B vitamins, your mental health & your wellbeing
B vitamins are essential to many functions of the body. They aid in breaking down simple carbohydrates into glucose, the fuel for the brain and the body. They help manufacture new red blood cells and help them carry iron and create hemoglobin. And although these functions are vital to life, the most dramatic benefits of B vitamins are seen in relation to the brain and nervous system.
Deficiencies in B vitamins run the gamut from simple fatigue all the way to death. In between these extremes lie a host of symptoms and diseases including many mental health issues from depression, anxiety, mood swings, and irritability to paranoia, dementia, delusions, and psychosis.
B vitamins help you sleep, calm you down, help you think, and improve your mood.
How to improve mood and mental health with B vitamins
If you are dealing with any of these issues, diet is the first solution. B vitamins in their natural form are destroyed by processing foods. There is no place for processed foods in a truly healthy diet. Processed foods are generally filled with trans fats, GMOs, sugar or high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. If you are dealing with any mental health issue, a clean, healthy diet is the first and most important treatment.
Clean out your cupboard, your pantry, and your freezer. Get rid of your processed foods. Buy real food and buy organic as much as possible. All of your meat should be organic. When you are eating at the top of the food chain, you are ingesting the product of that animal’s diet. If the cow was raised on GMO feed, do you really want to eat it? Also, avoid all farm raised fish. Their feed is garbage as well. Animal protein is the only food source for B12, which is vital for the brain and nervous system. Make sure you buy food that is top quality, not from tortured animals raised on adulterated foods and antibiotics.
Fill your refrigerator and pantry with raw, organic fruits and vegetables. Beans and lentils are high in B vitamins. Grains must be whole. White rice, for instance, has had the outer layer removed–the outer layer filled with B vitamins.
Too often we rely on few foods, our favorites, to make up our diet. Experiment. Broaden your horizons and include new, nutrient dense foods. Eighty percent of your diet should consist of raw, organic, fruits and vegetables. This means eating one big salad a day with as many different veggies as you can cram into it or you can snack on lots of cut up veggies. Green smoothies are good, too, as long as they do not replace whole foods. You need the fiber for digestion and for promoting healthy bacteria in the gut.
B vitamins are water soluble, which means we do not store them in our fat tissues the way we store fat soluble vitamins. B12 is the only exception; it is stored in the liver. Since we do not store the other B vitamins, we need to eat good sources of B vitamins each day.
If you suffer from digestive disorders like Celiac disease or Crohn’s disease you should seriously consider supplementation. These conditions make it difficult for your body to assimilate B vitamins. Also, age is a determining factor. Supplementation is also strongly recommended after age 50 due to a decrease in assimilation. And if you suffer from PMS, anxiety, OCD, depression, or any form of mental illness, discuss B vitamin supplementation with your health care provider.
If you do choose to supplement, know that our bodies do not utilize synthetic vitamins as well as whole food vitamins. Make sure your vitamins are from a good source. And don’t freak out when your pee turns orange or bright yellow. B vitamins do that. Think about it this way: it’s a good way to know if you remembered to take your vitamins!
Along with B vitamins, we need a multitude of nutrients that just aren’t available in most of our topsoil anymore. Make sure you’re taking a holistic approach with your health. More than any one supplement, the foundation should be a healthy diet and one great whole food multivitamin/mineral. Here is a recipe for the best multivitamin/mineral nutrition formula I know of, and you can make your own at home. For more information on B vitamin supplementation and symptoms of B vitamin deficiencies, check out Mental health, physical health & B Vitamins.