Fortunately the conversation around mental health is now opening up and more of us feel able to discuss how we’re feeling and the issues we face. But these discussions are still in their infancy – and in fact often don’t reflect the full picture when it comes to taking care of our mental wellbeing.
There are many different causes behind mental health conditions – and usually one or more factor is at play when it comes to how we think and feel. Although there are many holistic and practical ways we can support our emotional and mental wellbeing, including lifestyle changes, from a medical perspective there are also several vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can impair mental function and emotional health. There are some key potential deficiencies and imbalances to consider which when addressed could have a significantly positive impact for the 10 million Americans who struggle with their mental health.
This blog is intended for information purpose only – and as always we recommend speaking with your own doctor to discuss where deficiencies could be influencing your mental health. Here we share some of the main deficiencies associated with impaired mental function and emotional wellbeing.
Omega 3 is often overlooked when considering optimal mental function – but it’s well-known as a brain health booster. Omega 3s have a vital role in maintaining proper neuronal function and act as anti-inflammatories. In early studies Omega 3 supplementation have been shown to be beneficial when treating symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder and PTSD.
Omega 3 is naturally found in oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocados – but good quality supplements can help where deficiencies are identified.
Magnesium is involved in many chemical reactions within the brain – with deficiency linked to insomnia, anxiety and depression. Magnesium can be naturally found in nuts, legumes, whole grains and soy products such as tofu, tempeh and edamame beans.
Vitamin D, known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ has long been associated with the production of higher levels of ‘happy hormone’ serotonin. Vitamin D is naturally synthesized through exposure to sunlight, which is why deficiency in vitamin D is often cited as one of the factors behind SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). High quality supplements, mushrooms and fortified foods can also provide plentiful sources of vitamin D.
Found in lean meats, whole grains and seeds, Zinc is a key component in many brain functions, and deficiency has been directly linked with depressive symptoms and low mood.
Gut health plays a major role in the balance of chemicals in the brain that maintain our mood. In many cases disruption of the billions of bacteria that make up our gut flora can significantly impact upon emotional wellbeing. Rebalancing the gut through a holistic approach and stocking up on probiotics may positively influence mental health.
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