Recent research has shown that the use of vitamins and supplements for mental health is becoming more and more acceptable. Scientists are finding that some of the claims about alternative remedies for cognitive support, mood enhancement, and increased memory are true. So what are some of the more beneficial remedies?
Nutrients and herbal supplements for mental health
Mental health vitamins and supplements are a fairly broad category. There are a number of natural substances that people claim help brain function, increase memory, and generally boost mood and focus. Vitamins for mental clarity are an increasingly popular supplement, especially as the current generation of baby boomers is entering their retirement years and beyond.
Some of the substances on offer are still being researched, but there are also those that have undergone numerous studies and the results of many have been encouraging. Several of the more common herbs and vitamins that promote mental focus and cognitive function actually work. In a few studies that looked at supplements and age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, the supplements worked just as well as some prescription medications.
When we talk about vitamins and supplements for mental health, we can divide them into three categories: traditional vitamins and minerals, herbal extracts, and compounds and amino acids. There are items in all three groups that have been found to benefit the brain, and while there are some common benefits shared between them, each has a different role to play in mental health.
Starting with the more well-known vitamins and minerals, researchers have identified a few that are important for the brain. The first is the vitamin B complex. This powerful group of vitamins helps maintain healthy nerve cells and supports their function as vitamins for mental clarity. Deficiencies in these vitamins can have a major impact on nerve cell function. It is also a factor that helps the body provide energy from food and red blood cells transport oxygen. The brain is the largest consumer of oxygen and needs a lot of food energy to function properly, so a decrease in this area has a major impact on the brain.
Two other items in this group that are important for mental health are vitamin E and the mineral manganese. Free radical damage is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from free radical damage in the body. Free radical damage is believed to be a cause of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and other mental disorders in the brain, particularly as we age. E and other antioxidants help protect cells from the damage that can be part of age-related mental decline in the elderly. Manganese also acts as an antioxidant and helps support normal mental functioning.
Depression Supplements and Vitamins
Next on the list of herbs and vitamins that promote mental focus and health are herbal extracts. The usefulness of vitamins has been understood for years by researchers and the general public alike. Herbal supplements have been rapidly gaining popularity with the public for some time now, but the scientific community is taking them more slowly. However, a number of studies have revealed several herbs that really help the brain and its functions.
The two main ones that I will mention in detail are Ginkgo Biloba and ginseng. Scientists have conducted several studies confirming the ability of these herbs to improve blood flow to the brain, boost mood, reduce stress effects on the brain, and improve nerve function. In fact, one study found that Ginkgo was as effective as one of the leading prescription drugs in slowing the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia. While also aiding memory and cognitive function, ginseng also aids the body’s natural ability to adapt to stress.
Herbs like Bacopin, Vinpocetine, and Gotu Kola have also been shown to benefit mental health and brain function.Further research is underway on these and other herbs.
As mentioned before, mental health vitamins and supplements also contain compounds and amino acids. Acetyl L-Carnitine and Choline are a few compounds that aid in the mental processes that take place in the brain and are used in the production of neurotransmitters, much like the amino acid L-Tyrosine. Mood disorders, memory problems, and other cognitive disorders can often be partly caused by imbalances or insufficient supplies of neurotransmitters. Taking some of these compounds can help the body produce the necessary supply. Once that supply is depleted, taking compounds like huperzine A can help keep those levels intact by inhibiting the breakdown of neurotransmitters in the body.
The idea of using vitamins, herbs, and other substances to strengthen the brain is no longer as crazy as it sounds. Science backs up many of these claims and is finding new ways in which natural substances can help our minds stay healthy. Taking vitamins and supplements for mental health is quickly becoming an acceptable part of fighting the ageing process and maintaining normal mood and cognitive function. This is only the beginning… there is much more to discover.