As mentioned in one of my previous articles, anxiety is the product of the bodies natural response to stress. The feeling of fear, worry, tension or apprehension towards something that is coming. Often anxiety ( if left untreated treated ) or an anxiety disorder can trigger depression. Some people can even feel anxious and depressed at the same time, this can be quite draining, tiring and debilitating.
When experiencing or suffering from anxiety, stress or depression we always tend to only think of ” the externals “. What is going on in your life, who you surround yourself with, work, home, responsibilities, money ( or more the lack there off ) and so on. What we tend to completely have forgotten, or not even given any thought is what is going on inside of our bodies. We eat, breath, live and survive. Rinse and repeat. People don’t for one minute stop and think ” maybe my body is lacking something, and it could maybe also be why I am feeling like this ? ” Now, I don’t want to discredit the fact that the ” externals ” are not contributing factors, they are too very real. Can Vitamin deficiency cause anxiety – stress or even depression ? Can a combination of Nutrient and Vitamins deficiency cause these debilitating symptoms or conditions ? Well lets have a look at some facts.
From Gut to Brain
For years many different studies have been done regarding depression. Some more recent studies showed the intricate yet simple connection the gut has to the brain. The gut ( being the largest internal organ ) contains billions of microbiota ( also know as gut flora ), these all include bacteria, viruses, and fungi. All these microbiota are responsible for different processes to take place, such as fermenting dietary fiber Turing it into short-chain fatty acids and in turn being absorbed by our bodies. The gut bacteria synthesizes Vit B and Vit K as well as metabolizes bile acids, sterols and xenobiotics. The gut connects to our brain trough neurotransmitters, hormones, central nervous system, neuroendocrine system, neuroimmune system, automatic nervous system, enteric nervous system and the vagus nerve ( all vital for life ). The gut also contains millions of ” brain cells “, therefore it can (in a way) ” think for itself “. It contains millions of neurons, in actual fact more neurons are located in the gut than our spinal cord.
Unfortunately, due to most of our life styles, antibiotics, pesticides, processed foods and our crops being grown in nutrient depleted soils. Our bodies and more so our gut are not getting the sufficient amount of essential vitamins and nutrients to allow for good healthy microbiota in the gut and in turn increase the amounts of ” bad ” or unhealthy microbiota. This can have detrimental ” complications ” as the gut will not have the ability to adequately absorb and ” transport ” the essential vitamins and nutrients our bodies need to function optimally.
Depression is not just a mental disorder ” exclusively “. Depression is also a symptom of underlying conditions, such as disturbances in the manufacturing of Cortisol ( stress hormone ), brain dysfunction, imbalanced or compromised immune systems and very importantly the nervous system functioning. These microbiota imbalances may create many conditions associated to depression. imbalances of microbiota can negatively affect the levels of serotonin in the brain as well as decrease the levels of GABA ( chemical messenger in the brain ), which are strongly associated with depression and anxiety. If you go have a look at a person suffering from depression, you will most probably find they have some from of gut issue/s. So, this all boils down to the gut. If the gut is not healthy, your brain will not be healthy either.
Vitamins, Minerals Amino and Fatty Acids
So, now that we understand the role and the importance of the gut and how it can positively or negatively affect our brain ( anxiety, stress and depression ). We can also understand the importance of getting ” all the right stuff ” into our bodies. Unfortunately many believe we can get all of this from just eating healthy ( as organically as possible ). The problem however is that the “quality” of food is just not the same as it was a 100 or more years ago. The soil in which the crops grow require certain minerals, these important minerals are just not present anymore.
Think about this for a second. Do you think farmers 100 years ( or more ) ago used additional fertilizers to add to the soil in order to have a good healthy crop ? Well they didn’t. Farmers ( or households ) would have had wood burning fires for cooking etc every day. The ashes from these wood burning fires would then be worked back into the soil. The ashes are what contain minerals for the crops. The crops would “use” these minerals and produce the minerals we as humans and animals need. This is just one of many examples. Farmers today are forced to compete, and the larger the crop the higher the yield. This is what they need to do to survive. The downside is that most of these crops can look the same, maybe even taste the same, however the vitamin and mineral content of the crops are just not what they are supposed to be. The truth of the matter is it has come with sacrifices. Sacrifices to us eating the crops ( human and animal alike).
In order for our bodies to function optimally ( and healthy ) we do require additional input of vitamins, minerals, amino and fatty acids. The following are some of the ones that are related to Anxiety, Stress and Depression ( in no particular order ).
- Omega 3,6 & 9
- Vit B
- Amino Acids ( building blocks of protein )
- Vit D
There is hope for all of us
The importance of all essential Vitamins, Minerals, Amino and fatty acids are so imperative for all of us. Not just in the case of anxiety, stress or depression but for the function of our entire body. After all, every single bit of our body is in some way connected and if one thing is not “working ” properly then it will have a ripple affect to the rest of our body. No brainer – right ? Understanding these things will allow us to make better choices. In what we eat or drink, and avoiding the ” bad stuff”. Adding in all the essential Vitamins, Minerals, Amino and Fatty acids we do not get from our food should be a priority for every single person. And don’t just go and buy just any Vitamin of the shelve. Look at what is in it and how much of it. Is it Organic, NON GMO, pesticide free ? Does it contain all ( or most ) of the Minerals, Vitamins, Amino and Fatty Acids we need? 60 Minerals, 16 Vitamins, 12 Amino Acids & 3 Fatty Acids. If it checks the boxes, then you good to go !
So can Vitamin deficiency cause anxiety, stress and depression ? My short answers is – YES !
Until next time