What Vitamin Deficiencies Cause Depression and Anxiety?
Depression is rarely a result of circumstance, alone. That is not to say that being caged up like a criminal during a never-ending make-believe pandemic isn’t bound to take a heavy toll on one’s mental state. And I’m not just talking about the vitamin D deprivation caused by a lack of sunshine, or being robbed of seeing other people smile, and the connection to other people in general that numbs our spirits and would make Mary Poppins want to commit sideways.
I want to talk about the more biological deficiencies in terms of human mental health, and what we can do. I want to get into what vitamin deficiencies cause depression and / or anxiety and other mental abnormalities that we can control.
We can do all the self-talk and positive thinking and therapy in the world, and if certain things are out of whack, we will be powerless and perplexed. There are other things to be strongly considered, before we go barking up a bunch of wrong trees.
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Vitamin C and Brain Health
Vitamin D deficiency is probably the most commonly known about, in regard to depression. And we will touch on it, but are vitamin C and brain health also linked, and how so?
We tend to automatically associate vitamin C with immunity and the prevention of catching viruses, etc. But there is a very important link between vitamin C and brain health that could prove a colossal shame, if overlooked. You may have heard how gut health affects mental health. Well, vitamin C is tied in with gut health.
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Not only does vitamin C (being a key cellular antioxidant) help to prevent gut inflammation, it will regenerate other important antioxidants, like vitamin E. Both vitamins C and E are important for brain health, due to their effect on the metabolism of two very important neurotransmitters. These are serotonin and melatonin, which are both mood-regulating substances.
In essence, Vitamin C helps depression and anxiety (or, rather, helps prevent them) as well, by “softening” the smaller capillaries and blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygen and nutrients. Restriction of blood flow in these vessels, due to oxidative damage can actually lead to dementia.
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Depression and Gut Flora: How Gut Health Affects Mental Health
When we talk about the “gut”, we are referring to the microbiome, which is a system within our digestive tract, comprised of both good and bad bacteria, fungi and parasites, etc., and it’s functions are responsible for around 70 per cent of our immune function.
An imbalance between good and bad bacteria in our microbiome will tend to lead to problems in the brain. This dysbiosis, or imbalance of good and bad bacteria, can be caused by taking prescription antibiotics. Another common cause of this imbalance is chronic stress or worry.
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Please watch this short video to learn how tryptophan and probiotics tie in to depression, gut health, and overall mental health.
Poor Gut Health Symptoms
Here are some key things to watch for that could be indicative of poor gut health. If you regularly suffer from more than a couple of these poor gut health symptoms, it would be a good idea to consider making some adjustments to improve your gut health.
- Gas and Bloating
- Poor Memory
- Mood Swings
- Autoimmune Disease
- Food Allergies or Sensitivities
- Skin Problems
- Frequent Infections
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Other Vitamin Deficiencies That Cause Depression
Let’s see what vitamin deficiencies cause depression and anxiety and keep our neurotransmitters from functioning optimally. I will list some foods that are good sources of each item, as well as links to the best supplements to buy, online. You always want to buy clean and filler-free supplements that are absorbable by the body. Most supplements are nothing but a waste of money, as you may know. We have a small, select handful of sources that we trust and recommend.
Vitamin C – bell peppers (particularly the yellow ones), kiwi, strawberries, citrus fruits
Vitamin B Complex – whole grains, nuts and seeds, meat and dark green vegetables
Vitamin D – fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring, and eggs
Omega-3 Fats – fatty fish and eggs. You can buy eggs fortified with Omega-3. Supplements are strongly recommended to get enough of Omega-3 fats. Here is a great Omega-3 supplement.
Iodine – seaweed, cod, iodized salt, eggs, milk and yogurt
Magnesium – seeds and nuts, whole grains, bran, dark chocolate, dark green vegetables. It is difficult to get adequate amounts of magnesium from food alone. Here is a very good and highly bio-available magnesium supplement.
Zinc – seafood, meat and poultry, cashews and legumes
Iron – meat and poultry (dark meat), liver, oysters, white beans, eggs
Selenium – crucial for thyroid function – fish, nuts, liver, ham, shrimp and chicken
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What Happens When You Have a Vitamin D Deficiency?
We now have a solid grasp of what vitamin deficiencies cause depression and other mental health issues, and the importance of vitamin C for brain health, as well as the link between depression and gut flora, and how gut health affects mental health. Poor gut health symptoms have been listed, as have the other vitamin deficiencies that cause depression and anxiety, etc., which you may have overlooked in your quest for optimizing your mental performance, or if you suffer from depression or anxiety.
If you have any of the poor gut health symptoms listed above and struggle with mental health issues, I would highly recommend running a check on your gut health as a priority. It could very likely get you off of expensive and toxic prescriptions, while drastically improving the proper functioning of your gut microbiome and general health.
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9 thoughts on “What Vitamin Deficiencies Cause Depression and Why?”
With so many people suffering from depression your post highlights an important element to try to help resolve. You suggest a fantastic range of foods you can eat to ensure you consume the right vitamins to help with depression, but what are your thoughts on supplements? Do you think it is a case of using both or trying to resolve with just food alone in the first instance? Thank you and will be sharing with friends who sometimes struggle with depression.
Sorry to hear about your dog. I know how that feels.
I have never felt better, since I swore off doctors! Most of them keep people in a cycle of sickness.
I get depressed a lot lately and just figured it was all the medicine am taking along with losing my beloved dog by having to find a new home for her. Never taught it might be vitamin deficiency, and now that took time to search for reasons why going to bring this up with my doctor tomorrow and have also shared with my doctor on social media.
Yes, there are many things a lot of people don’t consider about the source of their depression and mental health in general. Like unforgiveness / harbored resentments and bitterness, etc.
Thanks for your thoughts!
We should use the self-talk and positive thinking and therapy as a means to have strong mental health, but you are roght to suggest that other factors may be more important. Suffers from depression or anxiety.often have other symtoms. Expensive and toxic prescriptions,create other serious health issues that do not better a person’s overall vitality. Vitamin deficiencies are often not understood very well and people get warnings about checking with their doctor’s first. In our age this request is often overlooked because we live in a time controlled world. It is so helpful to find a site that talks about the benefits that can be obtained for a person’s mental health and makes reccommendations that are easily implemented. Thank you for your thoughts.
Thanks, Louise! You might want to check this one out as well, if you haven’t:
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Love your article ! There has been a huge rise in depression over the past 2 years and it’s not surprising with all that we have had to deal with and go through.
I try to remember to take my vitamin C lozenge every morning if only to keep the colds at bay. Never knew of the other health benefits that it can help with so this has definitely prompted me to take it every day without fail.
My gut in particular has its moments so I’m very conscious of the foods and drinks I consume and drink the required amount of water to help with overall health.
I love the fact that you have also listed the other vitamins and where to find them in foods as I do believe we get more vitamins from the foods we eat rather than taking supplements.
Thanks for sharing !
Thanks very much!
Eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise and sleep, can help with overall wellness and mood. But I have never really thought about the role that vitamins can play when it comes to depression. After reading this post, I now know that vitamins are essential for gut health and to maintain a healthy microbiome.
Thank you for a very informative and helpful post and I will make sure to included more of the foods that you list in my diet.