Nutrient Deficiency: A Trigger For Mental Health Disorders

Looking for ways to improve your emotional and mental health? Food plays a bigger role than you may think! When I learned the strong connection between the mind and our digestive system, it inspired me to take charge of my health.

Wrong eating and drinking habits negatively impact our thoughts and actions. Unrestrained appetite and indulgence will cause poor reasoning, making it easier to give into debasing things. To make good blood, you need good, healthful food. When the digestive organs are taxed, it weakens your mental capacities. Practicing temperance in eating can help you become a more patient person. This is because self-control of the appetite is exercised, thus ruling out instant gratification.

Eating a balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits helps with feelings of wellbeing, according to a study published in 2014 (1). The opposite is also true. Poor nutrition also leads to physical health problems, which affect how we feel and think.

The mind sympathizes with the stomach. The pneumogastric nerve is what establishes this connection between the brain and the stomach (2). Overeating causes our minds to be clouded, forgetful, and irritable. Keeping our stomach in a healthy condition will keep the mind vigorous.

It’s likely that we eat without a care in the world, not realizing how significant of a role nutrition plays in your mental health. Proper nutrition is essential for our nervous system to work efficiently.

The link between depression and nutrition

Few understand the strong link between nutrition and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Depression and anxiety are often thought of as mysterious disorders shrouded in shame. Depression is commonly thought to be based on a chemical imbalance or unstable emotions. Although they may well play a role, it’s often nutrition that surprisingly plays a significant role in the onset, duration, and intensity of depression.

Common symptoms of depression involve skipping meals, craving sweets, and having a poor appetite. In a word, the solution for depression lies within the depression itself. Prior to depression, these unhealthy habits lead to depression.

Common mental health disorders have been connected to nutritional deficiencies

Studies were conducted in many countries of Asia and America to show the link between nutritional deficiency and mental disorders (3). Common mental disorders are:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • OCD – Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • ADD/ADHD – Attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

All of the above disorders were linked to severe deficiencies of the following:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Could taking supplements help reduce the symptoms of the above disorders? Personally, I notice a negative change in my overall mood when I’m not regularly consuming fresh fruits and vegetables. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals direct from whole fruits and vegetables themselves is best. However, in the case of severe deficiency, both natural and supplement sources should be taken to help build up efficiency.

Since medications contain side effects, long period of usage causes patients to skip them altogether. This becomes an issue because it places them at higher risk for life-threatening cases such as overdosage, suicidal tendencies, and drug toxicity. At this point, it seems as though there is no workaround to this. Fortunately, alternative forms of therapy are available. Nutritional supplements can reduce symptoms and help alleviate mental health issues (4). Taking these supplements daily has been found to reduce the symptoms so often attached to depression and other common mental health disorders.

Amino acids are converted to neurotransmitters, which help alleviate symptoms. Neurotransmitters are chemicals released from a nerve cell to another nerve, muscle, tissue, or organ. It is essentially the messenger of information from one cell to another. There are six neurotransmitters, and they each play a role in muscle contractions, heart rate, digestion, memory, learning and mood regulation, regulation of sleeping, eating, and moderation of mood, movement pleasure, and pain. The lack of proper amino acids in the body negatively impacts these functions, thereby causing disorders. For example, a low level of serotonin, one of the six neurotransmitters, has been linked to suicide. Neurotransmitters are converted from amino acids and it is important to supply the body with it externally since the body cannot produce it on its own.

A major source of serotonin is found in the following food sources:

  • Butternut squash seeds
  • Soy
  • Spirulina
  • Seaweed
  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Walnuts
  • Leafy greens

What are the common signs of low serotonin levels?

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia or irregular sleep schedule
  • Nervousness
  • Sweet cravings
  • OCD
  • Chronic pain increase
  • Headaches
  • Aggressiveness

What is the current state and outlook of mental health disorders? Pardon the pun, but these figures look quite…depressing, but I hope that through this article you’ve learned that you have the ability to prevent, manage, or reverse your mental disorder.

