Those who suffer from mental illness such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. may not think a physical problem could be part of the cause. Fact is, people who have vitamin deficiencies often experience mental health problems and/or are diagnosed with a mental illness. Learn about vitamin deficiencies that cause symptoms of mental illness and what you can do to help yourself or a loved one heal.
Vitamin C Deficiency
Though most people associate vitamin C with helping stave off colds and flu, those with a severe deficiency of this vitamin may experience symptoms of mental illness including:
According to Dr. Leonard John Hoffer, author of “Vitamin Therapy in Schizophrenia”, schizophrenic patients have a tendency to be deficient in this critical vitamin, perhaps in part due to poor diet. It is recommended that up to 6 grams of vitamin C can be taken to reduce schizophrenic symptoms.
Vitamin D Deficiency
This vitamin is called ‘the sunshine vitamin’ because we absorb this vitamin directly through our skin when we step outside. Unfortunately, because of increasing incidents of skin cancer, spending any time in the sun without slathering on copious amounts of sunscreen is no longer common and because of this, vitamin D deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency on record. It can cause mental illness symptoms such as:
Seasonal Affective Disorder
According to a New York study done on teenagers admitted to the emergency room for psychotic symptoms , over 40 percent with symptoms of psychosis were deficient in vitamin D.
It is important to have blood levels checked by a trusted healthcare provider to make the diagnosis of this deficiency and learn how much of the supplement may be needed to improve symptoms.
Omega 3 Deficiency
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid, meaning the body cannot produce it on its own and it must be obtained from food or supplemental sources. Omega 3 is critical to good neurological health and a deficiency in it has been linked to mental illness symptoms such as:
This trace mineral is responsible for the regulation of over three hundred different functions in the body and a deficiency in it can cause a host of troubling mental symptoms such as:
Sensitivity to Light and Sound
Magnesium deficiency is also noted to cause physical symptoms such as twitching, trembling, muscle cramping, muscle weakness and allergies. Those who feel they do not get enough of the magnesium they need from food may benefit from supplementing the diet with bioavailable chelated magnesium to calm symptoms and help the nervous system heal and repair.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Those who have difficulty absorbing nutrients from food due to celiac disease, Crohn’s disease , intestinal surgery where part of the intestine was removed and other malabsorption problems may suffer from vitamin B12 (folic acid) deficiency. This vitamin deficiency can cause severe symptoms of mental illness including:
An untreated deficiency in folic acid may also result in pernicious anemia, a condition that occurs when the body cannot absorb enough folic acid to make an adequate amount of red blood cells. Those who have a very severe vitamin B12 deficiency may be required to receive monthly injections for relief of symptoms and stabilization of condition. Contact a trusted healthcare provider if you or your loved one believes a vitamin B12 deficiency could be the cause of symptoms of mental or physical illness.
Anyone suffering from mental illness should continue the therapy and medication they are on and inform their psychiatrist or therapist that they are interested in nutritional treatments. Suddenly stopping psychiatric medication may result in damaging side effects. Tapering off medication should be done gradually and under a doctor’s supervision.
Mental illness can make everyday life difficult. Treating these symptoms using nutritional therapy may be just what you need to get back on track to wellness.
If you find the doctor currently treating your mental illness not open to nutritional therapy, continue with your treatment and make an appointment with a more open-minded physician or naturopath who can help make any transition a bit easier.