Eight Nutritional Deficiencies that can Cause Depression & Anxiety.


The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 10
Hearts 1.0
Comments 1.0
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 8.8
116 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.

Depression and anxiety disorders are seemingly increasing on a global level and impacting the overall health and well-being of people’s everyday functioning.

Typically, when one goes to the doctor to alleviate these problems, a doctor will ask a few questions about your overall mental functioning, and more often than not, hand you a prescription for some expensive anti-depressant or anxiety reducer.

While medications are beneficial for short-term relief, they provide a dependency and, most importantly, are treating the symptoms and not the root of the problem. What many doctors neglect to look at is a person’s metabolic or nutritional deficiencies, which may be greatly impacting their mental health.

From a holistic vantage point, our gut is known as the “second brain,” and there are structural/anatomical reasons for this reference. The “second brain,” known scientifically as the enteric nervous system, consists of sheaths of neurons located in the walls of our gut and make up the vagus nerve.

The vagus nerve runs from a person’s esophagus to their anus, roughly nine meters long. Due to the interconnectedness of our gut and enteric nervous system, once our gut bacteria is out of balance, we become susceptible to emotional disturbances most commonly manifested as depression or anxiety. The following are eight nutritional deficiencies that might be impacting your mood.

1. Health Food Deficiency?

Do you simply have an unhealthy diet? Is your diet filled with sugar? Junk foods? Sodas? Processed foods? If you answered yes, then chances are your diet is having an impact on your mood and overall health. Nowadays, people are busier than they have ever been before, and when this happens, diet and exercise are one of the first things to be neglected. Fast food restaurants, TV dinners, and general stores like 7-Eleven, make a huge profit on our busy lifestyles. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and depression are just a few of the harmful health impacts diets lacking in nutrients can cause.

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Deficiency.

A deficiency in Omega-3 fatty acids, or an imbalance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, may effect one’s mood. Omega-3s are important for brain functioning and positive mental outlook. Research has shown that a diet lacking or having an imbalance between an Omega-3 and Omega-6 can negatively impact one’s mental health in the following ways: ADHD, depression, Schizophrenia, and Borderline Personality Disorder. Omega-3s also help people who suffer from inflammation and pain problems. Foods that are rich in Omega-3s are Flax seeds, Chia seeds, hemp seeds, leafy greens, beans, and seaweed.

3. Vitamin D Deficiency.

Vitamin D helps your bones and teeth, and they are necessary for absorbing phosphorus into the blood stream, which helps your mental and physical health. Have you heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? Symptoms of SAD look just like depression, expressing themselves during the winter months due to lack of sunlight. A study analyzed more than 1,200 individuals for vitamin D deficiency and associated mental disorders. The study found that deficiency in vitamin D was present in people with depression and panic disorders.  Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D. Just going for a walk or spending some time outside is beneficial. Other great sources of Vitamin D are spirulina, choral, bee pollen, wild mushrooms, and fortified nut milk.

4. B-Complex Vitamin Deficiency.

The B vitamins convert food into fuel that allows us to stay energized throughout the day. While the B vitamins work in conjunction together to provide energy and cellular repair, and even can produce stress relief, each B vitamin (nine in total) have their own specific benefits, from promoting healthy skin and hair to preventing memory loss and migraines. New research is emerging in the field of Neuropsychiatry that shows a link between B vitamin deficiencies and mood disorders, including depression. Foods that are rich in B vitamins include: seeds, nuts, leafy green plants, beets, and other root vegetables.

5.  Zinc, Folate, Chromium, and Iron Deficiencies.

Minerals originate from soil, but unlike vitamins, they cannot be made by people, animals, or other living systems. Minerals in the soil are absorbed by plants and then get passed to humans and other animals who eat such plants. Research has shown that minerals like Zinc, Folate, lithium, Iron, and chromium help those suffering from depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, eating disorders, and subsets of alcoholism. Since minerals are considered trace elements, one only needs a small amount of them to benefit. Some foods that contain essential minerals include whole-grain breads, fresh fruits, and deeply colored vegetables.

6. Iodine Deficiency.

Iodine is necessary for one’s thyroid to work properly. The thyroid is part of the endocrine system and is noted as one of the most important glands in the body. The thyroid gland affects every function of the body, including body temperature, immune function, brain performance (concentration, memory, and more). When the thyroid is not working optimally, one can be subject to a multitude of health concerns, such as depression, cognitive impairments, fibromyalgia, and a variety of cancers. Foods that are rich in iodine are iodine-enriched salt, dry seaweed, potatoes, cranberries, and kelp.

7. Magnesium.

Magnesium is sometimes referred to as the stress elixir, the “most powerful relaxation mineral that exists.” Most people are deficient in this mineral because of fast food lifestyle diets, excess alcohol, salt, coffee, sugar, and phosphoric acid (found in soda). Without this mineral to help us reduce our threshold levels of stress, anxiety might seem heightened, with people becoming more irritable, depressed, restless, and even experience headaches. Foods containing Magnesium are seaweed, dark leafy greens, and beans.

