What Vitamins Can Help Boost My Mood?

Medically Reviewed on 12/3/2021

Mood health vitamins and sources

What you eat has a direct effect on the structure of your brain and how well it works. Because of how important food is to your brain, it can also affect your moods. High-quality foods containing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that protect against cell damage show the most benefit for the brain. Some of the vitamins have shown special benefits for boosting moods. Here’s what you need to know about these "better mood health vitamins."

Studies have identified a few vitamins that can be linked to moods. Some of these studies are still in the early stages.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body absorb and hold onto the minerals calcium and phosphorus, which are important for bone health. Some groups of people are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, such as older people, adolescents, people who have excessive fat, and people with chronic or long-lasting medical conditions like diabetes.

Vitamin D is also called the sunshine vitamin because its two forms (vitamin D2 and vitamin D3) are made using the sun’s UVB (ultra-violet B rays). Even though exposing your hands and legs to the sun for five to 10 minutes, two or three times weekly is usually enough to maintain vitamin D levels, this form of treatment is not recommended. Unprotected sun exposure can lead to the risk of getting skin cancer.

It isn’t easy to get vitamin D from foods as sources are limited. You do have to be mindful of your diet. Vitamin D2 can be found in some types of fatty fish like salmon, swordfish, tuna, and sardines. It can also be found in cod liver oil, beef liver, and eggs. You can also get vitamin D from fortified (vitamin-enriched) cereals, dairy products, and fruit juices.

The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 600 international units for adult men and women. For people older than seven years, the recommended daily intake is 800 international units.

B vitamins

Some initial research shows that low levels of vitamin B12 and other B vitamins like vitamin B6 and folate may be linked to depression. But further research is still needed before we can be sure.

Some people have a greater risk of vitamin b deficiency, such as older adults and people with digestive medical conditions like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease. Animal products such as fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products are sources of Vitamin B12. You can also get vitamin B12 and other B vitamins from fortified breakfast cereals.

Talk to your doctor if you’re thinking about taking a supplement. Vitamin B can cause a negative reaction when you take it with some medicines.

Vitamin K

Research suggests that increased vitamin K levels can decrease symptoms of depression in older adults. But more studies are needed to understand if vitamin K can play a bigger role in preventing or treating depression.

Vitamin K can be found in green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli, vegetable oils, and cereal grains. Smaller amounts can be found in meat and dairy products. You can get all the vitamin K you need as long as you follow a balanced diet that has these foods. Adults need 1 microgram of Vitamin K per kilogram of body weight daily. The liver stores any extra vitamin K you've taken for future needs.

Vitamin C

Several studies have shown links between vitamin C and mental health conditions like anxiety, stress, depression, fatigue, and moods. More research is still needed, but more vitamin C, otherwise known as ascorbic acid, has been shown to improve moods in people with a deficiency.

The best source of vitamin C is from your daily diet. Fruits such as oranges, strawberries, and blackberries are rich sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C is available in vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and cabbage as well.

You can also get vitamin C in the form of capsules and chewable tablets. The recommended daily intake is 90 milligrams for men and 75 milligrams for women. Taking too much Vitamin C can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, or flatulence which is the medical word for having gas.

Conclusion

Several studies have shown links between moods and the intake of specific vitamins. It is recommended to get your mood health vitamins from a balanced daily diet. Always talk to your doctor beforehand if you think you’re not getting enough or you want to try supplements.

Excessive vitamin intake can cause harm to the body. Supplements also cannot replace proven treatments for depression in the form of medication and counseling therapy.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/3/2021
References
Harvard Health Publishing: "Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food."

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Vitamin D."

Issues in Mental Health Nursing: "Vitamin D and Depression: Where is all the Sunshine?"

Mayo Clinic: "Can vitamin C improve your mood?" "Vitamin B-12 and depression: Are they related?" "Vitamin C," "Vitamin K (Class) (Oral Route, Parenteral Route)."

NHS: "Vitamin C," "Vitamin K."

Nutrients: "The Relationship between Dietary Vitamin K and Depressive Symptoms in Late Adulthood: A Cross-Sectional Analysis from a Large Cohort Study."

Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences: "Effects of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Anxiety in Students: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial."