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Key Nutrients Required for Mental Health

Updated: Dec 10, 2022

Micronutrient deficiencies have been associated with poor mental health outcomes (Hechtman, 2019) (Rucklidge, 2018).

Some key nutrients I commonly see deficiencies with in the clinic include:

Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA>DHA) reduces neuro-inflammation and may influence serotonergic neurotransmission

B vitamins - needed for synthesis of neurotransmitters and energy production. Some of these vitamins also support brain's ability to utilise glucose for energy. These vitamins can have a profound impact on mood and cognition.

Vitamin C - is needed for neurotransmitter synthesis and acts as a neuro-protective agent. It may also attenuate cortisol and, therefore, reduce physiological impact of stress

Iron - main function is to facilitate oxygen transport and storage. Deficiency is associated with fatigue and lethargy.

Vitamin D - essential for brain development and homeostasis. It may also modulate several neurotransmitters such as serotonin.

Zinc - studies have shown an inverse relationship between zinc status and depression. Zinc is believed to support healthy neurotransmission, reduce neuro-inflammation, as well as modulate neurotransmitters.

Another special mention:

Magnesium - needed for almost every biological process in the body. It helps with energy production and nerve conduction, therefore supporting the nervous system. It may be especially helpful with sleep as well as PMS mood fluctuations.

(Braun & Cohen, 2015)(Hechtman, 2019) (Sarris & Wardle, 2019) (Blampied et al., 2019)

Eating a diverse range of nutrient-dense whole-foods is the best way to ensure you are getting a balance of nutrients.

Sometimes, supplementation is beneficial, especially if you restrict foods. Talk to your health care practitioner about how you can ensure that you are getting the micronutrients you need.

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