Let Depression Melt Away With Coconut Oil

Depression and Coconut Oil

By Denny Allen

October 2014

 

Preface

Let’s keep this simple and straight. I had pretty bad depression in early 2012, and I’ve dug myself out. But I am less convinced that my problem was a “mental” issue, but more of a physical one. My family and friends could perceive that I wasn’t all there. The normal in control guy was losing control. What was going on?

Look, I’m not a professional in the psychoanalytic fields or the medical or even a scientist. I can’t say that what worked for me, will work for anyone else. But it has worked for me, and I want to share what I did.

 

The Latest Dip

Here is a synopsis of my last depressive episode. In the winter of 2012, I went through a period of fairly severe depression. It wasn’t the first time I have had a depressive episode (let’s define an episode as greater than one month) as I had previously experienced depression a few other times since 2003. Depression doesn’t just happen. The melancholy comes first, a fog that engulfs you. You try to stop the slide, but you can’t seem to fight it. Once you’ve dropped off the cliff, you have to start the long climb back up. Once you have recovered, you say to yourself that you’re never going to let this happen again. Easy to say, but not so easy to do.

It seems that whenever I get a bad cold, and my head gets congested, I begin to feel depressed. I develop a hypersensitive tinnitus, the so-called ringing in the ears, that becomes a constant disruption to your brain’s ability to focus. I didn’t really have ringing in my ears, but more of an electrical buzzing that was around my brain, but not on my brain. Awake, you can somewhat control this disruption because you are aware of it. But asleep, you have no control. The buzzing keeps you from dropping off into the wonderful REM sleep that is so important to our restfulness and recovery. The abyss gets deeper as you become more REM sleep-deprived.

Let me explain a little about what it feels like to be depressed. I was physically lethargic and mentally listless. I wanted to stay in bed, away from the world, and I was cold, very cold. I was always sleepy, but unable to quiet my mind long enough to take a nap. Meditation didn’t help, because I was unable to concentrate on the nothingness or the mantras or the suggestions of the mentors on tape. I forced myself up, and tried to accomplish something … anything. Exercise can blow away some fog, but it provides only a mild, temporary respite

I started to believe that some outside force was making everything go bad for me … because almost everything I did seemed to go wrong. I would drop something, which took a major effort to clean up. I would say something to someone that was misconstrued. I forgot an appointment. Every decision I made seemed to be the wrong one. So then I become distrustful of any decisions I made. I then started to consider that maybe I should just do the contrarian thing … do the opposite of what I thought. Now I was faced with a big decision again … Should I do what I thought was rational, or should I do the opposite because I didn’t trust my decision-making? Literally every decision became a stalemate. Even the most basic things, like going to the store … or not. Getting lunch … or not. Do it another day … or not? Make a decision! But I can’t. And then whatever I finally did, it too often ended being a bad choice. Self-fulfilling prophesy. Believe me, this sounds lame, but the process of depression is paralyzing.

Of course during this whole disaster, anxiety set in. In my case, I felt like I had a mild stomach flu. Eating didn’t sound good, yet, when I ate, I was fine. I was afraid of coffee and wine … two of my favorites … because I didn’t know if I could handle the stimulation. Remember, my mind was buzzing all of the time. I became super cautious because I was waiting for the next shoe to drop … the next piece of bad luck in a series of bad occurrences. I felt like I had no control over any event in my life.

And then there is the fear. I feared losing the respect of my friends and family. I feared I would make a fool of myself in public, that people would think I was weird or crazy. I became extremely self-conscious and critical. I feared I would do something stupid during this time that would cause me to lose our life savings. I feared that my lack of focus may cause me to be in an accident. Man … I feared that something real bad was going to happen. And of course, the worst fear of all, the fear that I was losing my mind. I knew that fear developed in the deepest part of the brain, the amygdala, the basic survival center that determines fight or flight … but I had no fight. The joy centers of my brain were lost.

Knowing that others were looking at me (or at least I thought they were,) made me self-conscious. I asked myself what events or issues happened that caused my depression, but I couldn’t find anything significant, at least that I could accept. I’ve got a really good life with which I should be content. Hell, I was content. So many people have real issues that could drive them into hopelessness. That would be understandable. Maybe I really was a wuss? This introspection further deteriorated my self-esteem; I wasn’t feeling very good about myself.

People who are inexperienced in depression really can’t fully understand. Many think that people who are depressed are just mentally weak, that they let it happen. Why don’t you just snap out of it? Not so easy, my friend. This is a living hell. You can’t just turn this short-circuit off. It is overwhelming and devastating. You know it is not right, but you cannot stop it. Your brain gets into a cycling mode, going over and over something that you can’t turn off.

