More than 21 million Americans are affected each year by depression and similar mood disorders, according to Mental Health America. Registered dietitian Susan Bowerman reports that certain B vitamins can combat depression and enhance mood. These nutrients, including folate and vitamin B12, can be found in foods or in vitamin form. If you are experiencing depression, consult with a mental health professional for treatment and guidance.
Vitamin B Complex and Mental Functions
Vitamin B complex has been clearly linked to neurological development and mental functions in human beings. According to Psychopharmacology magazine, research proves that this vitamin complex, constituted of eight different vitamins, is helpful in improving mood and memory, especially long-term memory.
Effects of Vitamin B Deficiency
We all know that eating a healthy and nutritious diet is important, but not everyone eats a balanced diet on a regular basis. A poor diet can certainly lead to vitamin deficiencies, but sometimes, vitamin deficiencies can occur even if you eat a balanced diet. This happens when the vitamins you are eat reach your intestines but do not get absorbed. Chronic disorders that affect the bowels, such as Crohn's disease and celiac disease, could lead to this reduced absorption or non-absorption of nutrients. Chronic deficiency of vitamins B6, B12 and other B vitamins may lead to depression and other mood disorders. Other effects include fatigue, irritability, sleep disturbances, dementia, agitation, nervousness and hallucinations.
Vitamin B Complex and Mood Disorders
Vitamin B complex deficiencies can lead to mood disorders and depression, but that does not in any way imply that vitamin B complex should be considered a treatment for all mood disorders. Supplementation with vitamin B complex alone will help, but you will only experience significant improvement if you have been suffering from mood disorders due to a vitamin B deficiency and not any other cause.
Avoiding Mood Disorders From Vitamin B Deficiency
There are simple things you can do to avoid developing a vitamin B-complex deficiency. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of animal products like meat, fish and poultry, or, if you are a vegetarian, opt for fortified cereals and other foods. You may also supplement your diet with high-quality vitamins, but be careful not to overdose. Overuse of certain vitamins can be equally as harmful as vitamin deficiency. Consult with a health-care professional if you have questions about managing your mood disorder with nutrition.
- Journal of Psychopharmacology: "Treatment of Depression: Time to Consider Folic Acid and Vitamin B12"; C. Bolander-Gouaille; 2005
- Mental Health America: Ranking America's Mental Health: An Analysis of Depression Across the States