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Thread: Does caffeine help depression?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Very interesting, Nycea Pacific, thank you! After reading the article I feel like I am low in both serotinin and dopamine. What causes this in the first place and can diet help fix it? I will have to learn more about this... thank you again for the info and your time!

  2. #12
    I have recently started drinking a cup of coffee in the morning on an empty stomach about 2 hours before my first meal and noticed a big improvement in my mood, which seems to last all day. I don't feel the stimulant effects of the coffee from one cup, but I am just generally more happy, upbeat, and talkative throughout the day. I didn't notice this as much when I used to drink it on full stomach. I took a few days off this week and didn't feel depressed or anything, but was not as cheery as I am with coffee. Today I had a cup and the same positive mood came back. Is this a bad thing, like I'm lacking something without the coffee, or is it perfectly fine to have a cup a day to get these effects?

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Santa Barbara
    Makes sense I was able to self-medicate with caffeine so well since my depression was fixed with drugs that affected dopamine, not serotonin.
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by healthy11 View Post
    After reading the article I feel like I am low in both serotinin and dopamine. What causes this in the first place and can diet help fix it? I will have to learn more about this... thank you again for the info and your time!
    No worries. I wish someone had told me this stuff so I didn't have to piece it together myself, lol. And there's people here who have much more life experience with this stuff than me, too. I think there's some thread called 'feeling unbalanced and confused'? Huge thread. Someone here will know exactly what it's called. I just don't have the time at the moment to search it out. There's a TON of info there.

    In regards to your specific question:
    As far as I can tell... causation is due to a mix of genetic vulnerability, exposure to modern crap diet and the destruction of even whole foods through various chemical shite and irradiation and so on. Modern lifestyle of high-stress and the OTHER ongoing destruction (the economy)... all of that is making everyone depressed in increasing numbers. Dopamine and serotonin are- ideally- made from the amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan respectively. If you eat protein, you eat a good bit of both since protein is just amino acid chains.

    BUT! I know that in my case, I've eaten ten billion tons of protein daily for the last 15 years of my life. And this did very very little for my low dopamine/serotonin. For whatever reason, I can't get the tyrosine and tryptophan in, say, those hardboiled eggs I just ate, from my stomach and into my bloodstream, which will then deliver them to the brain.

    So, you might want to try eating high-tyrosine or high-tryptophan proteins and seeing if it helps you. It might, everyone's different. It's actually a good idea (I think) for any depressed person to eat a touch more protein than other people, just because honestly, it can't hurt. I do 1g per pound of lean body mass, which is 110g for me. But imo, you really don't need more than that. On the other hand, if you WANT more? Knock yourself out, can't hurt and it's really really hard to overeat protein, in particular lean protein. (Intuitively: imagine trying to eat 500g of cookies versus 500g of salmon.)

    I take tyrosine and 5htp/tryptophan supplements, and *this* does work. The reason why, I suspect, is because these pills are pre-digested. The amino acids are broken down entirely, so they go right into my bloodstream, and right to the brain, where they have a noticeable effect on my mood within- no lie- 2-3mins after I take the pill.

    Someone upthread has already mentioned Julia Ross' books 'The Diet Cure' and 'The Mood Cure'. I'd read the latter first, as it is specifically about depression and it's various neurochemical deficiencies. You can probably get them from the library, and I think both are on google books, so you can check them out for free.

    However- fair warning. I think Ross has dumb ideas about how everyone should eat 2500-3000 calories per day, and she also seems to feel that supplements and diet alone can fix even severe depression and addiction to hard drugs.

    WELL, NO! lol . At least, not in my case. Amino acids helped me, but not enough. To correct my low dopamine/serotonin problems, I need... lets see here..

    -All the lifestyle stuff, sleep, exercise, sunlight and fresh air
    -A fairly low carb, high protein diet, and becoming fat-adapted helped my brain work better immensely.
    -Eating more calories than I need does less than nothing for me, and in fact causes problems that make my depression worse. So approach this 'eat MORE MORE MORE' advice with... skepticism, lol.
    -Maximum daily doses of tyrosine, DLPA, PEA and tryptophan.
    -Wellbutrin, Ritalin and Trazodone, which are pharmaceutical psych meds.
    -Coffee. I drink about 4 cups a day. I also get a fairly enjoyable buzz off, weirdly, splenda and stevia. They're both dopamine-releasers for me. But Ross lists both as psychoactive drugs, so.

