Are you feeling down? It might be caused by a deficiency in key nutrients and vitamins. Feel better and do more with these vitamins for ‘mood’ health.
In this article:
Essential Vitamins for Mood Health to Add to Your Diet
Mood disorders are a serious matter that affects everyday living. Taking antidepressants may be a helpful way to combat the symptoms associated with mood problems caused by depression and anxiety. However, resorting to a healthy diet could be a natural way to boost your mental health and decrease the risk of mood disorders.
Here are some of the vitamins for mood health you might want to include in your diet:
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is known to be beneficial for developing and repairing body tissues, maintaining healthy skin, aiding wound healing, and boosting the immune system. One more thing that vitamin C may do for your health is to improve mood.
People who have vitamin C deficiency often experience fatigue and feelings of depression.
In a study conducted in acute care hospitals, patients who have lower than average vitamin C levels have improved mood and reduced psychological distress after receiving adequate amounts of vitamin C.
To reach the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin C, the average adult must consume 75 mg for females and 90 mg for males. An additional 35 mg of vitamin C per day is required for smokers.
The body cannot produce vitamin C, but there are abundant natural sources such as citrus fruits, red peppers, and broccoli. Vitamin C is also available as a dietary supplement in the form of ascorbic acid.
Vitamin D is one of the only two vitamins the human body can produce and synthesize.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin known to have a vital role in maintaining healthy teeth and bone structure and is recently associated with decreased risk of infections. Moreover, vitamin D is also associated with a reduced risk of mental illnesses, including depression, schizophrenia, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
A natural and inexpensive way to obtain vitamin D is through sun exposure. Some food may have a small number of Vitamin D. These sources include:
- fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, sardines, and herring
- red meat and liver
- egg yolks
- fortified spreads and cereals.
If vitamin D is not accessible due to weather or other environmental factors, taking vitamin D supplements may help you reach your dietary goal. The following are the RDAs for vitamin D:
- children up to age 12 months – 400 IU
- ages 1 to 70 years – 600 IU
- adults over 70 years – 800 IU
Although generally safe, excessive amounts of vitamin D may result in the risk of over storage and increased absorption of calcium and phosphate.
Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. It helps the body store energy from protein and carbohydrates, aids in the formation of hemoglobin, and plays a vital role in mood regulation.
Vitamin B6 is necessary for producing neurotransmitters, including gamma-aminobutyric acid, dopamine, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are associated with pleasurable sensations and help regulate mood, sleep, memory, learning, and digestion.
Also, vitamin B6 plays a role in decreasing homocysteine in the blood, an amino acid which, if not regulated, may lead to various cerebral vascular diseases and neurotransmitter deficiency, which then leads to mood depression.
Sources of Vitamin B6 include:
- Meat such as pork and beef
- poultry, such as chicken or turkey
- soya beans
- fortified breakfast cereals
- Fortified food
Adults aged 19 to 64 need about 1.4mg of vitamin B6 a day for men and 1.2mg a day for women.
Vitamin B9, also known as folate in its natural form, is vital for the production of red blood cells, tissue growth, cell function and helps reduce birth defects in unborn babies. The man-made form of folate is referred to as folic acid.
Vitamin B9, B6, and B12 are excellent vitamins for mood health. They work together to help break down the amino acid homocysteine. Several studies have revealed that patients with depression also have an elevated incidence of folate deficiency.
Good sources of vitamin B9 include:
- brussels sprouts
- leafy greens (kale, cabbage, and spinach
- chickpeas and kidney beans
- liver (but avoid this during pregnancy)
- breakfast cereals fortified with folic acid
Although the recommended amount of 2 mg of folate for depression is still debatable, people may still benefit from vitamin B9 supplementation, especially for pregnant women in their first trimester.
B12, also referred to as Cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin. Vitamin B12 is essential for bodily functions, including:
- the formation and division of red blood cells
- synthesizing a person’s DNA
- providing the body with energy
- protecting the nervous system
Vitamin B12, alongside other B vitamins, plays a significant role in the production of brain chemicals that influence mood and brain function. Low levels of B12 vitamin may be linked to depression.
The primary sources of vitamin B12 are animal products, including meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and fish. Although not present in plant foods, Vitamin B12 can be obtained in fortified plant-based products such as cereals and are a readily available option for vegans. Some nutritional and brewer’s yeast products are also fortified with vitamin B12.
How would you incorporate vitamins for mood health in your diet? Let us know in the comments section below!