Did you know that your genetics can give you insights into your mental health? Emerging research has shown a correlation between certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies and mental illness symptoms such as depression and anxiety. Understanding the genetic factors that play into these nutrient deficiencies (and what to do about them) is now possible through a DNA test.
Nutrition and Brain Health
Much has been discovered about brain health in the past few decades. We now know that exercise improves oxygen and nutrient delivery to the brain, which boosts mood and reduces the risk of cognitive decline. We’ve also learned that getting sufficient sleep, is essential for the formation of memories and learning.
It should come as no surprise, then, that diet also influences the brain. Food fuels the entire body, including the brain, and the types of nutrients you give your body make a big impact. High-quality nutrition from a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, along with the right balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, sets the stage for optimal brain function.
There is compelling evidence that supports the growing field of nutritional psychiatry. According to nutritional psychiatry, evaluating nutritional status and correcting for any deficiencies should be the first step in addressing symptoms of mental illness. In some cases, getting adequate nutrition through food and supplementation may help treat many symptoms of mental illness.
Nutrients for Mental Health
Some of the best-understood links between nutrient deficiencies and mental illness include the roles of vitamin B6 and folic acid deficiencies in depression. Both vitamin B6 and folic acid are essential for making neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which helps regulate mood. When these vitamin levels are too low, then not enough serotonin is produced, and low serotonin levels are associated with depression.
A diet high in leafy green vegetables, beans, and citrus fruits should provide adequate folic acid, while protein sources, such as meat, fish, beans, and nuts, should ensure enough vitamin B6. However, for individuals with genetic variants that hinder the absorption or metabolism of these nutrients, such as an MTHFR mutation, a healthy diet isn’t enough to guard against deficiencies and their related mental health issues.
DNA based personalized nutrition is best known for helping people lose weight more efficiently, avoid food sensitivity reactions, and manage genetic predispositions toward conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, but its role in preventing nutrition-induced mental illness is garnering more attention. Other nutrients found to impact mental health are thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and even probiotics.
Because genetics influences a person’s nutritional requirements, a DNA nutrition test is a valuable tool that can help you discover if you have any genetic predispositions toward nutrient deficiencies that could be keeping you from feeling your best. DNA testing is the gateway to personalized nutrition and making informed dietary choices. Even the healthiest diet can be fine-tuned to provide nutrition to help each person feel their best, both physically and mentally.
DNA Testing for Peace of Mind
Understanding your genetic profile and your particular nutritional requirements can help you make informed dietary choices that can give you optimal nutrition for peace of mind.