The link between mental health and vitamins
In an earlier post, I discussed nutrient synergy and the use of supplementation vs healthful eating. When it comes to our mental health, striking the correct balance of vitamins/minerals is vital. Optimal mental health boils down to absorption of the synergy between amino acids and minerals to serve as building blocks for our metabolites and neurotransmitters. Today we're going to delve a little deeper into some of these vitamins/minerals.
Vitamin D: This vitamin is like a conductor to our bodies. It influences the expression of many of our genes and neurons, and modulates some of our immune cells that lower our susceptibility to illness. Additionally, Vitamin D plays a large role in the genes that produce our 'happy' chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin. It's important to note that this vitamin is fat soluble, so it's best taken with nutrient and energy dense foods. A deficiency in this vitamin can sometimes result in slow wound healing (directly involved in cell grlowth) as well as hair loss as Vitamin D is involved in the synthesis of Keratin.
Vitamin B12: Similar to Vitamin D, B12 also helps in the formation and synthesis of our happy chemicals and neurons. Additionally, B12 helps with anemia prevention and red blood cell formation. This vitamin aids in detoxifying homocestine, a marker of heart disease and depression. A deficiency in this vitamin can have systemic and wide-reaching effects including: dizziness, heart palpitations, and skin inflammation. Of all the vitamins, I'd recommend this one be taken via supplementation as our stomachs can have a harder time absorbing the B12 from our foods.
Magnesium: When it comes to sleep, I'd recommend this mineral more than anything else. It's a natural mood relaxer and helps to lower our stress response. As a child, I used to frequently get foot cramps during my gymnastics lesson. After implementing a magnesium supplement each morning (thank you mom!), my cramps subsided over time.
Zinc: This trace mineral is primarily responsible for brain metabolism, wound healing, and our taste receptors. Be mindful that an overdose with this mineral can be associated with brain aging and rustiness.
Iron: Commonly taken with Zinc, this mineral is vital for oxygen delivery and fatigue prevention. Vegans and vegetarians may be at risk for a deficiency with iron so it's best to
incorporate foods like tofu, lentils, and beans into the diet. For meat eaters, there is plenty of this mineral in chicken, liver, and seafood.
Omega 3s: I could talk for hours about Omega 3s. By far, THE most important thing on this list. Not only does it improve our brain longevity and mental capacity, it can also help lower our inflammatory levels and our stress response.