7 Nutritional Deficiencies That Make You More Irritable
Have you ever experienced a mood change that you can’t quite explain? Perhaps you felt depressed – but couldn’t understand why? Or maybe you were more easily agitated than normal for no apparent reason?
If so – it’s possible that a nutritional deficiency could be affecting your mood. Of course, if you suffer from a chronic illness like fibromyalgia you know firsthand how a chronic illness can affect your mood. What you may not realize is that there could be an underlying deficiency that’s making it worse.
Here are 7 deficiencies that, if left unaddressed, can and most often WILL negatively affect your mood – leading to increased feelings of depression, anger, agitation, anxiety and more.
If you don’t spend any time out in the sun – it’s time to start! One of the best ways to get vitamin D is to be exposed to sunlight. In fact, getting as little as 10 minutes of direct sunlight a day is usually enough to get you your daily dosage.
For those who aren’t getting enough vitamin D, one of the potential symptoms is depression. In fact, Vitamin D deficiency is one of the best documented and widely known contributors to depression. In addition to depression, it has also been linked to dementia and autism.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Unlike Vitamin D, your body can’t naturally produce Omega-3 fatty acids. That means you need to get it through diet (i.e. salmon, tuna, flaxseeds are great sources of Omega-3) or by taking a daily Omega-3 supplement (like Fish Oil).
So what do Omega-3 fatty acids do for you? For one, they help reduce pain and inflammation. On top of that, they play an important role in brain functions. They have been shown to improve both cognitive function (i.e. memory) and mood.
According to a study by Tafts University, vitamin B12 deficiency may be much more widespread than previously believed. In fact, they say that as much as 40% of the world’s population may be vitamin B12 deficient. That’s because unlike other vitamins, B12 has difficulty absorbing into our bodies, as Dr. John Douillard explains in the video below:
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in mood. That’s because it helps maintain healthy brain chemistry by synthesizing the neurotransmitters that control mood, energy, sleep, motivation, drive and more. For those suffering from a B12 deficiency, taking steps to improve B12 consumption and absorption will often result in improved mood, energy, drive and more.
Like vitamin B12, B6 plays a role in the neurotransmitters that control mood. Vitamin B6 is actually needed for these neurotransmitters and brain chemicals to even be created. Not only that, but vitamin B6 helps aid your body’s absorption of B12. As we just discussed, B12 has an inherently poor absorption rate, so a deficiency of B6 can dramatically affect your body’s ability to absorb and store sufficient levels of B12.
As many as 80% of Americans suffer from magnesium deficiency or are on the verge of becoming deficient. While it may be surprising to hear of such widespread deficiency in a developed country like the United States, it’s actually no surprise given our lifestyles and diet. Things like sugar, coffee, salt, soda, alcohol and stress can all diminish our body’s supply of magnesium.
Magnesium deficiency can affect mood and lead to depression. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include anxiety, fatigue, confusion, memory loss, high blood pressure, weakness and more.
Besides improving mood, magnesium may also be of special benefit to those suffer from fibromyalgia or chronic pain. Click the link below to see how magnesium can help ease chronic pain:
Did you know that like fibromyalgia, iron deficiency tends to affect women more often than men? One study has even shown an increase in iron deficiency among fibromyalgia sufferers. While the verdict is still out on why that is, the CDC estimates that a shocking 11% of women of childbearing age are deficient and 7% of women 50 years of age or older are deficient.
Iron plays an important role in mood and energy by supplying oxygen to every part of your body. It is also involved in various chemical processes and reactions throughout your body. One of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency is weakness and exhaustion – which can have a profound effect on your mood.
Folate is a B-vitamin naturally found in foods. Folic acid is another form of folate used in supplements or fortified foods. A folate deficiency can have serious consequences, including the risk of birth defects for women that are pregnant. Among the more common symptoms of folate deficiency are weakness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, headaches and more.
For people experiencing depression or mood changes as a result of a folate deficiency, less than 7% respond positively to antidepressants. Addressing the deficiency should be one of the first steps in addressing the depression or mood changes.
While the connection between a healthy diet and physical health has long been known, the less obvious connection between the foods we eat and our mental health and mood is equally important. Getting the right vitamins and nutrients our bodies need can go a long way in improving mood, increasing energy levels and enjoying a higher overall quality of well-being.