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Vitamins & Minerals

Visit the BPhoenix Alternative Healing Advice Column.

Visit the BPhoenix Nutrition & Wellness store for great deals on vitamins and minerals.

Please keep in mind, the list of side effects and symptoms of deficiency below is not complete, but instead reflects this website's emphasis on mental health disorders.


The B vitamins are believed to be important in mood regulation as well as aiding in the production of many important amino acids. Deficiency in any of the B vitamins can produce depression, anxiety and fatigue.

B1 (Thiamin) - B1 is believed to help those suffering from anxiety, irritability and/or night terrors.

B2 (Riboflavin) - B2 is a water-soluble vitamin that assists in energy production, and helps to synthesize normal fatty acids and amino acids. B2 deficiency can result in depression, hysteria, or other psychiatric problems caused by nerve tissue damage or decreased neurotransmitter production. Studies suggest that riboflavin supplementation might also be a useful in addition to beta-blockers to help prevent migraine headaches.

B3 (Niacin) - A deficiency of B3 can result in symptoms of schizophrenia, depression, fatigue, headaches, insomnia and poor memory.

B5 (Pantothenic Acid) - B5 helps support the body's response to anxiety and panic, and helps produce stress hormones during times of psychological difficulty and physical strain.

B6 (Pyridoxine) - B6 is a is a water-soluble vitamin that eases the symptoms of PMS and is helpful for those experiencing irritability, fatigue or depression. B6 is needed for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, including serotonin. Low levels of serotonin have been found in individuals suffering from depression and migraine headaches.

Some important functions of B6 include amino acid and protein metabolism, red blood cell metabolism, conversion of tryptophan (an amino acid) to niacin and assisting in the metabolism of calcium and magnesium. The dose of B6 should be reduced if tingling in the hands or feet is present.

B7 (Biotin) - Biotin is water-soluble member of the B-complex group of vitamins and is commonly referred to as vitamin H. Individuals taking anticonvulsant drugs may become deficient in B7 as these medications can inhibit the absorption of biotin or block the action of biotinidase. Symptoms of B7 deficiency can include depression, fatigue, lethargy, hallucinations, and neurological disorders.

B12 (Cobalamin) - B12 is an important water-soluble vitamin that assists in the production of neurotransmitters. A deficiency in B12 produces fatigue, memory loss, moodiness and listlessness.

Folic Acid (Folate) - Folic Acid is a water-soluble B vitamin thats assists in amino acid metabolism and conversion, aids in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine and helps to manufacture certain neurotransmitters that regulate sleep, pain, and mood.

Symptoms of folic acid deficiency, which can be caused by certain anticonvulsants medications, include irritability, hostility, apathy, forgetfulness, headache and paranoid behavior. Research suggests that folic acid may help relieve depression, anxiety, and panic.

NOTE: High levels of Folic Acid has been known to induce mania in some people with bipolar disorder, and can counteract the effects of certain mood stabilizing medications.

Inositol - Inositol is a fundamental ingredient of cell membranes and is necessary for proper function of nerves, brain, and muscles in the body. Inositol is used in the treatment depression, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Neurotransmitters such as serotonin in the brain depend on Inositol to function properly and some research has shown that increased levels of Inositol appear to be a promising treatment for depression.

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Most Americans do not get enough magnesium in their diets, and low levels have been found in many people suffering from depression and schizophrenia. Magnesium supplements are also useful for those that suffer from chronic headaches. A doctor can check for too little magnesium with a simple blood test. Some people also believe magnesium plays a role in the cycling frequency of bipolar disorder.

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A deficiency in manganese may contribute to depression stemming from low levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. Supplementation may also help to prevent the development of tardive dyskinesia and higher amounts may reverse tardive dyskinesia that has already developed. An increase in mood and pain symptoms during the premenstrual phase has also been noted in women with low blood levels of manganese.

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This Site Updated 04/09/11