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.
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.
How Does Vitamin C Help Depression? Vitamin C Benefits for Depression
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.
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.
Tryptophan and Probiotics and Depression
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
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
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
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.