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BipolarLife 101 provides online mental health support along with online tools such as mental health articles, blogs and more to help those battling mental health issues. BipolarLife101 helps people learn to live life with a mental illness, strives to help end stigma, and assist the community, friends and family gain a better understanding of mental health issues.bq-o-rtl.png

Mental Health Vitamins, Superfoods and more

Everyone has suffered depression and anxiety once in awhile. But when they happen on a more everyday basis for long period of time, there should be a cause for concern. However, there are ways to adjust your diet to help stabilize your mood. It’s vital to eat meals at standard intervals in order to keep your serotonin levels in check, a chemical in the brain that has a calming effect. Great nutrition which may include supplements, along with creating a plan with your doctor, is your best defense for managing depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. 

Vitamins, herbs superfoods and other supplements may play a role in treating several mental disorders and conditions. Supplements should be based on a person's individual needs and medical situation, and always under a mental health professional’s care.

Understanding Superfoods and Supplements

If you want to start taking vitamins, herbs or other supplements, be sure that you:

  • Tell the doctor about all medications and supplements you are already taking.
  • Remind your doctor about any allergies and any problems you have had with medicines.
  • Understand how to take vitamins, herbs and other supplements and take as instructed.
  • Call your doctor immediately if you have any problems with any vitamins, herbs or other supplements you're taking or if you believe something may be wrong.
  • Report serious side effects to the FDA MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch or by phone [1-800-332-1088]. You or your doctor may send a report.

 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 is a type of fat that is essential for human health. Omega 3 contains two fatty acids that benefit the human body greatly, which are known as DHA and EPA.

These fatty acids have been linked to helping prevent heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases. DHA is also required by the human brain. Low levels of DHA in the brain have been linked to depression, schizophrenia, memory loss, and an increased chance of being stricken with Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, the regular and repeated consumption of Omega 3 fish oils can greatly help affect the quality of your life for the better.

B-Complex

The B5 vitamin is also considered to be helpful in reducing stress. This is primarily due to the fact that during periods of stress, the body produces more of certain hormones such as adrenalin and these require the B5 vitamin. There are many theories as to the benefits of the B5 vitamin but there is no need for the majority of people to actively seek out foods that are high in B5 as they are likely to be consuming far more than is needed already. There are no adverse effects to consuming too much B5 vitamin.

Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine. You may not have heard of many people who were found to have a serious Vitamin B6 deficiency, and there's a good reason for that. B6 is so readily available in so many foods (tuna, roast beef, tomato juice, trout, pork loin and peanut butter) that it's a reasonably simple matter to get your daily-recommended allowances of B6.

Depression is another problem potentially impacted by a Vitamin B6 deficiency. Though there may be some difference of opinion as to the role and the importance of B6 and depression, there appears to be a link that can't be denied. In fact, depression is listed by some as one of the symptoms of insufficient Vitamin B6 in the diet.

Vitamin E

Some studies indicated that people, who suffer from depression and anxiety, also have lower levels of vitamin E. Foods rich in Vitamin E:

  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Chickpeas
  • Olive oil
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potato
  • Trout

Fresh is always the best option, as canned versions tend to have lower nutritional value.

Vitamin K

In some clinical studies, specific animals tested suffered from anxiety, depression and memory issues. Vitamin K2 normalized blood glucose, reducing anxiety and depression, but did not improve memory. Foods rich in Vitamin K:

  • Asparagas
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Kale
  • Spinach

Amino Acids

THEANINE - is an amino acid derivative found in tea leaves and fungi. It's used to help improve mood, decrease stress and demonstrated benefits for high blood pressure, preventing Alzheimer's disease, along with making cancer drugs more effective. L-theanine also stimulates production of the neurotransmitter GABA, adding to its calming anti-anxiety effects.

