Mineral and vitamin supplements can enhance well-being and mental energy not just for healthy adults but for individuals at risk of depression and anxiety. Mineral and vitamin supplements can be an alternative to the increase of psychiatric medicines for relief of depression and anxiety symptoms. Mineral and vitamin supplements can also provide the mental energy required to reduce fatigue, enhance mood and manage stress.
It was found in a series of studies that of the 97 individuals with diagnosed mood disorders keeping a 3 day food record, higher mineral and vitamin intake was significantly linked to general enhanced mental functioning. Supplements which have been proven to enhance mood include Vitamins D and B, 5 HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan), and also Omega 3 and SAMe.
1. Vitamin D and depression
People with depression are often low in vitamin D, and although some studies show a low level of vitamin D and depression link, it’s not clear if low vitamin D levels cause depression, or if low vitamin D levels are secondary to depression.
Low levels of vitamin D are also linked to seasonal affective disorder or SAD, where people get down in the dumps in the dark, short winter days because of lack of sunlight. Seasonal affective disorder is prevalent when vitamin D stores are typically low. Some studies suggest that vitamin D supplements can help with seasonal affective disorder. In one randomized controlled trial, a group of 15 subjects with seasonal affective disorder received either 100,000 I.U. of vitamin D or phototherapy, a broad-spectrum light therapy. All subjects receiving vitamin D showed improvement in depression scale scores, while those who had phototherapy showed no significant change in depression scale scores. The study concluded that Vitamin D could be an effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder.
There is also a strong link between low vitamin D levels and postnatal depression.
One small study found that women having moderate to severe depression experienced significant improvement in their depression symptoms after receiving vitamin D replacement therapy. Because they didn’t alter their antidepressant medications or other factors relating to depression, the study came to the conclusion that correction of their underlying vitamin D shortage could be responsible for the beneficial impact on depression.
The study was conducted on 3 women who had previously been diagnosed with clinical depression, and who were on antidepressant therapy. Because they had vitamin D deficiency risk factors, such as poor sun exposure and low vitamin D intake, the women each had a 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test, which found low vitamin D levels for all 3 women. Over 8 to 12 weeks, their vitamin D status had been restored to normal by means of oral vitamin D replacement therapy.
Following treatment, using the Beck Depression Inventory questionnaire, all 3 women showed improvement in their symptoms of depression. The Beck Depression Inventory questionnaire scores the degree of sadness as well as other depression symptoms. A score of 0 to 9 is an indication of minimal depression; a score of 10 to 18 is an indication of mild depression; a score of 19 to 29 is an indication of moderate depression; and a score of 30 to 63 is an indication of severe depression.
One participant’s score improved from 32 before receiving vitamin D therapy to a score of 12, indicating a change from severe depression to mild depression. Another participant’s score dropped from 26 to 8, suggesting she now had minimal depression symptoms. The other participant’s score of 21 improved to 16 following vitamin D treatment.
What to know: Some studies have indicated that vitamin D supplements can help with depression when an individual already has lower levels of vitamin D, so it would be wise to have your Vitamin D levels checked. Vitamin D supplements could take quite a while to be effective for depression, so continual use is recommended. Vitamin D deficiency could be one of several factors that contribute to depression, so it should not be your one and only solution.