I read a great article on bebrainfit.com so I thought I would share my findings with you.
This is an abbreviated version of a very long article on the subject of your brain, mood and depression.
I hope you like it 🙂
Your brain uses a lot of energy, so its need for nutrients, including vitamins & minerals is high. Without the right vitamins, you can’t create the “feel-good” brain chemicals needed to lift your mood.
Vitamin deficiency might not be the first thing you think of when considering the underlying causes of depression and doctors and psychiatrists rarely recommend vitamins for depression either.
I’m not saying vitamins can cure depression by themselves, but they can definitely be part of the solution.
Vitamin B complex, sometimes called the “anti-stress vitamins” are used to create the “feel-good” neurotransmitters responsible for maintaining a positive mood.
The B vitamins can help banish depression, ward off brain aging, and slow mental decline and what we do know is that people suffering from depression consistently have low blood levels of certain B vitamins
Let’s look at one of the B Vitamins
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Serotonin is the main brain chemical responsible for making you feel happy, relaxed, and self-confident and It also plays an important role in sleep, sex drive, and digestive health.
The most prevalent theory of depression is that it’s caused by a lack of serotonin.
This is why the most commonly prescribed antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) — A Natural Antidepressant
Vitamin C isn’t just for colds; it’s also a proven stress buster and antidepressant.
It puts the brakes on the release of the stress hormone cortisol and excess cortisol has been shown to increase the susceptibility to depression.
People with low vitamin C levels are often depressed and fatigued and study participants who took vitamin C reported feeling happier, often within as little as one week.
Vitamin C is yet another serotonin cofactor that acts as a natural antidepressant.
Severe vitamin C deficiency causes mice to act depressed and reduces serotonin and dopamine levels in their brains.
One study found that vitamin C enhanced the effectiveness of the antidepressant Prozac in children who were depressed.
The RDA for vitamin C is 75-90 mg, but most experts believe this amount to be ridiculously low with most studies using much higher dosages.
One study on depression had participants taking 3,000 mg per day and I personally use that every day
Vitamin D — The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D has profound effects on the brain during all stages of life from infancy through senior years.
A review of studies on over 30,000 participants found a solid link between depression and vitamin D deficiency. This is not surprising since vitamin D regulates the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin.
Unfortunately, Vitamin deficiency is disturbingly common.
It’s been called an “ignored epidemic” that affects over 1 billion people worldwide and It’s estimated that 75% of Americans are deficient.
Vitamin D is synthesized when your skin is exposed to sunlight but most of us spend too much time indoors or covered with sunscreen to manufacture appreciable amounts, especially during the winter months.
Low levels of vitamin D, rather than shortened daylight, may be the underlying cause of the depression millions of people experience in the winter known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Vitamin D deficiency can be quite serious.
It’s linked to a long list of health problems including cancer, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s.
Vitamin D Supplement Dosages
By far the best way to get vitamin D is from the sun.
But if you live north of the 37th parallel, the sun’s rays are too weak to trigger vitamin D production most of the year.
That’s pretty much most of Europe 🙂
Why You Should Take a Multivitamin for Depression
In a perfect world, you’d get all the nutrients you need for optimal mental health from food alone but nowadays even if you forgo processed foods and eat a diet of “real” and healthy food, you may still be short on nutrition.
Many aspects of modern life are vitamin drains.
Alcohol, caffeine, smoking, stress, sugar, toxins, prescription medications, and malabsorption are among the many factors that increase your brain’s demand for vitamins, and some people have inherently greater requirements for certain nutrients than the average person.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good multivitamin supplement for helping with mood disorders.
Several studies confirm that taking a multivitamin alone can improve your mood and overall brain function.
There are occasions when a single-nutrient supplement is warranted but starting with a high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement is more convenient and economical, and does a better job of covering all your basic needs.
Taking a multivitamin supplement as nutritional insurance can help you be healthier, happier, and may even help you live longer.
Drop me a line to find out which brand we recommend and why.
Have a great day everybody
PS. as I said, this is a condensed, abbreviated version of an amazing article from “Be Brain Fit” which you can find here