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Can vitamin deficiencies cause mental health problems? Let’s find out

Published on:1 August 2021, 11:30am IST
We know that vitamin deficiencies can cause physical illnesses but not many know that they also affect mental health to a great extent.
Grace Bains
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Vitamin D for weight loss
Keep a check on your vitamin intake to stay mentally healthy. Image courtesy: Unsplash

As more and more people are opening up to the idea of talking about mental health ailments, a number of distinct and important issues are being discussed. One such issue is the link between vitamin deficiency and mental health problems.

Vitamin D and B12 are known to boost mental faculties, relieve stress, and improve cognitive skills. Therefore, its deficiency may cause one to experience mental health issues. Thankfully, the deficiency can be managed through a change in diet and regular check-ins with a mental health professional.

Here’s how vitamin deficiency can cause mental health problems

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient and is a water-soluble vitamin, which the body cannot produce on its own. This vitamin is critical to provide a boost to our blood oxygen levels, physical energy, and mental health. Vitamin B12 is known to help relieve stress, induce a sense of positivity, and improve memory.

vitamin B
Vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins that you need to consume to stay mentally healthy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Also, its deficiency may cause people who are suffering from mental health issues, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, to feel heightened discomfort. Besides, this vitamin is also helpful in regulating mood fluctuations. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in chicken, eggs, milk, cheese, soy milk, almond milk, and fortified cereals.

Vitamin D

Conventionally associated with bone health, vitamin D is also known to improve mental health. Vitamin D is a natural mood regulator, and a prolonged phase of introspections and sadness is often linked with vitamin D deficiency. Its deficiency is also known to cause anxiety, depression and may increase stress levels.

While the best natural source of vitamin D is sunlight, consuming foods such as milk, eggs, and mushrooms, is also a great way to add vitamin D into your system.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a well-known combatant of the common cold, scurvy, and is known to improve the immune system. However, it is also a powerful nutrient to help prevent depression and anxiety. Vitamin C deficiency leads to the release of ascorbic acid in the body, which can cause neurological damage, leading to anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder in some acute cases.

Vitamin C
Consume vitamin C to take care of your mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

A study was done by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Department of Neuroscience in Nashville, revealed that deprivation of vitamin C to mice, caused depressive and submissive behaviours to manifest. Therefore, deficiency of vitamin C may reduce the levels of dopamine and serotonin, which could cause anxiety and depression. Vitamin C can be found naturally in citric fruits such as orange, berries such as kiwi, and leafy green vegetables such as spinach.

So, ladies, with a few simple precautions, you could avoid vitamin deficiency, and ensure the wellbeing of your mental health!

Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.