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Food Deficiences and Mood / Anxiety Disorders

Food can have dramatic side effects on the body. Caffeine, alcohol, chocolate for example each distinct side effects on the human body.

But a lack of certain types of food can also result in metabolic or nutritional deficiencies which can lead to psychological disorders - including side effects like depression, mood disorders and anxiety disorders - to say nothing of eating disorders.

Unfortunately many doctors don't even check for metabolic or nutritional deficiencies that may be the real cause of a person's depression or disorder. Instead they just like to prescribe anti-depressant pills when in reality what a person just needs is a healthy diet and perhaps some vitamin/mineral supplements. (We should also note that regular exercise also boosts self esteem and self-image, so healthy diet combined with regular exercise would garner the best results.)

Patients have no idea why they are feeling so awful or where to start looking for the answer. They expect their doctor to give them real solutions, and doctors end up pushing pills on them as a bandaid solution. Drugs are the easy fix, but they're often not the final solution because there are serious side effects that come with taking powerful anti-depressants.

Doctors prescribe anti-depressants using information they get from drug sales reps and every time they prescribe an anti-depressant they get paid a commission (even though you collect your prescription from the drug store). The side effects and dangers of these drugs are down-played so that patients don't realize all of the pros and cons of the medication. The problem is doctors are prescribing these medications without first ruling out dietary deficiency as a cause. Some doctors have realized that many patients refuse to change their diet and thus go straight to prescribing pills because they think the patient is unwilling to change their diet.

Every winter millions of people get the "Winter Blues", a depressing funk from being inside all the time and not getting enough vitamin D. People can get the "Winter Blues" any time of the year however. All they have to do is avoid sunlight for 2 or 3 months and barely eat any vitamin D, they will get depressed quite easily.

If you suffer from depression or mood/anxiety disorders it is possibly you may simply be deficient in one of the nutrients below. Scientific researchers have determined that many people who suffer from depression and mood disorders are deficient in not just one nutrient but several, all contributing to the symptoms. So pay attention because it is possible you are missing out on several key ingredients for your happiness.

#1: Junk Food Diet = Common Nutritional Deficiency

Does your diet contain too much sugar, junk foods, sodas, or processed foods? Do you often skip meals? If you suffer from depression or mood disorders, one solution is to start a food diary of the foods you eat every day and then compare the results at the end of the week with what you should be eating. Chances are you are not eating enough fresh vegetables or fruit and this is extremely common in North America for people to have a nutritional deficiency from lack of veggies and fruit.

#2: Omega-3 Fatty Acids Deficiency

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are found in foods such as fish, fish oil and Flax Seed Oil. A deficiency of Omega-3 fatty acids or an imbalance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids could be the cause of your problems. Omega 3 Fatty acids are important to brain function and your mental outlook on life, a lack thereof results in a feeling of sluggishness and uselessness. Omega-3 Fatty Acids also help people who suffer from inflammation and pain problems. Researchers have found that the vast majority of patients with depression and mood disorders are deficient in Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

Conclusions from #1. and #2: Eat more fish, salad and veggies.

#3: Vitamin D Deficiency

I already mentioned Vitamin D above, but Vitamin D is also important for your immune function, bones, and brain health. Sunlight is the richest source for the human body making its own natural Vitamin D, but during winter months you need to be eating more Vitamin D in order to compensate for the lack of sunlight. A 2013 study determined that Vitamin D deficiencies are present in patients with depression, panic disorders and especially Alzheimer's. So to combat this you can go outside more, take Vitamin D supplements, or eat more foods containing Vitamin D like fish, eggs, milk, and cheese.

#4: B-Vitamins Deficiency:

In recent years Neuropsychiatry has proven the link between B-Vitamin deficiencies and mood disorders including depression. But there is a solution for this. Take a vitamin pill that contains 25 mg of each of the different B-Vitamins included in the pill. Vitamin B rich foods include fish, meat, nuts, dairy products, leafy greens, carrots, tofu, eggs.

#5: Zinc , Folate, Chromium, Iron and Mineral Deficiencies

Patients with depression are often found to be deficient in many minerals. Many modern processed foods contain almost no minerals or only trace minerals. Whenever possible, eat normal non-processed meat, veggies and fruits.

#6: Iodine Deficiency:

Iodine is necessary for your thyroid to work properly. The thyroid is part of the endocrine system and is one of the most important glands in your body. The thyroid gland affects every function of the body including body temperature, immune function, and brain function. Iodine is found in foods such as potatoes, cranberries, Kelp, Arame, Hiziki, Kombu, and Wakame.  Decades ago people used to eat Iodine enriched salt, but these days iodine deficiency is again becoming a problem with salt free diets. So if you're not a fan of the veggies mentioned above, try eating some salty foods instead (eg. salt-water fish).

#7: Amino Acids Deficiency

Amino Acids are used to make neurotransmitters in order speed up brain function and control emotional stability. There are 9 necessary Amino Acids that cannot be manufactured by your body and can only be attained by eating food. The Amino Acids you need are found in meat, eggs, fish, high quality beans, seeds and nuts. You also need to eat a variety of different foods to furnish the body with all the amino acids needed to be healthy - you can't just choose one and eat only that because not all foods contain all nine amino acids. A great source for amino acids is Moringa Oleifera leaves.

Overwhelmed neurotransmitters caused by an Amino Acids deficiency results in an imbalance between emotions, resulting in many different kinds of mental disorders. Dopamine, noradrenaline, and GABA are three important neurotransmitters often deficient in depression. You can test for this deficiency by visiting an Orthomolecular doctor who will test your blood and urine to check your amino acid levels. Unlike regular doctors who just prescribe anti-depressants, Orthomolecular doctors treat the base cause of the deficiency and can tailor make a treatment program for the person. Thus if they notice a deficiency, they will recommend you eat the appropriate foods or take supplements.


There are tests that prove nutrient deficiencies. You just have to ask your doctor for a Nutrient Deficiency Test. The problem however is most medical doctors in the USA will not give clearance for the tests, nor will your insurance pay for them - so if you are American and want this test done you have to pay for it yourself. In Ontario (and the rest of Canada) however the test is covered by OHIP (because the Canadian government knows they save money in the long run if people make the choice to safeguard their health and have the test so they know how best to do this).

So huzzah! Isn't Canada awesome?

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