Nutritional Considerations for Depression
According to the CDC, since August of 2020, due to the pandemic, the percentage of adults with symptoms of a depressive disorder rose from 36.4% to 41.5%. Depression can be attributed to the following nutritional deficiencies:
- B-complex: When your body is experiencing stress the need for B vitamins will increase. You may not be able to consume all the additional B vitamins you need from food alone, especially if you consume a large amount of processed foods.
- B12 – you may be b12 deficient if you are a vegan, if you suffer from Irritable Bowel Disease, if you have had bariatric surgery or if you are just getting older as our ability to absorb B12 decreases with age.
- Folic Acid – IF you have a mutation of the MTHFR gene then your body has a difficult time converting folic acid into its active form 5-MTHF. This lack of 5-MTHF can disrupt the production of multiple neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine which are all related to your mood.
- Protein- Are you eating enough protein? Our neurotransmitters are made from amino acids which result from the body breaking down proteins. If you are not consuming enough protein then your brain cannot make an adequate amount of the neurotransmitters associated with mood.
- Have you been taking PPI (proton pump Inhibitor) or H2 blockers long term? These common medications used for heartburn, reflux or GERD are fine short term but long term usage can interfere with nutrient absorption leading to deficiencies of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, all of which can contribute to depression.
- Is your thyroid functioning optimally? When was the last time you had your thyroid levels checked? Symptoms of hypothyroidism are low mood, apathy, lack of motivation, and depression.
- Vit D – Suboptimal levels of this important vitamin are extremely common and are associated with a higher rate of depression and seasonal affective disorder.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – most common fat deficiencies associated with mental health disorders are due to a lack of EPA and DHA as these essential fatty acids are not made by the body and must be supplied by the diet.
It is always important to talk with your doctor before taking any supplements.
~Andrea Morganstein MS, RDN ,LDN, CDCES
Andrea Morganstein MS, RD, LDN, CDCES, is our dietician at Destination Hope in Fort Lauderdale FL. Andrea works with our clients to tailor nutrition and diet plans that suits their needs within a few days of entering treatment. She works with our chef and clinical plan to support the treatment process and return our clients to health and nutritional balance.