At my ‘mental wellness’ talks earlier this year (2016), I discussed the impact that even a marginal nutrient deficiency can have on your moods, hormones, waist line, and how well you respond to your prescribed medication from your doctor. Such nutrient deficiencies that can impact on mood health include iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, chromium, folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Discover how a simple vitamin can boost moods and reduce anxiety!
Before I go further, it is folate that I want to pay particular attention to for the purpose of this post.
Folate for anxiety
Anxiety can affect both the young and old (and any age in between) and there can be many causes and triggers including a folate deficiency.
Folate is necessary for mood health and a deficiency is associated with anxiety, depression, bipolar depression, severe forms of PMS such as Pre Menstrual Disphoric Disorder (PMDD), and schizophrenia. It is also implicated in migraines, fibromyalgia, multiple miscarriages and elevated homocysteine levels leading to cardiovascular complications including high blood pressure and strokes.
Unfortunately if you express a gene mutation, specifically a ‘MTHFR polymorphism’, your ability to metabolise folate may be compromised and therefore impacting on your mood health. Up to 60% of the population may have this gene mutation who are unable to convert folic acid (vitamin B9/folate) into folinic acid (the bioavailable form of folic acid).
Although folinic acid is found in leafy greens, you would need to eat buckets of spinach to reap the benefits found in an inexpensive supplement form.
Most MTHFR patients with anxiety also have deficiencies in vitamins B12, B6 and zinc. When these nutrient deficiencies are addressed and folate levels restored, anxiety can decrease by 80 per cent within three weeks.
What Can You Do?
Ask your doctor to conduct a MTHFR gene test. It is a simple blood test. Depending on where you are in the world, it may be covered on public health. You can also arrange to have the test done by a private doctor or naturopath.
In addition, this same MTHFR genetic test (for folic acid metabolism) can also be conducted using saliva as a sample. It is just as accurate as a blood test and often more convenient to the patient. I can arrange a test kit if you are in the UK.
Good news is there are some excellent bioavailable B complex vitamins and folinic acid supplements available. One to two capsules each day can make the world of difference.