Mood-Boosting Vitamins: Mindful Micronutrients for a Healthier Headspace

Life can be tough. Sometimes really tough.

Between a sociocultural climate that's changing more rapidly than a teenager getting dressed for their first date, it’s no wonder that rates of depression and anxiety are on the rise. In fact, anxiety affects 40 million adults in the United States alone while depression affects 300 million individuals worldwide. [1,2] Additionally, mental health conditions are estimated to cost upwards of $1 trillion each year, with depression leading the pack as the number one cause of disability and poor health, according to the World Health Organization.[3]

The complexity of mental health provides a unique set of challenges without a simple, one-size-fits-all solution. Often, those struggling with symptoms of depression will need to approach treatment from many different angles, including counseling, medication, and lifestyle modification.

But is there another important piece to the mental health puzzle?

Vitamin and mineral supplementation can play a pivotal role in managing your mood. Who would guess that your Flintstone multi of the past may have played a role in that “kid on Christmas morning” feeling you experienced more often than not during childhood.

Today, we’re guessing your taste in a multivitamin is a bit more refined. However, the mood-boosting benefits are just as true today as they were when your troubles included time-outs and learning to share (no judgment if these issues are still relevant)! Luckily, with products like the Bioactive Multi and AM/PM from Healthycell, you have a sophisticated supplement that packs in a plethora of mood-enhancing micronutrients with a much higher degree of bioavailability. That’s great news if you’re looking for a fix of feel-good vitamins that can improve your headspace over the long haul.

Read on as we breakdown four mood-boosting vitamins and minerals that are sure to help you shake a serious case of the sad’s.

Chromium

This metallic trace mineral provides a multitude of benefits, including an improved mental state. As an essential nutrient for humans, most of today's population consumes less than 60% of their daily chromium requirement, which is problematic considering its role in lipid and glucose metabolism.[4] Because of this, a long term chromium deficiency can lead to similar symptoms as those seen in diabetes and cardiovascular disease, including vision loss, neuropathy, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

In addition to its role in metabolic health, adequate chromium intake can help combat a case of the blues. Our cells become more insulin sensitive with appropriate chromium consumption, leading to an increase in amino acid transport across the blood-brain barrier. This allows for a higher concentration of the amino acid tryptophan to enter the central nervous system, where it is used as a building block for serotonin, a neurotransmitter known for its role in mood regulation. [5] Additionally, research has shown Chromium’s potential to inhibit the serotonin receptor, 5-TH 2A, which provides a similar effect to the most frequently prescribed antidepressant, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRI’s.[6,7]

Norepinephrine is another spirit-lifting neurotransmitter that responds to chromium intake. [8] It appears the mineral acts similarly on this brain chemical as it does on serotonin, releasing more and removing less within the central nervous system. With its mind-positive properties, the extra circulating norepinephrine provides the mental pick me up we’re chasing after.

A final component to this mood-boosting mineral is understanding the role of chromium in insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Lethargy and low motivation are main symptoms of depression that make it a particularly debilitating disease. Unfortunately, these side effects tend to create more problems for those suffering, including social withdrawal and isolation, as well as personal and professional issues. Chromium helps to mediate some of these tiresome tribulations by properly regulating blood-sugar levels and providing more consistent and sustained energy levels. This, in turn, provides a bit of pep in your step and will help eliminate the low-energy the vicious cycle that can result from strokes of sadness.[9]

Vitamin D

This sunshine vitamin earns every bit of its cheery namesake! If you’ve ever experienced the wrath of a long and dark winter, there's a good chance you’ve also faced a bout of seasonal blues. In fact, 77% of all Americans are currently deficient in this mood-boosting vitamin, leading to an epidemic of melancholy amongst the masses.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, often referred to as SAD, usually creeps up in response to seasonal shifting and less exposure to natural light, both factors that play a role in our brain function. However, while the specific source of SAD has yet to be determined, research indicates that the sunshine vitamin can help to shake dreary weather depression.

