Death, Prozac, and Finding Yourself

What if the most commonly prescribed anti-depressant was related to factors that contribute to suicidality?

Death, Prozac, and Finding Yourself

The Cultured Warrior Newsletter #005


Thoughts to Ponder:

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. ~ JRR Tolkien
Simple, isn’t it! How many of us “waste” our most precious resource? Guilty… For a brief time I worked in hospice. How many people do you think I talked to about a second mortgage or if Mercedes was better than BMW? Ironically, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross who popularized the “stages of grief” theory; struggled horrendously at the end of her own life with confronting her mortality and (apparently lack of) fulfillment — or so the story goes.
You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find himself. ~ Galileo
This is one of the most misunderstood aspects of psychotherapy. How can I help someone who’s experiencing X without having experienced X myself? On the surface this makes sense. A more inquisitive view recognizes the lunacy (ironic phrasing right?) of assuming that of the hundreds of patient’s I’ve worked with, I must have had to subject myself to their struggles in order to be of any help. This leads to another folly; assuming that my experience is in anyway representative of theirs. My job certainly isn’t to make you a better version of myself — as if I have any kind of, let alone all / the right, answers. My job is to help someone make themselves a better version of themselves.

Things I’m Reading:

Prozac Changes Fat Composition of the Brain

Prozac is the most commonly prescribed antidepressant in the U.S. and is “approved” for children as young as 7 — let’s pause on that a moment. This study was conducted in monkeys, but shows a decrease in PUFA (specifically Omega-3) concentrations in the brain, an organ made of 60% fat. Similar fat imbalances have been noted to contribute to schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression. Of note, we’re talking about Omega-3 FAs (typically EPA / DHA in the context of the brain), not linoleic related (plant-based) Omega-6 FAs. The conversion of those plant sources is extremely low (far less than 10%) and this importance of saturated and animal fat for brain health is something I’ve talked about many times before. AA (arachidonic acid; the Omega-6 in animal products), DHA, and EPA are already “pre-formed” that is, biologically usable by animals.

Some studies on colostrum:

Overall this research is fairly compelling, though somewhat limited in its application. The big takeaway here is that colostrum doesn’t necessarily improve recovery per se, so much as it slows the degradation of performance over successive or sustained efforts. Similar observations have been made with ice baths (in the context of recovery, hormesis is another story). So, for your day-to-day gym-goer this might not be beneficial. However, in the context of say a multi-day bike / swim / hike or wrestling tournaments with back-to-back-to-back-to-back matches or baseball / basketball games three nights in a row; there could be significant implications. Of course, colostrum does have notable benefits for immune function as well — seems relevant during a pandemic; but alas, a topic for another day.

Resources to Thrive:

  • Know Fear Podcast: “ Join Coach Tony Blauer for uncommon sense talks, rants and interviews that reframe how we can look at life, challenges, personal safety, training, confrontations and personal development all by embracing a counter-intuitive relationship with fear.”
  • The Salt Fix: “What if everything you know about salt is wrong? A leading cardiovascular research scientist explains how this vital crystal got a negative reputation, and shows how to lower blood pressure and experience weight loss using salt. The Salt Fix is essential reading for everyone on the keto diet!”

Trainer’s Corner:

  • I’ve talked a lot about minimalism and things like 300 KB swings / day in the past. More recently I’ve gotten back into the habit of working mobility every morning. Specifically I have a sticky note on my coffee maker reminding me what to do before I’m allowed to drink any. Mobility, of course, isn’t just flexibility. It’s strength through a range of motion. In other words, we need to move and stretch. My routine is pretty simple. I pick 5 stretches / movement patterns and work each one for a bout one minute. I make sure the last one is something I like and at least one is something I need to work on.

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