Nutrition and mental health
As I have discussed previously nutrition is an important part of our health. Inadequate nutrition can lead to medical conditions and medications taken to treat medical conditions can themselves cause nutrient deficiencies.
Prescribed medications should never be stopped in favour of “natural” medicines. There is certainly a place however for nutritional supplements to be used in addition to prescribed medicines for the best possible treatment.
Many people do not obtain enough nutrients from their food either because the food has been grown in such a way that nutrient content is low or because they are eating too many highly processed foods.
Mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are known to be, at least in part, caused by inflammation in the brain. This inflammation starts in our gut. Thus poor gut health can contribute to mental health conditions.
Nutrients that are important for good mental health
- Probiotics are very beneficial for gut health. Gut health is important for our overall general health. Probiotic use has resulted in a decrease in the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Magnesium is a mineral that many people are lacking in. A 2017 study showed that symptoms of depression and anxiety were significantly improved when magnesium was taken daily.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, from fish, fish oil, nuts and seeds, are also important in mood disorders.
- Zinc, Vitamin D3 and B Complex (a supplement containing all the B vitamins) have also been shown to improve symptoms in anxiety and depression and even in Alzheimer’s Disease.
Once again it is very important that we consume adequate amounts of key nutrients to ensure we have the best health possible! If this is not fully possible through our food then it should be achieved with good quality supplements.