Nutrient Deficiency- A cause of depression

Studies have shown that deficiency of certain nutrients contributes to an unhealthy mental state which leads to mental health issues like depression. Mental health professionals often suggest medical tests to be conducted before prescribing antidepressants or any other medication because often, the root cause of some people’s depression is an imbalance of nutrients.

Following are 10 nutrients whose deficiency causes unstable mental health-


Vitamin D deficiency is a major epidemic that doctors and public health officials are just beginning to recognize. This deficiency has been linked to depression, dementia, and autism. Most of our levels drop off during the fall and winter months, since sunlight is the richest source.

Ways to improve deficiency :

  • Spend time in the Sun.

  • Consume fatty fish and seafood.

  • Mushrooms

  • Egg yolks

  • Cow’s milk

  • plant-based milk alternatives like soy, almond, and hemp milk

  • orange juice

  • ready-to-eat cereals

  • certain types of yogurt


People with a low folate level have only a 7 percent response to treatment with antidepressants. psychiatrists are now prescribing a folate called Deplin to treat depression and improve the effectiveness of an antidepressant. Most adults need at least 400 mcg daily.

Ways to improve deficiency:

  • Beans, peas and lentils

  • Asparagus

  • Eggs

  • Leafy greens

  • Citrus fruits

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Broccoli

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Beef liver

  • Wheat germ

  • Papaya

  • Bananas

  • Avocado


Iodine deficiency can be a big problem because iodine is critical for the thyroid to work as it should, and the thyroid affects more than you think: your energy, metabolism, body temperature, growth, immune function, and brain performance (concentration, memory, and more). When it’s not functioning properly, you can feel very depressed, among other things. The daily intake for most adults is about 150 mcg.

Ways to improve deficiency:

  • Dairy products

  • Iodized salt

  • Seafood and seaweed


The most common form of anemia — an insufficient number of red blood cells — is caused by iron deficiency. Its symptoms are similar to depression: fatigue, irritability, brain fog. Adults should consume 8 to 18 mg of iron daily, depending on age, gender, and diet.

Ways to improve deficiency:

  • red meat

  • beans or lentils to soups, stews or casseroles

  • iron-enriched breakfast cereals and flour.

  • dry fruits

  • orange juice

  • pair iron-rich foods with those abundant in vitamin C

  • iron supplements if needed

  • avoid taking calcium and iron supplements together


Magnesium is sometimes referred to as the stress antidote, the “most powerful relaxation mineral that exists,” according to Hyman. A daily intake of about 400 to 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium for adult men and 310 to 320 mg for adult women is recommended.

Ways to improve deficiency:

  • Cashew Nuts

  • Almond

  • Avocados

  • Beet greens

  • Lentils

  • Chocolate

  • Figs

  • Okra

  • Seeds

  • Squash

  • Rice

  • Spinach

  • Kale

  • Turnip greens

  • Bananas


Nutrients like omega3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and play a critical role in brain function, especially memory and mood. The body can’t make them, so you need to either eat them or take supplements.

Ways to improve deficiency:

  • Eat plenty of fish.

  • Try some shellfish

  • Eggs


A vitamin B deficiency may impact your mental health. However, a sufficient presence of vitamin B prevents chances of strokes and rewards us with a healthy skin and nails.

A daily intake of 1.7 mg for adult men, and 1.5 mg for adult women is recommended.

Ways to improve deficiency:

  • Meat

  • Nuts

  • Leafy greens

  • Mushrooms

  • whole wheat breads

  • Eggs

  • Reduce alcohol intake


Amino acids help your brain properly function. A deficiency in amino acids may cause you to feel sluggish, foggy, unfocused, and depressed.

Ways to improve deficiency:

  • Meat, Fish and Poultry

  • Eggs and Dairy Products

  • Grains


Selenium is important for good thyroid function. It assists the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to the active thyroid hormone,T3. It also helps one of our important antioxidants keep polyunsaturated acids in our cell membranes from getting oxidized. Most adults need about 55 mcg of selenium daily.

Ways to improve deficiency:

  • Brazil nuts

  • Mushrooms

  • Seafood, especially oysters and tuna

  • Beans

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Meat

  • Poultry

  • Oats

  • Eggs

10. ZINC

Zinc activates our digestive enzymes so that we can break down our food, and works to prevent food allergies. It also helps our DNA to repair and produce proteins. Finally, zinc helps control inflammation and boosts our immune system. A daily intake of 11 mg of zinc for adult men and 8 mg for adult women is recommended.

Ways to improve nutrient deficiency:

  • Oysters, lobsters, crab and other seafood.

  • Red meat.

  • Baked beans and chickpeas.

  • A lot of the nuts contain zinc, especially cashews, almonds and peanuts.

  • Yogurt.

  • Cheddar cheese.

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