ATP Science Episode 10 – Anxiety, Depression & Insomnia
Welcome to the ATP Project, Episode 10 – Anxiety, Depression and Insomnia
It is alarming to find out that one in three people in The United States seek professional advice on how to treat Depression.
If you are suffering from Depression please take this podcast as informational only, and please consult your healthcare practitioner for help.
• The way you look at Life
• The way you treat other People
• The way you think about Yourself.
A great podcast to do, we hope you get something from it.
Welcome to the ATP Project, I’m your host Jeff Doidge.
Jeff: Matt, good to have you here, Mate.
Jeff: Matt, in today’s episode we’re going to be talking about Anxiety, Depression and Insomnia.
Matt: Oh good.
Jeff: Now, over the last few weeks we’ve been talking a lot about Hormones in the body, and we have touched on Anxiety and these things before as well, too. But, the amount of emails and the amount of phone calls and the amount of messages through Facebook that we’ve been getting asking more about Anxiety, Depression and Insomnia is pretty amazing, which is why I decided that we’re going to do this episode today.
Matt: Yeah, cool.
Jeff: Matt, when I was doing some research into the show about these topics, I was having a look at some of the stats that were coming through, and it was showing that one in three women in The United States have sought treatment for Depression, which I was absolutely blown away by. And, up to one in 10 are actually taking medication for it. So, it’s obviously a massive problem, Matt?
Matt: Yeah, well obviously, one in three people suffer from the symptoms of Depression. It’s an interesting thing, with my Naturopath Clinic, Fatigue, Depression, Poo and Periods, that’s pretty much what everyone comes in for.
Matt: The amazing thing is, I’m blown away with the diagnosis of Anxiety. If you think about it, what is Anxiety? It’s a Survival Response, it’s not a disease, it’s not a disorder, it’s not an organ imbalance, and it’s not a chemical imbalance, Anxiety. Anxiety is your Survival Response to a Stressor. So, Anxiety gives you everything you need to punch and run, it gives you everything you need to survive that Stress, regardless of whether that Stress is an Infection, an Allergy, a Poison, a Venom, a stick in the eye, a spider bite, a shark attack. So, your body can’t afford to wait to see what that trigger is before it launches a Survival Response. So, Anxiety is not a weakness, it’s not a disease as such, it actually means your tough; tough people suffer from Anxiety, and generations ago if you did not have a Survival Response in response to a Stress then you died. So, you inherit Survival techniques from your ancestors, because that’s why you’re here.
Then, we get into today’s society where we have less life threatening Stress and more annoying little Stressors that people who launch a Survival Response that would help them survive a shark attack, a spider bite, a poison, or a venom, are called weak, and so you suffer from Anxiety. Part of the way to treat Anxiety is pretty much making that acknowledgement that, “This is a normal Stress Response.”
I suffered from Anxiety badly with public speaking prior to doing a Seminar series on Anxiety, and what was quite funny was I had to start the seminar series, and what would happen, because they made me wear a suit and stand up in front of a crowd, but they have those bright lights that shine on you, and for me, I’m a bit of a sweater, so I would feel myself heat up and then I’d start to get a bit anxious that I might start to sweat, and then I could feel some sweat and then I’d get anxious to think, “Someone can see me sweat.” Then, the funny thing was, it would lead into an Anxiety Panic thing, and one of the symptoms of Anxiety is sweating, so you form this vicious cycle. The introduction to my seminars was, “I get Anxious from public speaking. As I’m standing up here now, these are the symptoms that I am going through.” And I would say, “I can actually feel my mouth dry out, I can feel my tummy get a bit knotted up as the blood flow to my stomach is shut down and the blood is sent out to my muscles and brain. I’m getting sweaty because of the movement of the heat from my body out to the extremities. My pores are opening so my hair can stand on end, all these things are part of a Stress Response.”
I had to do about 14 seminars in the series. After I did the first six I had to change my introduction because I wasn’t getting the Anxiety symptoms anymore. So, as part of my introduction, acknowledging that these symptoms are a Survival Response and a Stress Response, and acknowledging that they weren’t going to kill me, they weren’t bad, they were actually just a thing that happens, and talking through it I eliminated the Anxiety about the Anxiety and it disappeared.
Matt: So, what I’m trying to say is, a lot of people will be medicated for Anxiety but the Anxiety aspect is not disease. What you have to understand is, you are manifesting symptoms of a Survival Response because something has triggered a Survival Response in your body; those things are called Stressors. And, this is where it gets really weird, the definition of a Stressor is, anything that makes a physiological change in your body. So, most Stressors we’re exposed to we may not even know they’re Stressors yet, such as Electromagnetic Radiation, walking with your left foot first, wearing your watch on one side not the other, who knows. Some of these things could be things that are actual Stressors in your body; Fluoro lights, Colourings, Preservatives, Flavourings, we don’t know half of the things that are adding burden to your body. But, if your body can’t afford to wait to determine if that Stressor is life threatening or not before it reacts it’s not hard to imagine that a lot of people are suffering the symptoms of a Survival Response as they react to Poor Food, Traffic, Stress, Phones, Electromagnetic Radiation, Fluoro Lights, Temperature changes, Air Conditioning, who knows? All of these things are driving your Stress Nervous System leaving you in a state of Hyper Reactivity, ready to Survive these life threatening Stressors no matter what may come.
So, what I’m saying is, it’s like a lot of the other things I have talked about in the podcasts, it’s not about adding Anti-Anxiety treatments and adding Anti-Anxiety Medications and strategies as such, it’s actually about taking the burden off your system that is leaving you in a Survival Response. So, what we may find is, 80% of the burden on your Nervous System we may be able to eliminate through Clean Eating, Healthy Lifestyle. Inflammation; if you’ve got ongoing Injuries, if you’re constantly getting Inflammatory reactions from Allergies, poor technique at the gym; excessive Inflammatory reactions rides the Nervous System. If your Immune System is constantly primed up, again because of Allergies or Intolerances, poor Gut Health, those things will drive that Nervous System.
A big one for Anxiety that a lot of people don’t recognise, and it’s the easiest one to pick up and it’s the easiest form of Anxiety of all to fix, and possibly one of the most common forms, is an Anxiety that’s actually triggered by Metabolic Waste such as Lactic Acid.
