While everyone is aware about how nutritional deficiencies can cause physical illnesses, a lesser known fact is that there is a strong connection between nutrition and depression. We make the mistake of assuming that depression is only emotionally rooted. However, various studies have found that nutrition actually plays a key role on the onset of depression along with how severe it can be. Experts have found that these nine nutritional deficiencies can cause depression.
Iron deficiency: Studies have found that women are far more prone to depression than men. A study published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry in 2008 says that this is because of how common anemia is among women between the ages of 25-45 . Iron deficiency is known to cause depression and fatigue.
Zinc: Over the last few decades, at least five studies have concluded that zinc levels are lower in patients with clinical depression . It was further observed that oral zinc supplements can actually make antidepressant therapy more effective. Another plus point is that, zinc also protects the brain cells against the potential damage caused by free radicals.
Folic acid: Doctors have observed that depressed individuals have 25% lower folate or folic acid levels as compared to healthy individuals. If you’re on antidepressants and have folic acid deficiency, studies say that the patient will see poor results from his or her treatment. By taking 500 mcg of folic acid along with your antidepressant medication, researchers say it will enhance their effectiveness .
Carbohydrates: If you’re on a low-carbohydrates diet to lose more weight for a long duration, it could lead to depression . This is because the production of brain chemicals serotonin and tryptophan that promote the feeling of well being, is triggered by carbohydrate rich foods.
Proteins: Protein intake is not only important for getting a fit body but also help with your brain functioning and mental health. This is because many of the neurotransmitters in the brain are made from amino acids which are found in proteins. If you have a poor diet and don’t consume enough protein, you are also putting yourself at the risk of depression .
Omega-3 fatty acids: Your brain is one of the organs with the highest level of lipids or fats. In fact, gray matter contains 50% fatty acids. Studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the symptoms of depression and improve one’s mood .
B-complex vitamins: Studies say that patients with depression reported mood improvement after their B-complex vitamin deficiencies were treated. This includes vitamin B1,B2, B6,B-12 and thiamine . Both adolescents and elders who are vitamin B deficient develop signs of cognitive change which could lead to depression.
Magnesium: A 2012 study published in the journal Neuropharmacology revealed that when you’re experiencing a lot of stress, magnesium is the first mineral that is used up by the body which then leads to depression and anxiety . Increase your magnesium intake with the foods seen in the picture to protect your mental health.
In vitamin D deficiency, calcium absorption cannot be increased enough to satisfy the body’s calcium needs. Consequently, calcium is mobilized from the skeleton, resulting in bone loss. Infants who are exclusively breast-fed are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency. Older infants and toddlers are also at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
The elderly have reduced capacity to synthesize vitamin D in skin when exposed to UVB radiation. In addition, the elderly are more likely to stay indoors or use sunscreen. Vitamin D deficiency causes muscle weakness and pain. Bone functions as the major storehouse for calcium. If you don’t eat enough calcium, the body will take calcium from bone.