Mood disorder is an umbrella term for a couple of different mental disorders which cause fluctuations in person`s mood either gradually or rapidly. They include depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. They are influenced by various factors, such as diet, exercise, genetics, personality, and environment.
Poor nutrition can also be to blame, although most people neglect this factor. A well-balanced diet provides the body with nutrients needed for the systems to work properly, and without a steady flow of nutrients, the mind begins to suffer.
“Eating an American/Western diet almost doubles the risk of depression in large research trials, while a more traditional or Mediterranean pattern cuts the risk of clinical depression by 40-50 percent,” explains clinical psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD.
9 Deficiencies That Create Mood Disorders and Mental Illness
- Zinc: According to a study published in Biological Psychiatry in December 2013, depressed individuals had 14% less zinc in their blood than the average person. Those with severe depression had the lowest zinc levels.
- Omega-3 Fats: These fats have a potent anti-inflammatory effect on the brain, which is of utmost importance as mental illnesses are believed to stem from inflammation of the brain. Good sources of omega-3 fats include walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, salmon, and tuna.
- Selenium: Low levels of selenium might worsen moods, studies show. This nutrient is critical for DNA production, thyroid health, reproduction, and helps to protect against free radicals. Good sources of selenium include dairy products, poultry, beef, eggs, and seafood.
- Iron: Low levels of iron have been associated with depression symptoms and ADHD in children. Good sources of this mineral include poultry, seafood, lean meats, and supplements.
- Protein: Some research has shown that amino acid therapy may be as effective as traditional anti-depressants, with tyrosine being the top amino acid to help relieve depressive symptoms. Good protein sources include nuts, seeds, beef, poultry, and dairy.
- Iodine: “When iodine requirements are not met, the thyroid may no longer be able to synthesize sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone. The resulting low-level of thyroid hormones in the blood is the principal factor responsible for the series of functional and developmental abnormalities, collectively referred to as IDD. Iodine deficiency is a significant cause of mental developmental problems in children, including implications on reproductive functions and lowering of IQ levels in school-aged children. Daily consumption of salt fortified with iodine is a proven effective strategy for prevention of IDD.”
- Folate: Depressed people had folate levels 25% lower than average people, according to a study published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry. Good folate sources include asparagus, peanuts, black-eyed peas, fortified cold cereals, and whole grains.
- Vitamin B12: “Over the past several years, evidence has mounted that B vitamins—B12 and folate in particular—may ward off depression and other mental problems.” according to an article on Psychology Today.
- Vitamin D: This vitamin plays an important role in mood, and deficiency can lead to seasonal affective disorder and depression. According to one study from the Netherlands, depressed individuals have low vitamin D levels.