Matt: Yeah, it will freak you out. Listen to this, Man. Imagine this; when you’re working out, when you’re at the gym or exercising or just working, you build up a certain amount of Lactic Acid, a bit of Metabolic Waste, which is typically Acidic. I talk about Lactic Acid because it’s easy but you’ve got a lot of other Metabolic Wastes like Ammonias and all these sort of things. These things are made in your Muscle, but when you settle they settle. So, when you’re busy and moving your Muscles are continually pushing the Acid around, your Lymphatic System takes it away, you’re moving, your body can buffer the Acid, breathe it out, pee it out, sweat it out, it goes. But, when you settle the Acid settles, and what it does is it just disperses out of the meaty part of your body into the other parts. Outside your Muscles are these Sympathetic Nerve Fibres, the actual Nerve Fibres that when triggered will trigger a Stress Response. Acid irritates those Nerves. So, you can imagine, you go to the gym, you build up a certain amount of Acid but you’re busy all day, no worries, but when you go home and then you try to stop all of a sudden this Acid washes out, starts irritating the Nerves, you have to move, it triggers a Survival Response, it makes you need to be Irritable, it wakes your Mind up.
Now, I’ll tell you, the easiest way to explain what Lactic Acid does to your brain, think about what Lactic Acid does to your legs after leg day.
Jeff: It stiffens them up.
Matt: Yeah, tense, spastic, shaky, twitchy, temery—temery? That’s amazing.
Jeff: I’m sure it’s in Wikipedia now.
Matt: Well, we’ll put it there. So, all those sorts of symptoms happen. Now, your Brain doesn’t have Pain Receptors and your Brain doesn’t Cramp, so the same things can be happening in your Brain as are happening in your legs, but it manifests as Anxiety, as Worry, as Irritability, it gets in the way of Short Term Memory and Concentration Span. So, a classic feature of someone who’s getting Anxiety from Lactic Acid build up is, they get Insomnia, they get Restlessness, they get Aches and Pains that are worse with rest and improve by movement, you know, like once you warm up you don’t hurt anymore. Shallow Breathing, lots of Sighing. When your Acid levels get high enough in your body we can eliminate them through our lungs.
Now, for anyone out there listening who’s had a Panic Attack, listen to this description of symptoms; as your Acid levels build up into your Muscle your body has to push the Acid out into other areas to get rid of it. It Irritates your Sympathetic Nerve Fibres which makes you feel Anxious, it switches off Short Term Memory, Concentration Span, Attention to Detail, and makes you feel Disorientated. It triggers a process known as Dissociation which helps you not feel pain, it separates your head from your body, so it’s like you’re next to yourself. A lot of people who Panic they’ll get Dizziness first where they feel like they’re floating above themselves, and that means you don’t feel as much pain. So, it drives that Nervous System, switches off Short Term Memory, Concentration Span, it switches off Sleep and Recovery, of course. But, it drives Long Term Memory and Gut Instincts, “What did I do last time I was in this situation? What is my Gut telling me to do?” It drags up old drama, “I’ve never been the same since the Trauma, the Trauma caused this Panic,” because of the Long Term Memory links.
Also, the way the body eliminates the Acid is through Perspiration and Shallow Breathing. So, a Panic Attack is actually Sweating, the Heart starts racing, you can’t breathe. It’s not that you can’t breathe, you’re too busy panting Acid out that you can’t take a breath in. So, what you’ll find in a Panic Attack induced by Acidosis will cause Sweating, Shallow Breathing, the Heart racing, Muscles go tight and tense, the Bloodstream to the Gut shuts down, they get the butterflies in the tummy which can then lead to Gut problems, the squirts and that sort of stuff. You’ve got to pee a lot, you get the Anxious Nervous peeing; that can all come from Acidity, nothing to do with Anxiety, nothing to do with Panic.
And, did I mention Serotonin anywhere?
Matt: It’s obviously nothing to do with Brain Chemistry in that sort of situation.
Jeff: Wow! Before we go and have a look at some of these other things, and you had some more points, too; I look at a lot of the stuff and think, in the olden days when we weren’t so busy part of the workout was the warmup, training and then…
Matt: Warm down.
Jeff: Then, the warm down. But, you ask most people now and I’m sure if we did a survey of our listeners I would say that very few people would do a meaningful warm down.
Matt: Swimmers and cyclists and runners and those guys do, but that’s it. I shouldn’t say that’s it, I’m sure there are a lot of athletes out there going, “I do it.”
Jeff: But, in terms of, obviously things like Massage, Lymphatic Massage and Stretching as well as a proper warm down, that might help to alleviate a lot of that, and give the body the ability to remove that Acid out of the Muscles and get it into the Bloodstream so the body’s got a jump start on actually getting rid of it before it settles, effectively, in your Brain.
Matt: Yeah, and buffer the Acid, that’s where that INFRARED product we make is really good for Anxiety and Panic. And, if anyone’s got a Panic Disorder, and Anxiety Disorder, if you feeling Anxious and Panicky and you’re feeling the Heart and the Chest and everything go, if it’s handy have a shot of INFRARED and see what happens.
Jeff: What types of foods could people have that might help with that sort of thing? It sounds like Electrolytes are obviously going to be…
Matt: Electrolytes are so important, so things that are high in Magnesium and Potassium. We used to make this Magnesium Potassium broth, and I used to tell people to have this thing made up and in the freezer all the time. Go through once a week, get your big pot out and cook up Celery with the Celery leaves, Beetroot with the Beetroot leaves, throw in your Carrots, your Spuds, Onions and all that sort of stuff, whatever meats you like, and boil that up slowly with the lid on. You’re going to get so much more Magnesium and Potassium out of a broth like that. Now, you can use that as a stock then for your other meals or you can just drink it on a regular basis or you can load up and just drink it a lot over a couple of days every week, and load your body up with Magnesium and Potassium to buffer off these Electrolytes.
Jeff: Was there anything else that people should be taking?
Matt: There’s heaps. I don’t know where to start and stop.
