From the occasional blues to chronic depression, millions of people worldwide are vulnerable to varied mood problems. While stressful events are usually blamed for most of these mood problems, imbalance in brain chemicals that regulate mood are frequently associated with mood disorders.Given the adverse side effects of prolonged intake of antidepressant medications, mental health care providers are encouraging use of alternative therapies for improving the mood. Studies suggest that good nutrition could be an effective natural remedy for mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Vitamins essential for the functioning of the nervous system and production of neurotransmitters could also help to overcome depression.
Best Mood Booster Vitamins
Vitamin B Complex
The B vitamins are essential for maintaining the brain function. The eight components of the B vitamin group are needed for metabolism of carbohydrates. By converting carbohydrate to energy, they help to meet the energy requirement of the brain. Deficiency of B vitamins leads to physical and mental fatigue. Moreover, the B vitamins reserve in the body is speedily depleted when you are under stress. Hence, deficiency of B vitamins aggravates mood problems.
Increasing intake of foods rich in B vitamins helps to improve mood. However, a balanced diet may not be sufficient for meeting the requirement of B vitamins during depression. In such circumstances, vitamin B complex supplements help to boost the levels of these essential mood-boosting vitamins speedily.
Folic Acid and Vitamin B12
Among the different B vitamins, folic acid (vitamin B9) and cobalamin (vitamin B12) are especially beneficial for people with mood disorder. They are needed for the synthesis of dopamine and other brain chemicals that help to elevate mood.They also help to break down homocysteine, a byproduct of protein metabolism, into harmless compounds. According to studies, elevated level of homocysteine aggravates depression.
Vitamin C is an effective mood booster. In a study, researchers found that vitamin C supplement helps to boost the mood of hospitalized patients. By supporting conversion of tryptophan into serotonin, vitamin C elevates the serotonin level in the brain.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. Low level of serotonin in the brain causes depression. Apart from stimulating serotonin synthesis, the antioxidant effect of vitamin C protects the brain cells from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress tends to damage the brain cells and inhibits production and activities of neurotransmitters, thereby aggravating depression.
Several studies have revealed an association between vitamin D deficiency and mood problems. Researches suggest that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of minor and major depression. As deficiency of the “sunshine” vitamin is also linked to several health disorders such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers and multiple sclerosis, scientists speculate that by protecting a person from chronic illnesses that induce depression, vitamin D helps to avert mood problems.
Vitamin D also works by suppressing production of pro-inflammatory substances called cytokines. Elevated cytokine level increases risk of depression. Studies have shown that supplementation with vitamin D helps to fight winter blues or seasonal affective disorder.
Studies suggest that excess oxidative stress can lead to major depression. By strengthen your antioxidant defense system vitamin E helps to improve mood.