Betaine, also known as trimethylglycine (TMG), acts as a neural transporter and enhances our brain’s ability to maintain sufficient levels of the “feel good” hormones serotonin and dopamine. As I explained in another article on how to overcome depression this is what commercial anti-depressant drugs attempt to emulate.
The problem with the prescription drugs is their horrendous side effects. Rather than go that route it behooves us to enhance our mood naturally. In a series of articles on how to overcome depression naturally I have included a number of helpful tips.
- Increasing our levels of magnesium, even using a topical supplement if necessary, as deficiency is widespread.
- Taking a natural herb, St. John’s Wort for its historically and clinically proven results or natural tryptophan supplements.
- Consuming sufficient sulphur containing amino acids found mainly in eggs and meat, but other good sources include liver, cod liver oil, shell fish, fish eggs as well as butter and cream.
- Avoiding aluminum cookware and artificial sweeteners like aspartame found in many soft drinks, as well as msg and dental mercury amalgams.
- Using a supplement like zeolite or, alternatively, diatomaceous earth to chelate mercury out of our bodies. Global mercury pollution levels are frightening and impossible to avoid.
- You needn’t train for a marathon, but you might be surprised how much regular exercise helps enhance mood!
In this article I want to introduce another simple, natural resource to the list of tips for fighting depression. Beets are not only a very good source of betaine they also have a host of other medicinal properties.
Much like sulphur containing amino acids and tryptophan, betaine acts as an agent in the neural transmission of serotonin and dopamine. It thus has the pleasant effects of a minor “mood enhancer,” which can bring positive change to a state of depression.
Although beets have an impressive history of medicinal use in many cultures, we seem to have lost sight of this in our ever increasing artificial attempts at health management. Beets and beet juice have been shown to be helpful in cancer therapies.
Even with up to 5% sugar content, this is so proportionally balanced with a host of minerals that beets are allowed to diabetics. The minerals include iron, copper, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, which is important to fight depression and important trace minerals.
Beets are also a good source of carotenes, B complex and vitamin C. They protect the liver and stimulate the flow of bile necessary for assimilation of the fat soluble vitamins, both of which are crucial in overcoming depression. Beets are considered blood restorative and strengthen the entire organism.
The most beneficial way to consume beets is by fermenting them. Then they also have very favorable, regenerative effects on disturbed cellular function. This is where they aid in cancer therapies. I explain some of the benefits of fermentation in another article.
I make a beet tonic fashioned after the traditional Ukrainian beet kvass, which I drink about 4 oz of everyday morning and night. It does wonder for my disposition as well as helping my digestion, cleaning my liver and alkalizing my blood. It is an excellent blood tonic which, also promotes regularity.
I also ferment beets, which makes a very tasty dish as well as increasing the vitamin content and making all the nutrients more bio available by producing powerful enzymes. Fermenting beets and making kvass is very simple.
For the kvass I don’t even peel the beets. I just brush them with a stiff veggie brush and coarsely chop up a couple of medium sized and put them in a mason jar. I throw in 1 1/2 tsp of sea salt and a couple Tbsp whey and fill it with filtered water to about an inch from the top.
I cover it tightly and leave it at room temperature for a couple of days. Then I refrigerate it and have it available every day. I keep a couple of jars going to accomplish this. When I finish one I just add 1 tsp of salt and fill it up with water again.
After the second round, I discard the beets into my compost heap and start another cycle. The fermented beets are not much different only I cook them first in a basket in a pressure cooker until they are soft. I punch a few small hole in them first so as not to make an explosive mess.
After peeling them I fill the mason jar with the beets cut into strips roughly 1/4 in thick, like julienne fries, leaving the same space at the top after gently pressing them down. I dissolve a Tbsp of sea salt in less than a cup total of water and 1/4 cup of whey to cover them, leaving an inch at the top of the jar.
After letting them ferment for about 3 days at room temperature I refrigerate them and they keep just about forever. They make a great addition to a multitude of meals and do wonders in helping digest and assimilate all kinds of nutrients, not to mention, fight depression.
Functional Characterization of the Betaine/g-Aminobutyric Acid Transporter BGT-1 Expressed in Xenopus Oocytes
Ioulia Matskevitch,Carsten A.Wagner,Carola Stegen,Stefan Broer,Birgitta Noll,Teut Risler,H.Moo Kwon,Joseph S. Handler,Siegfried Waldegger,Andreas E. Busch,and Florian Lang