by Marie-Annette Brown with Jo Robinson Berkley Publishing Group, 2002 Review by Diana Pederson Jul 9th 2003
What Is the Body Blues?
textbook term for the Body Blues is vegetative
depressive symptoms. A woman with this condition has three or more of the symptoms
listed below to such a degree that they diminish her enjoyment of life and
sense of well-being.
·Eating too much and gaining weight
·Irritability or tension
·Decreased interest in sex
·Heightened sensitivity to rejection or criticism
Source: Page 5 of When Your
Body Gets the Blues.
Do you feel like I just described
you? Are you a woman? If so, Brown and Robinson's book, When Your Body Gets the Blues, may
help you solve the problem without medical intervention. Let's take a look at this book's contents.
Part 1: The
The first 3 chapters of the book
describe the problem, discusses the biology of the problem including the fact
that women are more affected than men, and describes the LEVITY program
designed to counteract the problem without using medication. The LEVITY program was designed by Jo
Robinson after careful research into the problem and interviews with women
suffering from this problem.
Part 2: The
Science behind the LEVITY Program
Chapters 4-6 explain each of the
three parts of the LEVITY program in detail.
First, the issue of getting enough light in the form of artificial
sunlight or outdoor light is discussed. One surprising piece of information
presented was the discovery that women actually need more light than men. Light also has another effect that most
women won't argue about:
There is one key benefit of getting
more bright light that has gotten very little media attention: Light alone can help you lose weight. In fact, this is one of the most consistent
findings from phototherapy studies.
After only a few days of bright light treatment, most people begin to
eat fewer carbohydrates snacks—even if they are not trying to lose weight.
One of the reported surveys showed
that 90 percent of women and only 53 percent of men preferred carbohydrates
(this means sweets!) over a high protein snack. Sweets increase the activity of the serotonin in your brain which
makes you feel better. Unfortunately,
this effect lasts only for an hour or so and then you crave more to feel better
again. Needless to say, weight becomes
a serious problem.
Walking is another part of the
3-prong attack on the body blues. This
exercise improves the circulation in your brain and modifies its chemical
makeup. Walking was also shown to
reduce the effects of stress. Research
shows that walking: increases serotonin and dopamine activity in your brain,
increases the blood flow in your brain, reduces tension and anxiety, increases
energy, helps you cope with stress better, lets you burn up fat and lose
weight, reduces your hunger, and reduces other health risks. [Paraphrased from
The final part of this 3-prong
attack is vitamin therapy. The authors
studied research and came up with a group of vitamins that have proven to have
mood altering benefits for women. One
surprise is that men don't respond as well as women to these vitamins. A research project was conducted where half
of the women received just a placebo (sometimes called a sugar pill) and the
other half received a pill containing specific amounts of Vitamin B1, B2 and
B6, folic acid, vitamin D, and selenium.
These vitamins, combined with light and exercise began improving their
mood within days.
Part 3: How to
Follow the LEVITY Program
The next four chapters (7-10) teach
you how to implement the LEVITY program for life. These chapters help people overcome their objections to the
various components of the program. It
takes all three parts of the program to receive the maximum benefits.
Part 4: Resources
Journaling is suggested as one way
to keep track of your LEVITY program.
Sources for light therapy boxes, vitamins, etc. are included. The full text of the report to the Journal
Women and Health regarding this study of the LEVITY program on a woman's mood
is presented. You can show this to your
doctor if you need to convince them of the value of the 3 steps you have taken
to improve your mood.
These authors are pros at
expressing scientific information in layman terms. Their writing style makes this an easy to read book for most
people. Clear explanations are given
for scientific facts presented. I
particularly appreciate the fact that they don't send you to the doctor with a
list of symptoms. Instead, you are
shown are to improve the quality of your life without needing medical
intervention. Illustrations are used when
necessary to clarify the point. Charts
and sidebars present additional information.
I did detect one weakness in this
book. It was definitely written just
for women and basically left men suffering these symptoms without any
answers. Perhaps these same researchers
could do a study with just men to identify vitamins that will help them
This book leaves me feeling excited
about improving my own moodiness even better than antidepressants do. I am attempting to implement each of the 3
parts of the LEVITY program in my own life as a direct result of reading it. It is rather unusual that a book of this
nature has me out looking for the vitamins suggested and making plans to
implement the 3-prong attack on the body blues myself.
I strongly urge that any woman
suffering from the listed symptoms read this book and implement the program in
their own life. It only takes a few
weeks to determine if it will significantly reduce the problems for you. Run, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore
and request this book if it isn't already in the store. It just could change your life.