According to the latest State of Mental Health in America report, more than 47 million people in the United States suffer from a mental health disorder. Data analyzed by Mental Health America between January and September 2020 found isolation and loneliness during the pandemic to be the top contributing factors to mental health issues.
How we manage symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety makes a big difference. Scheduling breaks during the workday, engaging in practices such as meditation and daily walks are all ways to reduce these symptoms. Some supplements are also known for their ability to reduce symptoms of stress and alleviate depression. Here are a few.
B vitamins work to support a healthy nervous system.
Vitamin B6 is essential to brain health. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adult males is 1.3–1.7 milligrams daily, while adult women require 1.3–1.5 milligrams daily. Good dietary sources of vitamin B6 include fish, beef, chicken, spinach and potatoes.
Research supports the role vitamin B6 plays in mental health, particularly depression. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition concluded that low B6 blood levels increased the risk and severity of depression in older adults. Another study found that higher levels of vitamin B6 were associated with a lower prevalence of depression in teens.
Folate (vitamin B9) and vitamin B12 also play a part in mood disorders. An article in the Journal of Psychopharmacology with findings from multiple studies reported that both low folate and low vitamin B12 levels had been found when studying depressed patients.
Adults 19 years and up should aim for 400 micrograms of dietary folate daily. Folate sources include leafy greens, beans and peanuts.
The vitamin B12 requirement for male and female adults is 2.4 micrograms daily. Vitamin B12 can be found in fish, red meat, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals.
Take one teaspoon daily with a meal.
The latest research shows that popping a daily probiotic can also help boost mood. A review article published in the journal Nutrients suggested that probiotics could play an important role in reducing the risk of depression in healthy subjects, as well as reducing the severity of symptoms in patients with major depressive disorder.
Yogurt is the most well-known source of probiotic foods. The probiotic content of yogurt typically ranges from 90 billion to 500 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) per serving. Look for the “Live & Active Cultures” seal on the label.
Interested in a probiotic supplement? Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are among the most studied probiotics for their mental health benefits.
Take two capsules daily, with or without food.