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Mental Wellbeing Kit

Mental Health Awareness Week helps to shine a spotlight on an important aspect of overall health. While things like mindfulness and exercise can help boost your mood, ensuring you get the nutrients you need can be equally beneficial – and often overlooked.

The European Food Safety Authority states that “a decline in magnesium status is associated with various symptoms such as depression...”. Magnesium is responsible for the production and use of over 600 enzymes in the body, many of which are vital for the normal function of our brain chemistry.

Most of us don't get enough magnesium and the result can be detrimental to mood and mental health. Known as the relaxing mineral, trials show* that supplementing with magnesium can that supplementing with magnesium can decrease anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Many other studies also link magnesium to an anti-anxiety effect, important as anxiety and related disorders are rising in prevalence worldwide.*

It’s estimated that over 1 billion people worldwide don’t get enough vitamin D. Though we can obtain vitamin D from sunlight exposure, various hurdles stand in the way including naturally low levels of sun exposure experienced in the UK, especially in winter. This has led to the Government suggesting everyone should consider supplementing with vitamin D, particularly now that we're spending more time indoors*.

Vitamin D supplements show great promise for supporting mental health and mood, not to mention many other benefits including immunity and muscle function. 'Receptor sites' for vitamin D has been found in various cells around the body, including the brain. Vitamin D may work by altering the quantity of mood-regulating substances such as serotonin and how they operate*. 

This has shown to have a positive effect on mental health. In a randomized, double-blind control trial, vitamin D was shown to reduce depressive symptoms associated with major depressive disorder (MDD), having an overall positive effect on mental health*.

Omega 3 fatty acids have been headline news for the past few years, especially for their effects on mood, concentration and brain health. Omega 3 covers a range of fatty acids including eicosapantaoneic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), both of which found in plentiful quantities in oily fish. EPA and DHA are important in the maintenance of brain cell membranes while DHA is associated with transmission of important mood-regulating hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. 

Fish oil has demonstrated a ‘significant antidepressant effect’ in a wide range of clinical trials. Omega-3 makes up a substantial portion of the brain tissue and fights inflammation, considered to be a major driver of depression.

As a result, low levels of omega 3 in the body are associated with mood disturbance, cognitive issues (such as mental processing speeds and memory),depressive symptoms and low energy*. The good news is that many trials show supplementation can help reverse this, improving mood, cognitive function and elevating energy levels*. This is particularly important in the UK, as the standard British diet lacks the oily fish intakes in east Asian or Mediterranean diets.


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