Matt: The big thing, though, I wanted to make the point of is, you don’t treat Anxiety because it’s not a disease, you treat people. And, if you came to me and say, “Mate, I’ve got this Anxiety and these Panic Disorders,” then I start going through, “Right, do you poo every day? What are your Hormones like? What do you eat?” We go through all this sort of stuff, and the funny thing is, it’s been a bit of a learning experience for me, these podcasts, because I’ve actually, in hindsight, looked back at the way I’ve run my Clinic for 20 years and I realise I do more taking things away than putting things in, in the sense that I’ve realised the key to getting good results is to take burden off the system. It’s not always driving Anti-Anxiety Pathways, it’s actually taking away the triggers that are causing the Anxiety, so dealing with people’s Gut issues, dealing with people’s lifestyle issues, counselling people about what actually is Anxiety is more powerful than if I was to give you an Anti-Anxiety medication. Because, if I was to give you a natural Anti-Anxiety medication or if you were to choose to use a drug version of an Anti-Anxiety medication, unless you’re targeting the cause of your particular Anxiety then regardless of whether it’s natural or pharmaceutical you haven’t treated the cause it’s just a management issue, and you’re going to gradually get worse and worse and worse and never be able to stop taking this stuff.
Jeff: So, Matt, in terms of some other things that we’re talking about with regards to Anxiety, you mentioned that Inner Ear problems can have an impact on Anxiety?
Matt: Yeah, Lizard Brain.
Jeff: Lizard Brain?
Matt: That’s what I used to nickname it, but I’m weird like that. A lot of us have had Inner Ear problems as children, a lot of have had head knocks, a lot of us may have had whiplash, shoulder problems, neck problems. Your Brain gathers data from your Eyes, your Ears and your Ankles to know where you are in space and time.
Matt: Yeah. So, basically, we’ve got little spirit levels all through our body, so the Receptors in the Ankles will tell the Brain whether you’re walking, running, if you’re on a flat surface, whether you’re even touching the ground. Your Ears will work as a spirit level and tell you whether you are balanced.
Matt: These send data to your Brain. Your Eyes can give you a point of reference, all of these things send data back to your Brain. If your Brain is confused about whether you are standing, falling, walking, running, then you will have Anxiety.
Matt: So, think about this, all three data points need to be giving consistent messages to your Brain so it can work out where you are. How many people really walk around barefoot with their feet in the dirt?
Matt: Yeah, so we get very poor signals from where we are on the ground. So, a lot more burden goes to the Eyes and the Ears to tell your Brain where you are. Imagine being in a shopping centre, being in crowds, driving, things where your Eyes aren’t giving you a reliable—or, in a boat—they’re not giving you a reliable reference point, and your Brain can get a bit Anxious and confused and nauseous and that sort of stuff as well. So, if someone’s had an Inner Ear problem, what happens is, when their Ankles and their Eyes aren’t giving good data to the Brain the Brain can’t rely on the data from the Ears and it freaks out. For example: a classic thing; if you’ve got Anxiety Disorders and you’ve got an Ear problem it will be worse in crowds and it will be relieved if you can get the hell out and find the horizon. You’ll be a bad traveller, so you get motion sickness in a car or on a boat and all that sort of stuff.
Some easy symptoms: if you shut your Eyes you get wobbly, so if you stand up, close your Eyes and feel like you’re falling then your Inner Ear is probably dodgy. If you stand up, close your Eyes and take one foot off the ground, so your Eyes are out of the picture, your Ankles aren’t sending good messages, the signals to your Brain are Ear dependent and you will fall, and you will typically fall to the side that you’ve got the dodgy Ear, by the way. And, then you tell them to change to the other foot and if they fall to the same side—the other thing you can do with Inner Ear problems is tracking, watch the Eyes track to see if the pupils can follow the fingers.
Jeff: I remember seeing this, Matt, when we were down in Sydney not so long ago, and we went over to see Jimmy and we were talking to one of his people…
Matt: Yeah, and patient confidentiality stops us talking about this, of course.
Jeff: Absolutely. But, it was amazing to see just how that whole reaction unfolded. Someone who was extremely sceptical that Matt could help them, and within about five minutes, boom, he’d pretty much well sorted the problem and diagnosed exactly…
Matt: Well, we found his particular cause; he’s still got to fix the bloody thing.
Matt: The thing is, with the Inner Ear other symptoms will be classic things like you can wake up with a Panic Attack, or you fall like you’re falling every time you lie down, or are really clumsy at night, when the lights are off you’re just banging into walls and stuff like that. But, that is a really common cause for Panic and Anxiety and it causes a lot of Dizziness and it causes a lot of Vertigo, and it causes a lot of problems where these people think they’re Agoraphobic. And, then you teach them simple lessons like, “No Man, you keep those Eyes on the horizon, go hippy, barefoot as much as possible, while we work on the Inner Ear. Sometimes the Inner Ear can’t actually be fixed, like it’s damaged from childhood infections or getting bashed or something, and they do Inner Ear Rehab. For example, they will teach you—you get coloured ribbons and juggle those while you’re walking up and down ramps, a lot of it is actually getting your Eyes and your Ankles to work better and just kind of recalibrating your Inner Ear so you Brain can just go, “Okay, it’s a little bit out of whack, but let’s adjust the sites, this is where we’re in a nice little happy space,” and you’re desensitising yourself to the Anxiety.
Half the thing is, if you can trigger your Anxiety doing the structural change it changes your Brain, all of a sudden you’re not mental.
Jeff: Matt, we’ve got two specific questions I want to read out about Anxiety, that have come through.
Jeff: “What are the natural remedies for it?” Well, we’ve already kind of covered that.
“How can you calm yourself down physically when you’re in a Panic, apart from work?”
So, obviously this person must have found getting into work helps to alleviate the Anxiety. But, what are some things you can do to calm yourself down physically when you’re about to enter into an Anxiety attack or when you’ve got one?
Matt: That product we make, INFRARED is really good, because it’s got the Electrolytes and the Schisandra. If you’re out and about and you may not have those sorts of things, if you’re getting Panic Attacks, half a teaspoon of Bicarb Soda in a bit of water is really good for calming down Panic Attacks. Magnesium and Potassium and that, like I said. But, the main thing is finding your trigger. If your problem is Inner Ear get that diagnosed through a Physiotherapist or something and start working on that, because each type of Anxiety will have a different strategy they have to follow. So, like I’m saying, it’s not so much about, “Here’s and Anxiety remedy,” it’s, “Why have you got Anxiety and let’s see what we can do about that.” Everyone is so different.