8. Amino Acid Deficiency.

Like minerals, Amino Acids are not created naturally in the human body. There are a total of 12 necessary amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and help one’s brain to function properly. A deficiency in amino acids many cause one to feel sluggish, foggy, unfocused, and depressed. Good sources of amino acids include beans, seeds, nuts, and bee pollen.

If you could identify with many of the points outlined above, it might be in your best interest to evaluate your diet and lifestyle. While many outside influences do impact our mental health, what we eat every day has the potential to change us from the inside out. Incorporating dark leafy greens, nuts, and fresh fruits into your diet provides all the vitamins and minerals that may be missing.

The benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle will impact you in many ways: You will sleep more deeply, think more clearly, grogginess will diminish, aches and pains will fade, and you will have heightened energy. If you change your diet and your mental health problems persist or worsen, please consult your doctor or mental health practitioner.




Author: Naomi Zelin

Image: Flickr/Christian Schnettelker

Editor: Travis May

Image: Wikimedia Commons


The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 10
Hearts 1.0
Comments 1.0
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 8.8
116 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.
Cath Smith Nov 19, 2018 12:01pm

The health of the gut is direct linked to the health of the entire body

Nicole Soto Sep 25, 2018 9:21am

Already tried vitamins for long time. Does not help

Cheryl Dowling DeGraff Sep 24, 2018 5:43am

Will a blood test check for these deficiencies?

مغیث صادق Sep 18, 2018 9:30am

LOVE Sharings,Keep It Always. I AM Always Waiting To Read And SHARE Your Post.
Bingo Blitz Tips: How To Win At Bingo Blitz on Facebook Download Criminal Case Mod Apk V2.24 (Unlimited Energy & Hints)

Cognitive Behavioral Teamwork Jun 25, 2018 2:05am

Facts do not always add up to Truth.

Mark LaPorta Jun 25, 2018 2:04am

But pretty sloppy science, FYI.

مغیث صادق Jun 8, 2018 7:33pm

http://greenteabeforebed.info . http://flappybirdapk.com . http://clashofclansmodapks.com . http://issaturdayabusinessday.info . http://tindermodapk.info

Jasper Puccinelli May 14, 2018 5:57am

Folate is not a mineral

Aisling Van Dam LaBauve May 11, 2018 9:13pm

I don't think she's saying that medication is always bad, only that oftentimes we run to that first without addressing underlying issues. And, no, deficiencies do not always manifest as physical sickness, and they absolutely can alter the way we feel mentally. As someone who deals with depression and has been able to happily live my life without the use of medications (some of which are bad for other parts of our bodies and/or have unwanted side effects), I can personally attest to this. Our society is always looking for a pill to change things, when sometimes the answer is something alternative to that.

Lynne Mikulak May 11, 2018 5:38pm

I agree with Stace Past’s comments below. This is a helpful article, but you undermine an Integrative approach when you write: “While medications are beneficial for short-term relief, they provide a dependency and, most importantly, are treating the symptoms and not the root of the problem.” In my professional work in mental health (not as a subscriber), many people finally find substantial relief on the correct medication while engaging in complimentary practices.

Angela Kingston Feb 16, 2018 7:57pm

Magnesium deficiency can lead to migraines

Margui Fenner Rutherford Feb 12, 2018 4:44am

Dependency to antidepressants? Not so. It would be better to stay with the positives of nutritional info and stay out of talking about medications.

Mark LaPorta Dec 5, 2017 3:08am

As a rule, if the nutrtional deficiency is enough to impair health, the person is ILL, not just "depressed."

Stace Past Oct 1, 2017 4:00pm

This was just reposted. I agree w/most claims but will not share bc of the overly broad and dismissive approach to medication. I don't know what you mean by "dependency" bc I assume you know that unless you're dealing w/benzos or the like, they have no mind-altering properties that create dependency. And if you mean psychological dependency, I'd be even more comfortable concerned. Bottom line is it doesn't always need to be either/or. It can be both/and.

Gagandeep Pejatta May 21, 2017 2:43am

10:44pM..I find regular morning cold showers help adjust mood disorder

James Allen May 11, 2017 7:44am

This is very informative thank you. I am a 40yr old male and am looking for a diet plan to maximise my well being. The information here is very clear and concise which will help me to formulate a perfect 7 day diet plan.

Tone Takle Apr 30, 2017 9:03am

Thank you! This was very interesting to read.

Tia Jolie Phillips Apr 23, 2017 8:52pm

Excellent overview of mthe most common deficiencies. Well-written, too. Thank you! If you re-publlish, you may wish to unlist folate as a mineral and also consider a sister article to this which would be the top sources of hidden toxins, including endocrine disruptors. Peace to you.

Read The Best Articles of March
You voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares.

Naomi Zelin

Naomi Zelin holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology and has traveled all over the world studying yoga in places like Nepal, India, Cambodia, and Indonesia. She firmly believes that everyone has the capacity to grow and be the driver of their own life. She now calls Los Angeles home. Find her on Instagram for insights, inspiration, and motivation.