A diet that’s lacking in key nutrients and vitamins affects more than just your physical health – your emotional health also suffers as a result. If you’ve been feeling like you’re in need of a lift in both departments, it might be worth checking out these supplements that may help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression or other mood disorders (remember that no supplement can replace proven depression treatments altogether). Be sure to also consult your doctor prior to taking any vitamins to ensure they don’t interfere with any medications or conditions.
If you’ve been feeling a bit under the weather (no pun intended) and live in an area where sunshine is limited, it might be worth getting checked out to make sure you aren’t lacking in vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency may contribute to seasonal affective disorder, a depression specifically associated with the weather (winter blues). A study in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that participants with depression who received vitamin D supplements experienced an improvement in their symptoms. Researchers also found that those who were experiencing anxiety and depression were vitamin D-deficient.
Vitamin B6 aids in the production of neurotransmitters (which are responsible for sending messages from the brain to our body). By consuming vitamin B-6, we regulate this brain function that also influences our emotions.
Similar to B6, this vitamin also plays a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. While it isn’t known whether lower levels of B12 have a role in the cause of depression, there is some indication that raising low B12 levels may allow patients to better respond to antidepressant medication. “Although there is a limited amount of evidence in the medical literature, there are strong reasons to believe that treating (and raising) a low B12 level will make antidepressant treatment more effective,” says Dr. Mark A. Frye, director of Mayo Clinic Depression Center in Rochester, Minnesota, and chair of Mayo’s department of psychiatry and psychology.
Omega-3 fatty essential acids are important for keeping brain signals moving smoothly. This is due to the fact that the nervous system is comprised mostly of fat. Unlike many other nutrients, our bodies cannot produce omega-3s, and can only be received through diet. EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid nutrient has been studied in relation to feelings of sadness and pessimism with some promising results.
It turns out that calcium is not just vital in maintaining strong bones and healthy blood vessels. Estrogen plays a large role in calcium production – the consumption of calcium may, therefore, improve mood fluctuations related to PMS. As calcium deficiency is more common among women than men, women should take special care to meet the recommended daily requirements.