A nutritional deficiency occurs when the body doesn’t absorb the necessary amount of a nutrient or if required nutrients are not present in adequate concentrations. Lack of food leading to either malnutrition or starvation gives rise to these deficiency. Nutrients enable body tissues to grow and maintain themselves. They contribute to the energy requirements of the individual organism and they regulate the processes of the body.
7 Nutrient Deficiencies that Can Cause Depression, Confusion, Mood Disorders & More
Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium in your gut, bone growth/remodeling, as well as important for immune function and cell growth. This deficiency has been linked to depression, dementia, and autism.
Iron is an essential mineral. It is a main component of red blood cells, where it binds with hemoglobin and transports oxygen to cells. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world, affecting more than 25% of people worldwide. The most common consequence of iron deficiency is anemia. Iron deficiency, a common problem in women, can also cause depression.
A deficiency of vitamin B6 can also lead to depression and other cognitive disorders. This nutrient is required for creating neurotransmitters and brain chemicals that influence your mood. It even helps keep the nervous system healthy. Furthermore, vitamin B6 helps the body absorb vitamin B12, the deficiency of which is also linked to depression.
Magnesium is another important nutrient, the deficiency of which can lead to depression. Everyone touts its importance, and yet few seem to get enough through diet. In fact, most research suggests that only around half of US adults reach the RDA, with low intakes being linked to type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, heart disease, asthma, and colon cancer.
The vitamin is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function and DNA synthesis. Deficiency of this important vitamin is common, affecting up to 15 percent of the general population. Vitamin B12 has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Other symptoms include difficulty maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory and soreness of the mouth or tongue.
Zinc is another essential micronutrient that your body needs to help reduce the risk of depression. This mineral tends to be low in older people and anyone under a lot of stress. It’s not so much that low zinc makes you crave, but it does significantly dull your sense of taste, prompting you to add more salt and sugar to foods while seeking out extra sugary and salty items before you’re truly satisfied.
Folate, which can be found in dark and leafy greens, beans, citrus fruit, and legumes, is an important nutrient. The risk of not getting enough folate in your diet is serious. Not only can it lead to birth defects (in women) and increase your risk of cancer, it could also affect your mental health.