GABA - Gamma-aminobutyric acid, also known as GABA, is a neurotransmitter that helps send messages between the brain and the nervous system. It is produced in the brain from glutamate. This process is catalyzed by the active form of vitamin B6 and the enzyme glutamate decarboxylase (GAD). Its main function is to reduce the activity of nerve cells in the nervous system. A good amount of emerging research has found that it could play a role in many conditions, including depression, anxiety and stress. Gamma-aminobutyric acid is thought to have a natural calming effect and is believed to reduce feelings of of anxiety and fear by decreasing neuronal excitability.

It is often used as a natural supplement to promote:

  • Relieve Anxiety
  • Improve Sleep
  • Reduce Depression Symptom

Serotonin

Serotonin helps control many functions, such as mood, appetite, and sleep. Research shows that people with depression often have lower than normal levels of serotonin. The types of medications most commonly prescribed to treat depression act by blocking the recycling, or reuptake, of serotonin by the sending neuron. As a result, more serotonin stays in the synapse for the receiving neuron to bind onto, leading to more normal mood functioning.

Dark green vegetables like spinach and peas are high in folate (forms of which are known as folic acid and vitamin B9), a key player in the production of serotonin. They’re also an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber.

Chicken and turkey are both rich in vitamin B6, which plays a role in serotonin production in the body. They are both a good source of selenium and other vitamins and minerals, too.

Fresh is always the best option, as canned versions tend to have lower nutritional value.

Nutritional Hope for Schizophrenia

Nutritional Hope for Schizophrenic Patients

Schizophrenia is a difficult mental illness, both to diagnose and to treat. It's defined as any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances. Recent research suggests that those who suffer from schizophrenia could benefit from incorporating more B3 (niacin), essential fatty acids (EFAs) and eating more whole grain carbohydrates to help level out blood sugar levels so that bouts with hypoglycemia are lessened.

Food sources high in niacin include light-meat chicken, tuna, salmon, turkey, enriched flour, peanuts, and fortified cereals. Niacin is an important player in the digestion process, and it aids in converting food into energy. Therefore, it also plays a role in the essential fatty acid metabolism of the brain, processes of which are disrupted in schizophrenia.

Because these processes are disrupted in the brain, it's imperative that essential fatty acids are a base in the diet of a schizophrenic patient. Since they can't be synthesized by the body, they must be obtained from food. Look to fish, shellfish, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, dark green leafy vegetables and walnuts for EFAs. Essential fatty acids play a part in many metabolic processes, and there is evidence to suggest that low levels of essential fatty acids, or the wrong balance of types among the essential fatty acids, may be a factor in a number of illnesses, including schizophrenia.

Some schizophrenic patients also suffer from bouts of hypoglycemia, which can be greatly helped by choosing healthy, whole grain carbohydrates such as whole grain breads and pastas, as they help the body maintain a steady blood glucose level. Other research shows that some schizophrenic patients suffer from food allergies that greatly affect their thinking and behavior. For this reason, keeping a detailed food journal and paying close attention to moods and thinking patterns after eating is imperative.

Research has also shown that some schizophrenic patients suffer from high levels of copper, an essential metallic element that can adversely affect the brain in high doses. Vitamin B6, found in bananas, turkey and spinach, as well as zinc, found in red meats, peanuts, chickpeas and almonds, can help remove excess copper from the body.


Always remember, if you’ve been dealing with the symptoms of manic, depression, anxiety or other mental health disorders for a long period of time and it has affected your daily living. Please contact your doctor to discuss available treatment options such as supplements or medications that will be correct for you.

National Institute of Mental Health (2015). Brain Basics. Retrieved December 19, 2017, from
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/educational-resources/brain-basics/brain-basics.shtml

 

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Mental Health Stats

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.
  • 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.
  • 6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
  • 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.
  • Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.
  • More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.
  • Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide.
  • Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year.
  • Just over half (50.6%) of children aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year.

LEARN MORE

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Vitamins and Superfoods for Depression | Mental Illness Nutrition | Mental Health Nutrition | Vitamins and Supplements for Anxiety

Vitamins, Supplements and Superfoods for Mental Illness | Nutrition for Depression and Anxiety | BipolarLife101

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