Friday, November 6, 2009

Munching Away To Happiness (2)

The relationship between certain vitamins and mood is well established. The importance of specific vitamins in neurotransmitter systems is also known.

Some vitamins which are known to affect mood, attitude and thus happiness levels include B1 (thiamine), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cobalamin), B9 (folic acid) and C (ascorbic acid). All vitamins must be derived from the diet.

Several studies have shown that participants experienced low mood, irritability and fatigue when their thiamine status was low. On increasing the thiamine status their mood improved. Individuals with low levels of pyridoxine have been shown to display more irritability, depression, hostility and anxiety as compared to individuals with normal levels. Folate deficiency has been implicated in both depressed moods and in major depression. Patients with low levels of folate and B12 exhibit poorer moods than patients who have at least one of the vitamins at a normal level.

When deficiency of these vitamins occurs, the initial reported symptoms may well be only behavioural or psychological disturbances. Sometimes psychological symptoms can occur in the absence of physical signs of a deficiency. Scurvy from vitamin C deficiency is often preceded by irritability and a general malaise. There is a subset of individuals with Vitamin B12 deficiency who present with psychiatric symptoms in the absence of anaemia.

It has been shown that adequate repletion of the vitamins can improve cognitive functioning and reverse mood alterations triggered by the deficiency.

Vitamins which can impact mood and their food sources include:

Vitamin B1
Wholegrain - spelt bread, oats, brown rice, barley, fresh pasta
Veg - peppers, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, romaine lettuce, mushrooms, spinach, watercress, green peas, aubergine, brussel sprouts
Pulses - lentils
Legumes - Soya milk
Seeds - sunflower seeds
Nuts - Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, sesame seeds
Fish/seafood - tuna, salmon, mussels

Vitamin B3
Wholegrain - brown rice, rice bran, wheatgerm
Veg - broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, brussel sprouts, courgette, squash
Nuts - peanuts
Meat - pork, turkey, chicken
Fish - tuna, salmon
Seeds - sunflower seeds

Vitamin B6
Wholegrains - brown rice, oats, bran, barley
Fruit - bananas, mango
Fish - tuna, trout, salmon
Veg - avocado, watercress, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, squash, asparagus, bok choy, potato
Meat - chicken, turkey
Beans - lima beans, soy beans
Pulses - chickpeas
Seeds - sunflower

Vitamin B12
Meat - chicken, turkey, lamb
Fish/Seafood - salmon, halibut, bass, tuna, shrimp, trout, oysters, crab, clams
Dairy Products - cottage cheese, low fat yoghurt, boiled or poached eggs, milk

Folic acid
Veg (especially green leafy) - Spinach, lettuce, asparagus, beets, Savoy cabbage, broccoli, green peas, fresh parsley, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, avocado
Fish - cod, tuna, salmon, halibut, shrimp
Meat - turkey
Nuts and Seeds - peanuts, sesame seeds, hazel nuts, cashew nuts, walnuts
Beans and Pulses - lentils, chick peas, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans
Fruit - oranges

Vitamin C
Veg - red pepper, red cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, celery, squash, cabbage, watercress
Fresh fruit - strawberries, oranges, tangerines, kiwi, cantaloupe, papaya, cranberries, pineapple

A balanced diet which includes these vitamins may just be the right thing to bring out that spontaneous smile.


Kaplan BJ, Crawford SG, Field CJ, Simpson JS. Vitamins, minerals, and mood. Psychol Bull. 2007;133:747-60. [Abstract]


Mridula said...

I am glad to find m favorite mushrooms having good vitamin in them!

VS said...

Good! I hope the other stuff is also there. :o)

VSB said...

To B or not to B, I C, is the real issue here. As a way to a person's happiness is also dependent on what he puts into his stomach, I rather B than not B, in this matter, you C.
Hamlet, I suppose, never had it this easy!

VS said...

I guess you have plenty of Bs buzzing there. :o)