Natural Medicine & Mental Health

In the last decade, natural medicine treatment has come a long way in the treatment of mental health disorders. New theories have been researched on natural treatments and supplements and herbs have been formulated to support the findings.

Natural Treatment: Anxiety

Our naturopath, Despina Kamper has been at the forefront of this field - specialising in anxiety disorders and panic attacks. She has looked over current <>natural treatments for anxiety and further developed her own. Her articles, informational CD, radio talks and now her website has informed many people about valuable strategies, natural treatments and supplements available to sufferers whether or not they are on medication. A natural treatment for anxiety is always a preferred choice for most people and Despina is able to offer just that.

Below she lists important information which could provide you with some key solutions. She also highly recommends that you view her on-line workshop to get a complete understanding of this disorder before booking a naturopathic consultation with Despina for your individual treatment plan. aims to not only educate sufferers in aspects of anxiety, but also to give them professional help and the tools to help them move forward, away from this debilitating disorder.

Please note: the information below is for educational purposes only and individuals should seek professional help for a naturopathic prescription. It is not intended to replace medication without medical supervision.

natural medicine

Basic Nutrition for Stress

Anxiety, or any form of 'stress', depletes our required nutrients, making us vulnerable to a whole array of symptoms. These range from; digestive disorders, muscular tensions, hormone imbalances, neurotransmitter imbalance, sleeplessness, panic attacks and so on.

Stress is a natural condition we all experience on a daily basis. For example if you walk/jog for longer than normal, there will be a stress on muscles which you will notice in the form of muscular pain. The body will naturally heal and re-balance itself. We go through physical and emotional stress regularly. To be in a constant state of balance is desirable but not normal. You will notice from the graph below that we are constantly in and out of balance – we don’t live there. What can happen, however, is that we can be 'stuck' in a state of stress, and, therefore, out of balance for a longer period of time. When we are in this 'stuck' state our body is not absorbing the nutrients it needs as effectively and it becomes depleted. This is when we start to produce symptoms of unease and/or disease.

stress state

The main nutrients which are depleted in this state are your B vitamins and Magnesium. This is why many people call these our 'Stress Support Vitamins'. So whether you are about to enter a stressful period of your life, or are already in one, it is always recommended to support yourself by taking these nutritional supplements.

Medication - Many medications deplete specific nutrients. For example, the contraceptive pill can make women deficient in B6, folate, B12 and zinc. These nutrients are vital for keeping our brain chemistry in balance. They are vital for healthy moods and emotional stability. A multi-vitamin and mineral supplement is always recommended when taking any medications.

Neurotransmitters and Anxiety

Most of us are familiar with the neurotransmitters Serotonin and Dopamine. Our brain houses many other neurotransmitters which all perform their own important roles for our mental health. Each neurotransmitter requires certain nutrients to maintain optimum levels. Unfortunately, these nutrients are often not present for the brain to make the required amount of neurotransmitter. Supplements are needed. Below you will find the main neurotransmitters for anxiety, their symptom picture and the nutrients required to produce them.

Neurotransmitter Symptoms if Depleted Nutrients Needed What depletes it?
Serotonin Aggression, bad temper, irritability, anxiety/panic attacks, carbohydrate/sugar and alcohol craving, excessive hunger/appetite, sensitivity to pain, insomnia, mild to moderate depression, post natal depression. L-Tryptophan or 5HTP
together with:
Magnesium, vitamin B6, B3, C, iron, folic acid, calcium and zinc.
Oral contraceptive pill, migraine medication, amphetamines, illicit drugs e.g. LSD, steroids, high protein meals, stress.
GABA Anxiety/panic attacks, alcohol craving, seizures, insomnia, palpitations, ringing in the ears, depression, lump in the throat, butterflies in the stomach, carbohydrate craving, pms. Glutamine
together with:
B6, zinc and inositol
Alcohol, caffeine pregnenolone (a steroid hormone), stress.
Acetylcholine Mania, anxiety, light sleeper, decreased short term memory, fatigue, poor concentration & focus, react poorly to stress, lack of motivation, constipation, increased heart rate. Choline, Vitamin B1, B5, C, magnesium and Acetyl-L-Carnitine
High omega 6 intake
Use with caution in hypertension and asthma.
Do not use with Parkinson’s Disease
Histamine Free floating anxiety, over active mind, agitation for no reason, confusion, poor healing, lethargy. Histadine
together with:
Vitamin B6, B12, folic acid, magnesium and zinc.
Caution: not to be used in allergic individuals
Dopamine Tremors, rigidity – muscle tightness, exhaustion, reduced emotional expressiveness, poor memory, depression, lack of motivation. Tyrosine
together with:
B6, B3, folic acid, C, iron, magnesium, manganese and copper
Cocaine, amphetamines, caffeine

