As reported by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), mental health carries a heavy “economic burden” on society. In fact, mental health issues cost the U.S. economy approximately $148 billion annually, with anxiety sufferers causing nearly one-third of that amount. Forty million adults suffer from anxiety, which has led to this $42 billion a year health crisis.
U.S. Amongst The Most Depressed Countries
Clinical major depression once led among all mental health issues in the U.S. Anxiety recently replaced it as the leading mental health problem in America. According to research, nearly half of all college students claim they suffer from anxiety. Meanwhile, 3.1% of the population, or roughly 6.8 million adults, are diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD. However, clinical major depression disorder remains the leading cause of disability claims in the U.S. If that is not enough, U.S. News reports that the U.S. ranks as one of the top most depressed countries in the world.
So, what does mental health issues have to do with vitamins and nutrition? Everything.
Vitamin B: The Happy Vitamin
The American Journal of Psychiatry found that 27 percent of severely depressed women over the age of 65 were deficient in vitamin B-12. Researchers at the Wayne State University School of Medicine found that B-12 is essential for the formation of red blood cells and maintenance of a healthy nervous system as well as for the rapid synthesis of DNA during cell division. The 2009 study concluded that B12 along with folic acid may help prevent disorders of central nervous system development, mood disorders and dementias.
Vitamin D Benefits In Mental Health
Research in the Annals of Internal Medicine already tells us that multivitamins reduce infection and related absenteeism those with type 2 diabetes mellitus and a high prevalence of subclinical micronutrient deficiency. Furthermore, Issues In Mental Health Nursing also notes that depression is considered a disabling condition. It also adds that there is a direct correlation to vitamin D intake and improving depressive symptoms:
“Recently, vitamin D has been reported in the scientific and lay press as an important factor that may have significant health benefits in the prevention and the treatment of many chronic illnesses. Most individuals in this country have insufficient levels of vitamin D. This is also true for persons with depression as well as other mental disorders.”
Other supplements have also been found to support mental health.
The Agency for Healthcare Reseach & Quality in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued an August 2002 report concluding that SAMe can be effective in relieving symptoms of depression and is at least as effective as other approved depression treatments.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)
Fish oil, otherwise known as Omega 3 Fatty Acid, helps build brain membranes to improve cell formation and reduce brain inflammation.
5-HTP Helps Reduce Depression
5-HTP affects depression in a number of ways. Here is the research behind 5-HTP and depression:
“5-HTP works in the brain and central nervous system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can affect sleep, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation. Since 5-HTP increases the synthesis of serotonin, it is used for several diseases where serotonin is believed to play an important role including depression, insomnia, obesity, and many other conditions.”
A Healthy Gut Equals a Healthy Mind
University Health News published an article earlier this year that cites several scholarly studies claiming psychobiotics, or mind-altering probiotics, improve mood and play a large role in stable mental health.
More On Mental Health: Vitamins & Natural Ways to Combat Depression
In general medication, psychotherapy and even medical procedures can be prescribed to improve mental illness. Furthermore, EverydayHealth.org also provides homeopathic options to be explored, including:
- Exercises to release mood-enhancing hormones.
- Yoga, meditation, and other mind-body techniques to reduce stress and relieve negative emotions.
- Massage therapy, which can also reduce stress hormones and increase mood-stabilizing brain chemicals (neurotransmitters).
- Acupuncture to positively affect neurotransmitters.
In addition, the article recommends SAMe as well as folate and St. Johns Wort, but it adds further research is needed to prove the efficacy.
In summary, depression can be caused by lack of nutrition and certain nutrients. Research indicates a number of vitamins and supplements can improve mood, relieve stress or anxiety, and generally reduce the effects of mental illness.
See A Licenced Physician Or Doctor
Vitamin supplements are not a replacement for seeing a licenced physician and or doctor. Professional help is always recommended, as it is advicable to refrain from attempts to self-treat or diagnose. However, taking daily multivitamins and vitamin supplements in conjunction with a proper balanced diet, rest, and exercise is a recipe for good health.
Remember Good Health Means Both Your Body AND Mind!