaps contains).  My doc mentioned some people are sensitive to the methyl B12 because of some methylation defects.  I don’t know about myself on that yet, but I don’t think I’m that sensitive.  She mentioned knowing this by methylcobalamin being “agitating” and I took her meaning to be a noticeable nervous system agitation.

I guess I am looking for an overall simple solution, and hopefully simplicity will also help me shave some cost off of my total supplement bill.

DISCLAIMER: I do not have the credentials to recommend this to anyone.  I offer it only as my continually evolving plan for myself, as my friends like to see what I am doing.  I buy all my own supplements and I don’t get any kind of reimbursements to “sell” anything.