I say it all the time — nutrition plays a huge role in combatting mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression. In fact, a recent Japanese study found a strong link between one simple nutrient and higher levels of serotonin, the “feel good” neurotransmitter.
Of course, mainstream medicine boosts serotonin artificially with drugs known as SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
But these drugs aren’t any more effective than a placebo. Plus, they can result in tragic outcomes, like suicides and even mass homicides.
Indeed, as a Medical Examiner, I saw case after case of suicide that occurred soon after the victims had started taking an SSRI. These drugs give depressed and anxious people more “energy.” But they don’t improve or counteract negative thoughts.
In fact, they can push some depressed people just enough to carry out their negative thoughts, which may result in disastrous actions — such as harming themselves or others.
Fortunately, there are many safer, more effective options to improve your mood…
Boost serotonin without resorting to drugs
For this new study, Japanese researchers looked at 21 adults with previous episodes of anxiety, panic attacks, and hyperventilation (rapid breathing). Some had attacks and episodes that were manageable at home. But others required emergency room visits.
The researchers tested the participants’ blood levels for several key nutrients and compared them to samples from 20 healthy controls.
And here was the most striking finding…
Men and women who suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, and hyperventilation had “significantly lower” levels of vitamin B6 compared to healthy controls.
Of course, in Europe, B vitamins are considered “neurovitamins.” And previous research shows a strong link between B-vitamin deficiency and stress.
Plus, B6 specifically helps support the body’s natural production of serotonin, the feel-good, “happiness hormone,” which stimulates the reward and pleasure centers of the brain.
Serotonin is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan (which you can get from eating high-protein foods). And vitamin B6 plays an important role in this process. So, you have to make sure you take in plenty of it to keep your serotonin production working.
Nutritious whole foods high in B6 include wild-caught halibut, salmon, and tuna, as well as bananas, eggs, and chickpeas. You should also supplement daily with a high-quality B complex that contains 55 mg of B6.
If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety, you should also make sure to supplement daily with 10,000 IU daily of vitamin D — which research links to improvements in mood. It’s now available in convenient liquid form together with the added benefits of the potent marine carotenoid, astaxanthin. (Simply visit my website, www.DrMicozzi.com, to read more about my suggested formula recommendations.)
Granted, at this time of year, the sun isn’t high enough in the sky to trigger your skin’s production of natural vitamin D. But getting some sun on your face outside in Nature will benefit your mood in other powerful ways.
You can also try mind-body techniques, the benefits of which I discussed in yesterday’s Daily Dispatch.
And as we make our way further into 2019, I’ll continue to bring you new research on natural ways to improve your mood and reduce anxiety for a happier, healthier year.
“Low Serum Concentrations of Vitamin B6 and Iron Are Related to Panic Attack and Hyperventilation Attack,” Acta Med. Okayama, 2013; 67(2): 99-104