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41: Dr. Bill Wilson | Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar & The CARB Syndrome

AIR DATE: June 27, 2013 at 7PM ET
FEATURED EXPERT: Dr. Bill Wilson
FEATURED TOPIC: “Anxiety, Bipolar & The CARB Syndrome”

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Think about the tremendous load of stress we are putting on ourselves in modern society and the impact that is having on our mental health and well-being. Here are some sobering statistics: The Centers For Disease Control estimates 1 in 10 Americans are clinically depressed, The Anxiety And Depression Association Of America notes that 40 million American adults have an anxiety disorder and The National Institute Of Mental Health says that another 5.7 million Americans are impacted with bipolar disorder annually. This is something our guest expert this week has seen up close and personal in his Northern Minnesota family practice. A few years back, Dr. Bill Wilson couldn’t help but notice that his patients were getting fatter and sicker than ever before and the indelible effect this was having on brain health was alarming to him. That’s when he sought to find answers and developed what he refers to as “The CARB Syndrome” which identifies the metabolic component involved in the health of your brain that can manifest itself in a myriad of ways. In Episode 41 of “Ask The Low-Carb Experts,” we had Dr. Wilson zoom in specifically at answering YOUR questions about “Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar & The CARB Syndrome” solution.

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Here are a few of the questions we addressed in this episode:

CODY ASKS: My 13-year old daughter wakes up every night and cannot get back to sleep for over an hour. This has been an issue as long as we can remember. She has always been very temperamental as well and is prone to quite a bit of anxiety. She is a super picky eater and attempting to change her diet in any way, shape, form or fashion causes EXCESSIVE trauma. She also doesn’t like meat. She does love cheese (Kraft Extra Sharp Cheddar and Cheeseheads String Cheese are the specific brands she’ll eat) and a lot of fruits (she’s very aware of textures and doesn’t like apples that are too crunchy, even the hint of a grape seed, etc.). But other than those two things, her go to foods are junk, such as Cheetos, crackers, Pringles, candy, pizza and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. She has asthma and eczema as well. She’s seen 5 different psychiatrists and has received 5 different diagnoses. She’s been on a handful of medications, all of which were either ineffective or made her worse. She is now off of all the meds and I supplement with a daily multivitamin, Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, B vitamins, magnesium and selenium. Do you have any suggestions on how we can help her?

DR. VAN DERVEER ASKS: Hi Dr. Wilson, I’m a psychiatrist in Boulder, Colorado. I’m seeing big improvements in my patients with anxiety and mood disorders by recommending the elimination of grains from their diets. Can you please share your insights on where we are currently with the science of a brain-gut inflammation connection?

NANCY ASKS: I just had lunch with an elementary school teacher today. She was telling me how the numbers for autism have skyrocketed and of course mainstreaming autistic kids into the schools. We talked about the effect this was having on the classroom environment and the fact that the parents of these children seem to be in denial about what their child is going through. Would our sugar and carbohydrate-laden diets have anything to do with this increase that has been happening?

MICHAEL FROM AUSTRALIA ASKS: At the age of 42 I had my first panic attack and I remember the exact time and day it happened. It has been relentless every single day for the last 22 years. I went down the conventional health path with various general practitioners, shrinks and psychologists—all to no avail! My shrink put me on Xanax and I think I have tried every SSRI known to man with no success. When I attempted to wean myself off of Xanax, my generalized anxiety disorder returned with a vengeance. It’s a miserable place to be in. I discovered the low-carb, high-fat way of eating over decade ago thanks to people like Dr. Mike Eades and Gary Taubes. Their advice had marvelous affects on all my physical health markers, including my lipids, BMI and blood sugars. However, it has not helped me with my anxiety at all. At this stage I am not optimistic of a cure, but do you have anything that can give me some hope for the future?

PHIL FROM THE UK ASKS: I currently eat a low-carb diet that consists of less than 30g of net carbs per day. I had a Vitamin D test and it came back as “insufficient.” So I began supplementing with 4000 IU daily for a month and fixed that. I also take an EPA supplement that is extracted from fish oil. Is there any science around which if any omega-3 fish oil supplement is most effective for depression and anxiety issues? Does DHA in some way negate EPA if they are taken together?

RICK ASKS: How common is magnesium deficiency in those people dealing with anxiety problems? Also, considering your medical practice is in northern Minnesota, how often does you see people that are deficient in Vitamin D and do you use it in treating patients dealing with depression and anxiety issues? If so, what is the ideal blood level you are shooting for in your patients? Finally, have you used probiotics in treating depression?

  • Philip Blair

    I completely concur. I see remarkable improvements in emotional and behavioral health in patients using a low carb diet. My patients, however, are being treated for heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes. Yes, their primary disease problems improve. But, at the same time, I observe they are discontinuing their antidepressants, sleep aids, anti-anxiety meds and pain meds. Sure, they could be discontinuing these meds because their primary health problem is improving, that is possible. More likely, I agree with Dr. Wilson that their neurologic disorders are another manifestation of carb intolerance.

  • willacarpenter

    While losing 100lbs on a low carb diet I noticed extreme improvements in my cognitive function, depression, and ability to focus. I’ve been back exercising and following a lower carb diet, but not truly low carb. I have noticed over time that my ability to focus is decreasing, I am having more issues with mood, specifically depression.

    This is enough to push me back over the edge…I need my brain back. Plus I still have more weight to lose!

    • LLVLCBlog

      You can do it!