What’s the future of depression?

  • Within their lifetime, more than 25% of individuals will develop at least one mental or behavioral disorder (5).
  • By 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of medical disability, according to the World Health Organization.
  • 70% of primary care visits are related to psychological issues (6).
  • There has been a 400% increase in antidepressant drugs usage since 1994.
  • 1 in 10 Americans 12 and overuse antidepressants (6).

Why has there been such a massive increase in mental health disorders?

The focus of treatment has been to correct chemical imbalances and emotional instability in the brain. The scientific evidence, however, clearly shows that these disorders are not entirely in our heads, but also in our bodies. What about the current food system? The growing amount of processed and chemical-laden foods are not supplying the nutrients necessary for us to function properly.

This phenomenal link between mental health and nutrition isn’t a new concept. It is quite clear that these fundamentals have been lost in the sea of new medical research and interventions. This article suggests that although there is room for medical research, the fundamentals cannot be ignored.

The main ingredient discussed in this article has consistently been about nutrition. It is important to note that lifestyle medicine addresses the entire mechanism—the lifestyle of the individual and looks at the overall root cause of a disease or ailment. I like to refer to an easy acronym—NEWSTART. Newstart consists of eight “laws of health” that are the central key elements of attaining a vibrant life.

Extensive research has linked the connection that was missing between the rise of mental health disorders, and the surety that it can be improved. Cheers to the hope of happy and healthy individuals now and in the future!

(1) Stranges, S., Samaraweera, P.C., Taggart, F., Kandala, N.B., & Stewart-Brown, S. (2014). Major health-related behaviours and mental well-being in the general population: The Health Survey for England. BMJ Open, 4(9), e005878

(2) Hand Book of Health, p. 122.4 (John Norton Loughborough)





Grace Jauwena




How to Lower Your Sodium Intake

Reduction of salt consumption by just 15 percent could save the lives of millions. If we cut our salt intake by half a teaspoon a day, which is achievable simply by avoiding salty foods and not adding salt to our food, we might prevent 22 percent of stroke deaths and 16 percent of fatal heart attacks—potentially helping more than if we were able to successfully treat people with blood pressure pills. As I discuss in my video Salt of the Earth: Sodium and Plant-Based Diets, an intervention in our kitchens may be more powerful than interventions in our pharmacies. One little dietary tweak could help more than billions of dollars worth of drugs.

What would that mean in the United States? Tens of thousands of lives saved every year. On a public-health scale, this simple step “could be as beneficial as interventions aimed at smoking cessation, weight reduction, and the use of drug therapy for people with hypertension or hypercholesterolemia,” that is, giving people medications to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. And, that’s not even getting people down to the target.

A study I profile in my video shows 3.8 grams per day as the recommended upper limit of salt intake for African-Americans, those with hypertension, and adults over 40. For all other adults the maximum is 5.8 daily grams, an upper limit that is exceeded by most Americans over the age of 3. Processed foods have so much added salt that even if we avoid the saltiest foods and don’t add our own salt, salt levels would go down yet still exceed the recommended upper limit. Even that change, however, might save up to nearly a hundred thousand American lives every year.

“Given that approximately 75% of dietary salt comes from processed foods, the individual approach is probably impractical.” So what is our best course of action? We need to get food companies to stop killing so many people. The good news is “several U.S. manufacturers are reducing the salt content of certain foods,” but the bad news is that “other manufacturers are increasing the salt levels in their products. For example, the addition of salt to poultry, meats, and fish appears to be occurring on a massive scale.”

The number-one source of sodium for kids and teens is pizza and, for adults over 51, bread. Between the ages of 20 and 50, however, the greatest contribution of sodium to the diet is not canned soups, pretzels, or potato chips, but chicken, due to all the salt and other additives that are injected into the meat.

