Depressed or Vitamin Deficient?

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Written by Brianna Davis | August 7th, 2019
Brianna Davis is an outdoor enthusiast, rock-climbing novice, and singing in the car kind of girl.
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It is hard to know if you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet to support your body. Typically we only go to the doctor when something really bad has happened like throwing up blood or severe pain. What if our bodies were giving us warning signs that we are really suffering from vitamin deficiency but we readily dismiss them? “It can be difficult to work in all of the essential vitamins and minerals into our daily diets, but it is a necessity if we want to function properly,” says Dr. Gregory Funk. After reaching out to several nutritional experts, I compiled a list of common symptoms typically associated with depression that could mean you are lacking in a vitamin or mineral nutrients in your diet.

Trouble sleeping

It almost seems like a trend to get to work and see who slept the least the previous night. How little sleep you get should not be an accomplishment. One of the main mineral deficiencies that lead to sleep problems is magnesium. Dr. Carolyn Dean states that this crucial mineral will aide in the proper function of over 800 enzymes in the body. Diet is going to be your best option when treating both vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Fatigue

This kind of fatigue is not a result of not being able to sleep. This feeling of tired comes even when you got a full night's sleep. The best vitamins and minerals to help with that daily drag are B vitamins and iron. Specifically thiamin (B1) and cobalamin (B12). These B vitamins help the body deliver oxygen through the blood cells to increase energy (Mayo Clinic, 2017). While iron is most popularly known to come from protein-rich foods, Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, advises, “Even though iron is in a variety of foods, iron from animal sources is more easily absorbed.”

Irritability

Irritability can come from a lot more sources than your co-worker who chews loud enough for the whole floor to hear. If you notice that you are becoming more irritated by small things or in situations where you normally wouldn’t feel irritation you may have a vitamin deficiency of selenium, zinc, vitamin C, or B12. Selenium and zinc support brain functions that aid in the ability to control emotions (Wang, et al. 2018). B12 along with other B vitamins help with the functions of biochemical brain reactions (Lawson, 2016). Vitamin C, while not yet fully understood, was found to improve mood in irritated and depressed individuals when vitamin C intake was increased (Pullar, et al. 2018).

If you experience these symptoms consider the food recommendations below. When you are able to meet your body's dietary needs and eat a well-balanced diet you are giving it the nutrients to feed, grow, and heal. Also, consider visiting a vitamin store if you prefer over-the-counter supplementation including vitamin C, iron, vitamin B supplements, along with other dietary supplements. In order to fully understand your physical or mental health visit your doctor for a thorough analysis.

This article is not intended to treat nor diagnose physical or mental health disorders.

Magnesium-rich foods

  • green vegetables
  • beans
  • peas
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • whole unprocessed grains

B vitamin-rich foods

  • fish
  • poultry
  • red meats
  • dairy

Zinc-rich foods

  • meat
  • shellfish
  • legumes
  • seeds
  • nuts
  • dairy
  • eggs
  • whole grains
  • dark chocolate

Selenium-rich foods

  • nuts
  • fish
  • enriched foods
  • meats
  • poultry
  • cottage cheese
  • eggs
  • brown rice
  • sunflower seeds
  • oatmeal
  • bananas

Vitamin C-rich foods

  • broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • cantaloupe
  • cauliflower
  • citrus
  • guava
  • kiwi
  • papaya
  • parsley
  • peas
  • potatoes
  • peppers
  • rosehips
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes

Iron-rich foods

  • meats
  • fish
  • beans
  • legumes
  • seeds
  • potatoes
  • apricots
  • nuts
  • broccoli
  • spinach

Contributors

Allie Gregg, Registered and Licensed Dietitian, Founder of MyEasyVeganDiet.com

Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, serves on the advisory board for Smart Healthy Living

Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, bestselling author, health and wellness thought leader and Founder of RNA Reset

Dr. Donese Worden, NMD, Physician, Researcher, Global Educator

Dr. Gregory Funk, Professional Chiropractor of 20 years, founder of HopeNWellness.com

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