    Reminds me. Ross also demands that one quit- completely!- all caffeine.

    I tried this. Worst effing three months of my life. Coffee in moderation is harmless for me. Your tolerances will be different, because everyone's biochemistry is as individual as their fingerprints. But coffee is not an evil devil-drug from hell, and frankly neither is alcohol (as Mark says, in moderation. )

    So! In conclusion..
    Lots of causes.
    Diet may or may not help you.
    Sunlight, exercise, spiritual wellness etc will help anyone feel better, but it's unlikely they'll be enough to cure you on their own. But try it anyway, can't hurt.
    Try all this stuff if so inclined, and see how it affects you.

    Broken record time... but, dude... get a mood journal to write this stuff down. No one can remember how they felt at 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm etc or how they felt at those times yesterday, last week, etc.... even if they aren't depressed to start. Writing down stuff is a pain in the ass, but it's worth it. And it gets less tedious very quickly, in my experience.

    Someone was telling me that they used a twitter feed to tweet their moods and reactions to various stuff they tried out to themselves. That could do it, if it's easier for you. Just have a random anonymous twitter feed, it's very unlikely anyone will read it other than you. It's a timestamped record, so that would work fine.

    Oh, and learn from my mistakes and don't spend 2+ years with the attitude that all antidepressants are evil Satan Globalist mind control pills. Because you may, like me, actually need them. And imo, life with corrected depression through pharmaceuticals is 200000% better than. You know. Suffering unrelieved depression.

    Anyway, good luck. This stuff is tough, but there are a lot of solutions out there. Best advice, really, is to accept that it will take time, trial and error, etc. But there's so much stuff you can try and do, that I think just about anyone can find what they need to correct their depression and live a pretty happy life. You've just got to figure out what works for you.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    MA, USA
    Wow, tons of good info from Nycea Pacific! I also recommend checking out The Mood Cure, just for ideas, and for how the amino acids work. "Depression-Free: Naturally" is also good.

    I can also attest to 5-HTP/Tryptophan and Tyrosine being mood-savers. 5-HTP seemed to alleviate my depression overall, though I did not notice changes "within minutes" of taking it, like "The Mood Cure" describes. Tyrosine helped my general anxiety, and that did work within minutes. After a while, I was able to stop taking anything. I take Tryptophan now if I get into a slump, but I don't need it often (once every month or every other month).

    I also kept a pretty detailed journal here on MDA about my experiments and moods.
    Depression Lies

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Yes, thank you again Nycea Pacific, for you valuable info! Going to try some amino acid supplementation for starters to see if it helps!

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by JackieKessler View Post
    Insert standard "I'm sad without my coffee" joke here.

    While caffeine hasn't had much of an impact on my moods (I've previously been on antidepressants), I've found that D3 -- or, for that matter, just being outside in the sun -- helps exponentially.

    If you want other caffeine options, how about black or green tea? Or some dark chocolate (75% cacao or better) for dessert?
    Yes to everything Jackie said! The morning coffee doesn't hurt, and it seems to help, get some sunshine too, and have some dark chocolate for an afternoon pick-me-up. You can also make a hot chocolate with raw cacao powder, coconut milk and stevia...

    Also, here's the prenatal yoga teacher in me... *clears throat* "You know, practice of prenatal yoga throughout pregnancy has been shown to significantly reduce the likelihood of post partum depression." So if it works with those whack-a-doo pregnancy and post partum hormone, it may certainly help with yours... Regular yoga, not pre natal, ha!
    Last edited by cavebabymama; 08-23-2012 at 03:20 PM.
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  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    If anyone is interested in learning more about amino acid supplementation for depression here is a link to a free ebook download of Dr. Priscilla Slagle's book The Way Up From Down:
    Natural Health Alternatives, Natural Herb Remedy, Vitamin Supplement Store -

    Description from Amazon and link:
    This easy-to-follow program of vitamins and amino acids requires no drugs or therapy and will increase stamina and improve moods--forever. Learn how the right vitamins and foods can boost mental health, how to determine mood level, how improved mental habits can end depression, and more. Includes new update on stress prevention and the tryptophan controversy. The Way Up from Down (9780312929145): Priscilla Slagle: Books

    Has really good reviews. I did a search online for L-Tyrosine and depression and came across some info on this book.

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