Nutrient Deficiencies that can cause or Exacerbate Anxiety or Depressi – Dr Wendy Davis ND

Nutrient Deficiencies that can cause or Exacerbate Anxiety or Depression

As a Naturopathic Doctor, it is not enough to know that someone is low in certain nutrients, I also want to find out WHY someone might be low in iron, B12 or other important brain supporting nutrients.
Is it due to insufficient intake (vegan or vegetarians, poor dietary choices), poor absorption (low stomach acid, heartburn medications) or due to loss (bleeding ulcers, IBD, running, excessive menstrual losses, GI cancer)?
Proper supplementation can work to improve many mood disorders, but finding out the root cause of why is also very important.
Recent research has looked at the role of various nutrients and how they can improve our mental health.

Iron deficiency is one condition that research has shown can lead to or exacerbate mental health disorders.  Low ferritin levels on blood work, which indicate low iron storage, may suggest that iron supplementation is necessary.
Iron is essential for a number of enzymes involved in neurotransmitter synthesis, including serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. When these are low there is an increased risk for  anxiety and depression
However, since ferritin can be elevated in inflammatory conditions, it is best to ask your doctor to run a complete iron panel in order to evaluate not only iron stores, but the actual iron in the blood as well as its saturation.
It is unwise to supplement iron if it is not needed, so only take this supplement when necessary.
Iron supplementation can exacerbate constipation and for some people it causes some gastric distress, so low and slow is the way to go.
As is eating liver a few times a month, or taking beef liver capsules, which are very well absorbed, do not cause digestive pains and have no taste.

Vitamin B12 is another often overlooked nutrient that has many mental health implications.  Low levels of Vitamin B12 are common in those with anxiety and depression.  Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is essential for optimal mental health since Vitamin B12 plays a significant role in producing serotonin and dopamine, which are mood-enhancing neurotransmitters. As a result, Vitamin B12 can help to prevent and treat depression and anxiety. It can improve focus and memory as well.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in vegans and vegetarians as it is only naturally  found in animal foods.

Omega 3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish such as salmon, anchovies, mackerel, sardines and herring, as well as high quality supplements have been incredibly helpful to minimize anxiety and depression.  However, Omega 3 deficiencies are common since Omega-3 rich fish are not regularly consumed, and many conventional Omega 3 supplements are often of very poor quality. 
In addition, excess intake of the inflammatory Omega 6 oils found in toxic seed oils (canola, soy, corn, peanut, cottonseed, vegetable oils) reduce the efficacy of the healthy Omega 3 oils.
Omega-3s work to reduce mood disorders since they can easily travel through the brain cell membrane and interact with mood-related molecules inside the brain. They also have anti-inflammatory actions that may help relieve depression.

Magnesium (especially magnesium threonate that crosses the blood brain barrier) is useful to help to reduce anxiety or depression, and low levels are also implicated in mood disorders. Magnesium is highly regarded as a natural relaxant. It works by increasing the calming neurotransmitter GABA, while reducing the release of stress hormones. Magnesium is found in many whole foods (dark leafy greens, squash, whole grains, legumes, almonds), and is virtually non-existent in processed, convenience foods.

The following supplements are currently only available for purchase in clinic.

Liquid B12 SAP *Currently only available for purchase in clinic.

Iron SAP *Currently only available for purchase in clinic.

Omega D3 Liquid Forte *Currently only available for purchase in clinic.
Beef Liver *Currently only available for purchase in clinic.