A healthy diet and exercise are essential to optimal health, but the people we surround ourselves with and our day to day activities and responsibilities, also play a role in our health; specifically, our mental health.
Everyone’s mood fluctuates from time to time and this is normal. Staying in a sad or stressed mood for long periods of time however, can lead to depression, chronic stress or anxiety. These ailments can have far reaching effects on the body and mind. According to the World Health Organization, mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.
In this article, we will discuss mental health and common vitamins that help with depression, anxiety and mood swings, as well as other measures we can take to support our peace of mind.
Vitamins For Energy
Stress and anxiety are very draining to the body. Although you may not be physically active in a given moment, the chemical reactions taking place in the body to cope with stress and depression are ongoing.
The energy it takes for the body to cope is what ultimately taxes our energy reserves. The long drives to and from work, the overwhelm of responsibilities, lack of sleep and just having too much on our plates can all be very draining. Below are some natural solutions for building sustained energy throughout the day.
Coq10 is a naturally occurring compound in the body. It helps to increase the amount of energy in our cells, thereby increasing overall energy levels in the body; mentally and physically. There are two forms of Coq10, ubiquinol and ubiquinone. Ubiquinol is the most absorbable form and usually comes as a capsule or a gummy. Coq10 production slows down as we get older so talk to your doctor about the right dosage for you. Coq10 can be found in organ meats, fatty fish, fruits and vegetables.
B complex vitamins contain several members of the B vitamin family. They are responsible for the health of the Nervous System, which gets taxed extensively during periods of chronic stress and depression. B vitamins also help the body to increase and maintain energy levels throughout the day. Noor’s Energy+ Multivitamins has a unique blend of B vitamins and minerals that work to support the body’s natural energy production while boosting immune function. B vitamins can be found in leafy greens, vegetables, fish, meat and dairy.
Vitamins For Depression And Anxiety
Depression is a serious medical illness that affects the way we think and act. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 16.1 million Americans suffer from depression while 40 million suffer from anxiety disorder. It is not uncommon either, for both ailments to affect one person at any given time. Fortunately, it is a treatable problem that can be addressed conventionally with anti-depressants and ant-anxiety medication, or naturally, with vitamins that help with depression.
Omega 3 is a healthy fat that is not produced in the body and predominantly found in fresh water fish and some marine algae. When taken on a consistent basis, studies have shown that Omega 3 is a dependable vitamin that helps with depression. It’s anti-inflammatory action and its ability to interact with mood related transmitters in the brain, has shown its effectiveness to alleviate depression and improve cognitive function.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens are a classification of plants that help the body adapt to stress by neutralizing its biological effects. For example, cortisol (also called the stress hormone) is secreted into the bloodstream during the stress response. If stress is prolonged, cortisol levels remain high which can eventually lead to diabetes, weight gain and a plethora of other complications over time. Adaptogens like Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and Lemon Balm will lower cortisol levels, bringing the body back to balance and alleviating stress and anxiety related symptoms. Adaptogens bring a sense of calm to the body and also contribute to healthy energy levels as well.
Vitamins And Supplements For Mood Swings
Your emotional state or mood can determine whether you have a good or bad day. It can chase people away from you or draw whom you love closer. An imbalanced mood can derive from stress, lack of sleep, lack of sunshine or even toxic relationships. In this section we will go over some vitamins for mood swings and other ways we can balance our mood.
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is great for mood enhancement and reducing symptoms of depression. It works by activating the release of dopamine and serotonin in the brain which have been coined the “happy hormones! During the winter months, sunshine is less prominent which results in less vitamin D absorption through the skin. S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder) is a type of depression that has been related to the changes in the season and linked to low levels of vitamin D. Dosing with 1000-4000IU a day, spending 20 minutes a day absorbing sunlight, or incorporating vitamin D fortified foods in the form of egg yolks, butter and orange juice are great ways to get your daily intake. Be mindful that vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and toxicity is possible, always talk to your doctor about supplementation and the right dosage for you.
Stretching and moving the body every day for at least 20 minutes, can help to alleviate anxiety and balance mood.
It’s no secret that exercise is a stress reliever. Working up a sweat increases the release of endorphins in the brain, a hormone that elevates and balances mood.
Meditation And Deep Breathing
There are many forms of meditation but they all in essence, provide the same results. Other than the plethora of physical health benefits, meditation helps to ease and bring clarity to the mind. It allows for a calmer approach to life and better judgment in decision making. Deep breathing also triggers the release of endorphins, helping to alleviate feelings of stress while bringing a sense of calm to the mind, body and soul.
Identify Stressors And Resolve
Knowing exactly what’s stressing us out or making us feel depressed is key to finding an effective solution. Is it the long drive to work? Switch the station from the news to some classical music or jazz. Did a loved one pass? Invest in a grief counsellor or therapist and give yourself the support you need. Are you in a toxic relationship? What sort of action plan can you put in place to step away from it? Once you can zero in on the problem, it makes it that much easier to address.
All in all, eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty water and exercising is just as important as incorporating stress management techniques and taking vitamins for mental health. The body works as a whole, therefore; all aspects of health must be incorporated for longevity, strength and a sound mind.