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7 Nutritional deficiencies that may cause depression

Depression is not all about your hectic life or a troubled relationship. Nutritional deficiency can also play its part in triggering or worsening depression.

Exercise & Fitness By Meenakshi Chaudhary / Dec 06, 2016

Deficiencies & Depression

Depression and mood disorders are common health problems these days.  Apart from psychological approaches to treatment, nutrition plays a key role in maintaining one's moods. There are several deficiencies that can lead to depression. Researchers have found that most people with depression and/or mood disorders are deficient in more than one nutrient. Here is the list of nutrients the deficiencies of which can cause depression.

Omega- 3 Fatty Acids

Foods such as fish and flax seed oil contain omega-3 fatty acids. Deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids or imbalance in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids may contribute to depression. Omega 3 fatty acids are important for normal brain functioning and overall mental health. They also provide relief from inflammation and pain. According to researchers, people who suffer from depression are deficient in omega 3 fatty acids. It is one of those nutrients that you should make part of your regular diet.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are essential blocks that play a key role in the proper functioning of the brain. The brain uses amino acids from foods you eat to manufacture neurotransmitters needed for optimal brain function. If you don’t get enough amino acids, you may begin to feel low, unfocused and depressed. Foods rich in amino acids include meat, eggs, fish, high quality beans, seeds and nuts.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for proper immune system functioning and bone and brain health.  According to a study published in the Journal Clinical Nutrition, mental disorders are linked to vitamin D deficiencies. The results of the study show that people who are deficient in vitamin D have higher chances of being depressed later in life. As we all know, sun light is the richest natural source of vitamin D, so get out in the sun and get your vitamin D. But overdoing sun exposure is not good either.

Iodine Deficiency

Iodine is necessary for the thyoid gland, which is one of most important glands in the human body, to work properly. The thyroid glands are known to affect every function of the body including body temperature, immunity and brain function. Low content of iron can affect functioning of thyroid gland leading to feelings of depression.

B Vitamins Deficiency

Researches have shown that deficiencies in B-vitamins are linked to mood disorders like depression.  Hence, include foods rich in B-vitamins in your diet such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and milk.


Just like iodine, selenium is essential for proper functioning of the thyroid gland. It helps in the conversion of inactive thyroid T4 to the active thyroid hormone T3.  One of the best of sources of selenium is Brazil nuts. Other foods rich in selenium include chia seeds, brown rice, sunflower seeds and broccoli, cabbage and spinach.


A low folate level can reduce the effectiveness of antidepressants which is why psychiatrists prescribe folate for depression. To get your required amount of folate include foods like citrus fruits, legumes, beans and dark leafy vegetables. Image Courtesy: Getty



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