We all know that vitamins are essential for our overall health. But did you know that they can also impact our hormones and mood as well?
It’s true! Vitamins play a role in producing hormones and other neurotransmitters that impact your mood. For example, vitamin B6 is necessary for the production of serotonin, a “feel good” hormone that helps regulate your mood.
Failure to get enough of various vitamins can lead to deficiencies that could affect your hormone levels and cause mood swings or other emotional issues. That is why it is important to ensure you get enough of the right vitamins from your diet, environment, or supplements.
Which Vitamins Affect Hormones and Mood?
Several minerals and vitamins can affect your hormones and mood, but some are more important than others. Let’s take a look at a few of the essential ones.
- Vitamin D
This vitamin is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because our bodies produce it in response to sun exposure. But unfortunately, many of us don’t get enough sun because we spend too much time indoors, whether at home, school, or work. The lack of sun exposure can lead to a vitamin D deficiency.
So, how does Vitamin D affect your hormones and mood? Vitamin D helps regulate the production of sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
- Vitamin B6
Also called pyridoxine, vitamin B6 is involved in the production of serotonin, one of the neurotransmitters that help regulate mood. It also plays a significant role in maintaining a balance of various hormones in the body. A lack of vitamin B6 can lead to symptoms such as skin rashes, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, and depression.
- Folic acid
It is a form of Vitamin B9, which is important for pregnant women because it helps prevent congenital disabilities. Folic acid is also critical for brain health, and low levels have been linked to depression and other mood disorders.
- Vitamin B12
Like other B vitamins, vitamin B12 also affects your mood. And since it is mostly found in animal products, many people suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency due to the rise of vegan diets in recent years. The symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency include depression, weakness, lethargy, and decreased brain function.
- Omega-3 fatty acids
These healthy fats are found in fish, nuts, and seeds. They are important for brain health. Omega-3s have been shown to help reduce inflammation and improve mood.
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This mineral is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body, including those that affect energy levels and sleep patterns. Low magnesium in the body has been linked to fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
The zinc mineral plays a role in many aspects of brain function, including mood and cognition. A zinc deficiency can lead to symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and irritability.
Iron is an essential mineral required for the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the cells in your body. Studies found a link between iron deficiency and mental health, with evidence showing that it can lead to depression, anxiety disorders, and sleep disorders.
Iron deficiency could also cause fatigue, weakness, and concentration problems, thus affecting your mood.
The mineral helps regulate blood sugar levels, and having too little chromium in the body has been linked to mood swings and irritability. Chromium helps with depression as it is known to lift your mood by promoting the release of the mood-regulating transmitter, norepinephrine.
If you’re feeling tired, anxious, or down, ensure you get enough of these important vitamins and minerals.
How Taking Hormone Tests Can Help You Identify a Lack of Vitamins
If you’re not getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals, it can affect your hormone levels and cause many problems, including fatigue, weight gain, and mood swings. Getting hormone test services can help you identify a lack of vitamins and minerals in your body.
Low levels of various vitamins and minerals can cause hormone imbalances. For example, a lack of vitamin D can cause low levels of testosterone. A lack of iodine can cause low levels of thyroxine (thyroid hormone). A lack of iron can cause low levels of estrogen. Consider taking a hormone test to identify which vitamins and minerals you may be lacking so that you can take steps to correct the imbalance.
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What Are the Best Ways to Ensure You Are Taking Enough Vitamins?
Now that you know which vitamins affect your mood and how they do it, you must realize why their intake is so important. Here are a few ways to ensure you are getting enough vitamins;
- Eat a variety of whole foods
Whole foods provide a balance of nutrients that your body needs. Not only do they provide vitamins, but they also offer other nutrients such as fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. Therefore, if you want to get enough vitamins, you should consume more dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and fish.
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- Supplement your diet with a quality multivitamin
Supplements will ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need if you cannot get them through your diet alone. There are a variety of vitamin supplements available on the market, some of which may be harmful to you. Therefore, it is vital to research and choose the right vitamin supplement for you.
- Get your iron level checked
Iron is an essential mineral for many functions in the body, and deficiencies are common. A simple blood test can tell you if you’re deficient and how much iron you need to supplement.
- Avoid processed foods
Processed foods often lack vitamins and other important nutrients. They may also contain unhealthy ingredients that can be harmful to your health. Thus, if you want to get enough vitamins, you should stick to whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible.
- Talk to your doctor
If you suspect you are not getting enough vitamins, seek help from your doctor. They can order blood tests to check for mineral and vitamin deficiencies and then recommend the best way to supplement.
For example, if you are deficient in vitamin D, your doctor may recommend taking a supplement or getting more exposure to sunlight. If you have an iron deficiency, your doctor may recommend taking iron supplements.
As you can see above, various vitamins affect your mood and hormones. They are important for the proper functioning of your endocrine system and mood regulation.
If you are not getting enough vitamins, you should go for food sources before considering supplements. But if you need to take vitamin supplements, consult a doctor before buying or consuming them to ensure that you take the right amount of each.
This is a contributed post.
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