Monday, October 10, 2016

October 10, World Mental Health Day
The Relationship Between Nutrition and Depression



Understanding Nutrition, Depression and Mental Illnesses,   T. S. Sathyanarayana Rao, M. R. Asha,1 B. N. Ramesh,2 and K. S. Jagannatha Rao2 (To review the entire article, click the following link.)
Nutrition and food patterns play a key role in the onset, severity and duration of depression. These may include poor appetite, binge eating, overeating, anorexia, skipping meals, and a desire for sweet foods. Nutritional neuroscience is an emerging discipline shedding light on the fact that nutritional factors are intertwined with human cognition, behavior, and emotions. 

The dietary intake pattern of the different population throughout the world reflects they are often deficient in many nutrients, such as essential vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have indicated that daily supplements of vital nutrients are often effective in reducing patients' symptoms. Supplements containing amino acids have also been found to reduce symptoms, as they are converted to neurotransmitters which in turn alleviate depression and other mental health problems. When we take a close look at the diet of depressed people, an interesting observation is that their nutrition is far from adequate. They make poor food choices and selecting foods that might actually contribute to depression

The most common nutritional deficiencies seen in patients with mental disorders are of omega–3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are precursors to neurotransmitters. Accumulating evidence from demographic studies indicates a link between high fish consumption and low incidence of mental disorders; this lower incidence rate being the direct result of omega–3 fatty acid intake. Majority of Asian diets are usually also lacking in fruits and vegetables, which further lead to mineral and vitamin deficiencies.

Carbohydrates have been found to affect mood and behavior. Eating a meal rich in carbohydrates activates the release of insulin in the body. Insulin helps let blood sugar into cells where it can be used for energy and the production of tryptophan to the brain. Consumption of diets low in carbohydrate tends to generate depression due to the lack of production of serotonin and tryptophan.

Protein intake affects the brain functioning and mental health. Many of the neurotransmitters in the brain are made from amino acids. If there is a lack of amino acids, this can associate with low mood and aggression in patients. The excessive buildup of the amino acids phenylalanine may lead to brain damage and mental retardation this disease is called phenylketonuria.



As more resource is collected the relationship between nutrition and depression are unquestionably linked. Mood improvement has been associated with improved vitamin B2 and B6 status. Thiamine is linked to cognitive performance particularly in the older population. Clinical trials have indicated Vitamin B12 may delay the onset of signs of dementia. 

A study observing patients with depression and a low blood folate levels have identified a strong predisposing factor of poor outcome with antidepressant therapy. It is not clear yet whether poor nutrition, as a symptom of depression, causes folate deficiency or primary folate deficiency produces depression and its symptoms.


Another relationship between diet and depression involves old age. Related factors include unintentional weight loss; often linked to increased morbidity and premature death; a reduction in taste and smell, poor dentition, the use of medications that may depress the appetite. 

Resource

World Federation for Mental Health PO Box 807 Occoquan, VA 22125, USA info@wfmh.com  

If you believe you suffer from depression or mental illness, seek help.
Mental Health America

Call the 24-hour, toll-free confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or go to www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
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