All vitamins and minerals are involved in one or more biochemical pathways and/or physiological actions which influence the function of the human brain.
|Food and depression|
|Tryptophan and proteins|
|Vitamins and the brain|
|Minerals and water|
|Omega-3 and uridine|
Most vitamin and mineral deficiencies result in psychiatric symptoms in a significant number of people, and in people with psychiatric diagnoses these deficiencies are often associated with more severe symptoms and poorer outcome from conventional treatment.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies may act as an exacerbating factor secondary to malnutrition, alcoholism, etc. or may be a primary causative factor. Either way, optimisation of nutrient levels is in each patients best interest.
Vitamins are organic compounds that are needed in small amounts for normal growth and activity of the body. B vitamins, for instance, are essential to mental and emotional well being.
- Thiamine (Vitamin B1) has been shown to affect mood. Thiamine derivatives and thiamine-dependent enzymes are present in all cells of the body, thus, a thiamine deficiency would seem to adversely affect all of the organ systems. However, the nervous system and the heart are particularly sensitive to thiamine deficiency, because of their high oxydative metabolism. Good sources of vitamin B1 are: Whole-grain products, sunflower seeds, tuna fish, black beans, corn and lentils.
- Niacin (Vitamin B3). Deficiencies of vitamin B3 can produce anxiety, as well as mental and physical slugishness. The liver can synthesize niacin from the essential amino acid tryptophan, requiring 60 mg of tryptophan to make one mg of niacin. Vitamin B3 is close related to energy production, so a deficiency will create general weakness and lack of appetite.Good sources of niacin are: Chicken breast, tuna, salmon, liver, avocados, tomatoes, nuts, mushrooms, beans.
- Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6). Pyridoxal phosphate, the metabolically active form of vitamin B6, is involved in many aspects of macronutrient metabolism and neurotransmitter synthesis.
The nervous and immune systems need vitamin B6 to function efficiently.
Vitamin B6 is also needed for more than 100 enzymes involved in protein metabolism and it is essential for red blood cell metabolism. Good sources of vitamin B6 are: Potatoes, bananas, beans, chicken breast, cereals, spinat, tomatoes, sunflower seeds and tuna.
- Folate (Vitamin B9). Research at the University of York and Hull York Medical School has found a link between depression and low levels of folate. Leafy vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, lettuces, dried or fresh beans and peas, fortified cereal products, bread, sunflower seeds and certain other fruits and vegetables are rich sources of folate. Liver and liver products also contain high amounts of folate, as does baker's yeast and eggs.
- Cobalamin (Vitamin B12). Helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells. It is also needed to help make DNA, the genetic material in all cells.
Characteristic signs, symptoms, and health problems associated with vitamin B12 deficiency include anemia, fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Deficiency also can lead to neurological changes such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. Additional symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are difficulty in maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue. Great dietary sources are: Yogurt, clams, liver, trout, salmon, beef, tuna, milk, pork and eggs.
- Vitamin C. One of the most common effects of inadequate vitamin C levels in the body is depression. Vitamin C enhances iron absorption. It is required for a range of essential metabolic reactions in all animals and plants. It is made internally by almost all organisms; apes and humans being a notable exception. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, since it protects the body against oxidative stress, and is a cofactor in several vital enzymatic reactions. Excellent sources of vitamin C are: Blackcurrant, red pepper, parsley, guava, kiwifruit, broccoli, brussels sprouts, orange, liver and oysters.
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