Vitamins overall have enjoyed a flurry of health breakthroughs over the past half-century. Slowly, we’ve started learning about their powers in disease prevention on top of the fact that they are essential to our bodies.
Those with depression might want to know that not getting enough of three critical B-vitamins might be secretly causing their condition.
A quick note on clinical depression. You technically must have at least five of the following (and definitely either one or two) symptoms:
1. Depressed mood
2. Loss of interest or pleasure in things you used to like
3. Significant appetite or weight loss/gain
4. Insomnia or oversleeping
5. Feeling restless and jittery or overly slow
6. Fatigue/loss of energy
7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
8. Can’t think, concentrate, or make decisions
9. Thoughts of suicide or death
Now, several B-vitamins are known to cause some depression and fatigue if they are in low quantities in your bloodstream. The most notable one may be vitamin B1 (thiamin), a nutrient that influences your brain and cognitive function.
In fact, interestingly, a deficiency of thiamin causes a disease called “beriberi,” which is an East Asian word meaning “I can’t, I can’t.” Fatigue, weakness, and lack of motivation are commonly experienced by people who are low in this vitamin.
Along with depression, they might experience mood swings, uneasiness, confusion, loss of appetite, sleep problems, muscle weakness, weight loss, and abdominal pain. Beriberi is most often seen in developing countries, in alcoholics, and in those with an impaired ability to absorb thiamin.
Vitamin B12 is another likely candidate. Vegans and vegetarians who avoid dairy products and eggs are frequently deficient. There are also those who cannot properly absorb the vitamin. Your body absorbs B12 by combining it with a protein called the “intrinsic factor” and in some people there isn’t enough of this protein in the digestive juices.
People who are deficiently low experience fatigue, first and foremost. Then, depression and anxiety take the stage.
Third is vitamin B6. This one is the most common water-soluble vitamin deficiency in older adults and in children. It’s likely that well over half the population doesn’t have enough vitamin B6 flowing in their systems. A minor deficiency in this nutrient may be causing your depression. And, along with it: skin problems; a smooth, red, sore tongue; confusion; weight loss; and possible convulsions.
If you have concerns about your nutritional status, speak to your doctor, but also consider a naturopath. And taking a B-complex vitamin supplement is more or less a no-brainer.
For another natural way to treat depression, read the article This Natural Remedy Shown to Battle Depression.