Even though, most of us occasionally experience sadness and depression, some people suffer from major depressive disorder, which is characterized by a prolonged and severe depressive mood and a remarkable decrease in activity levels.Considering the increasing stress-inducing factors in today’s fast-paced world, depression can affect anyone regardless of their age. It is a major concern of distress for women who undergo hormonal fluctuations all throughout their life-span.Well, the good news is, depression is treatable and can be managed and cured by making up for vitamin deficiencies that lead to depression.Besides enhancing your mood, energy levels and mental performance, vitamins provide a myriad of overall health benefits for the proper functioning of the body and mind. Moreover, they are very economical and free of side effects, unlike most of the anti-depressants that in some people tend to do more harm than good.
Vitamins to Cure Depression
The role of B-vitamins in improving mental health and slowing down the progression of cognitive decline cannot be emphasized enough. They enhance the strength of the immune system and provide you with a boost of energy for enhancing your cognitive abilities.Most importantly, they are involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters that govern the emotional well-being of an individual, thus enabling them to develop a positive outlook and stay focused on the task at hand.
Also called as thiamine, vitamin B1 plays a crucial role in the propagation of nerve impulses and in the conversion of food into glucose, which serve as the primary fuel for the brain. Hence, it helps to beat the most prominent symptoms of depression that include irritability, fatigue, insomnia, nervous breakdown, anxiety, memory loss and suicidal tendencies.Vitamin B1 deficiency can also lead to loss of appetite, headaches, muscle weakness, numbness, etc., which can aggravate the symptoms of depression. Foods rich in vitamin B1 include fish like tuna, beans, Brussels sprouts, nuts, soy foods, breakfast cereals, etc.
Niacin or vitamin B3 promotes the synthesis of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is known for its ability to uplift mood, promote happiness and the well-being of an individual. In fact, many anti-depressants called serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) block the mechanism of re-uptake of serotonin from the synaptic junctions, in order to correct for the imbalances of serotonin in the brains of depressed individuals.Hence, intake of vitamin B3 through its dietary source like chicken, salmon, turkey, liver, lamb, mushrooms, etc., can serve as a more natural way of treating depression.
Pantothenic acid lowers the levels of stress hormones called cortisone and reduces anxiety, sleeplessness and fatigue that is associated with depression. It is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrate, proteins and fats that in turn, aid in promoting the growth of healthy nerves.Vitamin B5 enhances the absorption of amino acids by the brain that are required for the synthesis of most of the neurotransmitters that carry out the proper functioning of the brain. Moreover, it also stimulates the synthesis of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine that is crucially important for enhancing learning abilities and for the improvement of memory. Broccoli, cauliflower, avocados, grapefruits, eggs, corn, etc., serve as good dietary sources of vitamin B5.
Also called as pyridoxine, this vitamin helps in the synthesis of amino acids, which serve as the building blocks of many neurotransmitters and hormones that ensure proper conduction of nerve impulses in the body. Most importantly, it aids in the synthesis of dopamine and serotonin, the “feel-good” hormones that maintain calmness and tranquility of the mind.Birth control pills and kidney failure can specifically drain out the levels of vitamin B6 from the body and hence the consumption of foods fortified with vitamin B6 like dark green vegetables including yams, broccoli, asparagus, turnips, nuts, seeds, whole grains, oats, beans, etc., or vitamin B6 supplements is very important for beating the symptoms of depression like irritability, anxiety and mental confusion.
This B vitamin, which is also referred to as folic acid aids in promoting growth and development, synthesis of DNA and formation of red blood cells that carry oxygen to the brain. It is involved in regulating the levels and function of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, which are most often found to be deficient in people suffering from mood disorders and depression.Besides assisting in the process of preventing serotonin from getting quickly re-absorbed by the brain cells, the mechanism that most SSRI’s follow, folic acid also helps in reducing the levels of homocystein, a toxic byproduct of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), whose accumulation is one of the major causes of depression. Liver, soy beans, bean sprouts, spinach, asparagus, peanuts, etc., serve as good dietary sources of folic acid.
Deficiency of cyanocobalamin or vitamin B12 is one of the most prominent features found in people suffering from irritability, mood swings, paranoia, confusion, dementia, mental fatigue and severe depression.No other B vitamin is as powerful as vitamin B12 in controlling the functionality of the nervous system and emotional well-being of an individual. B12 assists in red blood cell formation and hence its deficiency leads to the deprivation of hemoglobin that supplies oxygen to the brain cells.Increase in age and osteoporosis are the two major causes of the decline in the ability of the body to absorb vitamin B12. However, regular intake of foods rich in vitamin B12 like liver, eggs, fish, crab, lobsters, beef, lamb, cheese, etc., can help in keeping the symptoms of depression at bay.However, B vitamins are water-soluble and can be easily passed through urine. Hence, maintaining a constant supply of B-vitamins, either through dietary changes or supplements can bring great relief from the symptoms of depression
Vitamin C and E Considered as one of the most potent anti-oxidants, both vitamin C and E protect the brain cells from the attack of toxic free radicals that are produced as a result of the daily body functions. Accumulation of free radicals leads to oxidative stress, which in turn, damages the brain cells and the neurotransmitters required for preventing anxiety, mood swings, lethargy, and other symptoms associated with depression.Hence, the intake of vitamin C rich foods like grapefruits, oranges, papaya, kiwi, melons, spinach, etc., and vitamin E rich foods like mustard greens, red bell peppers, wheat, vegetable oils, kale, nuts, etc., can produce a tranquilizing effect in the mind by regulating the function of the brain and its chemical messengers.
A national study conducted in 2010 has reported that a deficiency of vitamin D is one of the most common findings in patients suffering from depression and mood disorders. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in enhancing the absorption of calcium by the brain cells, which is required for the transmission of nerve impulses.It also regulates the activation and de-activation of enzymes that aid in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and promotes the growth of nerve cells. Therefore, sun exposure or foods rich in vitamin D like milk, tuna, cod liver oil, eggs, liver, cheese, salmon, etc. can serve as an effective cure for depression.Excess of alcohol, caffeine, smoking, refined carbohydrates, simple sugars, processed foods, birth control pills, etc., can deplete the levels of vitamins in the body. Vitamin deficiencies can also lead to impaired drug metabolism and sugar cravings that in turn triggers the onset of obesity, which is one of the major risk factors of depression.Hence, ensuring that you get an adequate supply of vitamins through vitamin supplements can serve as your first line of defense for curing the symptoms of depression.However, it is important to seek medical advice from a health care practitioner, before taking vitamin supplements to avoid any drug-supplement interactions. Also, high doses of vitamins can be detrimental for your health and hence it has been recommended to obtain vitamins through a nutritional diet rather than resorting to over-the-counter supplements that may elicit adverse effects as they are packed with higher doses of vitamins.
Caution: Please use Home Remedies after Proper Research and Guidance. You accept that you are following any advice at your own risk and will properly research or consult healthcare professional.