We often talk about the necessity of proper vitamins and nutrients for physical health yet overlook how nutrition affects our mental health.
The mind and body are typically viewed and treated separately, but there is a relationship between the two. Poor mental health negatively impacts physical health and vice versa.
Our bodies need vitamins and minerals to work properly, and this includes the brain. Deficiencies in important vitamins and minerals can mimic serious psychiatric problems and exacerbate anxiety and depression.
Did you know there are 13 vitamins essential to our health? We can get all the nutrients we need from food; most of us don’t. Because not everyone absorbs nutrients the same way, even the healthiest of eaters can have serious deficiencies.
Busy schedules, illness, mental health and a poor diet are the usual culprits, and because of that, vitamins are now the number one supplement across the U.S. Roughly half of the adult population takes at least one supplement.
The Vitamin Routine for Mental Wellness:
First things first, shop from a reputable retailer with strict guidelines. Because vitamins are considered dietary supplements they do not get the attention from the FDA like prescription drugs. Be safe.
Check the ingredients. The main ingredient should be the active form and be sure there isn’t a lot of fillers or artificial colors and flavors. You’re looking for quality supplements from sellers with a good reputation.
Stick with your brand. Once you find a brand that you like, stay with that brand. This ensures you’re getting a quality and consistent product.
Keep it simple. Once you have determined what supplements to take and for how long (more on that in a bit), incorporate this into your daily routine. Set a reminder to take your vitamins for the same time everyday for the next 7-10 days. This extra step will help you develop a routine to maximize the effect on the body, to support your physical and mental health, and avoid toxicity that occurs from taking too much.
13 Vitamins are essential to good health; here are the Top 3 recommended for brain function and mental health support:
Every tissue in the body needs vitamin D to function; brain, heart, immune system and muscles all need vitamin D to work properly. There is a connection between vitamin D and mental health and most people don’t get enough. A deficiency in vitamin D can make it more difficult to treat psychological illness and prolong depressive symptoms. Regulating vitamin D benefits the entire physical body, but can also reduce pain and improve mood and outlook.
B12 and Folate
B12/Folate (also known as folic acid or vitamin B9) helps to regulate mood and sleep; both of which can impact your mental health and well-being. B12/Folate is critical for the health of the nervous system and red blood cell production. 15% of people are deficient in B12 and this deficiency affects physical and psychological health. Because of B12’s role in the nervous system, nerve damage can occur. Symptoms may also manifest as depression, anemia, fatigue and more. Improving those levels can increase energy and improve stamina making you feel better overall.
Found in fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids are being investigated by scientists for their ability to treat depression and other mood disorders. Scientists suspect there is a correlation because depression occurs less in those areas that eat a lot of fish. Omega-3s travel from the brain cell membrane and interact with the molecules related to mood and the anti-inflammatory action can help with depression. Omega-3 therapy is starting to show promising results for postpartum depression, attention deficit disorder and other mood disorders. Daily Omega-3 provides amazing mental health support and should be a part of every vitamin routine.
Before starting a vitamin routine it’s important you test your levels. Whether you are working directly with your doctor or testing at home, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Vitamin toxicity is a real thing and it’s important that you know what you are taking and how much. I encourage you to work directly with a physician, licensed therapist or nutritionist to develop a vitamin regimen just for you.