According to Statistics Canada, over 45 percent of Canadians above the age of one ingested at least one nutritional supplement a day in 2015. While this is a significant number, most people
take supplements to improve their physical well-being. Little do they know that certain minerals and vitamins—and preventing their deficiencies—can also increase mental health. “Nutrient deficiency can affect stress levels or even bring on certain psychiatric problems, such as anxiety or depression,” says health expert from thegoodestate.com, Joanne Williams. With this in mind, here are four supplements bound to give you that mental boost you have been looking for.
As always, please consult your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Not just good for the heart and general health, omega 3 is said to be beneficial for depression, and can either be used as a substitute for antidepressants or to boost their effectiveness. Omega 3 can be obtained through diet or supplements (it is not naturally produced by the body). While cold-water fish such as sardines, salmon and anchovies are a great source of omega 3, the substance can also be ingested in the form of fish oil capsules.
Folate / Folic Acid / Vitamin B9 and Vitamin B12
Often taken by pregnant women to minimize the risk of neural tube defects, folate, known as vitamin B9 or folic acid in its synthetic form, also promotes a healthy nervous system. This is because it helps the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain, or the chemicals that enable communication between the brain cells that promoting good mood and sound sleep. Folate is usually found in green leafy vegetables, beans, citrus fruit and some types of bread. The safe limit of folic acid is 1,000 mcg per day. Vitamin B12 is also essential for producing neurotransmitters. As vitamin B12 is usually found in meat and eggs, many vegetarians and vegans are likely to find the supplement beneficial.
St. John’s Wort
A herbal supplement made from the plant hypericum perforatum, St. John’s wort may help people with mild to moderate depression. According to some experts, the supplement works by replicating the action of antidepressants such as Prozac and Paxil. St. John’s wort, however, can affect the effectiveness of other drugs, such as blood thinners and cholesterol medication. It is also not advised to take St. John’s wort with antidepressants as in rare cases it can cause serotonin syndrome, a complication that manifests in anxiety, confusion, nausea and palpitations.
Taking melatonin can be beneficial for those who have trouble falling or staying asleep. The naturally occurring substance (it is a hormone produced by the pineal gland) is particularly helpful for individuals with depression, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder, or those dealing with jet lag. Melatonin works by regulating circadian rhythms in the body, or the sleep/wake cycle—the hormone lets your body know when it is time for sleep. Melatonin is also an antioxidant, and has been reported to promote eye health, and treat heartburn and stomach ulcers.