Vitamin deficiencies that may play a causative role in mental illness

By Guest Blogger, Alfred Stallion

Today’s most common patients are overfed. In spite of that, the food they’re being given doesn’t have enough vitamins and minerals to restore their well being. Studies on this matter are constantly linking dietary choices to psychiatric conditions and brain health. Vitamin deficiencies may have a negative effect on psychiatric patients in many different ways:
• Deficiencies may have a fundamental role in mental illnesses
• Psychiatric symptoms may be the cause of poor nutrition
• Vitamins insufficiency, also known as sub-clinical deficiency, can put the recovery of a patient in great danger.

Vitamins are vital for our existence. Unlike minerals, proteins, fats and carbs, vitamins are important dietary components. The B vitamins in particular, are needed for the adequate functioning of our monoamine production, phospholipid maintenance (myelin), and monoamine production. Fat soluble vitamins – such as vitamins D, E and A – play an essential role in antioxidant recycling, genetic transcriptions, and informatory parameters inside the brain; deficiencies may lead to severe health concerns, including mental illness.

Vitamin B1

Also known as thiamine, Vitamin B is fundamental for glucose metabolism. Fever, pregnancy, and lactation lead to an increase in Vitamin B needs. The absorption of this vitamin is disrupted by tea and coffee, so make sure to avoid those if you’re deficient. In rare cases, lack of vitamins B1 may trigger all kinds of health issues, including Korsakoff’s psychosis, beriberi, confusion, apathy, amnesia and others.

Disorientation and confusion stop the inability of the brain to oxidize glucose meant for energy, and that happens because Vitamin B1 is a fundamental co-factor in the tricabocylic and glycolysis acid cycle. Deficiency triggers a boost in pro-inflammatory cytokines, oxygen species, and blood brain barrier dysfunction. The best food sources for Vitamin B1 are: beans, nuts, rice, pork, fish and wheat germ.

Vitamin E

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B is linked to three different compounds: pyridoxal, pyridoxine and pyridoxamine. This vitamin has an essential role in glycolysis – particularly in the methylation cycle. Increased levels of B6 are connected to lower occurrence of depression in teens. Deficiency may trigger an increase in depression levels. Women who take birth-control pills may be predisposed to Vitamin B6 deficiency; which is why they should include these food sources more often into their diet: poultry, spinach, legumes, fish and beef.

Vitamin C

Vital for monoamines synthesis like norepinephrine and serotonin, Vitamin C is a fundamental antioxidant for the brain. Basically, this vitamin keeps iron and copper levels under control. The adequate functioning of the methylation cycle is also based on Vitamin C. Since the human body cannot produce it, physicians recommend us to take our daily dosage from exterior sources. Senior adults that don’t have a healthy diet because of eating disorders or alcohol abuse are at high risk of being Vitamin C deficient.

Vitamin A

In spite of the fact that the role of vitamin A inside the brain is barely understood by specialists, there’s evidence suggesting that the active form of the vitamin – Retinol – is crucial for opsins formation. Vitamin A deficiency in childhood may lead to loss of vision; this vitamin also plays an important role in preserving cell division, bon growth, immune system integrity, and reproduction. The best sources can be found in dairy products, sweet potatoes, liver, eggs, and leafy greens.

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Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin made of cholesterol found in the epidermis. Even though Vitamin D is famous for its role in mineralization and bone growth, continuous studies reveal that it also has a significant role in brain function. Both neuronal and glial cells contain vitamin D receptors in the prefrontal cortex, substantia nigra, and thalamus. These regions are all linked to depression pathophysiology. As far as foods that contain Vitamin D, we should mention milk, fish oil and mushrooms. The best source however is natural sunlight.
Bottom line is vitamin deficiencies may play a significant role in mental illnesses. However further research is still being conducted on this matter. Before taking any of the above mentioned vitamins on a daily basis, you are advised to consult with a physician. Only a specialist will know whether or not you lack certain vitamins, and what’s the ideal dosage recommended to compensate for the deficiencies.

By Alfred Stallion and!