Vitamin deficiency may not be the first thing you think about when considering the causes of depression. Doctors and psychiatrists rarely recommend vitamins for depression . But clearly, the human brain cannot use its full potential when essential nutrients are lacking. A healthy brain is the first line of defense against anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. Some vitamins are necessary for the formation of neurotransmitters that stimulate mood, while others provide energy to brain cells or protect them from damage. We are beginning to become aware of how our consumption affects our physical health and well-being. However, most of the time we do not make a connection between the food we eat and the functioning of our brain.
Vitamins and proper brain function
Like our organs, our brain needs certain vitamins to function normally. By depriving the brain of certain vitamins for a long time, an individual is likely to start experiencing a range of neurological and emotional problems . It is common to assume that if we feel sad or low on energy, we have an emotional or behavioral problem. However, people rarely look for solutions or prevention in their diet. Historically, human beings have used natural sources to prevent and cure mental disorders for centuries. And it is not folklore tales that support it, but science ! How about checking, below, how the inclusion of some vitamins can have a positive impact on your mental health.
1 - B Complex Vitamins
The B complex is made up of a group of 8 vitamins sometimes called "anti- stress vitamins ", since they are essential to combat the effects of stress . They are used to create well-intentioned neurotransmitters responsible for maintaining a positive mood. All B vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothonic acid), B6 (pyridonxine), B7 (biotin) and B9 (folate) are essential to extract energy from food, building vital molecules and regulating the metabolism of neurotransmitters like serotonin. All have been found to relieve symptoms of depression , stress and age-related mental decline. Niacin, in particular, found positive effects when administered in controlled doses to long-term depression and schizophrenia patients . Many vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, turnips, carrots and beets are rich in B vitamins. The only exception is B-12, which can only be found in animal products, such as fish, meat, milk and eggs. If you're vegan, consider taking vitamin B-12 supplements.
Serotonin is the main brain chemical responsible for making a person feel happy , relaxed and confident . It also plays an important role in sleep , sexual desire and digestive health. The most prevalent theory of depression is that it is caused by a lack of serotonin. That is why the most commonly prescribed antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Normally, serotonin is created in the brain and body from tryptophan, an amino acid commonly found in meat, poultry, fish and dairy products. Tryptophan provides the basic building blocks used to synthesize serotonin, but certain cofactors - vitamin B6 , folic acid, vitamin C, iron (fe), magnesium (mg), calcium (ca) and zinc (zn) - need be present for the complete reaction to occur.
2 - Selenium
Selenium is not only great for the immune system - certainly one of the most important antioxidants, but it also acts against inflammation and favors support for good cognitive function. Chestnuts in Brazil, especially Castanha do Pará, have a higher concentration of selenium than any other food source. A Brazil nut has between 68-91 mcg of selenium per nut. This means that a person only needs to eat one or two nuts from Pará to reach their daily selenium requirements of 200 mg per day. More than 400 mg is considered dangerous because selenium is toxic at higher doses. Studies have shown that low levels of selenium, particularly in young people, increase the risk of depression. Very high selenium levels have also yielded negative results. In another study , pregnant women who had enough selenium in their diet were at a lower risk of developing postpartum depression .
3 - Vitamin D
The vitamin D is known as vitamin "the sun." It is an essentially fat-soluble nutrient. This helps to keep bones healthy and strong, aids cell growth and benefits immune function. Our body absorbs vitamin D mainly through exposure to the sun, although dietary supplements and certain foods are also sources of the nutrient. Vitamin D is vital for maintaining our mental health. A deficiency in this vitamin can contribute to what is called winter depression - a drop in mood during the winter months.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression and other mental illnesses , so it is correct to say that it is very important that we ensure sufficient quantity for the proper functioning of our body. By ensuring adequate levels of Vitamin D, we are also taking care of the mind. We all know that the best source of vitamin D is the sun. Unfortunately, the star king is not always present, especially during the winter months. If an individual is not able to absorb the sun's rays in the natural way, it is important to include Vitamin D as a supplement in their diet. It is possible to buy vitamin D supplements at health food stores and pharmacies. Many breads, cereals and milk are now fortified with vitamin D to ensure adequate and efficient nutrition.