Most psychiatrists will immediately prescribe antidepressants if their patients complain of feeling down in the dumps most of the time. However, there are also a few good ones who will recommend some laboratory tests first in order to determine whether the problem could be caused by nutritional deficiencies. You see, depression may actually be a mental health disorder brought about by insufficiency of certain nutrients in the individual’s diet. Oftentimes, it can be corrected with the help of dietary supplements as well as the consumption of foods rich in the concerned nutrients.
There’s no denying that seeing a psychiatrist can work to your advantage. However, prior to agreeing to take prescribed antidepressants, it is a good idea to request to have your nutrition levels tested. The following are some nutrients that you may be deficient in if you are suffering from depression.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These healthy fats are necessary for proper brain functioning, most especially your memory and mood. Because the body cannot produce its own omega-3 fatty acids, you have no choice but to get these nutrients from food sources. If you are not eating sufficient amounts of oily fish such as herring, trout, mackerel and sardines, it’s not unlikely for you to suffer from depression. If you cannot incorporate lots of oily fish in the diet, supplementing is a smart step to take.
Having poor diet can deplete the levels of magnesium in the body. This nutrient, oftentimes referred to as the antidote to stress, can be exhausted by the consumption of coffee, alcohol, sugar and salt. The same happens when you take diuretics and antibiotics, as well as when stressed. Some of the best magnesium sources are whole grains, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, bananas, avocados and dark chocolate.
Vitamin B6 and B12
According to a study conducted in 2009, over a quarter of severely depressed female participants were lacking in vitamin B12, something which is necessary for superb mental health. Another nutrient from the B-group of vitamins that helps regulate the mood is vitamin B6. You can obtain it from seafood, poultry and leafy green vegetables. On the other hand, you can get vitamin B12 from eggs, milk, meat, fish and shellfish.
These building blocks of protein are necessary not only for building and repairing muscles, but also for maintaining healthy brain. Deficiency in amino acids often results in problems such as sluggishness, inability to focus and depression. Some of the best sources of amino acids include beef, poultry, fish, eggs beans, nuts and seeds.
It’s no secret that iodine is good for your thyroid, a gland which regulates not only your metabolism but also brain performance. A diet that’s lacking in the said mineral may leave you feeling gloomy. Luckily, you may obtain iodine from iodine-enriched salt. To save yourself from consuming more than the recommended daily intake of salt, you may simply opt for sea vegetables, scallops, cod, shrimp, sardines, yogurt, milk and eggs which are rich in iodine.
You may have read somewhere that iron is important for the production of red-blood cells. If you don’t get enough of this nutrient, you may suffer from iron-deficiency anemia. This condition related to the blood causes symptoms similar to depression, which include brain fog, irritability and fatigue.