My brain was definitely different. Besides having the tinnitus at a magnified level, I felt like my brain was not connected completely. The part I was using was looking down on the rest and saying “What the f—!” My brain was flipping from item to item and I couldn’t concentrate. As my anxiety rose, I was very mistrustful of everything. My poor wife, who was extremely supportive during this period, became totally beside herself with my indecisiveness and my fear. I remember her saying one time in complete frustration that she couldn’t take it any more … I had to get a hold of myself, and stop doing this. My response to her was something along the line that no matter how bad my anxiety and indecisiveness affected her, it was hitting me five times worse, because this disease was living inside me. Rationally I knew I was losing my mind, but couldn’t break out of the cycle to do anything about it.

 

The Road Out of the Mud

First, I committed to my wife that I would get on an antidepressant and see a psychotherapist. I went back to my psychiatrist and began amitriptyline again. Previous pharmacology sessions had determined that I could not take the SSRI’s. I had stopped taking my amitriptyline back in 2009, because I thought I didn’t need it anymore. I’m sure my initial return visits to my psychiatrist were alarming. I was babbling on and on about indecisiveness and my fearfulness. I was a totally different person than the person she had seen before.

Secondly, I also began seeing a psychotherapist for the first time. She quickly assessed my crisis situation, and we began regular sessions in April 2012. I found it to be beneficial to be able to verbalize my quandary with an objective person, and to realize the incongruity of my thought processes. She was one person that I could tell all without worrying if she thought I was nuts. That was why I was there.

I was pushing on. I was managing my brother’s finances now, along with my mom’s. My mom was failing at 91, and, although she was residing at a well-run assisted living residence, I had to take her to the hospital often because her physical system was shutting down. The buzzing in my head persisted and I was still indecisive, barely able to take care of myself, yet I was able to attend to her issues.

The third thing I did was one of those experiences that you find when you were not looking. We had recently discovered that my brother was suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s, and I began wondering if dementia was hereditary, that it was beginning to happen to me, and I was doomed. We knew that my dad’s mom had dementia, and maybe even my dad at some level. I began to research causes and treatments, also looking for field trials in our area. As far as I could find, hereditary markers have shown to be present in only about 1% of dementia cases. Some place along the line, I began looking for food sources or supplements that could help reduce my depression. That’s when I discovered the article by Dr. Mary Newport, a neonatal physician whose husband was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. In summary, her research led her to foods that contained medium chained triglycerides (MCT), which in turn create ketone bodies. Coconut oil and palm kernel oil were the primary food sources. Unlike other oils, the fat in coconut oil is not stored as fat, but is converted by the liver into ketone bodies, which can then be used by the brain for nourishment. Dr. Newport’s article is worth reading if you can keep from getting hung up on the science. I have also included a shorter article that gives you a little background

Dr. Newport’s article:

http://www.coconutketone bodies.com/whatifcure.pdf

Here is the shorter article that hits many of the high points in Dr. Newport’s article:

http://healthimpactnews.com/2012/coconut-oil-and-alzheimer%E2%80%99s-disease-the-news-is-spreading/

From what I have learned, the brain is mostly fat … it contains 25% of the fat in the body although it is only 2% of the total body mass. Neurons need glucose or ketone bodies for energy. Basically it seems that if your brain is receiving low levels of glucose and MCT, the neurons start to “dry up” and die, creating a loss of efficiency in processing your thoughts and action in your brain. By feeding your head ketone bodies … this trick was not revealed by the White Rabbit … the neurotransmitters can be wrapped with a coating of cholesterol that is vital in keeping transmitting and correlating the information coming to the brain.

What about all this fat I would be ingesting? Wouldn’t it clog my arteries? Isn’t coconut one of the worst saturated fats? As stated before, coconut oil is not stored as fat, but converted to ketone bodies by the liver. I have always had low cholesterol (105-122 range with the good HDL always greater than the bad LDL). My physicians have told me that I should never have to worry about heart disease. In addition, my triglycerides were always just below the normal range. Not to worry I was told.

Then I found this article on the web that discusses low cholesterol and depression:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-breakthrough-depression-solution/201106/low-cholesterol-and-its-psychological-effects

You’ll also note in this last article (many more on the internet) that men over 70 with low cholesterol are three times more likely to suffer from depression. At 65 I figured I was close enough and wasn’t going to wait five years and add to the statistics. Things seemed to start falling into place. Note also, that many articles warn that people taking statins to lower their cholesterol may be increasing their probability to suffer from the diseases of memory loss.

Some amazing research is happening, but how fast can it be scientifically supported. I understand why people with diseases look internationally for drugs and treatments that have yet to be no FDA approved.

