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Nutrients for Mental health

In any one year over two million Australians have anxiety and over one million

have depression. Australia has the second highest rate of anti-depressant use in the world. This is the bad news, the good news is there is much you can do to support your mental health....

• Zinc - Patients with depression show lower levels of Zinc than healthy controls and research has shown a positive association between zinc deficiency and the severity of symptoms. Randomised controlled trials & observational studies have found Zinc deficiency increases the risk of depression and when zinc is supplemented with anti-depressant drug therapy, additional reduction in depressive symptoms is observed. Often when zinc is low - copper is high. Copper lowers dopamine and increases norepinephrine (schizophrenia, ADHD, Postpartum depression, violent behavior)

• Serum levels of Vitamin C are lower in those with major depression and anxiety. The brain contains the highest level of vit C in the body and turns over 40% daily.

• There is a positive association between Magnesium (Mg) deficiency and depression. Antidepressant medications exert their effect by raising brain Mg levels inhibiting the NMDA receptor complex (they require adequate Mg levels to work). Mg supports serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline and GABA modulation and transmission. Mg Increases Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). Mg significantly improves sleep time, sleep onset and latency. Mg prevents hyperactivity of the HPA axis which is linked to stress and depression.

• Low levels of Selenium can be responsible for depressive mood, anxiety and poor cognition.

• Decreased levels of Vitamin E have been noted in those with depression. Tocotrienols are the most effective form to use.

• Deficiency symptoms of Vitamin B6 are brain-specific and include; irritability, depression and impaired alertness. Results from Genetic or acquired deficiency. Regulates the serotonin, dopamine and GABA

• Biotin deficiency has been associated with depression and hallucinations.

What to do! -

ANTIOXIDANT RICH DIET – Encourage a wholefood, low processed diet, comprising 45-50% carbohydrate, 25-30% protein and 20-30% fat. Avoid all refined carbohydrate (sugar, soft drinks and refined grains) as much as possible. 50% of fruit and vegetables should be raw. Variety of coloured fruits and vegetable, herbs and spices.

QUALITY PROTEIN – Animal proteins or high quality plant protein. Protein snacks will help support neurotransmitter synthesis, regulate blood sugar and help prevent/treat hypoglycaemia. Fish, meats, eggs, organic soy, nuts, seeds and legumes.

PROBIOTICS – yoghurt with live cultures, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha and sourdough.

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS – green leafys, flaxseed/pumpkinseed oil, fish, seeds, olive oil, organic butter.


Lesley x

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