This is one of the reasons that, in general, animal foods contain higher amounts of sodium than plant foods. Given the sources of sodium, complying with recommendations for salt reduction would in part “require large deviations from current eating behaviors.” More specifically, we’re talking about a sharp increase in vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains, and lower intakes of meats and refined grain products. Indeed, “[a]s might be expected, reducing the allowed amount of sodium led to a precipitous drop” in meat consumption for men and women of all ages. It’s no wonder why there’s so much industry pressure to confuse people about sodium.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend getting under 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, while the American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 mg/day. How do vegetarians do compared with nonvegetarians? Well, nonvegetarians get nearly 3,500 mg/day, the equivalent of about a teaspoon and a half of table salt. Vegetarians did better, but, at around 3,000 mg/day, came in at double the American Heart Association limit.

In Europe, it looks like vegetarians do even better, slipping under the U.S. Dietary Guidelines’ 2,300 mg cut-off, but it appears the only dietary group that nails the American Heart Association recommendation are vegans—that is, those eating the most plant-based of diets.

Written By Michael Greger M.D. FACLM


Advantages of Soy

Tofu, soymilk, miso, tempeh, edamame—these and other soy products, including the soybeans themselves, are high in nutrients you tend to associate with other legumes, including fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, protein, and zinc.

Soybeans naturally contain a class of phytoestrogens called isoflavones. People hear the word “estrogen” in the word “phytoestrogens” and assume that means soy has estrogen-like effects. Not necessarily. Estrogen has positive effects in some tissues and potentially negative effects in others. For example, high levels of estrogen can be good for the bones but can increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer. Ideally, you’d like what’s called a “selective estrogen receptor modulator” in your body that would have proestrogenic effects in some tissues and antiestrogenic effects in others. Well, that’s what soy phytoestrogens appear to be. Soy seems to lower breast cancer risk, an antiestrogenic effect, but can also help reduce menopausal hot-flash symptoms, a proestrogenic effect. So, by eating soy, you may be able to enjoy the best of both worlds.

What about soy for women with breast cancer? Overall, researchers have found that women diagnosed with breast cancer who ate the most soy lived significantly longer and had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer recurrence than those who ate less. The quantity of phytoestrogens found in just a single cup of soymilk may reduce the risk of breast cancer returning by 25 percent. The improvement in survival for those eating more soy foods was found both in women whose tumors were responsive to estrogen (estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer) and those whose tumors were not (estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer). This also held true for both young women and older women. In one study, for example, 90 percent of the breast cancer patients who ate the most soy phytoestrogens after diagnosis were still alive five years later, while half of those who ate little to no soy were dead.

Soy consumption has also been shown to benefit our kidneys, which appear to handle plant protein very differently from animal protein. Within hours of eating meat, our kidneys rev up into hyperfiltration mode. But, an equivalent amount of plant protein causes virtually no noticeable stress on the kidneys. Eat some tuna, and within three hours, your kidney filtration rate can shoot up 36 percent. But eating the same amount of protein in the form of tofu doesn’t appear to place any additional strain on the kidneys.


The Whole package-Synergistic effects

This below is an Abstract from Article that shows that healing and protecting properties of the carotenoids from tomatoes working in the best way when those  are in the combination, as God created them!

“For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD Isaiah 66.2

Synergistic effects

Lycopene is the major carotenoid in tomatoes. Tomatoes contain a matrix of many bioactive components, including vitamin C, vitamin E, other carotenoids (a-, β-, γ- carotene, lutein), and flavonoids. Their synergistic interactions, when used in combination, may be responsible for the observed beneficial effects of tomato-based products. This study investigated the synergistic antioxidant activity of lycopene in combination with β-carotene, vitamin E, and lutein. A liposome system was used to test the synergistic antioxidant activity. The carotenoid mixtures were more efficient in protecting liposome from oxidation than the individual carotenoid .Research Article

Authors: Shi, John | Kakuda, Yukio | Yeung, David