My Experience With Depression And The Nutritional Deficiency That Caused It

Niacin Deficiency

Can I bare my soul to you guys for a minute?

It’s hard to talk about depression openly because it is such a taboo subject. It makes people so uncomfortable, and have to deal with their own stuff. Or some people just can’t understand what its like for someone in the throes of depression.

But I’m going to talk openly about my recent experience with depression. I’m sure this will help someone else out there who is going through the same thing. When you’re at this point, you don’t really want help from anyone, but it’s the time when you need it the most. So, if you see someone going through this (and believe me you can tell) please reach out. Talking through it makes all the difference in the world.

The last few weeks I’ve been in a deep valley of depression, but I really had no idea why. Nothing huge had happened.

I was dealing with all of the same things that I had been for months or years, like my illness, my time consuming daily Gerson Therapy-style healing routine, lack of family support, the financial burden of being sick and spending money on healing. But all of a sudden I couldn’t even function on a day to day basis because I was so down with all of these things going on in my life. I couldn’t handle it. I was in a zombie like state, just walking around feeling nothing but sadness, hopelessness, emptiness and with no motivation for any of the projects I’d been working my little tail off for months. Crying everyday with no explanation.

I have dealt with depression on and off my whole life. I have usually always been somewhere on that edge – when one thing goes wrong I can handle it, but two or three and I’m over the edge, back in that deep dark valley. Sometimes I just need 10 minutes, sometimes a few hours. And sometimes in the past I have needed weeks or months to come back.

But I hadn’t been down this valley in a long time, which I knew because my go-to way of dealing with this used to be alcohol. But that’s no longer an option (thank goodness). So this time, I had no idea how to handle it.

The first few days I chalked it up to PMS, but then it just stayed and stayed and stayed. I was trying to figure out why it came on so suddenly; it was like a switch was flicked in my head. I didn’t feel like myself.

One day I remembered watching Hungry for Change a month or so back, and something Dr. Andrew Saul really stuck out to me, because I had dealt with depression before I filed this away in my brain as information I might need later. He was talking about how he had used Niacin supplements to help people with depression.

So then I started thinking about what had I changed a few weeks ago that would have led to me being deficient in Niacin all of a sudden. I had changed my diet a few weeks ago to a much more simple, Gerson style way of eating. And then it clicked: Nutritional Yeast is fortified with B vitamins, especially niacin. I had stopped eating nooch a few weeks ago.

And then it all made sense. There was nothing wrong with me.  I had a vitamin deficiency!

I went to the health food store, and picked up a Niacin supplement (and some nooch), went home and had half a tablet (50mg) with my next meal, and I could feel it working within a few hours. The next day I was back to normal, writing this article and getting through my to-do list again.

While anyone can have nutritional deficiencies, it is so much more likely you will have several deficiencies if you have celiac disease, as your body is not able to absorb nutrients normally. If you have celiac disease, please get tested for any vitamin deficiencies. As you can see, just a deficiency in one vitamin turned my life upside down, in a matter of weeks.

I will do a full post on Niacin, and why it’s so important really soon. Stay tuned!

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13 comments on “My Experience With Depression And The Nutritional Deficiency That Caused It

  1. Wow! This post came at just the right time. I too have battled on and off for pretty much my whole life, but just this week especially it felt all-encompassing. I haven’t felt this bad in about 12 years and couldn’t understand it. It is exactly like you described, “it was like a switch was flicked in my head. I didn’t feel like myself.” – I could have written those words exactly.
    I have only been vegan for the past two months and am slowly building up my pantry so I haven’t used nutritional yeast yet at all. Funnily enough my order arrived this morning and that is why I came to your website, to find a recipe that I couldn’t make previously because I didn’t have it.
    So… thank you! Thank you for sharing and for making such sense.

  2. Wow, this is an amazing post. Thanks so much for sharing and i’m so glad you managed to get to the bottom of it- well done! I would never have guessed that niacin could have such a dramatic effect. Hope you now feeling are back on track with life and studies. xx

  3. I just popped over to your website to check out one of your fabulous recipes and came across the above article + video, so interesting! I’m reading the mood cure and am currently trying out tyrosine but what they say here about niacin is so interesting, hadn’t come across that before. Although I just checked the ingred. in my B-Vitamin complex vitamins and it contains niacin so I guess that’s not the missing component in my case but it’s still really interesting to know.

    • Hi Bridget, Dr Andrew Saul says that sometimes people need a much higher dose to help depression. I also tried a B-Vitamin complex but it didn’t help, then I took 100mg+ niacin and was good again! Not saying this is the case for you but definitely worth trying if you haven’t found an answer 🙂

  4. Reading the mood cure (by julia ross) has taught me that my diet (which contains v. little meat) lacks the important proteins found in meat to keep those neurotransmitters topped up. If I have some organic turkey with a supplement of tyrosine my mood is much better but I’d still like to try the Niacin and thank you Shae for your comment!
    Veronica – I just thought you might want to consider that your vegan diet may play a part and you might need to supplement?

  5. Shae, thank you for sharing. I am sure it will be useful for so many people. Please stay healthy and strong. The world needs you. (I read you blog sometimes but never comment. Finally decided to say hi and wish you all the best from the bottom of my soul.)

  6. I think your website, blog and recipes are brilliant! I follow a lot of sites like yours and yours is one of my favourite by far! I have a small obsession with food and can’t wait to try out some of your recipes :-))))

  7. Hi Shae,

    This is my first visit to your blog. What an incredible post and I commend you for opening up about depression. I had suffered from anxiety and depression for many years and found it quite difficult to talk about. I was prescribed medication years ago but have been off of it for several years now. My daughter had me convert to a plant based vegetarian diet and that alone helped me quite a bit although I still have an anxiety attack here and there. It had never entered my mind that I could possibly have a vitamin deficiency. I am definitely going to try niacin. Thank you. Oh and your recipes are just beautiful.

  8. Thanks for sharing, I hope this has lightened your load, sharing yourself will also help others, keep up the wonderful work.

  9. … Hi Shea … can’t tell you how glad i am to hear from you … i was worried about you … i’m sorry that you had to walk that tough road on your own … but The Loving Spirit was holding you … i’m very happy that now you’re well & kicking … i was stunned when i read your sharing … because i’m suffering exactly the way you did … some months back instinct told me something is wrong … & instinct told me i’m a seasoned woman i can’t sink like this because life is life … & how can i sink for no reason when everything’s going for me … & instinct told me that this depression felt like a deficiency … but i was still lost … the last few months i’ve been fervently praying to God that please help me & tell me what to do … & today i checked my mail & was so delighted to see you … you are right … people become ill at ease when one talks about depression … thank you ever so much for opening your heart & talking with honesty & courage about something that millions of human beings are battling with & don’t know where or whom to turn to … i can assure you that you have scored a million brownies with God … because of your honesty & your courage … you have healed my life … my soul is moved by you … i embrace you with gratitude that i cannot describe … for the rest of my life i will hold you in my heart & pray for your well being … that you & all your beloved have love & peace in your lives for ever & ever … that you’re always Blessed & Protected … what you did for us will bring folds & folds of abundance of all things into your life … you will see … when i share this with the world i will always speak of you & tell them that you told us … thank you thank you thank you … love & affection to you … God Bless you my friend … : D

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