As one part of the dynamic duo for bone health, vitamin D works to facilitate the absorption of calcium, allowing you to build stronger bones and prevent premature osteoporosis. But how does this bone-building vitamin perk you up through life’s figurative and literal seasons?[10,11]

Research has uncovered a link between depression and chronically low levels of serotonin in the hippocampus, which eventually leads to long term structural and behavioral changes. The decreased levels of this neurotransmitter were found to correspond with a vitamin D deficiency, which led researchers to propose the link between the two chemicals.

In 2017, one study sought to further explore the relationship between vitamin D and depression, suggesting that the relationship could be the result of impaired neuronal pathways as a result of inappropriate calcium levels in the brain. The results indicate that vitamin D helps to regulate the rise in neuronal calcium levels that have been linked to depression. [12]

As research continues to uncover more support for the sunshine vitamins role in managing the symptoms of depression and anxiety, it’s clear that this micronutrient has significant mood-boosting potential. So if you find yourself feeling down when the weather darkens, it may be time to dose up with vitamin D.

Folate

Also known as vitamin B9, folate or folic acid provides an array of brain-health benefits in addition to improving mental wellbeing. By breaking down the amino acid Homocysteine, a molecule with a known association to Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and depression, folate provides the chemical housekeeping necessary to battle the blues. The mechanism behind this relationship appears to be that the breakdown of homocysteine generates SAMe. This naturally occurring compound is a fundamental component of brain cells and has been shown to have an antidepressant effect in humans.[13] Based on growing evidence, it appears that low levels of SAMe could be a contributing factor connecting folate and depression.

Additional research dating as far back as the 1960s has shown a link between folic acid and depression, revealing a connection between folate deficiency and lower levels of serotonin in the cerebral spinal fluid. [14] One study looked at patients with 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) deficiency, a disorder of folate metabolism that results in chronically low levels of the vitamin, and found a reduced rate of serotonin synthesis. These results provide further support for the connection between the vitamin and compromised mental health.

As folate affirms its place as a top performing mood-boosting vitamin, it’s imperative that this mighty micronutrient is stocked as part of your supplement supply. [15]

Zinc

If you’re feeling down in the dumps, a diet low in zinc could be to blame. Thanks to over-processed foods that are undersaturated in important nutrients, many do not meet their daily recommended target for this mindful mineral. Those who partake in a meat-free diet are at higher risk for suffering from a zinc deficiency since the most common sources are found in meat, poultry, and oysters. But whether or not you’re a vegetarian or a meat-and-potatoes machine, it’s likely you could use a boost of this mood-lifting vitamin.

As just one of many benefits, zinc helps our immune system to ward off infection, thereby limiting the inflammatory response produced by our white blood cells. Our bodies actually work to eliminate zinc during times of extreme stress by dispelling the mineral in body fluid secretions (like sweat and urine). This is so that we are better adept to register danger over the calming physiological response we have when there is adequate zinc circulating in our bloodstream. This evolutionary adaptation was important during times when we were subject to more extreme environmental conditions. Nowadays however, this adaptation is most commonly seen in those who participate in extreme training programs as well as those who are battling alcoholism, both of which indicate a state of biological stress. [16,17]

Unless you are currently employed as your local zoos resident lion tamer, we assume you are not subject to the same dangerous conditions as our prehistoric ancestors leading to the “fight or flight” stress response. However, regardless of your occupation, chronic stress and a prolonged state of inflammation that results can ultimately lead to a depressed mental and physical state. This, in turn, provides the perfect storm for a stitch of serious sadness that can be hard to shake.

Fortunately, proper zinc intake will provide a myriad of improved mood effects in addition to the stress lowering capabilities. Studies over the last several decades demonstrate a consistent inverse relationship between levels of zinc in the serum and expression of depressive symptoms. [18] Following suit, additional research was able to show that nutritional therapy through zinc supplementation resulted in reduced severity of anxiety symptoms in suffering patients. Treatment of anxiety by zinc supplementation can ignite a chain reaction of mental health benefits that are sure to lift your spirits.

Maximize your Mood-Boosting Potential

We’ve covered four science-backed vitamins and minerals that have proven “perk-up” prowess. Unfortunately, even with the best intentions, many of us will not meet our recommended needs for each micronutrient which can lead to a lingering low mood if not addressed. While it is possible to build your own mood-boosting vitamin regime with multiple supplements, that requires time, energy, and finances that most of us are not willing to hassle with.

