The body blues is about those who have trouble sleeping, controlling
their eating (especially sweets), and concentrating. If you have any of these
symptoms, you may have the "body blues" (or "vegetative depressive symptoms").
Authors Marie-Annette Brown and Jo Robinson name
these blues, which are caused by
low or fluctuating hormones, "women's most misdiagnosed, undertreated,
and mistreated mood problem."
Dr. Marie-Annette Brown, researcher and professor at the University of Washington
School of Nursing, conducted an 8-week randomized study called the
LEVITY Study to see if an all-natural lifestyle program could relieve the
symptoms of the Body Blues. In Dr. Brown's study, 112 mildly depressed
women ages 18-78 took either a placebo pill or participated in
three simple activities:
1) Walking outdoors at a brisk pace for 20 minutes, 5 or more days a week.
2) Greatly increasing their exposure to natural and artificial light during the daytime
but decreasing their light exposure in the late evening hours.
3) Taking the following six vitamins and minerals in these doses: 50 mgs each of
vitamins B-1, B-2, B-6; 400 mcg folic acid; 400 IU of vitamin D; and 200 mcg. selenium.
(Most of these doses are higher than those found in one-a-day multi-vitamin tablets,
but all are within safe limits.)
All told, the three activities required only 20 minutes a day. At the end of the
8-week study, standardized tests revealed that the women who were
assigned to the 3-part program were less anxious, angry, irritable and stressed.
Remarkably, their depression scores were cut in half, which is similar to the
results one would hope to see from an ntidepressant. Just as impressive, on a
test that measured overall well-being, the women moved from the worst to
the best possible category. Last but not least, they had fewer eating problems
and a noticeable reduction in their craving for carbohydrates in the second half of
the day. In fact, 25 percent of the women reported a noticeable weight loss,
even though they had not been asked to diet.
Dr. Brown is a professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Washington
who is involved in research, teaching, and clinical practice. Dr. Brown has
lectured widely and published more than 60 scientific papers. She is nationally
certified as a family and psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner and
provides primary care at the University of Washington Women's Health Care Clinic.
Meet and Talk With Dr. Marie-Annette Brown Thursday,
at 9 PM (ET)
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purposes. Health matters should be taken up with one's personal physician.
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