VIRGINIA, September 25, 2014 — Why do we get seriously ill at a younger age and with chronic illness to boot? Why are so many people diagnosed with diabetes, ADD, ADHD, anxiety, depression and a host of other illnesses?
Surprisingly, the answer lies in anthropology, not in actual medicine.
From the beginning of humankind, we are programmed as hunters and gatherers as a means of survival. By hunting, gathering, foraging and collecting, we spent most of our time outdoors engaged in physical activity.
We humans also ate large amounts of fish which plays a significant role in our health.
The early day lifestyle made humans stay in the sunlight for hours a day providing healthy doses of vitamin D, also known as ‘the sunshine vitamin’.
Vitamin D has long been known to assist calcium absorption for strong, healthy bones and teeth but new research in Europe and America, including the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH/NIH) shows folks with depression have extremely low levels of vitamin D in measured tests.
What is not known is whether vitamins causes depression or vice versa but regardless, levels of vitamin D must be brought to healthy levels so therapists are prescribing vitamin D as a course of treatment.
In fact, a mental disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD which is a diagnosis of depression in the winter season is treated with UV rays that provide vitamin D.
Why do we not get vitamin D?
Working long hours in an office, being on a computer at home and generally spending most of our time indoors and this lifestyle runs contrary to our innate nature.
Worse yet, for the last 40-50 years, we have been splashing sunscreen on when we are in the sun and vitamin D never reaches our skin.
Since vitamin D is also linked with healthy nerve growth, helps stave off the flu, which runs rampant because we stay indoors exchanging germs and our levels of vitamin D are low, and can hedge against chronic nerve related illness, NIH recommends:
Ages one through seventy, a minimum of 600 I.U (International units) daily and after age 70, 800 I.U. NIH has stated up to 2,000 I.U is best along with eating fish and getting at least 10 minutes of sunlight daily, particularly in winter months.
Another essential vitamin is “C”,. that for some unknown reason, is no longer manufactured by our own bodies.
We humans lost the ability along the way. Even dogs and cats manufacture about 4,000 mgs of vitamin C daily so we need ‘C’ loaded foods and supplements.
Our ancestors are known to have been saddened over events but rarely chronically, clinically depressed. Even dogs and cats instinctively know the value of sunshine as they lie in it to absorb the health benefits.
Humans lost this Vitamin C for some unknown reason, is no longer manufactured by our own bodies. We humans lost the ability along the way. Even dogs and cats manufacture about 4,000 mgs of vitamin C daily so we need ‘C’ loaded foods and supplements
Humans are designed to walk, run, move about and be active. Our ancestors were most active in order to survive. We as humans are not designed to sit and watch 150 channels on TV, stare for hours at a computer screen and drive a car.
The good news is walking for 30 minutes is as healthy and burns equal calories than running. The better news is for those who eschew aerobics, the only way to burn fat from around the heart is lifting light weights with multiple repetitions.
Humans, by all means and standards, are not designed to eat processed foods. We are designed to eat what comes from the ground and if there is any question of whether we are carnivores or herbivores, check your teeth. There are no teeth designed to tear hard meats.
Our teeth are for fruits, vegetables, grains and soft meat such as fish.
Diabetes II can be traced directly to processed foods and sedentary lifestyles. We can overcome diabetes II by eating natural foods which spring from our soil as intended and actively engage in physical movement.
This cure is almost this easy. Eat well, move, exercise and diabetes II can be abated or totally resolved.
Now, why all the references to fish?
Multiple studies in Europe and the U.S. conclude the dry weight of our brain is comprised of 60 percent fatty acids-primarily omega 3 and some omega 6 fatty acids and where is the greatest amount of omegas found? Fish.
Our ancestors ate five to ten times more omegas by a diet rich in fish and every quantative and qualitive study, including NIH, suggests brains deprived of omegas can lead to a host of mental illness including clinical or major depressive disorders.
Treatment with omega 3 alone has a resolution rate for depression of up to 70 percent which are remarkable recovery figures and along with an anti-depressant which is assisted by healthy levels of omegas, the resolution rate rises.
Similar results have been found with anxiety issues and omegas. Omegas are the essential compound for brain neuron, synapsis, dendrite etc; function.
Questions surrounding the fast rising rates of ADHD, ADD and adult ADHD and ADD may appear alarming on the surface because folks believe these disorders to be from a broken brain but these issues can also be traced anthropologically and treated via natural means.
In the last 30 years, doctors have been prescribing psychostimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall to children ages three and up. These medications are methamphetamines also known as ‘speed’ and ‘meth’.
Does anyone really want their children taking meth/speed? In fact, there are no viable or reliable studies of long term effects on children’s developing brains and the ingestion of meth yet doctors rip off prescriptions for pharmaceutical grade speed from their pads after a one time visit from an inattentive child.
Anyone with a long memory recalls “black beauties” from a bygone era and what were these? Pharmaceutical grade speed.
Great for kids, yeah?
Worse, adults Google the symptoms of adult ADHD and walk away with a script for medical grade speed. The minimal psych rounds physicians make during internship are not enough training in psychology. No. not by a longshot but physicians attempt to do something, anything for their patients which is good at heart but counterproductive.
In most cases, ADD and ADHD is an environmental and sociological related disorder. The simple truth is children are indoctrinated to the rapid changes of 150 TV channels, sound and visual bites, computer games that do not promote concentration, texting and Twitter and do not go outside the home to develop attention and concentration skills.
With exercise minimal and vitamin D and omega 3 are severely restricted, a child cannot be attentive to a given task. The activities and children’s games of yesteryear did not allow for the development of ADD or ADHD and while speed may be a prescriptive assist, what of children’s developing brains?
Does the popular TV commercial that shows eggs frying in a pan with the voice-over of “this is your brain on drugs” mean anything to parents that allow pharmeceutical grade speed into the minds and bodies of their children?
Meds are the fastest, easiest and less time consuming route but the damage to children’s brains is yet unknown. However, looking at adults who take meth and speed we see significant social, legal and addiction issues.
While the U.S. focuses on so-called gateway drugs like marijuana as evil weed, the same people who object to legalizing marijuana for medical use are filling children’s minds with speed and speed is not a Gateway drug-speed is a hardcore, heavy duty street drug.
Perhaps we can learn from our ancestors. They may not have been as sophisticated or urbane as we are but they did not have processed foods, TV, computers with games, short attention spans and diabetes II.
Little point in getting into cigarettes except to say at the turn of the 20th century a lung cancer diagnosis was a rarity but during WWI cigarette manufacturers sent Camel and Lucky Strike non-filtered cigarettes to G.I’s overseas and from that point on, lung cancer diagnosis skyrocketed.
Compared to our ancestors, exactly how smart are we, anyway?
Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based psychotherapist.