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Supplements to help managing your mind

21st September 2014 by Gabriel Wong, Clinical Psychologist

Many people who suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar or other mental illness may need to take some medications to monitor their conditions. Some of the medications are working for them, but other people do not benefit from their medications. Some people are still hesitating whether they are going to take these medications or not.

Are you aware that taking some supplements such as Vitamins or minerals may help or alleviate some of the symptoms that you may have encountered recently? Here are some of the findings from some orthomolecular doctors and other resources hoping to give you to look at this from another perspective.

Folic acid is a B-group vitamin essential for the healthy development of the neural tube of fetus in early pregnancy. Generally it helps the body make healthy new cells. It helps produce the brain chemicals acetylcholine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Deficiency of folic acid will trigger irritability and forgetfulness.

Vitamin B12 deficiency will attack the nerves especially the myelin shealth of the neurotransmitters. The deficiency can cause mental illness, including depression, bipolar disorder, paranoia and schizophrenic symptoms (Pacholok & Stuart, 2011).

Amino acids such as the tyrosine and tryptophan are the natural raw materials for the production of serotonin & norepinephrine. Tyrosine or norepinephrine influences the centre of the brain which is supposed for making us to have he feel of pleasure, and gratification. A deficiency of these chemicals will make us feel a sense of loss of motivation and forgetfulness. In addition, tyrosine is also a material for dopamine. L-tyrosine is involved in producing adrenaline, the fight-or-flight hormone. L-phenylalamine is the formation of the neurotransmitter 2-phenylethylamine. Taking Vitamin B6, the pyridoxal-5-phosphate will enable optimal production of serotonin from tryptophan. Taking Vitamin B6 along side with magnesium is needed by the amino acids for the synthesis of serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, phenylethylamine, and aminobutyric acid.

Studies have found that an overload of vanadium in the bodies of people with manic depression, in both manic and depressed stages. Lowering vanadium levels in manic-depressions will have an overall stabilization of moods. Vitamin C can easy to counteract and reduce vandanium level with the use of a relatively high dosage of Vitamin C, e.g. an excess of 3g. As vandanium suppresses the activity of lithium, Vitamin C detoxifies vandanium and hence stabilizing lithium activity. Taking fish oil daily may facilitate the functioning of lithium within the brain.

The minerals magnesium and manganese are powerful central nervous system depressant. Calcium helps regulate the balance between excitating and inhibiting functions in the brain. People with anxiety may have exceptionally high levels of lactic acid in their blood.

It is believed that Vitamins B1, B3, and B6 help decrease anxiety by increasing the body’s ratio and pyruvate to lactate. The natural B3 receptors in the brain attract the benzodiazepine which is commonly used to treat anxiety. B3 increases the effectiveness of diazepine compounds and many other tranquilizers. Vitamin B6 is helpful to stop anxiety as Vitamin B6 is necessary for the synthesis of the inhibitory brain chemical GABA (gama-aminobutyric acid), which has been linked with anxiety reduction.

Many people drink many cups of coffee and tea a day. Caffeine in the coffee and tea produces these symptoms by counteracting the brain chemical adenosine, a potent central nervous system depressant. Yale University psychiatrists found that caffeine produced panic-attack symptoms in 71% of panic disorder patients.

Low blood sugar can cause panic attack as well. Symptoms of low blood sugar can be identical to those of a panic attack. Sugar can affect our minds and our moods. Sugar can deprive our bodies of some of the vitamins and minerals needed to synthesis the brain chemicals that affect our moods and that it may contribute directly to the deficiency of amino acids.

Last but not the least, Vitamin D3 can prevent depression and dementia. It can help the body absorb calcium. Here is a link to watch Dr Michael Hollick to talk about the importance of Vitamin D : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiGBVDcbFVk.

If you are considering taking the above-mentioned Vitamins or minerals, it would be better to consult your GP first for advice. Your GP may ask you to do a blood test to check the deficiencies before prescribing you the right amount of dosage.

References:
Hollick, M. (2013). The D-lightful vitamin d for good health. Retrieved on September 22, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiGBVDcbFVk.

Lazarus, P. (1995). Healing the mind the natural way: Nutritional solutions to psychological problems. New York: G.P.Putnam’s Sons.

Pacholok, S.M. & Stuart, J.J. (2011). Could it be B12. An epidemic of
misdiagnoses. (Second Edition). California: Quill Driver Books.

Gabriel Wong
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