Vitamins for good Mental Health

All vitamins and minerals are involved in one or more biochemical pathways and/or physiological actions which influence the function of the human brain.

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.

It is important to take Vitamins for good mental health since mineral deficiencies may act as an exacerbating factor secondary to malnutrition, alcoholism, etc. or may be a primary causative factor. Either way, optimization of nutrient levels is in each patient’s best interest.

Vitamins for good mental health

Thiamin

Thiamin is a B vitamin found in enriched grain products, pork, legumes, nuts, seeds, and organ meats. Thiamin is intricately involved with metabolizing glucose, or blood sugar, in the body. Glucose is the brain’s primary energy source. Thiamin is also needed to make several neurotransmitters.

Alcoholism is often associated with thiamin deficiency. Alcohol interferes with thiamin metabolism in the body, and diets high in alcohol are often deficient in vitamins and minerals. Individuals with a thiamin deficiency can develop Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which is characterized by confusion, mental changes, abnormal eye movements, and unsteadiness that can progress to severe memory loss and therefore, it is important to take Vitamins for good mental health

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 is found only in foods of animal origin like milk, meat, or eggs. Strict vegans who consume no animal-based foods need to supplement their diet with vitamin B-12 to meet the body’s need for this nutrient.

Vitamin B-12 is needed to maintain the outer coating, called the myelin sheath, on nerve cells. Inadequate myelin results in nerve damage and impaired brain function. Vitamin B-12 deficiency can go undetected in individuals for years, but it eventually causes low blood iron, irreversible nerve damage, dementia, and brain atrophy.


Folic acid

Folic acid is one of the Vitamins for good mental health and is another B vitamin found in foods such as liver, yeast, asparagus, fried beans and peas, wheat, broccoli, and some nuts. Many grain products are also fortified with folic acid. In the United States, alcoholism is a common cause of folic acid deficiency.

Folic acid is involved in protein metabolism in the body and in the metabolism of some amino acids, particularly the amino acid methionine. When folic acid levels in the body are low, methionine cannot be metabolized properly and levels of another chemical, homocysteine, build up in the blood. High blood homocysteine levels increase risk of heart disease and stroke.

Even modest folic acid deficiency in women causes an increased risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in developing fetuses. Folic acid deficiency also increases risk of stroke. Some studies suggest that folic acid deficiency leads to a range of mental disorders, including depression, but this concept remains controversial. Folic acid deficiency can lower levels of serotonin in the brain.

Niacin

The B vitamin niacin is found in enriched grains, meat, fish, wheat bran, asparagus, and peanuts. The body can also make niacin from the essential amino acid tryptophan, which is found in high-quality animal protein foods like meat and milk. Niacin is another important Vitamins for good mental health and its deficiency used to be common in the southern United States but is now common only in developing countries such as India and China.

Niacin is involved in releasing energy in the body from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. A deficiency of niacin produces many mental symptoms such as irritability, headaches, loss of memory, inability to sleep, and emotional instability. Severe niacin deficiency progresses to a condition called pellagra, which is characterized by the four D’s: dermatitis (a rash resembling a sunburn), diarrhea, dementia, and ultimately, death.

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