Vitamins and minerals can boost energy and enhance mood

Courtesy of IFT – Feeding the Minds that Feed the World  Published July 16, 2013

From the News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Vitamin and mineral supplements can enhance mental energy and well-being not only for healthy adults but for those prone to anxiety and depression, according to a July 15 panel discussion at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting

CHICAGO- Vitamin and mineral supplements can enhance mental energy and well-being not only for healthy adults but for those prone to anxiety and depression, according to a July 15 panel discussion at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo® held at McCormick Place.

Bonnie Kaplan, Ph.D., professor in the faculty of medicine at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, said Monday vitamins and mineral supplements can be the alternative to increasing psychiatric medicines for symptom relief of anxiety and depression. The supplements, she said, also can provide the mental energy necessary to manage stress, enhance mood and reduce fatigue.

In a series of studies she recently conducted in Canada, Kaplan found of the 97 adults with diagnosed mood disorders who kept a three-day food record, a higher intake of vitamins and minerals were significantly correlated with overall enhanced mental functioning.

Other vitamins that have been known to enhance mood, said C.J. Geiger, Ph.D., president of Geiger & Associates, LLC, and research associate professor in the division of nutrition at the University of Utah, include 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5 HTP), Vitamins B and D, as well as ginkgo biloba and Omega 3.

In her research, Geiger has found most adults define energy throughout the day as peaking mid-morning, falling to a valley in the afternoon after lunch and recovering with a pickup in late afternoon, settling back down before bedtime. However, these peaks and valleys did vary with gender, age and climate. She said many adults are known to use coffee, soft drinks, chocolate and candy bars as well as energy drinks, bars and chews with high sugar boosts to maintain energy throughout the day. She found other adults ate more frequent, smaller meals to sustain energy while making time for lots of rest and exercise.

Undernourished and Mentally Unbalanced

By  Toni Tarver  Published July 15, 2013

For centuries, it has been known that food affects mental health. In the United States, there are now three times as many people on disability for mental illness than there were in 1987. Mental well-being is associated with being resilient to stress. Chronic stress causes a decline in mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, addictions, and other psychological disorders. But not everyone needs to make an appointment with a psychiatrist to address mental issues. During the session “Diet, Mental Energy, and Mental Well-Being: A Landscape Overview of the Science and Consumer Perceptions,” speakers suggested that a change in dietary patterns may be more effective than pharmaceuticals to address mental health issues.

Speaker Bonnie Kaplan of the University of Calgary said that the number one cause of acquired insanity is imperfect nutrition, but with the growth of psychiatric medications in the 1950s, psychiatrists moved away from addressing mental issues through dietary intervention. Still, studies indicate that people who eat Western diets high in processed foods have a higher rate of mood and anxiety symptoms. Studies also indicate that people who eat a Mediterranean-style diet have lower incidence of mood and anxiety symptoms. Even in people already diagnosed with having a mental disorder, a higher intake of vitamins and minerals can lead to better outcomes, Kaplan said.

Moreover, an unscientific study at Appleton Central High School in Appleton, Wis., observed that students behaved better when they consumed healthy lunches consisting of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Plant foods are the most nutrient-dense foods on earth; however, it is extremely difficult to get people to change their dietary patterns. Kaplan said that the solution may be supplementation of nutrients because it is integral that people receive less pharmaceutical intervention for mental disorders (many pharmaceutical drugs addressing mental illness have undesirable side effects). Broad-spectrum supplements containing multiple nutrients are ideal because treatment with one nutrient at a time has been shown to be ineffective, Kaplan said.

Humans are what they eat, and it is especially true for their brains.

With 80% of children and 70% of adults consuming less than five servings of vegetables and fruits per day, these poor dietary habits could have lasting consequences on the mental stability of society.

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