6 Rules of Happiness: Vitamins and Minerals for Mental Health

Guest article provided by Nutri-IQ

Preserving one’s mental health is the very important component of self-care. Keep in mind though that mental health, among other factors, is also affected biochemically. This means that imbalance of essential nutrients in one’s diet, even for the best self-care reasons such as weight loss, may lead to very serious consequences. 

Why do we get imbalance of nutrients in our super-developed world? Nowadays, nutritionists and dietologists agree that humanity is experiencing widespread malnutrition. Not only because there is shortage of food, but also because we are eating non-foods void of essential nutrients which our bodies cannot produce by themselves. 

Result? Pandemic of mental disease: on average one in five adults (17.6%) experienced a common mental disorder within the past 12 months and 29.2% across their lifetime. Research shows that poor diet is the lifestyle risk factor for poor physical health AND mental illness. 

As scary as it sounds, these aggravations are preventable. You can easily mitigate mental disease risks and attain significantly better quality of life applying the following 6 smart self-care strategies! 


1 Diet High on Fruits and Vegetables

Our brain has very high oxygen consumption, and a lipid-rich environment is considered highly susceptible to oxidative stress. The oxidative stress is implicated in several mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. 

Fruits and vegetables have very high content of vitamins A, C and E. These are potent dietary antioxidants that can prevent cytotoxicity resulting from free radicals – and also protect or at least improve your sense of happiness and wellbeing.

Food sources of these wonderful vitamins are described in this Blog. In general, Mediterranean-style diet is very good for your brain and mental health!

2. Getting Enough B-Vitamins

We cannot overestimate the role of B-vitamins: 

  • B1 (Thiamine); B2 (Riboflavin); B3 (Niacin); B5 (Pantothenic Acid); B6; B9 (Folate); and B12

They are vital for:

In a nutshell, deficiency of B-group vitamins disrupts normal brain function:

  • Low vitamin B6 and folate intake was associated with more internalising disorders (i.e. anxiety and depression). 
  • Reduced intakes of B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 were associated with higher externalising disorders (i.e. anger and temper problems, excessive verbal and physical aggression to people and animals, destruction of property, theft, and arsons.)

A cross-sectional analysis of effect of B-vitamins on mental health confirmed that diet rich in these important vitamins ( or, supplementation with B-vitamins) can modulate severity of mental disease, and also may contribute to prevention of mental health problems in adolescence. 

Food sources and recommended daily amounts for these extremely important vitamins are well described in this Blog.

3. Loading on Sunshine Vitamin

Active vitamin D affects numerous neurotransmitters relevant for mental disorders. 

Studies have suggested that low levels of vitamin D are associated with poor mood. In the case of depression-spectrum disorders, considerable evidence supports a role of suboptimal vitamin D levels.

There is also a hypothesis linking schizophrenia and autism to developmental (prenatal) vitamin D deficiency. The same problem was also observed in adult patients. Thus, vitamin D deficiency is not only a developmental risk factor, but may also be related to the adult patients’ psychiatric risk. 

This article provides information about food sources and reference values of vitamin D.

4. Consuming the Fats Brain Likes

Human brain is the fattiest organ in the body – it is almost 60% fat! Fatty acids form brain cells and take part in inter-cellular signal transmission. 

Our bodes cannot produce essential fatty acids, thus the name “essential”. We need to obtain these nutrients from food sources, with one lucky exception – human breast milk already has them.

Essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) have been extensively studied with regard to the brain health. 

The evidence to date suggests that we need a combination of essential fatty acid molecules (uridine, choline, and α-linolenic acid (ALA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) for growth of neurons, synthesis of synaptic membranes and dendritic spines that determine brain’s integrity and ability to perform. 

It was proven that supplementation with essential fatty acids counteracts mild cognitive impairment and improves stress resistance. It also has been shown in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia that DHA supplementation protects against age-related neuronal damage. 

5. Knowing Your Problem

When your mental health is an area of concern, it is a good idea to check all possible connections with nutritional deficiencies. Bute where can you start?


5.1 Am I deficient?

The easiest way is to ask for a blood test. But you need to convince your health care provider that you do need a test, they have to find a specific test it is etc. .. that may be a long and frustrating process. Besides, blood test results can be inconsistent!

How about virtual blood test? Yes, this is totally possible with Nutri-IQ Virtual Lab! You can check your health from the comfort of your home and find out if you have deficiencies of antioxidants, B-vitamins, vitamin D or essential fatty acids. 


5.2 What about my diet?

We urge you to check food sources of the nutrients you experience deficiency. These articles have succinct description of nutrient food sources, so you could conclude if adding some delicious food to your daily menu can positively affect your mental health.

Keep in mind that certain medications inhibit nutrient absorption. You may want to check your meds with this article. If so, consult your physician about your options. This is your very precious mental health you are dealing with!


5.3 But My Diet is Perfect!

Well in this case helping your mental health may be a bit more complicated. But still possible. 

We all different, and your genes may be assembled in a way that prevents you from absorbing enough certain nutrients.  You can find predisposition to certain nutrient shortages with a reliable but still affordable DNA Wellness test (sometimes, these tests are called “epigenetic”)


6. Fixing the Issue

We agree that in majority of situations, a healthy, well-balanced diet may help you to avoid nutritional deficiencies that cause mental health problems biochemically. 

But how about dietary supplements? Can they help?

Research confirms that dietary supplements can provide significant help accompanying mental disease treatment, or even replace treatment sometimes. In our opinion, this is an obvious result:  you compensate your body’s innate process that may be functioning sub-optimally because of your genetic makeup.

When feasibility of dietary help is confirmed, it is good time for an experiment. Keep in mind that supplements may not be working instantly! You will need to find a brand which is the most suitable for your body and affordable financially. 

We suggest to use discounts and coupons as much as possible. If your trial goes well and you find supplements that work for you, you will be proud of yourself. If not, you’ll save some hard buck anyway! For instance, site HealthDiscountHunters has good guidance and 10-50% discounts on Mental Health supplements and aids. We suggest you try them first!

Image:  https://yayimages.com/



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