Vitamins And Mental Health

The University of Swansea, in Wales, UK, recently issued results of a study on the effects of vitamin and mineral supplementation on stress, mild psychiatric symptoms, and mood.  Researchers Long and Benton studied the objective biochemical processes in the brain that affect mood, and found that minor dietary inadequacies, which are responsible for a small decline in an enzyme's efficiency, could cumulatively influence mood states.  

The UK study evaluated the influence of multivitamin/mineral supplements for at least 28 days in a controlled environment.  The results showed that when a person’s diet does not provide an optimal intake of micronutrients, vitamin supplements could benefit their mood; and have a positive impact upon levels of perceived stress, mild psychiatric symptoms, or mood in the general population.  The research also concluded that multivitamin/mineral supplementation could also reduce anxiety, fatigue, and confusion.  

Conclusions of the research from Wales indicated that micronutrient supplementation has a beneficial effect on perceived stress, mild psychiatric symptoms, and aspects of everyday mood in apparently healthy individuals.  Supplements containing high doses of B vitamins may be more effective in improving mood states.  Questions about optimal levels of micronutrient intake, optimal doses, and active ingredients arise.

It only makes sense that the life-giving nutrients found in food and in supplementation benefit not only the health of the body, but the health of the mind.  We’re coming to realize more and more the connection between the two; and you can’t have one without the other!  The care and feeding of the body is synonymous with the care and feeding of the brain.  A healthy body = a healthy brain.  Only with a healthy brain can we enjoy optimal mental health.  Our minds and our hearts are the seat of emotion, mood, creativity, ideas, the entire personality—which is really the actual person. 


It is important to understand the synergistic connection between nutrients (vitamins, minerals, proteins etc.) and the health of your brain and mind.  A healthy diet strives to provide the necessary components needed for good health, but because it’s difficult to always eat right—and our foods are often depleted of nutrients for many reasons—vitamin supplementation can help to fill the gap.

The B-complex vitamins are essential to your well-being, including your mental and emotional health.
They are water-soluble, which means that they cannot be stored in the body over time to be used at a later date, and so you must eat foods rich in B vitamins every day or take vitamin supplements. B-vitamins that could cause or add to mood swings, anxiety and depression include thiamin, which provides energy to your brain, and pantothenic acid, which is crucial in the formation of certain hormones that suppress depression.

Vitamin C is also extremely important, and normal levels are usually easy to achieve in the body, but you might find that you need a boost from vitamin supplements if you have recently had surgery or an inflammatory illness.  Lack of vitamin C is common if you are stressed—and who isn’t?—or pregnant, so be particularly mindful during these times of life.

A variety of minerals, like magnesium, calcium, and zinc can also help you to feed your brain and your mental health.  

So, take a look at that food pyramid.  See how your common daily diet compares.  Chances are great that most of us should be including high quality vitamin/mineral supplementation so that our bodies get all of the nutrients necessary to stay happy and healthy, both physically and mentally.

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