Jeff: Well, that leads a little bit into the second question, which you’ve answered, in part, already. “What makes Anxiety worse?” So, what are the triggers? Is Alcohol a trigger? Are particular foods triggers?
Matt: Yeah, of course. Anything that in your body acts as a Stress. Alcohol is a particular one because the by-product from Alcohol is a compound called Acetaldehyde, and that’s a direct Nerve Irritant. So, with Alcohol, we’ve got, yes, the chemical changes in the Brain, but also we’ve got a Waste product that can contribute to Anxiety and Irritability. Magnesium, again, is very good at preventing Acetaldehyde from irritating the Nerves. So, Magnesium is very, very good. Absolutely.
Jeff: Alright. Well, Matt, is there anything else you want to finish off on Anxiety before we move onto Depression?
Matt: Only that Anxiety can lead to Depression. So, basically, you can go from a Hyper-Reactive Anxious into a Fatigued Depressive state. Most people, listening to the podcast will say, “But, I’ve got both. I suffer from Anxiety and Depression.” And, it’s probably going to cover a lot of the same sort of stuff when we’re talking about Depression. Just be aware of that.
Jeff: Well, let’s get into it then, Matt. What is Depression as opposed to—how do you define Depression?
Matt: I don’t know. It’s easy though because one in three people have got it.
Matt: It’s the weirdest thing, because again, Depression isn’t a disease, you can’t do a blood test for Depression, you can’t do anything like that.
Jeff: Well, I stopped looking at it because I was reading some of the lists…
Matt: It’s a combination of symptoms and if you tick enough of the boxes then you’ve got Depression.
Jeff: Well, I think almost anybody could tick some of the boxes.
Matt: Have you seen the lists? Symptoms of Depression could be too much Energy or Fatigue. Do you have either; do you have too much Energy or not enough Energy?
Jeff: Well, I’ve a pull down on Mayo Clinic, that’s the one you told me to pull out to have a look at.
Matt: Yeah, they’re good for symptoms, we’re not bagging them, by the way, they’re just giving us a list of symptoms.
Jeff: Feelings of Sadness, Emptiness or Unhappiness, Angry Outbursts, Irritability or Frustration even over small matters, Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities such as sex, Sleep disturbances including Insomnia, or Sleeping too much, Tiredness and Lack of Energy so that even small tasks take extra effort, change in Appetite, often Reduced Appetite and Weight Loss but Increased Cravings for Food and Weight Gain in some people. It’s just an oxymoron. And, the list goes on, there’s Anxiety and Agitation…
Matt: I don’t even need to look at your computer because if you are Down you’ve got Depression, if you’re Up you’ve got Depression. If you can’t sleep you’ve got Depression, if all you want to do is Sleep you’ve got Depression. If you can’t Eat you’ve got Depression, but if you Eat too much you’ve got Depression. So, it’s pretty easy to see one in three people who turn up to a doctor that they can’t find something else on a blood test get left with the label of Depression. The end result is, an Anti-Depressant style Medication.
Now, because Depression isn’t a disease, Depression is a consequence of a series of events, and giving someone a Medication is a management issue not a cure. You know what I mean? So, the way to deal with Depression is, again, go back to the person and say, “How did we get to this state?” And, this is what bugs me all the time. Someone might go to the doctor and say–out of those group of symptoms they might say, “Okay, I’m Fatigued, I’m really tired. All I can do is Sleep, I have no interest in anything, I’m just Lazy, Apathetic, Tired, Fatigued and Achy. And, because of all of that I’m getting Fat, Fluidy, Frumpy, and I don’t like the way I look, and I don’t like the way I feel, and I feel Depressed.”
Now, the classical Anti-Depressant is what we call a Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, which floods the Brain with Serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that makes you feel content to do nothing, it makes you feel Lazy, it also helps you Sleep. So, because they’ve ticked enough of the boxes of Depression they’re basically saying, “I’m buggered, I’m Sedated,” and they get prescribed a Sedative.
Matt: And, then they go, “I’m just not right,” so then they do it for a while and then they go, “Well, he’s a new class of Anti-Depressant, we can try that. It actually wakes people up as well.” So, we diagnose you with Depression but because the symptoms are so vague, the tools are so vague, so we’re just going to cycle through the Anti-Depressants. Now, I’m not bagging pharmaceutical people or doctors because Naturopaths and that do the same thing. If they’re treating that way, if they’re treating symptoms using Alternative Medicine it’s the same thing.
Jeff: And, Matt, that leads to the Disclaimer, if you do suffer from Depression or if you think that you have Depression we absolutely, 100% recommend that you go and get some professional advice.
Matt: Oh, especially if you’re Homicidal or Suicidal, don’t go nutso on us and blame me.
Jeff: No. And, this information is just purely for information, so you need to talk to your health professional and to educate yourself so that you know more about it.
Matt: And, regardless of what you choose to do in the short term to get you out of a dark place–my point I’m trying to make is, try to treat the cause, try to find the cause and isolate it. So, you can use whatever you need to use in the short term, under the supervision of your healthcare practitioners and all that sort of stuff, but look for the cause and treat the cause, because if you think that you can take a Band-Aid style treatment for two months, six months, 12 months, 10 years, without addressing the cause of the problem then you’ll never get off the bloody stuff. And, if you do try to come off it you’re in a worse place than you were because the problem has just been snowballing the whole time.
Jeff: So, Matt, how many types of Depression are there?
Matt: There’s so many, because like I said, the different combinations of symptoms will determine whether you’ve got what they call A-Typical Depression and things like that, they’re all different, and they keep coming up with different forms because it leads to different forms of prescriptions; they’re trying to find a different title because it makes it easier to give you the appropriate Medication. So, don’t worry so much about that, start looking at the people. And, the better question was, how many different types of people are there?
Jeff: A lot.
Matt: Yeah, everyone is an individual and everyone will have a different combination of events that’s led them to this dark place. But, what I want those people to know is, it’s not a weakness, you’re not weak, it’s the ones that can be bombarded by Stress and not react that would never have survived—they would never survive a life threatening stress. You’re a bloody champion, you’re a Survivor, you’re launching a Stress Response that the other guys can’t. Acknowledge that, and acknowledge that if that Stress Trigger was a life threatening Stress you would have kicked its arse.
