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Two Vitamin Deficiencies Impacting Mental Health

Updated on November 12, 2018
Africa Rainey profile image

Dr Africa Rainey is a Counseling Psychologist who holds both a Master's and Doctorate in Psychology. She owns a private practice in IL.

Mental illness has become common in the United States. As many as one out of every five Americans live with mental illness. Vitamin deficiencies are often an overlooked contributing factor impacting an individual’s mental health. Nutritional deficiencies are gaining more attention by the medical community at large. Historically deficiencies have been linked to a number of medical conditions, but there is also a strong link to mental illnesses.

Vitamin D Deficiency link to Depression

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to depression and a host of other disorders impacting mental health, these include: Fibromyalgia, weight gain, muscle pain, diabetes, heart disease and overall lowered immune response. Always check with a medical practitioner about getting blood work to obtain vitamin D levels on a regular and ongoing basis. There are a number of supplements on the market that make it easy to replenish vitamin D stores to correct this deficiency.

Common Causes of Vitamin D deficiency

Some causes of Vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Skin Pigment – Individuals with darker skin pigment or melanin need more sunshine in order to readily absorb vitamin D. Older African-Americans have the greatest risk of severe vitamin D deficiency due to prolonged deficits of this crucial vitamin.
  • Limited access to the sun –individuals who are unable to get outside, who live in climates with periods of limited sunshine, and night shift workers are particularly prone to D deficiencies.
  • Alcohol – can deplete and prevent the absorption of vitamin D in the body.

Essential Role of Magnesium

Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral in the body. It plays a critical role in the muscle and nervous systems. It is essential for literally hundreds of responses from the body. As many as one-third of Americans are believed to be deficient in Magnesium.

Magnesium Deficiency Causes

Stress – depletes the body of magnesium

Depleted soil – due to agricultural practices and over processing, the food of today contain smaller amounts of magnesium thus Americans are receiving significantly less magnesium in food.

  • Medications
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Age – the elderly are more likely to develop magnesium deficiency due to decreases in the absorption of nutrients occurring as we age.
  • Digestive diseases - such as Crohn’s disease or celic disease can also affect the amount of magnesium absorbed.

Magnesium linked numerous mental health disorders

Magnesium has been linked to a host of mental health disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, panic disorder, depression, irritability, insomnia, and difficulty with concentration and memory. Magnesium has also been linked to Fibromyalgia and high blood pressure. Magnesium is found in a host of foods such as legumes, nuts, seeds and leafy greens. If supplementation is needed, then Magnesium citrate is the most readily absorbed.

Prior to utilizing any supplement, always check with a physician or nutritionist to determine if and what supplements you may need.


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