Tags – Vitamins for Mental Health
For a long time, taking vitamin supplements has long been recognised as a great way to improve physical health.
After all, taking care of your body and eating a nutrient-dense, healthy diet will give you a better quality of life. But, vitamins play a crucial role in mental health too.
Research suggests dietary nutrients are important for brain structure and function, and improving nutritional intake can help reduce the risk or slow the progression of certain disorders.
Despite having a healthy diet, there could be some vitamins and minerals you might not be getting, and deficiencies can cause mental health problems.
For example, if you don’t eat salmon or other oily fish, you may need to take extra omega-3, which promotes heart health and improves brain function.
Consequently, when the body lacks certain vitamins, it can cause organs to grow weak and not work as well. And if the organs are not functioning properly, you’re more likely to develop conditions that affect both mental and physical well-being.
Let’s take a closer look at 6 vitamin supplements that can help boost mental health.
1. B Vitamins
B vitamins are known for their mood-altering properties and help you to function day-to-day with more clarity.
Mental health issues like memory loss, anxiety, depression and insomnia are linked to low levels of vitamin B1.
Vitamin B1 is used by the body to convert glucose into energy and without it, the brain will not be able to function normally.
Secondly, vitamin B12 is crucial in forming red blood cells and a deficiency can lead to problems in oxygen flow, which is likely to cause mood swings, paranoia, irritability, confusion and dementia.
When vitamin B12 intake is increased, it enhances the production of serotonin and dopamine, both play important roles in regulating a healthy mental state.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the more “well known” vitamins and many of us are aware of its immune-boosting properties.
Plus, those who are a bit more familiar with vitamins are likely to take vitamin C through tablets or orange juice when they feel flu-like symptoms.
But what many people don’t know is that vitamin C plays an important role in mental health too; there is a strong link between vitamin C and mood.
Surprisingly, those who lack vitamin C are more likely to experience depression and chronic fatigue compared to people with normal levels.
In fact, those with normal levels of vitamin C who take extra supplements see an improvement in mood and cognitive function, as well as experience fewer anxiety symptoms.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a great supplement for boosting mental health as it contributes to healthy brain function as well as other health benefits.
When tested, it was found that those who experience symptoms of depression have a lower-than-normal vitamin D level.
At the same time, people with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to experience mental health conditions than those with normal levels.
For most people, the sun is the primary source of vitamin D. But if you don’t live in a warm or sunny place, chances are you’re going to be in deficit.
If you suffer from mental health, you may have noticed symptoms get worse in the winter; vitamin D supplements can be beneficial in this instance.
Zinc is an essential mineral the body needs for many biological and biochemical functions, such as the immune system and metabolism, and brain growth and development.
Studies reveal that zinc deficiency can result in reduced brain function and other behavioural disruptions, and taking zinc supplements can be effective in reducing mental health symptoms.
Because when your body lacks zinc, chemical messages are not easily passed around your body, hence why it can impact mental health.
Supplements aside, zinc can be found in oysters, lamb, chicken, milk, cheese, seeds and nuts, all of which are easy to incorporate into your daily diet.
Magnesium is an important mineral in our body that regulates and calms the nervous system.
Unfortunately, a lack of magnesium in the body can cause sleep problems such as insomnia, which will inevitably contribute to poor mental health.
However, increasing your magnesium intake can help with sleep and relax the muscles, as well as reduce symptoms of depression, premenstrual syndrome in women and hypertension with ADHD.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in most fish and are more commonly found in oily fish like salmon, sardines and herring, but it can be found in nuts and seeds too.
It’s been found that mental health disorders like depression are less frequent in those that eat a fish-rich diet, suggesting it has a positive effect on mood disorders.
The reason being, fatty acids can travel easily through cell membranes where they can interact with cells responsible for controlling mood.
Plus, it improves cell membrane fluidity and boosts neurotransmitter function which contributes to a better mental state.
Overall, maintaining a healthy diet can help avoid deficiencies that cause mental health problems.
Whilst taking vitamin supplements is a great way to maintain a healthy diet, you should consult with a healthcare professional before you start taking them, especially if you’re on any existing medication to ensure it is safe and fits your needs.
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