By Dr. Phillip Goglia
While nutrient deficiencies are usually rare, it’s important to note the effect that certain deficiencies can have on mental health. Thiamine (vitamin B1), which is found in legumes, some seeds, and fortified grains, is necessary for maintaining your energy supplies and coordinating the activity of nerves and muscles. Thiamine deficiency can therefore lead to weakness, irritability, and depression. Folate (vitamin B9), which is found in leafy greens, legumes, and fortified grains, is essential for supporting red blood cell production, helping to prevent homocysteine build-up in your blood, and allowing nerves to function properly. Folate deficiency can result in depression, apathy, fatigue, poor sleep, and poor concentration.
Please note that no research studies support taking large amounts of vitamin supplements to prevent or treat depression. It is very important to talk with your doctor before taking any vitamin or supplement. Vitamins and minerals from food are much more readily and efficiently absorbed in the body than those obtained from supplements. By eating a wide variety of foods – including lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and low-fat dairy products – you are bound to obtain the nutrients needed to support a healthy body and mind.