Essential Nutrients For Strong Mental Health October 26, 2017 11:14
Eat well to protect one of the most important organs in your body: Your brain.
You know you need calcium for strong bones and fiber for a healthy digestive tract. There are also nutrients you need for a strong brain.
"Nutrition is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology," says lead study author, Jerome Sarris, PhD, of the University of Melbourne and a member of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research.
While food is always a great way to get these brain-beneficial nutrients, supplements can be considered for larger nutrient deficiencies or simply to give your body a head start while making dietary changes.
Dr. Moyad shared how these nutrients can help you overcome or prevent psychiatric issues.
(Always consult with your own doctor before starting to take supplements, especially if you're currently taking medication.)
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
"Both plant and fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids may slightly reduce depression," says Dr. Moyad. Omega-3s may even help Alzheimer's patients, although, he notes, they help more with depressive symptoms, not memory loss.
Dr. Moyad also says there is preliminary evidence that omega-3s may help reduce the over activity of cellular signals in the brain in adults and children with bipolar disorder.
Food Sources: Fish (wild-caught salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, trout, and white fish), chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
"Folic acid and B12 are showing promise for those with depression," says Dr. Moyad. "Folate depletion also appears to occur in the severe depression phase of some bipolar disorders."
He does advice against high doses of B vitamins for those with Alzheimer's because research has found that it may increase depressive symptoms.
Additionally, preliminary research suggests that taking folic acid while pregnant can reduce the risk of autism by 40 percent. "Folic acid is an essential vitamin, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, because it's involved in the formation of major organ systems, including the brain and spinal cord," he says.