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Dietary Sugar and Mental Illness: A Surprising Link

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posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 08:41 AM
This ought to make you rethink the amount of sugar in your diet...

A psychiatric researcher Malcolm Peet, has made a surprising link between intake of dietary sugar and both depression and schizophrenia.

From what I have read, and I do hope that I get some assistance from the knowledgeable members here, high intake of sugar can lead to depression or even schizophrenia.

I bring this up because I work in a hotel, one of the residents there is a man who is obviously troubled mentally. I suspect that he is indeed schizophrenic, his behavior is quite odd to say the least. He is paranoid, and walks aimlessly around the parking lot, and the thing that made me think of this thread is his consumption of sugar.

We offer coffee to our guests, we have one of those sugar containers that you would see in a restaurant. Well several times a week he will come down and steal all the sugar in the container. Now obviously this is a lot of sugar to consume on a daily basis. This combined with his erratic and paranoid behavior led me to wonder if there was a connection. I found one...

In fact, there are two potential mechanisms through which refined sugar intake could exert a toxic effect on mental health.

First, sugar actually suppresses activity of a key growth hormone in the brain called BDNF. This hormone promotes the health and maintenance of neurons in the brain, and it plays a vital role in memory function by triggering the growth of new connections between neurons. BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia, which explains why both syndromes often lead to shrinkage of key brain regions over time (yes, chronic depression actually leads to brain damage). There's also evidence from animal models that low BDNF can trigger depression.

Second, sugar consumption triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in the body that promote chronic inflammation. Now, under certain circumstances (like when your body needs to heal a bug bite), a little inflammation can be a good thing, since it can increase immune activity and blood flow to a wound. But in the long term, inflammation is a big problem. It disrupts the normal functioning of the immune system, and wreaks havoc on the brain.

Now reading this I can understand this behavior a little bit more. What I am worried about is that this guy might get dangerous, he has been aggressive verbally with me, he is quite scary. Others in the hotel are freaked out about this guy.

What I am wondering, would it be better if I took his sugar supply away, or would that be aggravating and even more detrimental?

Also is this guy dangerous? Should we be worried? Or is this a harmless condition where he may act strange but otherwise is harmless?

posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 08:49 AM
It would not surprise me.

There is a growing link between Diabetes and Alzheimer's as well. Not too mention accelerated aging and hormonal imbalances. Processed sugar is just altogether horrible for your body.

As generations of people raised on poor diets of processed food age, we are going to see so many degenerative conditions traced back to sugar, chemicals and hormones.

edit to add: If his behavior is as concerning as you say, it likely has less to do with sugar than just the overall state of his mental health. Maybe exacerbated by his diet?

[edit on 23/11/2009 by kosmicjack]

posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 08:52 AM
It is possible. Sugar is like an energy additive. If your body is use to functioning on a sugar high then it is possible you can get depressed through lack of sugar because your body isnt use to functioning at low energy levels. Or it could be having too much sugar can make your body run down after a while.. just my opinion as I do have a sweet tooth.

[edit on 23-11-2009 by loner007]

posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 09:00 AM
I think everything today is far too confusing. So much bull is in everything, but look at years ago, and how people used to eat alot but looked healthy, especially those who grew there own foods.

posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 10:39 AM
That explains alot and thats why i personally feel sugar is the cause for mental problems because i have always had a sweet tooth and love everything sweet and i really do think its why i sometimes have depressive episodes also i am certain its caused me to have biopolar disorder. The symptoms are all there for me.

I eat and have alot of buiscits, Ribena, choclate ceral, ketchup and sweets during day and have done since a very young age which may have caused permanent brain damage(I hope not).

I feel i confirmed the OP's post so its a S&F from me.

[edit on 23-11-2009 by jonnyc55]

posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 10:49 AM
reply to post by whatukno


In my Gallery we always have a lot of sweet snacks and candy for the customers; and I eat a lot of it myself. At the end of the day I'm a mess emotionally. I hope I have the will power to stop eating that stuff; I always knew that there was a price to pay. ex. 9k dental bill.

posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 11:02 AM
Being that I've read into Orthomolecular therapy, this is old news. Another way that sugar effects the brain is that high glucose levels inhibit ascorbic acid absorption. Antioxidants are needed in the brain to reduce neurotransmitters. If they are not properly cycled, they can become oxidized twice and cause hallucinations! Also, hypoglycemia results in rushes of adrenaline followed by crashes. Manic depression. I rarely eat any candy and when I do it's truly a treat. One small snack. No sodas. No processed foods, etc..

Oh yeah, don't take his sugar away!!
He has a real psychological need for it. It would be like detoxing from heroine or alcohol. Even more serious biochemical imbalances would come up. You don't want to be around when that happens.

[edit on 23-11-2009 by unityemissions]

posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 11:36 AM
reply to post by jonnyc55

Thank you for expressing your own personal connection with this issue, do you feel better with sugar? Do you feel your able to think more clearly while your sugar levels are ample? Or is it like a drug, more trying to get to normal and crashing when you don't have it?

reply to post by unityemissions

Oh yeah, don't take his sugar away!! He has a real psychological need for it. It would be like detoxing from heroine or alcohol. Even more serious biochemical imbalances would come up. You don't want to be around when that happens.

Thank you for that piece of advice. Ill make sure to keep his supply stable.

Sometimes this guy seems catatonic, he walks around aimlessly not acknowledging anybody, other times hes way more agitated and quite paranoid, even going so far as to claim that I am conducting "spiritual warfare" against him.

Do you think he's dangerous? Or is this some sort of explosive release where this is the extent of his outbursts?

posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 11:49 AM
Well, being someone who is diagnosed as being "mentally ill," I may be able to shed some light on it. I have both borderline personality and bipolar disorder.

Quite honestly, I don't know if it is the sugar that may be culpable or the caffeine. I have had large intakes of both throughout my life. I have to say that I lean more towards caffeine being a culprit than sugar, but that is my opinion.

I say that because caffeine is a stimulant. Bipolar individuals, particularly in their manic state, tend to have the appearance of being "wired." Now, I'd have to think that the caffeine might have something to do with that. I have a hard time thinking that caffeine, a stimulant, doesn't mess with with the chemistry in your brain.

Stimulants make you hyper-aware. Bipolar disorder has much the same effect.

posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 11:50 AM
reply to post by whatukno

Personally, I think anyone can become dangerous or a saint given the right circumstances. Believe it or not, this guy probably has a great deal of self-restraint considering his current condition. He must or else be locked up or worse. That being said, I really don't know him, so can't even begin to make a judgment on if he is or is not dangerous.

Stay on your feet. Treat him with respect. Realize that although his behavior is bizarre, there's a reason for it, and he is doing the best he can. At the same time, if he gives you a good reason to worry, don't be afraid to yell for help or call the police.

posted on Nov, 24 2009 @ 10:00 AM
reply to post by whatukno
I have avoided all sugar today , kept to water and chicken for lunch and i dont feel like its helped much rather in my case, but i today didnt get as much depressed over things and i didnt self toture or think things through my mind at all ! I think my body needs to recover from the years of binge sugar consuming.

Ohh i also had toast instead of coco pops this morning
. If you like, i can keep track of how am doing this week by keeping this up and reply by the weekend, of how well it went.

[edit on 24-11-2009 by jonnyc55]

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