Probiotics for Anxiety and Depression?

We are always eager to find evidence supporting safer and more effective treatments, especially for mental health conditions.

Recently a meta-analysis suggested probiotics have a positive impact on the central nervous system by regulating critical neurotransmitters like serotonin implicated in depression or anxiety – similar action to common prescription agents like Celexa, Wellbutrin, Effexor or Prozac.

There is still much more research to be done before probiotics can be considered a front-line treatment for treating anxiety and depressive symptoms, namely which strains of bacteria (single or multiple) work best as well as dosing and duration of use.

For now, probiotics like lactobacillus could be considered as an adjunct (add-on) therapy, just as Fish Oil or omega-3 supplements can be used (1-2 grams daily) for depression. They clearly do not have sufficient evidence to support their use in place of front line prescription agents for now.

Most Americans Gain ZERO Benefit from Nutritional Supplements

What? Vitamins don’t help me? A nice plain English summary from the NY Times  explains how typical Americans without a previously diagnosed nutritional deficiency do NOT gain any health advantages from taking a handful of supplements each morning.

Save your $$$$.

Notice the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the United States Preventive Services Task Force, among others, have ALL found no role for a once daily vitamin supplement to prevent cancer or heart disease; they recommend instead a balanced diet with a variety of foods to be MORE effective than any capsule. Reducing the plain white, high carb foods (bread, pasta, tortillas, rice, potatoes) and increasing the colorful red/orange/green/yellow/purple foods (vegetables, fruits, beans) will provide a wide range of excellent vitamin and minerals plus assist in keeping weight down.

Magnesium pill? Better to take spinach, nuts, legumes and whole-grain cereals.

Calcium pill? Try fat-free milk, yogurt, cheese and dark-green leafy vegetables.

Even more concerning, some vitamins INCREASE the risk of cancer. Based on early, suggestive evidence, a large government-sponsored study tested the ability of selenium and vitamin E to lower the risk of prostate cancer. Imagine the surprise when the men who took vitamin E developed significantly more cancers than those on a placebo.

Instead of spending money on unproven therapy, try a membership at the local gym. Exercise is outstanding for mental and physical health. See you at the Y!

Anxiety and Panic – New phone apps may help

Phone apps exist for many areas of our life now from hailing a ride to monitoring your sleep (sleep better, sleep time) to ordering dinner.

Now phone apps are available that can act as a portable counselor or coach to help with common issue of anxiety and panic disorder. They are available for Google and Apple phones.

MindShift app

SAM app

Pacifica app

SAM was developed by a university team of psychologists, computer scientists and student users. It offers a range of self-help methods for people who are serious about learning to manage their anxiety.

MindShift helps you learn how to relax, develop more helpful ways of thinking, and identify active steps that will help you take charge of your anxiety. This app has specific tools such as:

Pacifica gives you psychologist-designed tools to address based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mindfulness meditation, relaxation, and mood/health tracking. It has been recognized as leader in the field: #1 – BuzzFeed’s Amazing Apps For Anyone Living With Anxiety, and #1 – Forbes’ 4 Technologies Innovating in Mental Health.

In addition to the phone apps, in person counseling, physical exercise and medications can help. TVFM has many helpful contacts for counseling across the Treasure Valley.

Dr Crownover also recently attended another national psychopharmacology update conference sponsored by the Nevada Psychiatric Association, in order to ensure the latest and best evidence-based medications are used to meet your individual needs.