According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is “a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community.” (1). It is estimated however, that one in three individuals suffer from a disrupted state of mental health (2).
A 2019 report indicated that depressive disorders appear in the top 15 causes of global burden of disease (GBD) (3). Five types of mental illness ranked among the 20 leading causes of years lived with disability in a 2013 report. These included major depression (2nd), anxiety disorders (7th), schizophrenia (11th), dysthymia (16th), and bipolar disorder (17th) (2).
No wonder then that the WHO has included mental health as one of the Sustainable Development Goals (1). This is because mental health conditions can have a considerable effect on all areas of life. This includes work performance, relationships with family and friends and the ability to participate in the community.
In an article on LinkedIn, we talked about the initiatives PlantaCorp has taken to ensure positive mental health at work. In this blog post, we have compiled a list of supplements that can support your mental health.
Why should I consume supplements for my mental well-being?
You probably intuitively know or feel the effect of your diet and lifestyle on your emotional well-being. Now, an increasing number of scientific studies, as well, are revealing that diet and nutrition have significant effects on mood and mental well-being. In fact, the emergence of a whole new field of nutritional psychiatry exemplifies this concept (4).
As we will outline throughout the rest of this article, deficiencies in essential nutrients are now scientifically correlated to have an adverse effect on mental health (4). Nutrients that are key to supporting neurodevelopment include proteins, iron, choline, folate, iodine, vitamins A, D, B6, and B12 and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (4).
The rest of this article will explain the role of some of these key nutrients in supporting mental health. We will also introduce some other food supplements that one can additionally consider.
Vitamin B-complex: A balanced blend for a balanced mind
In our blog post on general health supplements, we outlined the use of every B-vitamin in vitamin B-complex. Of these, B1 (thiamine), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine) and B12 (cobalamin) play a direct role in neurological and psychological function (5). A well-balanced blend of these vitamins is, therefore, essential for a healthy psyche.
Curcumin: The golden ingredient for depression and fatigue
In addition to acute physical stresses, many of us may also suffer from periods of subclinical depression or anxiety. In our blog post on supplements that can help fight the winter blues, we referred to scientific studies that prove that curcumin may help alleviate the symptoms of seasonal anxiety or depression in otherwise healthy individuals (6).
Its anti-inflammatory effects can also prevent the development of depression and fatigue (6).
Vitamin D: Proven to treat psychiatric disorders
Did you know that the deficiency of vitamin D is potentially associated with an enhanced risk of major depressive disorder (MDD) and anxiety disorders (7)? Although the jury is out on the effectivity of vitamin D supplementation in supporting sub-clinical mental health in otherwise healthy individuals, there is sufficient evidence to prove its effectivity in treating patients with psychiatric disorders (8).
Resveratrol: More than an antioxidant
This plant-derived polyphenol is widely known for its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. However, resveratrol’s use in treating psychiatric disorders by increasing cerebral blood flow, countering oxidative stress and apoptosis, is also gaining ground (9). Resveratrol is, thus, a promising candidate for the treatment of mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, ASD and schizophrenia (9).
Iron: Supporting cognitive function
It is widely accepted that iron contributes to brain development and cognitive function (5). It also leads to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue. This is because the function of central nervous system (CNS) is highly dependent on iron containing enzymes and proteins (10).
Additionally, an iron deficiency has been associated with the dysfunction of neurotransmitters. One of these is dopamine which plays a major role in the motivational component of reward-motivated behaviour (11).
The supplementation of iron has therefore been studied to improve chronic fatigue syndrome (12), the compulsive eating of non-nutritive substances (known as pica) (13) and even cognitive endurance, irritability and withdrawal behaviour among women (10).
Melatonin: Neuroprotection for a healthy mind
In our blog post on sleep aids, we discussed how liposomal melatonin supplements can help you sleep better. A good night’s sleep in turn, is highly recommended for a healthy mind (14).
Apart from regulating the circadian rhythm, melatonin also has various other physiological functions in the brain. This includes clearing free radicals, inhibiting biomolecular oxidation, and suppressing neuroinflammation (15). These neuroprotective effects of melatonin result in better mental health.
