EMOTIONAL WELLBEING THROUGH NUTRITION
Many of us suffer from issues with our wellbeing whether it is symptoms on the emotional or physical level. Demands of the modern lifestyle, poor eating habits, constant interruptions to thoughts and routines through phones, messages, social media etc. are causing higher stress levels among people. These stress levels manifest in various physical, mental and emotional dis-eases.
When people go to their physicians with these concerns the answer is often medication. This is usually the suggestion regardless of any thorough workup, especially workup for nutrient deficiencies.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are often the root cause for symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritability, PMS, respiratory concerns, and even pain. Even though nutritional deficiencies are very common, they are often overlooked and therefore under-reported and undertreated. People are often prescribed antidepressants or birth control pills when basic nutritional balancing can do the trick. This is very unfortunate because it is simple to screen for nutrient status and correcting imbalances can have amazing life improving results. Whereas, medications especially those used for emotional and mental health can have drastically damaging effects on the body.
Even though wholesome balanced nutrition is required for the body to achieve optimal wellness, some nutrients play greater role than others for emotional health. Magnesium, iron, vitamin D, and Vitamin B12 are such nutrients and are good starting points for assessing levels. Not only is it important to know whether these nutrient levels are low, it is just as important to know the reason. This information will help to treat the underlying cause and prevent further complications.
Magnesium is one of the most common deficiencies in the United States. One reason for this is because our soil is depleted of minerals, making our food less rich in this mineral. Magnesium is needed for our body to relax. When it is low, it causes symptoms such as muscle tension, cramping, high blood pressure, and headaches. This physical tension leads to anxiety and restless sleep. Magnesium supplementation can help with all of these symptoms and is sometimes the only thing needed to restore balance within the body. It is important to work with a professional to ensure you are taking the right dose and form in order to get the desired results and to avoid side effects.
Vitamin B12 is a vital nutrient and is necessary for a multitude of bodily functions. We get the majority of B12 from eating meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, therefore people who eat little or no animal products have a propensity towards being deficient. Early signs of B12 deficiency include fatigue, anxiety, and depression. If the correct levels are not restored people can develop cognitive and neurological symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, numbness and tingling. B12 is also needed for red blood cell production therefore deficiencies can lead to anemia. Treatment for correction depends on the level of severity and either includes dietary modifications, supplementation, or injections.
Vitamin D is probably the most familiar deficiency across the world. While we get small amounts from consuming fish or eggs, we get the vast majority from sunlight. Due to over exaggerated fear of skin cancer from sun exposure more and more people are avoiding the sun which has resulted in an epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, if people who don’t spend much time in the sun are not supplementing, they are bound to have low levels. Vitamin D is necessary for energy, mood stability, the immune system, and bone health. Low Vitamin D is a common cause of depression and a huge contributor to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Decreased stores contribute to chronic pain, particularly low back pain. While it may seem too simple of a cause for major health disturbances, its importance cannot be overstated.
Iron deficiency may be missed even with a complete blood count test or CBC. A CBC assesses the body’s red blood cells to see if there are any abnormalities suggestive of a deficiency. Because iron is needed to produce red blood cells, normal CBC results often lead to people being told their levels are normal. However, what isn’t looked at as often are specific markers of iron status such as total levels or ferritin. These numbers are frequently low despite normal CBC results. Iron is vital in maintaining overall wellbeing. If we do not have enough of this mineral it can contribute to fatigue, depression, anxiety and hair loss. Iron supplements may be difficult to tolerate for some people but taking small amounts, eating it with meals, and making sure you have the correct form can make them more tolerable for the body. Iron can be toxic if levels get too high, so do not supplement with this unless being monitored by a professional. ,
Eat well. Supplement vital nutrients in your body. Work with a Naturopath to get an in-depth assessment of your body and its various needs. You will feel and live the way you haven’t in a very long time!