The addition of these vitamins and/or minerals to the diet of a person suffering from depression can be just what they need to start down the path to a happy, balanced life.For millions of people living with depression there may be a simple, yet very effective, non-medicinal treatment for their depression. There are a number of vitamin deficiencies that can be responsible for depression. Likewise the addition of these vitamins and/or minerals to the diet of a person suffering from depression can be just what they need to start down the path to a happy, balanced life.
Before I go any further it’s necessary that I mention vitamin supplements are not a cure-all for all types of depression. For some people prescription drugs are necessary to manage their depression. However, vitamin supplements can still be very beneficial to those people, as well. It is always best to discuss the addition of any vitamins to your diet with your physician prior to making any changes. The balance of vitamins in your diet can sometimes be a delicate one. Add to that the fact that some vitamins may have an adverse reaction with certain medications and you can see why it’s imperative to discuss the matter with your doctor.
Below is a list of vitamins that can be very beneficial for people suffering from depression.
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine): The brain uses this vitamin to help convert glucose into fuel, and without it the brain rapidly runs out of energy. This can lead to fatigue, depression, irritability, anxiety, and even thoughts of suicide. Deficiencies can also cause memory problems, loss of appetite, insomnia, and gastrointestinal disorders. The consumption of refined carbohydrates, such as simple sugars, drains the body’s B1 supply.
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): Pellagra-which produces psychosis and dementia, among other symptoms-was eventually found to be caused by niacin deficiency. Many commercial food products now contain niacin, and pellagra has virtually disappeared.
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Symptoms of deficiency are fatigue, chronic stress, and depression. Vitamin B5 is needed for hormone formation and the uptake of amino acids and the brain chemical acetylcholine, which combine to prevent certain types of depression.
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Aids in the processing of amino acids, which are the building blocks of all proteins and certain hormones. It’s necessary in the manufacture of serotonin, melatonin and dopamine. Vitamin B6 deficiencies, although very rare, cause impaired immunity, skin lesions, and mental confusion. A marginal deficiency sometimes occurs in alcoholics, patients with kidney failure, and women using oral contraceptives.
- Vitamin B12: Because vitamin B12 is important to red blood cell formation, deficiency leads to an oxygen-transport problem known as pernicious anemia. This disorder can cause a variety of symptoms including mood swings, paranoia, irritability, confusion, dementia, hallucinations, or mania, eventually followed by appetite loss, dizziness, weakness, shortage of breath, heart palpitations, diarrhea, and tingling sensations in the extremities. Deficiencies take years to develop, since the body stores a three to five year supply in the liver. When shortages occur, they are often due to a lack of intrinsic factor, an enzyme that allows vitamin B12 to be absorbed in the intestinal tract. Since intrinsic factor diminishes with age, B12 deficiencies are more common in older people.
- Folic acid: This vitamin is needed for DNA synthesis and is also necessary for the production of S-adenosyl methionine. Poor dietary habits, illness, alcoholism, and various drugs, including aspirin, birth control pills, barbiturates, and anticonvulsants all contribute to deficiency of Folic acid. It is usually administered along with vitamin B12, since a B12 deficiency can mask a folic acid deficiency. It’s advised that women take this vitamin prior to and during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in the developing fetus.
- Vitamin C: Subclinical deficiencies of this vitamin can produce depression, which requires the use of supplements. Supplementation is especially important if you have had surgery or an inflammatory disease. Stress, pregnancy, and lactation also increase your body’s need for vitamin C, while aspirin, tetracycline (a common antibiotic), and birth control pills can deplete the body’s supply.