The Link Between Nutritional Deficiencies and Depression
There are a number of different factors that can contribute to someone struggling with depression. Issues like genetic predisposition, traumatic experiences, the environment in which they were raised and substance abuse can all act as causes for the development of depression. One of the most overlooked causes however is problems with the individual’s diet and specific nutritional deficiencies that are associated with depression.
Testing for nutritional deficiencies can reveal which aspects of their diet a patient needs to improve if they are struggling with depression. Eating specific foods or taking supplements may help alleviate some of their symptoms. There are a number of different kinds of deficiencies that are frequently associated with depression.
A lack of omega 3 fatty acids may be a problem that contributes to depression because it is a nutrient that is essential to brain function. Omega 3s can help reduce inflammation and they play a critical role in memory and mood. Those with a deficiency in omega 3s may take fish oil supplements and also try to consume foods that are rich in this nutrient such as fish, flax seeds and walnuts.
Vitamin D is also a critical nutrient for the mood but it is mainly absorbed through sunlight so levels may fall below normal during fall and winter. For those with a vitamin D deficiency supplements and light exposure therapy may be helpful in alleviating depression. Other deficiencies such as a lack of magnesium, B vitamins, folate, amino acids, iron and zinc can all be linked to depression.
In order to avoid any nutritional deficiencies that may be causing symptoms of depression, it is important to eat a balanced diet full of leafy greens, nuts, seeds, lean proteins and vegetables. Patients with depression can get tested for deficiencies to identify the problem and take supplements to improve their health.