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Depression And Nutrition: Nutritional Deficiences That May Be The Cause Of Your Depression

Updated on September 11, 2015

Depression is a widely spread mentally disorder. Often people who are depressed are prescribed Zoloft or Prozac to treat their systems. Sometimes they even prescribe harder antipsychotics, such as Zyprexa and Seroquel. A lot of these medications have side effects that can be worse than what they are treating. Before diving into the medication get your nutrition levels tested.

Often times, our bodies react in certain ways because something is wrong or we are missing something. Changing up your diet may be what tips the balance for you. In most modern diets people tend to not get the nutrition their body so richly needs. Educating yourself on your deficiencies and how to fix them can mean the world of difference. Depression can often and has often lead to suicide. It is definitely worth the effort to change your diet and see the difference in how you feel. Along with diet, exercise is another great way to combat depression. Your body releases serotonin after you work out and that is your "feel good" chemical. You could call it the body's reward for taking care of it.

A recent study published in Phytotherapy Research says that not only is turmeric effective at treating depression, it may even be more effective than some of the most common anti-depressant drugs currently on the market.

Selenium, about 55mcg daily, assists the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to the active thyroid hormone T3. It also helps antioxidants keep polyunsaturated acids in our cell membranes from getting oxidized. Brazilian nuts are the best source of selenium when concerning food. They contain about 544 mcg per ounce.

Another supplement crucial to thyroid function is Iodine. Your energy, metabolism, body temperature, immune function, growth, memory, concentration, and many more. If you are deficient in Iodine you can feel severely depressed, among many other things. Iodine rich salt, shrimp, cod and dried seaweed are some foods that can get more iodine in your diet. The daily recommended dose for adults per day is 150mcg.

Zinc is important when you are feeling under the weather. It boosts our immune systems functionality. That is why you see a lot of cough drops that have zinc in them. Mood changes often stem from food allergies that trigger it. Zinc activates digestive enzymes to enable us to break down food and prevent food allergies. It also aids our DNA to repair and produce proteins. Controlling inflammation also is under the benefits of Zinc. Daily intake for men should be around 11mg and 8mg for women. You can read more about inflammation in your diet and how to reduce and prevent it here.

A deficiency common in women is Iron. When some women are on their time of the month, they supplement with iron to alleviate pain from cramps. Anemia, which occurs when your red blood cell count is low, is caused by iron deficiency. Symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Brain Fog

Good sources of iron are fish, red meat, poultry and the best is liver. The average daily consumption of iron should be 8 to 18 mg.


If you've taken medications for depression and they were effective consider this: only 7 percent of people with low folate levels respond to treatment with antidepressants. If your levels are higher, the response rate is 44 percent. As a matter of fact, Deplin is a folate that psychiatrists are starting to prescribe for the treatment of depression and/or to improve the performance of many antidepressants. You can try a folate supplement before adding any antidepressants and see if you see any change. The recommended daily intake of folate is at least 400 mcg. You can get your folate requirements met by either taking a supplement or eating dark leafy greens, beans, legumes, juices and citrus juices.

The building blocks of protein, amino acids, aid in the proper function of your brain. If you have ever felt sluggish, foggy, unfocused and depressed, then you might have an amino acid deficiency. Great food sources for them are eggs, fish, seeds, nuts, beef and beans.

Half of Americans are magnesium deficient. The lifestyles so many people lead cause them to be deficient: excess alcohol, sugar, coffee, salt, phosphoric acid which is in soda, antibiotics, chronic stress, and water pills. The nickname for magnesium is "stress antidote" because it is the more potent relaxation mineral that exists. The recommended daily dose is 400-480mg for men and 310-320 mg for women.

Vitamin B Complex, like B6 and B12, has some great health benefits. Some benefits are reduced risk of stroke, and healthy nails and skin. The best sources for B6 are bananas, poultry, seafood and leafy green veggies. Recommended daily dose is 1.7 mg for men and 1.5 mg for women. B12 sources are found in animal foods, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and milk. Daily dose for all should be 2.4 mcg.

Vitamin D is something that I knew for a long time has great bearing on mood. This deficiency has been linked to dementia, depression and autism. Our levels drop during the fall and winter months since we are mostly indoors around that time. Sunlight is the richest source of vitamin D. The daily intake of vitamin d should be 5,000IU to 10,000IUs.

Last, but not least, Omega-3 fatty acids are essential minerals that aid in reducing inflammation. It also plays a critical role in brain function and effects memory and mood. Your body can't make Omega-3 fatty acids so you need to either eat food rich in vitamin D or take supplements.

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    • Mayashappyplace profile image

      Maya Marcotte 

      3 years ago from NY

      Great hub and information. I didn't know about some of these, so thank you! And turmeric, the anti-inflammatory spice!?? Who knew!

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