Alternatively, you could reach for a standard multivitamin that seems to fit the bill with each nutrient needed to beat the blues. However, many of these supplements come in a form that limits the bioavailability of the nutrients after consumption. At that point, you’re better off to hedge your bets with a colorful salad that will hopefully provide the mood-boost you are looking for.

If you’re tired of constantly fighting fits of mental funk and frustrated that your current supplement routine hasn’t seemed to help, you’re in luck. Healthycell's Bioactive Multi and AM/PM supplements provide each of the above vitamins and minerals to combat the mental struggles many of us are challenged with daily. With this innovative gel formula, your body is more likely to absorb the micronutrients you need to feel your best, from the inside out.

We get it. Being human is hard. Just make sure that your supplement isn’t! If you’re serious about shaking the “sads”, it's time to ditch the liquids and hard pills in favor of smarter MICROGEL™ supplements.


References

[1] “Home.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, adaa.org/.

[2] Depression. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression  

[3]Jezard, A. (n.d.). Depression is the no. 1 cause of ill health and disability worldwide. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/05/depression-prevents-many-of-us-from-leading-healthy-and-productive-lives-being-the-no-1-cause-of-ill-health-and-disability-worldwide/

[4] Anderson, R. A. (1997). Chromium as an essential nutrient for humans. Regulatory toxicology and pharmacology : RTP, 1 Pt 2, S35-41.

[5] M. J. Owens, C. B. Nemeroff, Role of serotonin in the pathophysiology of depression: focus on the serotonin transporter, Clinical Chemistry 40 (2) (1994) 288–295.

[7] Piotrowska, A., MĹ‚yniec, K., Siwek, A., DybaĹ‚a, M., Opoka, W., Poleszak, E., & Nowak, G. (). Antidepressant-like effect of chromium chloride in the mouse forced swim test: involvement of glutamatergic and serotonergic receptors. Pharmacological reports : PR, 6, 991–995.

[7] Celada, P., Puig, M., Amargós-Bosch, M., Adell, A., & Artigas, F. (2004). The therapeutic role of 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptors in depression. Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience : JPN, 4, 252–265.

[8] Delgado, P. L., & Moreno, F. A. (2000). Role of norepinephrine in depression. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, , 5–12.

[9] Marano, H. E. (2003, October 14). A Mineral for Mental Energy. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200310/mineral-mental-energy

[10] Christakos, S., Dhawan, P., Porta, A., Mady, L. J., & Seth, T. (2011). Vitamin D and intestinal calcium absorption. Molecular and cellular endocrinology, 1-2,25–29.

[11] Holick, M. F. (1996). Vitamin D and bone health. The Journal of nutrition, 4 Suppl, 1159S-64S.

[12] Robinson, D. H., & Mills, J. W. (1987). Ouabain binding in tadpole ventral skin. II. Localization of Na pump sites. The American journal of physiology, 3 Pt 2,R410-7.

[13] Bressa, G. M. (1994). S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAMe) as antidepressant: meta-analysis of clinical studies. Acta neurologica Scandinavica. Supplementum, , 7–14.

[14] Young, S. N., & Ghadirian, A. M. (1989). Folic acid and psychopathology. Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology & biological psychiatry, 6, 841–863.

[15] Young, S. N., & Ghadirian, A. M. (1989). Folic acid and psychopathology. Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology & biological psychiatry, 6, 841–863.

[16] Micheletti, A., Rossi, R., & Rufini, S. (2001). Zinc status in athletes: relation to diet and exercise. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 8, 577–582.

[17] C.J. McClain, L.C. Su Zinc deficiency in the alcoholic: a review

Alcohol. Clin. Exp. Res., 7 (1) (1983), pp. 5-10 

[18] Maes, M., D'Haese, P. C., Scharpé, S., D'Hondt, P., Cosyns, P., & De Broe, M. E. (1994). Hypozincemia in depression. Journal of affective disorders, 2, 135–140.

[19] Russo, A. J. (2011). Decreased zinc and increased copper in individuals with anxiety. Nutrition and metabolic insights, 1–5.