Vitamins are key to so many essential processes needed to keep our body healthy and running in top shape. Vitamins play a crucial role in the growth and development of bodies. Yet, with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be extremely difficult to have a balanced, healthy meal. Even healthy meals may not give you enough of the right vitamins, especially if you exclude certain food categories such as meat.
Without the right vitamins, many studies correlate that vitamin deficiencies in the body can contribute to poor mental health.
The Indian Journal of Psychiatry states:
“The dietary intake pattern of the general population in many Asian and American countries reflects that they are often deficient in many nutrients, especially essential vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. A notable feature of the diets of patients suffering from mental disorders is the severity of deficiency in these nutrients. Studies have indicated that daily supplements of vital nutrients are often effective in reducing patients’ symptoms.”
That powerful statement begs the question…just what vitamins directly affect mental health? While we can’t list them all, here are a few to get you started.
Niacin (Vitamin B-3) – This vitamin is tied to the production of serotonin. As you may have already known, serotonin is key to your brains communication processes. When serotonin is low, it leads to higher rates of depression. Men typically need about 16Mg a day and women need 14mg. Because this vitamin is considered water soluble, it does not save or store up in your system. Without consistent access to this vitamin, your body can not function at its best.
Vitamin D – We all know a little bit of sun can go a long way in helping elevate our mood and make us feel more energetic. Vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium so that you can maintain strong bones. It also helps to invigorate your nervous system and your immune system. Low levels have been linked to depression. Vitamin D deficiency is can sometimes be found in those who do not eat meat, dairy and fish…all great sources for Vitamin D.
Vitamin C – this vitamin has been touted for years as a great immune booster. It has been highly recommended as a great vitamin to help prevent colds. It also offers many other health benefits including the ability to help improve mood, possibly reducing anxiety and depression.
Vitamin B12 – all B vitamins are essentially good for brain health. However, it has been found that “over the past several years, evidence has mounted that B vitamins—B12 and folate in particular—may ward off depression…B vitamins are also essential ingredients for the production and proper functioning of several neurotransmitters including dopamine, crucial to the experience of pleasure. ”
It seems when individuals low in Vitamin B12 they are more likely to have symptoms of depression.
These are just some of the crucial vitamins you need to know about for your mental health. Whether through food or supplements, vitamins are a must in any health diet.