The terrain of mental health is complex and intricate. In this labyrinth, one area often overlooked is the impact of nutrition on our mental wellness. Interestingly, food supplements have emerged as potent allies in the quest for a healthy mind, playing instrumental roles in addressing issues such as anxiety, stress, and sleep disorders[^1^].
FOOD SUPPLEMENTS: UNRAVELING THE MYSTERY
Food supplements, as their name suggests, supplement our diet, adding to the nutrients we consume through regular meals. They come in various forms and compositions, providing us with vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids that might be lacking in our diets[^2^].
While not intended to replace balanced meals, these supplements can play a crucial role in improving our overall health, including our mental well-being.
FOOD SUPPLEMENTS AND MENTAL HEALTH: THE INTRICATE LINK
Let’s delve deeper into how specific supplements can help address some common mental health challenges.
STRESS AND ANXIETY: FINDING CALM IN THE CHAOS
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The Tranquil Sea
Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, have been hailed as key players in maintaining brain health. Studies have connected deficiencies in these nutrients to mental health disorders such as anxiety[^3^].
Magnesium: The Magic Mineral
Magnesium is involved in a myriad of biochemical reactions within our bodies. Recent studies suggest it may play a pivotal role in managing anxiety symptoms[^4^].
Ashwagandha: The Ancient Pacifier
Ashwagandha, a traditional herb used in Ayurvedic medicine, has demonstrated potential benefits for mental health. Research suggests it may help reduce stress and anxiety, making it a strong candidate for mental wellness supplementation[^5^].
IMPROVING SLEEP: THE QUEST FOR REST
CBD Oil: The Dream Weaver
CBD oil has received significant attention for its potential to improve sleep quality. Studies indicate it might help individuals suffering from insomnia, possibly by reducing anxiety levels, which often disrupt sleep[^6^].
Vitamin D: The Sunshine Supplement
Interestingly, Vitamin D has been linked to sleep quality. Some studies suggest that Vitamin D deficiency might be associated with shorter sleep duration[^7^].
BOOSTING COGNITIVE FUNCTION: A MENTAL UPLIFT
B Vitamins: The Cognitive Catalysts
B Vitamins, particularly B6, B9, and B12, are essential for brain function. They participate in processes such as energy production, DNA repair, and gene regulation. Studies suggest that deficiencies in these vitamins may contribute to depression and cognitive decline[^8^].
Nootropic Mushrooms: Nature’s Brain Booster
Specific mushroom species, like Lion’s Mane, are revered for their cognitive enhancing properties. These mushrooms might stimulate nerve growth and improve cognitive function, offering potential benefits for mental health[^9^].
AN IMPORTANT REMINDER
While the potential of food supplements in promoting mental wellness is promising, they should not replace professional mental health services. It’s crucial to remember that each individual’s nutritional needs and responses to supplements can vary, underlining the importance of personalized healthcare advice[^10^].
The journey to mental wellness is unique to each individual. Food supplements, with their potential to fill nutritional gaps, can offer valuable support along this journey. As research progresses, the hope is to better understand these nutrients and harness their full potential in our quest for mental wellness.
- Sarris, J., Logan, A. C., Akbaraly, T. N., Amminger, G. P., Balanzá-Martínez, V., Freeman, M. P., Hibbeln, J., Matsuoka, Y., Mischoulon, D., Mizoue, T., Nanri, A., Nishi, D., Ramsey, D., Rucklidge, J. J., Sanchez-Villegas, A., Scholey, A., Su, K. P., Jacka, F. N.; International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (2015). Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry. Lancet Psychiatry, 2(3), 271-274.
- Ames, B. N. (2006). Low micronutrient intake may accelerate the degenerative diseases of aging through allocation of scarce micronutrients by triage. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(47), 17589-17594.
- Su, K. P., Matsuoka, Y., Pae, C. U. (2015). Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Prevention of Mood and Anxiety Disorders. Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience, 13(2), 129-137.
- Sartori, S. B., Whittle, N., Hetzenauer, A., Singewald, N. (2012). Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: Modulation by therapeutic drug treatment. Neuropharmacology, 62(1), 304-312.
- Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., Anishetty, S. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 34(3), 255-262.
- Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente Journal, 23, 18-041.
- Majid, M. S., Ahmad, H. S., Bizhan, H., Hosein, H. Z. M., Mohammad, A. (2018). The effect of vitamin D supplement on the score and quality of sleep in 20-50 year-old people with sleep disorders compared with control group. Nutritional Neuroscience, 21(7), 511-519.
- Kennedy, D. O. (2016). B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review. Nutrients, 8(2), 68.
- Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., Azumi, Y., Tuchida, T. (2009). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double‐blind placebo‐controlled clinical trial. Phytotherapy Research, 23(3), 367-372.
- Opie, R. S., Itsiopoulos, C., Parletta, N., Sanchez-Villegas, A., Akbaraly, T. N., Ruusunen, A., Jacka, F. N. (2017). Dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression. Nutritional Neuroscience, 20(3), 161-171.