Clinical Depression ... a Biochemical Problem
by Charlotte Gerson, President, The Gerson Institute

Clinical Depression is a subject that could well have been included in our last Healing Newsletter as a 'modern disease'. Of course depression is not new; it has been plaguing people for centuries. However, recently it has been accepted as a disease syndrome and as being 'treatable'. This means that it can be drug treated. It is depressing just to read the symptoms given: (Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment, Krupp & Chatton) o Lowered mood, sadness to intense feelings of guilt and hopelessness o Difficulty in thinking, inability to concentrate, inability to make decisions o Loss of interest, less involvement with work and recreation o Headache, disrupted sleep, change in appetite, decreased sexual drive o Anxiety o Suicidal tendencies

As the disease progresses, the symptoms become more severe. In all orthodox approaches to disease, the symptoms are treated, not the underlying problems. The present drugs of choice are the mood altering medications, one example of which is imipramine.

Years ago, we saw a patient who had been treated with imipramine for some 15 years. Her depression and anxiety were still present, but had been more or less controlled by the drug. The side effects, however, were almost unbearable: she was virtually blind, could just identify her own hand held in front of her eyes; and she was still depressed. But the patient's worst symptom was the constant feeling of worms crawling under her skin and out of all her body openings. Her symptoms intensified if she didn't take the drug. In only a few days on the Gerson Therapy, her vision had improved to near normal and her mood was a great deal better. The 'crawling' sensations, however, took longer to relieve. More recently, we had a patient who was being treated for lymphoma. She had been on the Gerson Therapy for some time, but came back to the hospital for hyperbaric oxygen treatments. She mentioned, one day, that she was experiencing a crawling sensation under her skin. I asked her if she had ever been treated for depression with antidepressant drugs. She thought a moment and then replied, yes, some 35 years ago, after the birth of her daughter. These drugs were still lodged in her system and only just being excreted in the course of a healing reaction on the Gerson Therapy. When they reentered the bloodstream, she re-experienced the same symptoms she felt when the drug was first administered. Since drugs do not overcome the underlying problems, they are often administered for years, yet never clear the disease.

Brain dysfunctions are generally referred to as mental diseases. To many, this classification implies genetic problems, and carries the stigma of being crazy or demented. Often, in fact, these diseases are metabolic disorders, and therefore curable by healing the metabolism.

The brain is an incredibly delicate and finely balanced instrument.. It also requires substantially more oxygen than other tissues. While it only constitutes only about 6-8% of total body mass, it is believed to require as much as 20% of the system's total oxygen intake.

As in all chronic diseases, the underlying problems in brain malfunction are toxicity and deficiency. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is generally at fault.

Ross Horne, in his book, The Health Revolution, has reproduced two interesting photomicrographs from Dr. Ronald Glasser's The Body is the Hero. In it, we see the effect of a high-fat meal on red blood corpuscles (cells). In order to properly fulfill their oxygen transport function, red blood corpuscles should float freely and independently in the bloodstream, exposing the maximum surface area to adsorb, carry and release oxygen. However, after a high-fat meal, the cells that should float freely (see Figure 2) become stuck together and clumped into rolls, much like the rolls of coins one gets at the bank, see Figure 1. These rolls are called rouleaux. The photomicrograph shows that a large proportion of red blood corpuscles are still forming rouleaux six hours after a high fat meal. When they are glued together, blood cells have a much reduced total surface area, thus can carry much less oxygen. Furthermore, these rouleaux are too large and inflexible to travel through the tiny capillaries (hair vessels) and deliver their life-supporting oxygen to the most remote cells in the circulatory system. With the brain's high oxygen requirement, it cannot function properly under conditions of oxygen starvation. This explains why people experience sleepiness and lack of energy after a heavy meal. They often try to overcome the 'depression' by the use of stimulants: coffee, alcohol or cigarettes. It takes some six to ten hours for the body to clear the fat from the bloodstream and "unclump" the red blood cells. Within six hours, however, most people will have consumed another fatty meal: breakfast with eggs and bacon or sausage; lunch with a hamburger or hot-dog; dinner with meat, chicken, cheese, milk, butter, or other high-fat substances. The result is that we live in a constant state of oxygen starvation when we eat diets high in fat content. Yet this describes the SAD diet precisely. 40% or more of the calories the average American consumes come from the fat content of our food. Our brains and other vital organs are being slowly strangled, deprived of their life-giving oxygen.

In addition to fat and cholesterol, the SAD diet contains many chemical additives: dyes, preservatives, emulsifiers, flavor enhancers, plus residual pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics from animal products. Some 10,000 chemicals are accepted as food additives, certified safe by our Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In our opinion, no chemical food additives are safe for daily ingestion! It has been amply demonstrated that hyperactive children become perfectly normal when they are placed on a diet free of food additives. Instead of using this approach, however, orthodox doctors use drugs such as phenobarbital to calm these children. But psychoactive drugs, used over a period of time, can themselves cause brain damage! All toxic substances, including food additives, are enzyme inhibitors, further depressing the normal functions of brain cells. Is it surprising that people become depressed, hyperactive, aggressive, and suicidal? (Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among teenagers.) I must admit that I am always impressed with the fact that so many people function as well as they do, as long as they do, given what they eat.

But are we really functioning fully? Nathan Pritikin describes how "children whose diets are changed from the typical Western high-fat diet to a diet low in fat, can perform simple mental tasks 20% faster and with greater accuracy once their blood is clear of fat." Pritikin asks, "Does our entire population struggle along at about 75% of their mental capacity? Is this why our television programs are so infantile?" But what if we go further than eliminating fats from the children's diet? What if we also eliminate food additives and other toxins and sugar? What if we give our children the best high-micronutrient diet, such as a less intensive Gerson Therapy, could we increase their mental capacity by much more than 20%? And would this not also hold true for the rest of us?

In conclusion, clinical depression is not just treatable (by drugs), it is curable. The answer to chronic disease is always the same: once you understand the underlying problems, deficiency and toxicity, and solve those, the body is capable of healing. Detoxifying and flooding the body with a high nutrient diet, the Gerson Therapy, is the total approach to healing.

Back to Gerson Articles
Copyright 1994,1995,1996 (c) The Gerson Institute, All rights reserved.