Neurotransmitter levels can be tested through urine. For more information on the pathology laboratories which perform these tests, contact our naturopath.

Don't forget your fish oils!

You will find a lot of literature claiming that eating fish provides good brain food and that fish oils are imperative for mental clarity and emotional well- being. Why is this so?

Fish oils are considered 'essential' fatty acids because the body cannot make them from other sources and they must be obtained through diet. They contain Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). EPA/DHA is crucial for the proper functioning of the nervous system. DHA is the building block of brain tissue and the main component of the synaptic membrane - responsible for nerve transmission, while EPA helps to rebuild the protective fatty acid layer around the nerve cell - to allow sufficient signaling.

Below you will find a diagram of two neurons. Without the presence of EPA/DHA nerve cells will not be able to send and receive messages.



Brain/Gut Connection

Butterflies in the stomach?
Nauseas before an exam?

In foetal development, the same batch of tissue is used for the development of both the brain and gut. As development continues, this tissue separates and one part goes to form the central nervous system (CNS), while the other part goes to form the enteric nervous system (ENS), also known as the gut. The vagus nerve, from our autonomic nervous system, connects these two systems – The Brain Gut Connection.

Research has shown that structurally the ENS is quite similar to the CNS. Our gut contains as many neurons as our spinal chord and uses the same neurotransmitters as the brain. Because the same neurotransmitters are in the brain and gut, drugs designed for one tend to affect the other. For example, Prozac is used to increase serotonin levels of the brain which also produces gastro-intestinal side-effects such as constipation or diarrhoea.

As 80% of our serotonin levels live in the gut, it makes sense that through keeping a healthy gut, you are also keeping a healthy mind.

Good gut care:

Fibre - not just one source of fibre, but supplement daily with one that contains many sources eg. Psyllium, ricebran, pectin etc.

Probiotic - once again look for a probiotic that has a range of bacteria in each capsule/powder. Supplement on a daily basis.

Anti-microbial - It is common knowledge that we all have parasites in our gut. Sometimes an overproduction of them can have a detrimental effects on the bowel lining and pH balance of the bowel. Take a good anti-microbial formula that contains herbs such as Artemesia (Chinese Wormwood) and Juglans nigra (Black Walnut).

Glutamine, Slippery Elm, Aloe Vera - The gut wall can often lose its permeability and assume a condition which is commonly known as 'leaky gut'. These nutrients heal and seal the gut to avoid any leakage from the bowel into the blood stream.

Please note: Seek naturopathic advice regarding the prescription of the above supplements in high doses.

Consulting our Naturopath offers global naturopathic telephone consultations with Despina Kamper, who has had extensive experience in treating anxiety disorders and panic attacks.

Despina Kamper was first trained as a homoeopath in London in 1997 and soon followed with a naturopathic qualification in Sydney. She has been practising in clinic for over 10 years, dedicating her time to the latest research and treatment strategies in natural medicine. For many years Despina has owned the natural therapies clinic 'Stone Jasper' in Surry Hills where her practice is now based and is a regular visitor on Triple J radio as their resident naturopath. Her consultation will focus on diet, a close look at all physical symptoms as well as covering stress and emotional imbalances.

"I like to look at all symptoms (both physical and emotional) as a source of information. It gives us clues to where the body is out of alignment and which organ systems need supporting."

In the last 5 years Despina has dedicated her time to the research of mental health. She is a trained cognitive behavioural therapist and specialises in the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic attacks.

Please fill out the patient questionnaire and book a consultation with our naturopath Despina Kamper.