Jeff: Absolutely. So, if Jurassic Park was coming you would survive and everybody else would die.
Matt: Yeah. So, if you think you’re weak because you get nervous in a shopping centre, don’t, because if T Rex turned up, Man, you’d be the only one to survive.
Jeff: Exactly, so be happy about it.
Matt: And, the other thing I wanted to say with Depression, is just a quick thing about Serotonin, because the medical model for Depression is about preserving Serotonin, and Serotonin is the chemical that goes into your Brain—you know, after you have a shag you get a big release of Serotonin and it makes you want to go to sleep? I think it’s blokes that do that.
Jeff: Women get the Hugging Hormone.
Matt: Yeah. Oxytocin.
Jeff: Oxytocin, that’s it. And, apparently, there’s more Oxytocin in older men than there is in young ones, so ladies there’s hope but you’ve just got to wait for the men to get a bit older.
Matt: And, they’ll hug.
Jeff: And, they’ll hug.
Matt: Alright, good. Serotonin is the sleepy chemical, so it’s released after Alcohol, it’s released after shagging and good food, and it’s the one that makes you feel pretty content. So, the whole medical model is, “If we flood your Brain with Serotonin these other things aren’t going to matter as much.” But, you know how in all these podcasts I keep talking about Cortisol?
Matt: Cortisol determines whether you’re sensitive to Serotonin or not. So, it’s your Cortisol that will determine how sensitive to Serotonin you are. So, if you’ve got Cortisol floating around it’s telling your Brain that if you’re not punching and running and surviving a Stress you should at least be hiding, “So, don’t go into a deep sleep, stay on edge and just wait.” The reason I’m mentioning this is, it’s okay to do stuff to preserve and flood your Brain with Serotonin in the short term to change your mood and make you feel better, but try to find the causes because if you’re not addressing the things like Cortisol it’s going to continually come out and desensitise you to Serotonin, you’re going to need more and more and more Medication to get that level of Serotonin that actually touches the sides.
Matt: But, if you address the things that are triggering your Stress Responses while on an Anti-Depressant Medication you become more and more sensitive to Serotonin, meaning you can go down in the doses instead of up. And, then what happens, it gets to the point where they say, “You don’t need this Medication anymore,” and that’s the ideal solution.
Jeff: It is. It’s interesting because I was reading some information from Doctor Roger Murfree—not Murphy, Murfree, and he’s a huge fan of what they call Orthomolecular Medicine, and the definition is, “a practise based on the premise that many diseases and abnormalities result from varying biochemical and chemical composition of each individual–which is pretty much what we’ve said–that can be prevented, treated or even cured by achieving optimum levels of natural chemicals and substances via nutritional or Amino Acid therapy, including B Vitamins and Minerals, Magnesium and other things like that.” I love that.
So, let’s talk about some of the ways to be able to treat Depression, again after consultation with your healthcare practitioner.
Jeff: Let’s talk about the real big ones, and I think most people would have heard of St John’s Wort, a lot of people would have heard of utilising things like Phenalgin and Tyrosine, and in fact I’ve got an interesting story about that, and also things like Tryptophan, 5HTP, those sorts of things, Matt. So, let me tell you a very basic story: I had a mother that used to come into my store, her son was suffering from Depression, but she could not get him to the doctor; mild Depression she was saying. I said, “Look, you’ve got to take him to get him some help,” and she said, “Look, he won’t go, there’s nothing I can do,” and I said, “Look, it’s almost at the point that I would be worried. Get an intervention.” She said, “Look, is there anything you can recommend?” I said, “Have a look at, and do your own research into Phenalgin and Tyrosine.” Anyway, she did, she came back, she bought some, she went and took it to him, and she said, “It’s definitely improved.”
So, Matt, there seems to be some validity to utilising things like Amino Acids that might help.
Matt: Yeah, of course.
Jeff: So, the Natural Medicines, St John’s Wort, how do these things work?
Matt: Well, for starters, like I was saying before every individual’s got a different cause for their Anxiety, Depression symptoms. You have a look at Tyrosine, for example; Tyrosine is a precursor to; Noradrenaline or Norepinephrine—Epinephrine, I never know how to say the buggers–it’s a precursor to that. So, Tyrosine, if it goes down the Catecholamine Pathway and makes Norepinephrine for the Americans, Noradrenaline for the rest of us, that triggers Anxiety. If Tyrosine goes down the Pathway and makes Dopamine then that does Reward, Pride and Self-Esteem. If it goes down the Pathway and creates Phenylalanine the Phenylalanine does Mood, Pain Threshold, it works like an Opiate or an Endorphin.
So, the problem with this sort of idea of throwing in Nutrients is, it could go down multiple Pathways, and until we balance out the Nervous System and the priorities of the body then it’s Russian Roulette; you’ve got no idea, you’re throwing stuff in that can go anywhere. It’s trial and error. They take it and, “Oh, that’s okay, it went down this—so, if your friend had a Tyrosine Deficiency typically creating low levels of Catecholamines and low levels of Phenylalanine and you give it to him then he feels good. If he had ample levels of Tyrosine and he had an imbalance between his Noradrenaline where his body just insisted on pumping Noradrenaline as part of the Survival Response that Tyrosine could have aggravated an Anxiety. So, that’s the whole thing.
You have a look at Glutamine, for example; Glutamine can go down a Pathway and make Gabba, which is a Sedative, or it can go to Glutamic Acid, which is a Nerve Irritant. Throw in Glutamine and his body is saying, “No, I want your Nerves to be Irritated,” then you know it’s going to be dragged down that Pathway. So, this is why you’ve got to go through—the way I look at Nutrients and Minerals, so Amino Acids and Vitamins, they’re building blocks, or they are tools or resources or the basic compounds you need. Then Herbs will control the pathway they go down, your Emotions, your Lifestyle. You control which way they go, all we’re doing is putting in the building blocks. But, it’s amazing how many of these simple building blocks could be either an Upper or a Downer, depending on your body’s priorities at that time.
Jeff: It’s amazing, isn’t it?
Jeff: And, obviously, for anyone who’s really in need of those motivational or self-help books, business books, they talk about how your attitude sets your altitude, so much. And, obviously there is a Brain chemistry that you can control even through mindset, Matt?
