Sometimes What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

The most recent humbling realization I've had lately about my lupus (SLE) is that the longer I have it, the less I seem to know about it. On the other hand, the upside of having a disease with such a wide variety of symptoms that effect my body and mind is that it seldom gets boring as long I try to learn more about lupus' ever-changing symptoms and better ways of handling them.
Most recently that's included the depression that's hounded me for years and has had me on my knees lately due to a medication mix-up. Think I'm finally back on track now, but it had me feeling so desperate for relief a few weeks ago that I sought the advice of a family member who happens to be a psychiatrist. To my surprise, he turned me on to some good tips about some diet and vitamin supplements that have shown promise in helping to alleviate depression, along with some websites to check out myself. He was quick to point out though (disclaimer alert) that any suggestions he had for me were to be taken along with my prescribed medications and any other therapy I was already getting for my depression, and that I should first run them by my doctors in case they might interact with my current course of treatment for lupus or any other physical or psychological problems for which I might be getting treatment.

To my bigger surprise, I'm pleased to admit that some of these suggestions actually seem to be working. However, rather than taking my amatuer word for it, I though I'd just summarize what has worked for me and include some links to sites that explain how they work way better than I can.
His first suggestion was to add some of the B vitamins, particularly B6 and B12, to my diet since pill supplement are hard for the body to breakdown and actually use. When I explained to him that I'm also a diabetic and must watch my cholesterol, and that I stay away from most of the best sources of these vitamins (beef, pork, chicken, pasta, baked potatoes, bananas) for those reasons, he suggested I take a sublingual elixir (in this case a liquid absorbed by the tongue) of B-complex vitamins, which I found at my local Walgreen's for $12.00. He also said that there have been recent clinical studies which have shown that most folks with depression also have low levels of Vitamin D, which I already take by way of a lot of milk and dairy, and a supplement of 1000 to 3000 mg of D3 daily.
Since both of the doctors I checked with assured me that it's hard to overdose on any of the B vitamins, and they were all for increasing my D3 to 3000mg a day, I added that and Vitamin E (another of his suggestions) to the Vitamin B sublingual supplement. I should note that all of these supplements are in amounts that far exceed the RDA, but are levels that have proven to help with not only depression, but also, in the case of the B vitamins, help to regulate the body's sugar and insulin levels, which might also give me more energy (always a rare commodity for which I'd be tempted to trade my right arm even if it only got me through another sinkful of dirty dishes) if I took it regularly. I thought I'd give it a month to work or not, but was delighted to find that my mood and energy levels improved after only a week or so, but before I was back on the right antidepressant, so I can rule that out as the cause of either benefit. I suppose there's always the placebo effect to account for my positive response to the supplements, but I'm OK with that too, as long as I continue to feel better (better than when I was on the antidepressant alone) and have more energy.
The other recent discovery I've made in desperation is helping me deal with the intense pain and incessant night-time itching of the peripheral neuropathy I have from my lupus. But more about that in a later post, as my new well of B-vitamin energy has done run dry for the moment. In the meantime, I would love to hear of anyone else's experiences with getting relief from any lupus symptom that may not be prescribed or considered strictly Orthodox treatment. If there's anything I've learned about lupus it's that even if I don't have a particular symptom today, I may wake up tomorrow with it and not even recognize it as a lupus symptom if I hadn't heard about it from another sufferer here.
So here are a couple of links that support some of what I've described here about depression. I've bookmarked a few more as well, so let me know if you want me to forward them to you and I'll send them to you directly.
This one's actually about Vitamin D and chronic pain, which I figured couldn't hurt ;) winking either.

More peace, less pain, pj (pjarden)

awesome info! thanks pj