Mental health is not all in the head. Nutrition is an often ignored — yet incredibly effective — way to manage mental illness, including schizophrenia. Consider the documentary ‘Super Size Me’. The protagonist Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald’s food three times a day for one month, in an effort to discover how his diet would impact his physical and mental health. Naturally, the impact to his physical health was severe, and he gained excessive weight, while his cholesterol and blood pressure shot to alarming levels. However, it was shocking how much his diet impacted his mental health. Two weeks into the month, Spurlock was complaining of massive headaches, lacking in energy and undergoing depression.
Are Food and Mood Connected?
The American diet has deteriorated, especially over the last several years, as people depend more and more on fast foods, which are packed full of refined carbohydrates, sugars and empty calories. Simultaneously, 1 in 5 American adults, which is approximately 43.8 million people experience mental illness in a year. Is there a connection?
A distinguishing factor common to the diets of individuals suffer from mental health issues is the severe deficiency of nutrients like vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, minerals and amino acids. According to research conducted into this matter, such individuals can see significant improvement in the symptoms with the incorporation of daily vital nutrient supplements in their diet.
How Nutrients Help
For a diet to incorporate quality protein, it must include all vital amino acids. Amino acids have significant influence over brain functions and mental health. This is because many of the neurotransmitters in the brain consist of amino acids, and a lack of them can lead to the inadequate synthesis of important neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. On the other hand, excessive amino acids can result in brain damage and mental retardation.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These are very important because about 50% of the grey matter in the brain is made up of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which cannot be synthesized and have to be obtained via the individual’s diet. Individuals whose diets lack Omega-3 how disrupted neural function.
- B-Complex – According to a study from Neuropsychobiology, nine vitamins provided in surplus of dietary recommendation for a year enhanced mood in both men and women. This improvement in mood was particularly linked to the increased vitamin B2 and B6 status.
- Vitamin B12 – Research indicates timely administration of Vitamin B12 can hold up the initiation of symptoms of dementia and blood abnormalities.
- Folate – Individuals with depression have been noticed to have about 25 percent lower levels of blood folate levels than normal.
- Calcium – Recent studies show selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) restrict calcium from being absorbed into bones and lower blood pressure, raising susceptibility of fractures.
- Iron – Iron is critical for fetal IQ development and is also found in children with ADHD. Iron deficiency anemia is also linked to lethargy, depression and profound fatigue.
- Zinc – Several studies have shown that zinc levels to be lower in those battling clinical depression.
Mental health is as important as physical health. The Villa believes that good mental health is an essential part of recovery. We can help you get there. Call us to find out how.