Jeff: That’s incredibly powerful, but the ability to harness that, have a positive outlook on life, you’re saying they can make it a physical manifestation in the body?
Matt: Oh, absolutely. If you walk around—going back to Tyrosine; if I walked around all day frowning my Tyrosine would go down the Noradrenaline Pathway and give me everything I need to punch and run whatever was making me frown. If I walked around happy and smiling and excited my Tyrosine would form Dopamine, and I could change my attitude and change the Pathways in which my Brain would utilise these Nutrients.
Jeff: I’ve heard of this before.
Matt: This is why Positive Affirmations are so powerful.
Matt: Because, the Negative Affirmations would drive it down a Pathway.
Jeff: Well, Henry Ford, one of my favourite heroes of the 20th Century, “If you think you can you can, if you think you can’t you can’t.” The power of the human mind and the ability to be able to work on the human body. There is a great book, and this is a side note, called The Miracle Man. It’s of a guy who I believe is in South Africa, I can’t remember exactly where, he flipped his plane, a small little plane, broke his neck, severed his spinal cord in the neck, he was basically a paraplegic, in fact he was pretty much locked in. He convinced himself that his body was healing and he convinced himself that he would walk out of hospital. Now, Google it because a lot of people will go, “No way.” The Miracle Man. Have a look at it, I’ll see if I can find the link; absolutely unbelievable. This guy would not let any negativity, no doctors to come in that said, “No, you will not walk,” or, “You cannot use your arms again.” And, that’s pretty cool. I love stuff like that.
Matt: You’ve got to believe it.
Jeff: He believed it, absolutely.
Matt: That’s right. Now, I’ll tell you another example of a statistician; there’s a statistician guy who was a mathematician, he was fully left brain and didn’t believe in all that spiritual stuff and power of the mind, and, “I can control anything.” This bloke was a statistician and he got diagnosed with cancer and was given a certain period of time to live. Through mathematical equations and what he knew and what he believed in, he could create a mathematical equation that proved that he would be in this small percentage that would live forever. So, he went through and said, “Okay, so I got told I’ve got six months to live. That is an average. Which, on a Bell Curve, the majority of the people died with my symptoms at six months. That means there is some percentage that died instantly, some people that live forever, but the majority were there. So, what does the majority do to put themselves there? They smoke, they drink, they stress, they party, they do all that. I don’t do any of those things.” So, he went through using a mathematical equation and proved that out of all the people with the same blood tests and the same things he’s got, he will fit into the 1% that live forever.
Matt: I don’t know how long he lived but he lived longer than six months.
Matt: It’s a very interesting study, a very interesting story.
Jeff: Yeah. It is, the power of the mind is important.
Matt: Yeah. So, that’s what I’m saying, you can provide Nutrients, you can provide B Vitamins, I can give you ridiculous amounts of chemicals to put into your body and flood your brain with things, but your priorities controlled by your Nervous Systems and that sort of stuff, at that time, will determine the Pathways those Nutrients go down. And so, with that ability we have to take a step back and just go, “Well, that is a small part of the puzzle, loading you up with Nutrients, the bigger part is to focus on yourself and find out little things that you can take away to take burden off your system. Take away Allergies, take away Intolerances, take away extra Stress, take away all these things, and you find what’s left is normal, and capable of dealing with it. You’re not in a Hyper-Reactive state that is either leaving you in a position of Depression born from Anxiety or a Depression born from Apathy and Fatigue. Because, that’s what I’m saying, Depression is both, it’s Up and it’s Down, it’s a symptom of you getting fed up with what’s happening and your inability to take control of your own body, that frustration. So, if we go back and have a look, it’s going, “I’m not Depressed, I’m not Anxious, I am Jeff—well, I’m not, I’m Matt, but you’re Jeff—that’s an example.
Jeff: You wish you were me.
Matt: No, I would be Depressed.
Jeff: And, I think that’s one of those things, and you said this to me a long time ago, which is why we changed the name of ATP Made without Compromise, to ATP for Life, because it’s better to focus on a positive rather than a negative. You know what I mean?
Matt: Yeah, that’s right.
Jeff: So, rather than saying, “I’m not Depressed,” saying, “I feel great. I feel fantastic, I feel strong,” those self-affirmations.
Matt: Yeah, exactly.
Jeff: The funny thing, anyone out there that’s been listening or read any of those self-help books, those books of how to succeed, they almost all say exactly the same thing; you repeat it and you say it, and it hears it and it actually starts to believe it. And, I know it sounds a little bit metaphysical and ethereal but I’ve seen it too many times not to believe it.
Matt: Yeah. I’ve got one more thing I wanted to say.
Matt: For those out there, they don’t realise, but right now I’ve got a broken hand, because I got cranky and I got frustrated and I banged the thing. The lesson I’ve learnt from it is to not express my anger but to explain my anger. So, what I’m doing now is, because I’ve got a sore hand I can’t hit anything anymore, and I tell people, “I really want to hit something but my hand hurts. You’ve made me angry for these reasons.” And, that’s been very powerful for me, I can’t believe how much it’s changed my Brain. But, understand also, that with Anxiety and Depression don’t feel the need to hide it, don’t feel the need to justify it, and don’t feel the need to explain it as a weakness. Because, they go and say, “Oh, let everyone at your workplace know that you suffer from Anxiety and Depression.” If you let everyone know that you’re a bad arse survivor that gets these Survival Responses when something irritates you, and you start looking and going, “Actually, it’s the way you speak to me at work. It’s the way you’re operating procedures at work are leaving me with not enough time,” you go and explain to these people and express what are the triggers that are leading to your Survival Response, and you explain to them, it’s not a weakness, I’m getting everything I need to punch you and run out the door, and I’m trying to work out why this has happened to me and this is my thinking. What do you think about that?” They’re the discussions that you need to have with your family, your friends, and the workplace, not coming from a position of weakness, it’s coming from the position of a superior cave man talking to another cave man saying, “You have irritated me and I want to punch you and run. So, let’s talk about how we can make sure this doesn’t happen, because this is just the way I am. I am a Survivor Strong cave man.”
Jeff: Communication is very powerful. And, the way that I’ve looked at and the way that I’ve dealt with things personally is always from the position of love as well too, being able to express what you’re feeling while still having admiration for the other person, but having admiration for yourself as well, speak up for yourself, get it out there and talk to these people about it.
