Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Atkins as depression treatment?

  • Share
  • Thread Tools
  • Display
  1. #1

    Default Atkins as depression treatment?

    Hi folks, nice to meet you!

    I've tried a number of antidepressants (3 SSRIs, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Remeron) and Lamictal (a mood stabilizer prescribed off-label) without success. My psychiatrist said that my remaining options were anti-psychotics and MAOIs - I refused both. I asked what else I could do, and she told me to try this diet. So here I am!

    I know that Atkins can reduce mood swings caused by rapid changes in glucose levels. Problem is, my mood doesn't "swing" - it's always low, with no correlation to meals - and my glucose levels are just fine.

    To see whether my pdoc is a total quack, I decided I would look for papers that showed some correlation between low-carb diets and depression relief. The few studies I found showed exactly the opposite: that low-carb diets like Atkins can worsen symptoms of depression! Not very encouraging.

    So I'm curious whether anyone else here was "prescribed" this diet for a mood disorder. My BMI was in the normal range when I started, and I'm not gung-ho about weight loss: I hope there are benefits for mood other than improved body image. How has Atkins affected your depression?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 31, 2010

    Default Re: Atkins as depression treatment?


    I was not prescribed Atkins but felt the same way you do for years. I was on Wellbutrin and I guess it worked but hated taking the meds.

    I was always "dragging around", always talking myself into being happy, wondering why everyone in the world had something happy to be about but me. In 2004 I went on Atkins and started exercising. (the exercise might have been what pulled me out of my funk - Not sure) But, while I was doing those two things I accomplished more positive things in my life than I ever had before. It gave me the lifted energy to move. To go after making changes in my life. We put our house up for sale (a huge job...moving after living in the home for 15 years), and found a home I never imagined we'd ever be able to afford. I survived a teenage son who now is a successful young man. It wasn't easy as he had a very bumpy road from teenager to adult.

    I found my passion, set design. And performed a miracle putting a set together for a community group single handedly. I am still involved in theater production and still love it.

    Atkins may not cure depression but it did give me the energy to do something about my life.

    Life can still be hard, but I learned that I could change things.

    I hope you find answers. You may want to get a copy of DANDR and read it. It is an easy read and quite interesting. He covers more than just weight loss.

    Oh, and for me carbs are the devil. When I eat bad carbs it makes me feel lethargic, sick, useless and worthless. Sugar is evil on so many levels. Starches break down in your system and turn into sugar. Avoid both and you may feel better.

    Good luck to you.
    SW 216/CW 166.6/GW 155
    female 5"8" (shrank! now closer to 5'7")
    started Jan 1, 2004
    lowest weight remembered as of 1/17/11 ~185
    restart Jan. 17th, 2011


    195 5/6/11
    190 7/6/11
    185 7/28/11
    180 9/16/11
    175 10/21/11
    170 3/30/12 166.2!
    164.4 4/27/12 GOAL!
    ...AND BEYOND!

    Revised Goal on 10/21/11 ~ 164.4lbs. ~ Fitday Healthy Weight

    "Carbage is never an option."

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 24, 2005
    Center of the Earth

    Default Re: Atkins as depression treatment?

    i don't know if there are clinical studies out there but i do see that most people on Atkins experience a surge of energy and that many people find that thru eliminating certain foods (most notably white flour and sugar) that they feel better physically and emotionally. At the very least you can see if certain foods were linked to your mood disorder by eliminating them and generally exercise has a positive effect on mental health too. If you are looking for scientific evidence before getting involved, don't know if it's out there and since depression and mood disorders are as individual as food tolerance i suggest you try this, w/careful atrention to detais and make sure that you stay well hydrated too. Good luck to you!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 17, 2011
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Atkins as depression treatment?

    I have a history of mental health problems and after a couple of months on Atkins had a sudden realisation that my mental health had improved DRAMATICALLY since being on Atkins. I didn't realise that this was a known side effect or that anyone else had experienced it, I just thought it was a pretty good extra reason to stick to my diet. I have since found that if I consume more than one or two glasses of alcohol I notice the massive effect that this has on me for a few days afterwards. I become extremely emotionally fragile and cry a lot. Because I had never cut out alcohol before (although not a heavy drinker) and because I was a general mess anyway, I had never noticed that alcohol had this effect on me before. Maybe there will be certain things that you find will trigger your depression too, or maybe you will just find that you have a better sense of wellbeing. Maybe it won't make any difference at all, but it's got to be worth a try right?
    Mini Goal: 150 lbs. hopefully by August! 28.07.11

    Mini Goal: Candida free

    Main Goal: 140 lbs.

    "Storms make oaks take root"

    Cheat Free Challenge: We are the best-bad-A$$-kick-butt-booty-busting-babes of the ADBB

  5. #5

    Default Re: Atkins as depression treatment?

    Thanks for the input, guys! I will stick with it and hope that things improve. Lately I feel tired often, get dizzy standing up, etc. even though I've tried to stay hydrated and eat plenty of calories in a 65/30/5 ratio. I think my metabolism is just adjusting since it's been less than two weeks - and I'm still coming off the last medication. Fingers crossed!

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 04, 2004
    Georgia, U.S.A.

    Default Re: Atkins as depression treatment?

    You may want to move into OWL and up the rungs so you get a bigger variety of nutrients in from more veggies, fruits and other high rung foods.

    Atkins has helped my depression tremendously. Some of course related to being overweight, but I know my mood in general has improved dramatically, along with energy.

    I also found that some vitamins have helped my mood, such as B Complex. And eating more veggies and of course, not eating crap and processed foods and chemicals. That's one big advantage to eating this way, it really does encourage healthy eating and habits.
    347/182/150 ~ 5'2" OWL Rung 9

    Female/Hypothyroidism/Arthritis/Fibromyalgia - If I can lose weight on this, so can you!
    bizzlekitty's journal My Before and During pics

  7. #7

    Default Re: Atkins as depression treatment?

    I haven't noticed any changes in my depression while on this woe yet. I will be on the look out to see if there are any changes.
    Start: June 8, 2012

    I wish that I could fly in the sky and dip into the ocean and come back out again flying free and high
    I wish that I could transcend, but I'm not rushing it
    I hope to live and die in peace
    I hope to transform myself while on this earth, and lose this weight.
    No this is not suppose to be a poem, just my thoughts...

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 08, 2011
    Virginia, USA

    Default Re: Atkins as depression treatment?

    I am just starting out (on Monday) and hopeful this will help my mood/depression issues as a side effect. That is not my primary purpose, I am just hopeful it will help.

    I will say that in some low carb lowers serotonin levels Low-Carb State of Mind | Psychology Today and I have found that to be true for me about a month in on most low carb efforts I have made. The difference I am hoping will be the increase in fat. Your brain needs fat to work right, so that may (I am praying) make all the difference in those chemicals and how they are working. I do not see fat levels addressed on the studies that I have read. That is only one I found above and it makes no mention of how much fat they were eating.

    I would love to hear how you are doing/ feeling now that it has been a little while.



Posting Permissions