Vitamins for Depression Prevention and Relief
What are some useful vitamins for depression relief and treatment?
Vitamins are extremely essential for smooth and effective bodily functions, and deficiency in any one or more vitamins can result in various health conditions; this is probably true of depression, too.
Scientific studies and reports indicate that deficiency of certain vitamins can lead to depression-related symptoms and problems, and some of these critical vitamins are the vitamin B-complex. Listed below are some very interesting findings linking vitamin B-complex and depression:
- Vitamin B1 or thiamine is responsible for converting glucose or blood sugar into energy, which is crucial for normal functioning of the brain. In the absence of energy, the brain cannot function adequately, and this is results in various problems like fatigue, irritability, depression and anxiety, and ultimately even suicidal thoughts. B1 is thus one of the important vitamins for depression prevention and relief.
Other related problems that could arise from vitamin B1 deficiency include gastrointestinal conditions, memory problems, insomnia, and loss of appetite. Another interesting fact to note here is that consumption of refined sugars decreases the vitamin B1 supply in the human body.
- Vitamin B3 or niacin deficiency can give rise to pellagra, which causes dementia and psychosis. Also, marginal decreases in vitamin B3 could also be responsible for anxiety, as well as physical and mental lethargy. Thus, it seems like B3 is another of the important vitamins for depression prevention and relief.
- Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid deficiency causes fatigue, depression, and chronic stress. Vitamin B5 plays an important role in the production of hormones as well as the uptake of amino acids and acetylcholine, which is a chemical found in the brain, thereby playing a role in preventing various forms of depression. Therefore, B5 is another of the important vitamins for depression prevention and relief, and maintaining adequate levels of vitamin B5 is very important.
- Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine is another vitamin that is responsible for processing complex amino acids, which form the base of all proteins and hormones. In addition, it is responsible for the production of the very important neurotransmitters like serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine. This certainly makes B6 another of the important vitamins for depression prevention and relief.
Deficiencies in vitamin B6 can also create multiple problems and conditions, including skin lesions, mental confusion, and decreased immunity levels. Since alcohol has the ability to destroy vitamin B complex units, alcoholics sometimes experience deficiencies in vitamin B6.
- Vitamin B12 is another very useful and important vitamin, which is responsible for red blood cell (RBC) formation. Decreases in vitamin B12 levels can give rise to a condition called pernicious anemia, which is characterized by severe mood swings, irritability, dementia, paranoia, confusion, mania, hallucinations, lack of appetite, low energy levels, fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, palpitations, tingling in the upper and lower extremities, and diarrhea. Some of the potential consequences of B12 deficiency make it among the important vitamins for depression prevention and relief.
More often than not, vitamin B12 deficiencies do not occur that easily because the human body has an inherent mechanism for regulating it - vitamin B12 is stored in the liver, and the amount stored is said to be easily sufficient for 3 to 5 years.
However, this is regulated by certain intrinsic factors, and decrease in these intrinsic factors, mainly enzymes, causes the vitamin B12 to be absorbed into the intestines. This is mostly when vitamin B12 deficiencies occur. Also, with age, the intrinsic factor responsible for storing vitamin B12 starts disappearing, and vitamin B12 deficiencies thus begin to occur. Therefore, depression closely linked to vitamin B12 deficiency is common in elderly persons.
- Folic acid is another important nutrient, and deficiencies of folic acid are often confused for vitamin B12 deficiency. Some of the factors responsible for folic acid deficiency include various medications like birth control pills, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, and aspirin, as well as alcoholism. During pregnancy, women are recommended to take folic acid supplements to avoid neural tube defects in the developing child.
Since these B-complex vitamins are critical for the normal physiological and psychological functioning of the human body, it is important to consume healthy amounts of these vitamins in our regular diet. One should also note that these B vitamins can be easily destroyed by consumption of alcohol, nicotine, refined sugars, and caffeine. Therefore, persons going through depression need to decrease the intake of the latter substances, on top of ensuring an adequate intake of vitamin B and folic acid.
In addition to the B-complex vitamins, vitamin C is another of the important vitamins for depression prevention and relief, and a deficiency in vitamin C can cause the condition. Therefore, ensuring that one's diet has sufficient amounts of vitamin C is also very important for people going through depression.
As in the case of vitamin B complex, aspirin, birth control pills, and tetracycline can decrease vitamin C levels in the human body. Freshly squeezed orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C and is something everyone could consider including in their diet, especially those suffering from depression.
Besides the abovementioned vitamins for depression prevention and treatment, other natural remedies and steps can go a long way in overcoming this condition, and those are discussed on the rest of this website.
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