Zinc: Promoting cognitive function
In our July newsletter, we explained how zinc is key to influencing brain structure and function. We also quoted scientific studies that indicate that a greater dietary intake of zinc is associated with better cognitive function and protection against depression (16).
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The Market for mental health supplements
The recognition of the importance of mental health, sleep and stress is growing in the Asia Pacific region (17). A 2017 Frost & Sullivan report suggested that natural active ingredients comprised 25–30% of the global supplement market (18). It was also predicted that this share would double to 50–55% going forward.
Interested in our liposomal mental health supplements using natural active ingredients?
- one in three individuals suffer from a disrupted state of mental health
- diet and nutrition have significant effects on mood and mental well-being.
- Vitamins for better mental health: B-complex and vitamin D
- Minerals for cognitive functioning: Zinc, iron
- Plant extracts for mental wellbeing: Curcumin, Resveratrol
- Melatonin has neuroprotective effects
- [Online] Mental Health. World Health Organization. Accessed on 05.10.2022
- Vigo D, Thornicroft G & Atun R. Estimating the true global burden of mental illness. The Lancet Psychiatry. 2016;3(2):171-178.
- GBD 2019 Diseases and Injuries Collaborators. Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Lancet. 2020;396(10258):1204-1222.
- Adan RAH, van der Beek EM, Buitelaar JK, Cryan JF, Hebebrand J, Higgs S, Schellekens H, Dickson SL. Nutritional psychiatry: Towards improving mental health by what you eat. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2019;29(12):1321-1332.
- [Online] EU register of nutrition and health claims (v.3.6).
- Hewlings SJ, Kalman DS. Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health. Foods. 2017;6(10):92.
- Casseb GAS, Kaster MP, Rodrigues ALS. Potential Role of Vitamin D for the Management of Depression and Anxiety. CNS Drugs. 2019;33(7):619-637.
- Jamilian H, Amirani E, Milajerdi A, Kolahdooz F, Mirzaei H, Zaroudi M, Ghaderi A, Asemi Z. The effects of vitamin D supplementation on mental health, and biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress in patients with psychiatric disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2019;94:109651.
- Shayganfard M. Molecular and biological functions of resveratrol in psychiatric disorders: a review of recent evidence. Cell Biosci. 2020;10:128.
- Dziembowska I, Kwapisz J, Izdebski P, Żekanowska E. Mild iron deficiency may affect female endurance and behavior. Physiol Behav. 2019;205:44-50.
- Berridge KC, Robinson TE. What is the role of dopamine in reward: hedonic impact, reward learning, or incentive salience? Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1998;28(3):309-69.
- Macher S, Herster C, Holter M, Moritz M, Matzhold EM, Stojakovic T, Pieber TR, Schlenke P, Drexler C, Amrein K. The Effect of Parenteral or Oral Iron Supplementation on Fatigue, Sleep, Quality of Life and Restless Legs Syndrome in Iron-Deficient Blood Donors: A Secondary Analysis of the IronWoMan RCT. Nutrients. 2020;12(5):1313.
- Borgna-Pignatti C, Zanella S. Pica as a manifestation of iron deficiency. Expert Rev Hematol. 2016;9(11):1075-1080.
- Facer-Childs ER, Middleton B, Skene DJ, Bagshaw AP. Resetting the late timing of ‘night owls’ has a positive impact on mental health and performance. Sleep Med. 2019;60:236-247.
- Chen D, Zhang T, Lee TH. Cellular Mechanisms of Melatonin: Insight from Neurodegenerative Diseases. Biomolecules. 2020;10(8):1158.
- Lewis JE, Poles J, Shaw DP, Karhu E, Khan SA, Lyons AE, Sacco SB, McDaniel HR. The effects of twenty-one nutrients and phytonutrients on cognitive function: A narrative review. J Clin Transl Res. 2021;7(4):575-620.
- Wellness: Longevity and the Quest for Healthy Ageing in Asia Pacific. Euromonitor International. June 2022.
- [Online] Global Personal Care Active Ingredients Market, Forecast to 2023. Frost&Sullivan. Accessed on 04.10.2022