Vitamins play a vital role in our mental health. The absence of some vitamins and nutrients in our diet could lead to some mental health issues. With the current environmental circumstances, stress and anxiety have become very common. That’s why it’s important to know the types of vitamins linked to mental health.
Any disorder that affects mood, thinking, and behaviour can be described as a mental health problem. There are different ways to treat mental health issues including psychotherapy or medication. However, medical treatments do not always work best for some individuals. This creates the need to seek alternative solutions such as nutrition therapy.
Depression is a mood disorder affecting over 17 million people in the U.S. today, and that number only reflects the reported cases. There are far more people experiencing depression who don’t seek treatment. Depression is typically treated with medications and psychotherapy. However, some lifestyle changes can help to treat and prevent depression as well, including the regular consumption of certain vitamins, minerals, and herbs.
Why we need vitamins for mental health?
Our brain is the most important organ, and while we may not pay much heed, it requires a steady supply of nutrients to stay healthy. Just like other organs, our brain too needs a helpful dose of vitamins to function well.
As more and more people are opening up to the idea of talking about mental health ailments, they were discussing a number of distinct and important issues.
Studies have found that increasing the intake of certain vitamins and minerals can also help manage (and to a certain extent, treat) mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, manage mood swings and give a boost to our brain health.
While conclusive proof is still not available, there is no denying that natural boosters and medicines can come in handy in making our brain healthy and improve quality of life.
Vitamins that play role in improving mental health
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient and is a water-soluble vitamin, which the body cannot produce on its own. It is naturally found in chicken, eggs, milk, cheese, soy milk, almond milk, and fortified cereals. The brain is a highly complex structure and needs constant maintenance. It is a key component to protect our brain.
Role of vitamin B12 in mental health
This vitamin is critical to provide a boost to our blood oxygen levels, physical energy, and mental health. Additionally vitamin B12 helps relieve stress, induce a sense of positivity, and improve memory.
Deficiency of vitamin B12
Its deficiency could lead to an oxygen-transport problem in the blood known as pernicious anemia. Furthermore, this disorder may cause issues like mood swings, paranoia, irritability, confusion, dementia, and hallucinations (or mania). Its deficiency may also lead to mental disorders like brain atrophy, brain shrinkage, depression, confusion, and schizophrenia.
Vitamin C can be found naturally in citric fruits such as orange, berries such as kiwi, and leafy green vegetables such as spinach.
Role of vitamin C in mental health
Vitamin-C is a very well-known antioxidant. But, not a lot of awareness is created around the role of Vitamin-C for mental wellbeing. The antioxidant property of Vitamin-C helps in maintaining homeostasis- a balance in one’s central nervous systems. Additionally, chronic anxiety leads to elevated levels of cortisol which is a stress hormone. Consumption of Vitamin-C can help one’s body manage cortisol levels better.
Also intake of vitamin-C from various sources such as fruits & vegetables has been shown to have a positive effect on thinking and memory retention.
Additional role of vitamin C
One of the most established purposes of Vitamin-C is in the regulation of neurotransmitter biosynthesis, including that of catecholamine, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. There is also evidence that this vitamin is involved in neuronal maturation and functioning. Our brain neurons contain some of the highest levels of this vitamin observed in any mammalian tissue; glial ascorbate concentrations are much lower by comparison.
Deficiency of vitamin C
Vitamin C deficiency leads to the release of ascorbic acid in the body, which can cause neurological damage, leading to anxiety, and bipolar disorder in some acute cases. Many people who are deficient in vitamin C also experience depression and chronic fatigue.
While the best natural source of vitamin D is sunlight, consuming foods such as milk, eggs, and mushrooms, is also a great way to add vitamin D into our system.
Role of vitamin D in mental health
Vitamin D is an essential supplement for bone health as well as for a healthy brain. According to doctors and researchers, the nutrient contains hormonelike biochemicals which interact with the brain receptors and help sustain vital functions which go through the brain. It also activates and deactivates some enzymes which help in nerve growth and reduce inflammation. The overall goodness which Vitamin D guarantees can help our brain stay healthy and thus reduces the risk of developing mental illnesses.
Deficiency of vitamin D
Vitamin D is a natural mood regulator, and accordingly its deficiency causes a prolonged phase of introspections and sadness. Its deficiency also causes anxiety, depression and may increase stress levels. Its deficiency has been additionally associated with active mood disorder.
Vitamins in treatment of mental illness
Thus, we can say that healthcare practitioners support the therapeutic value of dietary intervention in treating depression and other psychological disorders. Although vitamin deficiency has been linked to mental health problems, it is important to note that vitamin supplements cannot replace mental illness treatment medication.
Maintaining a healthy diet may help us avoid nutritional deficiencies that can cause mental health problems. Also with a few simple precautions, we could avoid vitamin deficiency, and ensure the wellbeing of our mental health.
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