Another discovery I made through my research was that Alzheimer’s may soon be categorized as Type 3 Diabetes, because it too creates brain insulin resistance.

http://healthimpactnews.com/2012/new-research-continues-to-show-alzheimers-is-a-type-3-diabetes/

 

I Took the Jump

It was clear to me that my latest depressive episode was a physical change in my brain’s processing. I had no reason to be depressed; yet my brain was losing its functioning ability. The buzzing in my head was not a mental development, but a physical development. For me, the risk of potential arterial clogging seemed minimal compared to the potential benefits to improve brain functioning. I opted to feed my brain. I discussed my plan with my doctor and my psychiatrist, and although they were both only vaguely aware of the studies, they concurred that it was worth trying, especially since I had a low cholesterol count. I could always stop taking the coconut oil if it shot my cholesterol levels in orbit. What’s to lose?

In late April 2012, I began taking three tbsp (1/4 cup) of coconut oil each morning (note Dr. Newport used 9 tbsp for her husband), by melting it with my milk before pouring it on my cereal. In two months the fog lifted, and I was becoming my old self again. (I should note also that I had been taking my amitriptyline for two months also. One could argue that it was my savior.) When my cholesterol was checked after three months, it had risen from 122 to 160, and my HDL was still higher than my LDL, although both had increased. Evidently an optimum level of cholesterol is some place between 180 and 200.

It has been over two and one half years since I started the coconut oil. My weight has not changed at all, although I continue to ingest an extra 42 grams of saturated fat a day! My mood has been positive and bright, rarely having a trace of being moody, or being overwhelmed. One might venture to say that coconut oil is a natural high. And for the first winter in years, I had only one mild cold and NO respiratory issues in the winter of 2013, and one mild bronchitis in 2014. A healthy mind makes for a healthy body? I’ll have to wait a few more years on that one. (Note: Articles on the Internet indicate that coconut oil does boost your immune system.)

In summary, let me remind you that I am not a trained professional or scientist in these matters. And I will continue to take my amitriptyline antidepressant for the rest of my life, and maintain occasional contact with my therapist. But, in my mind, what was going wrong with my brain was organic. I believe my neurons and synapses were being starved to death, a few at a time, like drought-parched plant life. It is common knowledge that depression changes your brain chemistry … or does a changing brain chemistry create depression? Certainly the drying up of portions of your brain does not a healthy brain make.

I cannot suggest that coconut oil will work for everyone. Your particular mind and body makeup may not respond to the coconut oil. Yet, for me, I think the coconut oil is a major player in my health. I say this with confidence and I do not fear that I should be knocking on wood. I feel strong, on top of my game, and at peace … perhaps the best in ten years.

—————

 Postscripts

One last site that I found easy to understand that summarizes everything in a coco-nutshell is:

http://coconutoil.com/coconut-oil-alzheimers/

You might also want to visit their home page because coconut oil has potentially many other beneficial uses, such as for hypothyroidism, weight loss, various skin diseases, silky hair, energy boosting, fat burning, infection fighting, etc. My father would always come up with some hair-brained cures, so maybe I am becoming him, but in my case, I’m a coconut oil fan … because it is working.

*****************

Thanks for your interest … you may want to try it for three months or so.   Papa D’Light

 

 

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6 Responses to “Let Depression Melt Away With Coconut Oil”

  1. Adrian Says:

    What a fantastic read! I’m experiencing the same thing at the moment. I can’t believe how something so natural is changing my life, my body and my mood.

    It’s hard to get people to believe what an impact it has.

    All the best 🙂

  2. DESMOND Says:

    i have depression, too, for the past 16 years since 2000.
    maybe if you advertized more on t.v. , more and more people like ME could respond.
    what do others readers think?

    DESMOND, TUE-JUN-14-2016.

  3. BJ Says:

    Excellent article. I have been thinking along these same lines. I think it has to do with the ketones created by the consumption of the medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil. The ketones help your brain derive energy from food, or something like that. I was once on a very low carb diet (which also produces ketones), and I recall having incredibly great moods in spite of being pretty hungry. Not really into the idea of doing the diet again, so I’m going to try the coconut oil (and maybe MCT oil, which is made from coconut oil and has more ketone-producing properties) instead and see if I can improve my mood naturally. Thanks!

  4. Colin Says:

    Hi I just seen read your article regarding coconut and depression.myself have sufferd from mental health for many years from being a teenager.like you i took to taking coconut oil raw cold pressed extra virgin.i take it 2 tbsp in the morning with one tbsp manuka honey.after I have taken this I take half tsp bicarbonate of soda mixed with lemmon in a pint of water and wow I feel great I’ve only been doing this for a month but like you i am reeping the benefits.hope all goes well in the future

  5. DESMOND Says:

    COLIN: what sort of lemon do you use, please?
    is it a freshly-squeezed one or is it the PLJ sort, out of a bottle from my local candy store? i presume you melt the coconut oil first.
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. Desmond, Nov-14-2017.

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