Matt: Mm. Just don’t do what Jeff does and start rubbing against you.
Jeff: Matt, we do have a question on this: “How can someone feel down and sad without knowing why? And, there’s more that lies beneath the surface than just mind and events.”
Matt: Yeah. Well the thing is, our body works on a Physical, Mental and Spiritual plane. You must look at all of those three planes to get yourself into good equilibrium. We always focus about Mental chemistry, we talk about Physical strengths and weaknesses, both Mental and Physical planes will contribute to your mood. Also, look at the Spiritual aspect, which is your ability to choose your attitude, your ability to have emotion, your ability to have a purpose in life and a goal and are working towards something meaningful. So, you’ve got to take all of those three things into consideration. The hardest bit is, is to self-diagnose. I know I keep trying to give everyone the tools they need to self-diagnose, but it is really hard to self-diagnose yourself. What is better is to go and talk to someone and just start talking, or start writing it down and email it through to someone. Because, in the process of listing the symptoms—you might look at them and you may think, “This is such a big deal to me,” but someone else might look at it and go, “Wow, your biggest problem is actually Allergies,” or, “Your biggest problem is too much coffee.” They might go, “Hey, did you realise you’re drinking 12 cups of coffee a day,” you know what I mean?
Matt: I’m not saying this person is, but it’s an individual thing. The biggest point that I’m trying to make today is Anxiety, Depression is not a disease state, Insomnia is not a disease state. They are all symptoms and signs and they are so different in every person.
Jeff: So, Matt, why is it that someone can feel so Down without knowing why? What is that?
Matt: Well, the funny thing is, like I was saying before, those chemicals in the Brain, Serotonin, if you’ve got a lack of Serotonin then you will wake up feeling Down. See, first thing in the morning we get a big surge of Cortisol, Cortisol wakes us up by blocking Serotonin, but if your Serotonin levels are low or if your Serotonin sensitivity is low because your body releases too much Cortisol then you’ll wake up feeling Down. In those sorts of situations, what we do in the Clinic we don’t want people waking up feeling lousy all the time, we want to give people a bit of motivation and drive and vitality to actually target the cause. So, what we do is we do a short term treatment with things that will support Serotonin.
Now, you mentioned St John’s Wort before, that preserves Serotonin in the Brain like an Antidepressant would. The problem is, it takes a week or so to build up that Serotonin in the Brain and it takes another two to four weeks to be able to come off it without having withdrawal symptoms. The same as with all other Antidepressants. The natural stuff seems a bit easier but they’re all much the same. I do like to use things that release Serotonin within the hour and that Serotonin is kind of all worn out within a couple of hours, it gives you more power, so when you want the Serotonin you release it and when you don’t need it you don’t need it. That’s where you 5-Hydroxytrytophan works, your 5-HTP. So, Tryptophan doesn’t work really well because Tryptophan has to be converted to 5-Hydroxytryptophan. 6-Hydroxytryptophan is one step before Serotonin, so when you put in 5-Hydroxy or 5-HTP it goes straight up into your Brain one step before Serotonin, and then within an hour 5-HTP turns to Serotonin in your Brain. And so, what you can do is you can use that just as a quick pick me up, feel good thing, while you’re addressing your Adrenal Issues and everything. So, you look at Cortisol, you look at other causes of your Depression, but in the meantime we give you some tools that will just give you a nice big flood of Serotonin just for a short term. You can then manipulate the dose, use as much or as little as you like, and the good thing is, you’ve got control of your system, you’re not in a zombie state 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because you’re on a chemical straight jacket, you’re using a tool that will release a nice surge of happy Hormones when you want them. Alternatively, have a shag, and those other things that release Serotonin.
Jeff: And, it’s a vicious circle again, because if you’re feeling like that you probably don’t feel like being intimate.
Jeff: So, isn’t it funny. It’s almost you need to break the…
Matt: Practice a lot when you’re alone. That’s what I always recommend.
Jeff: Well, you’re in trouble now with your hand like that, Matt.
Matt: Ooh. Sounds like I’m having an affair.
Jeff: The whole thing, I guess, with the 5-HTP, which I am a huge fan of, and it’s restricted in some countries, I believe it’s restricted in Australia, I believe it is restricted in France as well too, I think. But, in America Wal Greens, jump online and you should be able to get it pretty much from anywhere. If you’re looking for natural forms of Tryptophan…
Matt: Go see your doctors, your Naturopaths, they can all prescribe it, and it’s good to work with those guys anyway, because they give you the right advice and they can modulate it. The other thing is, they’re the guys that are going to help you find the actual cause of the problem anyway.
Jeff: If they’re good ones.
Jeff: Absolutely right. Alright Matt, lastly let’s get on to Insomnia.
Matt: Insomnia; the first thing to look for is Metabolic Waste or Poor Energy Production that’s causing Insomnia; Chronic Fatigue. The most common cause for Insomnia is actually Fatigue. You know what it’s like, the tireder you get the harder it is to get a good night’s sleep? Because, we start running on Nervous Energy. So, buffer off the Acids, Lactic Acid is the major cause, and you’ll know if it’s that because you’re restless. So, you’re all tired, you fall asleep in front of the TV, go to bed and all of a sudden you just have to constantly move. Shallow breathing and all that sort of stuff, sweat a lot once you do get into a sleep.
Jeff: I’m thinking the first thing I’d be reaching for is the Electrolytes, and specifically Magnesium.
Matt: That’s right. Or, if you’re training and that, use your INFRARED while you’re training to buffer the Acid.
Jeff: Of course.
Matt: So, another common cause for Insomnia is actually not enough Energy Production from Oxygen, which can come from Low Blood Pressure, Poor Circulation, Anaemia, because if you’re not delivering Oxygen into your Muscle Tissues you have to continually move, so that will cause a real restlessness. The funny thing is, when you’re not making good Energy from Oxygen you build up Lactic Acid, and so it forms a vicious cycle there. That’s why a lot of people go straight for the Magnesium and things like that, but if you’re a vegetarian or if you don’t eat enough Iron you potentially could be Anaemic and that sort of stuff. It’s funny, you give someone Iron it gives them Energy all day and then a really deep sleep at night.
