If mental health issues are part of your recovery journey, you may have overlooked the importance of certain vitamin and mineral supplementation as part of your treatment. The importance of B vitamins is often not the first thing people think of when it comes to our mental health. However, many psychiatric disorders can actually be linked to nutritional deficiencies that go undetected.
B vitamin levels impact our nervous system health and the production of neurotransmitters. It is possible to request blood screening tests to find out if you have low levels of vitamins and minerals.
MTHFR is one of the thousands of genes that you have in your body. This gene is responsible for creating the enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. A mutation in this gene has been found to be associated with health conditions such as:
- Chronic fatigue
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Thyroid disease including autoimmune disease.
Supplementation with the correct B vitamin has been shown to improve these conditions. B vitamins are critical for nervous system function and play a key role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters. B1, B6 and B12 are especially important in nervous system repair, development of neurotransmitters and brain health. Deficiencies in B vitamins can cause symptoms of anxiety, depression, irritability,suicidal thoughts and in rare cases psychosis.
What B Vitamins Should I take?
This helps convert carbohydrates to provide energy to cells in the body and brain and is important in the synthesis of neurotransmitters.
This plays a major role in creating neurotransmitters important in the creation of GABA, which allows us to feel calm and peaceful.
Folate controls levels of an amino acid called homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine causes inflammation and damage blood vessels. It also causes depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders.
B12 plays a key role in the process that maintains the nervous system. Deficiency damages the myelin sheath that protects nerves and can impact brain function.
Other symptoms of B vitamin deficiency include:
- Reduced appetite
- Memory loss
B vitamins can be easily ingested through a healthy diet. Some foods high in B vitamins are:
- Liver and kidney
- Chicken and red meats
- Fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel
- Dark green leafy vegetables
It is important to always seek professional help for any psychiatric illness. Understanding some possible reasons why you may be struggling and possible ways to enhance professional treatment can be helpful. Being informed on all aspects of care and treatment empowers you to make good decisions when it comes to your health. Talking to your health provider about all aspects of treatment is important before taking any supplements or drugs.