top of page

B in the Know About Your Mental Health: Vitamin B

#StressManagement #SelfCare #SelfNurturing #Wellness #PhysicalWellness #EmotionalWellness #Nutrition #ProperEating #Balance

"B vitamins are crucial to effective brain functioning and optimum emotional health."

You probably can tell by the title that today's article is going to feel like one of those lectures from your high school health class. You may even be prompted to click off this one. Boring. I get it. I really do. Doing the research for today's article was tedious at times. But do not leave before you understand this point.

The issues arising from a poor diet cannot be resolved by a doctor. Neither medication nor surgery can effectively address the distressing mental and physical health conditions that stem from an inadequate diet.

If you still decide not to read on, I get it. We are only ready when we are ready. There is not much anyone else can say or do until we are ready. If you are not ready, then please, I ask you to bookmark this page until the day comes when you can be open, receptive, and non-defensive when reading about how the foods you eat are destroying both your physical and mental health. And the day will come. It most definitely came for me; my familial genetic predisposition not only made sure of it, but also speeded it all up. If you are just a little bit curious and able to stomach a brief science lesson today in nutrition, take a breath, clear your thoughts, and read on.

Mental health and wellbeing is not typically what people think of first when they think about diseases that are due to poor diet. In the quest for improved mental health and well-being, we often overlook the essential role that proper nutrition plays. However, without proper nutrition, the brain cannot function. As discussed in our article, Dimensions of Wellness: Physical Wellness, "The body doesn't too much discriminate between a good nutritious calorie food from a not so good calorie food. It is going to process and expend the energy." Our brains need a steady supply of nutrients to work properly. When those nutrients are out of balance, it causes symptoms.

Among the various nutrients that support our mental well-being, the B vitamins stand out as key players. These water-soluble vitamins play critical roles in brain function and are closely linked to our mental health. In this blog, we will delve into the significance of Vitamin B and its impact on our mental well-being. As you read this article, please note that the information contained is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be used to attempt self-diagnosis or as a substitute for evaluation by a qualified medical professional. In other words, don't go it alone and stop avoiding your physician.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine):

Thiamine, also known as Vitamin B1, is vital for the proper functioning of our nervous system. It facilitates the conversion of glucose into energy, which is essential for the brain to function optimally. Thiamine deficiency can lead to neurological symptoms, including memory problems, mood disturbances, and even confusion. Ensuring an adequate intake of thiamine-rich foods such as whole grains, legumes, and nuts can support healthy brain function.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin):

Riboflavin, also known as Vitamin B2, is vital for energy production. It also supports our eyes, cardiovascular health, and metabolic function. This vitamin also helps promote a positive mood by participating in the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which are crucial for mood regulation and overall mental well-being. Food sources for riboflavin include: dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt; eggs including yolk, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli; whole grains; nuts and seeds; legumes; and certain mushrooms (shiitake and cremini).

Vitamin B3 (Niacin):

Niacin, or Vitamin B3, is involved in energy production within brain cells and helps maintain the integrity of the nervous system. Severe niacin deficiency can lead to pellagra, a condition characterized by dementia, depression, and other mental health symptoms (i.e. depression or even psychosis). Foods like poultry, fish, whole grains, and legumes can provide an adequate supply of niacin.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid):

Pantothenic Acid, or Vitamin B5, helps with energy production and helps manage hormones such as cortisol, testosterone, and estrogen which play essential roles in regulating metabolism, managing stress, and maintaining reproductive health. Deficiency of Vitamin B5 can lead to fatigue, poor memory, stress, depression, and irritability. Individuals with inadequate diets or specific medical conditions may have an increased risk of deficiency. Vitamin B5 can be found in a variety of foods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, whole grains, legumes, and vegetables.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine):

Vitamin B6 plays a crucial role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, which are involved in regulating mood and emotions. Adequate levels of Vitamin B6 are necessary for maintaining a balanced mental state. Research suggests that low levels of B6 have been associated with symptoms of stress, irritability, depression, and cognitive impairment. Including foods like poultry, fish, beans, and bananas in your diet can help meet your Vitamin B6 needs.

Vitamin B7 (Biotin):