Another common cause for Insomnia is trying to work out whether the person has a problem getting to sleep or staying asleep. Serotonin is the chemical that gets you to sleep, but ratios are more important than the actual amounts. So, do you have Serotonin? Or, do you have too much Noradrenaline? So, we try to balance out those Nervous Systems, but we typically look at Serotonin for getting you to sleep. So, what we do is we give you things like 5-HTP to flood Serotonin while we do things to reduce the Adrenaline, which is your Sedative Herbs, your Kava, your Chamomile, your Hops, Lavenders, those sorts of things.
Sleep maintenance, to stay asleep; so we can be tired enough, we can have enough Serotonin, we get to sleep, but we don’t stay asleep. Melatonin is the chemical that we make during darkness, that converts Serotonin which gets you to sleep into Dopamine which puts you into a deep sleep. So, if you’re looking at Sleep Maintenance your problem can often by Poor Dopamine Production where your Tyrosine is making Noradrenaline that wakes you up instead of Dopamine which keeps you asleep.
Jeff: So, in a practical sense, Matt, could something like getting rid of all light sources in your bedroom, could that help?
Matt: Absolutely. Because, if you don’t have darkness you don’t make Melatonin. And, the more Melatonin you’ve got the deeper the sleep you’ll go into.
Jeff: So, maybe look at your alarm clock, maybe fact that in a different direction, close the curtains.
Matt: The weird thing is with Melatonin is trying to get the dose right. Typical doses range from about 3 milligrams to 10 milligrams. If you have too much Melatonin you go into a deep sleep for a short period of time and wake up really early, it’s really weird.
Jeff: Is that because of the trough?
Matt: Yeah, that Bell Curve and things like that. So, you’ll find there’ll be a dose and it might vary from day to day for you, so I always buy the 3 milligram ones and then I can take anywhere from one to three of those. And, the good thing with Melatonin you don’t become reliant on it, you can just stop it any time.
Jeff: And, for areas where Melatonin is restricted, Matt?
Matt: Like Australia? Then you’ll need a doctor’s prescription. But, like I was saying, work with your doctors for this Serotonin and Melatonin stuff, and work with your Naturopaths and that looking for Allergies and other triggers for you Stress Disorders if your problems are Pain, Injury, Inflammation and Wankers.
Yeah, so the other thing with Insomnia, so Sleep Onset Insomnia problems are Serotonin related. Sleep Maintenance is usually Melatonin, Dopamine related. Always look for Acidity, Metabolic Waste, Muscle Soreness. And, you know, Man, if you have a crappy night’s sleep and then you wake up with the worst DOMS from all the Lactic Acid you can assume it is an Acidity problem. I used to do a lot of work with AFL clubs, and they used to have Tuesday nights and that were their full on fitness nights where the guys were just totally ruined, exhausted like you wouldn’t believe, and every one of them could never sleep on that night because they’d built up so much Acid from the training that they couldn’t sleep, they were just rooted. They could never work out why the harder they worked and the tireder they were, the harder it was to get a good night’s sleep. So, in that case it’s just all buffered Acidity.
Jeff: And, the funny thing is, Matt, obviously after just talking to you today, all of these things are interrelated.
Jeff: And, it really does look like there are some real common points I can take away from this, and listeners should too. When you’re training make sure that you’re warming down, do some stretching, really take that time to help to get the Acid out of the Muscles, that’s going to help you, if you train.
Definitely keeping your Electrolytes nice and high, INFRARED, make sure you’re getting plenty of Magnesium as well sounds like it’s going to help a lot, choosing a positive attitude, identifying the areas of Stress in your life, and if you can’t remove yourself from them or remove them from you find out how to deal with them, get support from friends and family as well, too. Don’t stay silent, actually go and talk to some friends and family and address it. And, if you are confronting somebody who is being particularly annoying, as Matt said, you can take the cave man approach, and or, just do it in a way that empowers them as well, ask them to help you. It’s very hard not to like someone who likes you as well, too.
Jeff: Getting a little bit Doctor Phil here. But, the funny thing is, Matt, you and I are very holistic in the way that we understand the body and the way that we treat it. You can’t de-compartmentalise the body and say, “Here, take this magic pill,” because then we’d be like most of the other companies out there, “This one pill is going to fix your problem.” We’re so much more complex than that.
Matt: Yeah. We make that product ALPHA VENUS, that product is just really healthy, like it will fix so many weird imbalances in your body. How many case studies have we had come back that ALPHA VENUS saying it’s totally helped them with their Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Fibromyalgia and all that sort of stuff.
Jeff: And, Mood, Matt. Then amount of women that are coming back saying, “I feel far less Stressed.”
Matt: It doesn’t target Brain Chemistry at all, all it does is takes the burden, takes stuff off your body that is driving your Nervous System, and when all those things were gone they were fine.
The other point that I want to stress was, and this is one that bugged me all the time in the Clinic; Depression doesn’t cause Fatigue, it’s Fatigue that causes Depression. Taking an Antidepressant style approach to address your Fatigue is madness. So, you’ve got to address you as an individual is the biggest lesson.
Jeff: Well, Matt, that’s been really informative. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that are going to be really happy that we’ve spoken about this. Is there anything else you wanted to add?
Matt: The only other one thing is, there is an amazing service that is available that people should use and that’s—if you need to talk to someone just call that Lifeline, the number is 131114, and that’s in Australia. I’m sure for the rest of the world there will be things like that, but we’ve got a facility that if there is no one that wants to talk or if you’re struggling talking to people or getting your point across, call these guys because they’re really good. Not only to help you out of a troubled spot but to help work with you on techniques and that sort of stuff moving forward. Because you may find the cause of your problem is the person that you’re reaching out to, and whether they do it intentionally or not, they may be keeping you in that position. So, go out and get an independent person that you don’t even know or see and just dump on.
Jeff: And, as we were saying before, the caveats for the show is, please take this as information only, always consult your medical practitioner whether it’s for Fatigue, Insomnia, Depression, whatever, because if you need help go to the experts and go and get it, reach out to the professionals, reach out to those people that can help you because that’s what they’re there for.
Look, Matt, thanks very much for the show today. Last word?
Jeff: Hooroo? Alright, thanks very much for listening to ATP, and we’ll see you next week.
END OF TRANSCRIPT
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