Most helpful critical review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Some good ideas and some questionable ones
on 24 April 2015
I have suffered a few bouts of mild depression (mild as in I didnt try and take my own life and could still just about work and function albeit without any enjoyment of life) I have taken Prozac in the past with some success, but wanted to try something more natural when my latest bout of the black dog arrived.
This book contains some good ideas and some that are a little tougher to work with. I would recommend it as input to your fight against depression, but use your common sense and read some other books too. I recommend Dr Steve Illardi's book "The Depression Cure" as a more scientific take on this area which relies less on supplements and more on lifestyle and attitude change, especially if you are not comfortable with researching into the science (or lack of it) behind Julia Ross's recommendations.
For more detail on the book, read on.
The author suggests a LOT of supplements (which I have mostly tried, and none have harmed me after 6 weeks, although I only take half as much B complex and C as the author recommends, as I feel I will most likely just be peeing out excess vitamins my body doesnt need).
I would single out 5 HTP as one of the authors suggestions which has worked for me now and in the past and which I am very surprised isnt more widely used as a first line approach to depression (maybe its non-patentable status has something to do with this....). It is apparently used in Europe and the US a lot more.
Be prepared to buy a lot of supplements if you follow this book to the letter, especially if you have more than none of the "false moods" the author outlines in Chapter 2. Holland and Barrett must be hoping this book does very well...
She also suggests a strict diet and lots of exercise. Good overall idea but I disagree with some of the detail.
For instance, giving up wheat will be a tough ask for some people. Unless someone is provably gluten intolerant/coeliac I think this is unnecessary and unlikely to help, and also just adds extra stress at a hard time of someones life. Wholewheat doesnt bloat me in normal quantities and I would struggle to find alternatives so have ignored this part. I dont eat much white bread or white pasta though.
Also, completely eliminating vegetable oil from your diet is almost impossible unless you have a lot of free time to cook food from scratch and are happy to never eat out again (no on both counts).
Current reseach overwhelmingly disagrees with the authors assertion that saturated fat is a good thing and I suggest you read extensively around this subject before going bananas on the butter and cheese for your own sake (but moderation is different..after all we need to have fun sometimes as well as be healthy).
However, her recommendations on sugar and caffeine make sense and have helped me. Two-thirds of the diet advice is good, scientific stuff, but some seems more questionable to me, so I have ignored it.
The author talks a lot about pylouria, which mainstream medicine doesnt really recognise as an illness and belongs in the questionable area of "orthomolecular medicine".
She also suggests readers get a battery of medical tests which most NHS doctors would not be willing to spend their meagre budgets on I suspect. Unless you have money to burn consulting private nutritionists and doctors I suggest you treat these parts of the book as opinion rather than fact.
Readers in the UK will also have a tough time obtaining GABA as the EU classified it as a prescription-only medicine several years ago, although I did find it eventually online. However I didnt bother ordering it as I was feeling better by then and was frankly paying the supplements industry enough of my pay packet as it was.
The bare bones of the recommendations in this book are sound and have helped me.
I consider myself medically unqualified but scientifically literate so am comfortable researching this area as a layman and making my own judgements, but others may not be.
This is a problem as within this book there lies a scattering of junk science amid the good ideas. With that in mind, I recommend you read it if you like by all means but apply your common sense and consult other books and opinions as well.
Good luck in your fight.