There are many trace minerals that are important for mental health. Minerals help in the absorption of vitamins and can go together with vitamin supplementation to get a better effect.
Let’s explore a list of the 8 best minerals that are important for mental health and the role they play in healing:
Calcium helps release the body’s store of histamine. Histamine intolerance is known to contribute to mental health conditions. Many people who need calcium supplementation or have symptoms of rituals, like OCD, are often under methylators. Calcium along with other nutrients can help under methylators. Many with the MTHFR need calcium in their diets as well. It is best to supplement with calcium or get it from non-dairy sources if possible. The proteins in dairy can exacerbate mental health symptoms, although seemingly bringing relief for the moment.
Calcium gluconate is a form of calcium that is readily absorbed by the body. You may want to try calcium supplements 1 mg daily in divided doses.
The Relaxing Mineral:
Magnesium is an all-natural muscle relaxer. It helps with anxiety as well as mood. It’s a nervous system relaxant that assists with fear, phobias, irritability, depression, and restlessness. Tension can accumulate within our muscles, and magnesium is a remedy for this tension.
The soil today is depleted of minerals including magnesium and is also removed from drinking water as well. With that said, most people do not get enough magnesium in their diets.
Magnesium deficiency can cause a host of mental health conditions including depression, behavioral problems, headaches, psychosis, and irritability. These conditions can all be helped by supplementing with minerals by replenishing your body and brain of the nutrient it needs – magnesium.
Magnesium is also very helpful and usually low in people who are undermethylators.
Zinc plays an important role in mental health. It is a mineral that is undervalued for its health benefits. Many people are deficient in zinc and can really benefit from supplementation.
Zinc deficiency can cause anxiety and depression. Many people that are undermethylated have zinc deficiencies as well as those with pyrrole disorder.
Zinc is one of the important minerals needed to make neurotransmitters, such as GABA and Serotonin. These neurotransmitters play a role in mental health and without proper neurotransmitter firing conditions such as anxiety, depression, and anorexia can arise.
Zinc is important in cell division and gene expression. It stimulates the production of 100 different enzymes in the body.
Adding zinc to your diet can help with mental health conditions. If you are low in zinc, you may want to stay away from copper as well.
Manganese helps your body utilize vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin E, choline, and thiamine.
Also, it works as a co-factor in development, energy production, and the regulation of brain activity.
Manganese is essential for optimal brain function and is used to help treat nervous disorders.
Manganese has antioxidant properties and has a role in the function of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase (SOD), which can help protect against free radicals that damage brain cells.
A side note is that Manganese is also important for those suffering from side effects from their antipsychotic medications such as akathisia.
One more note – although important for mental health and cognition, too much manganese may cause tremors and lead to Parkinson’s symptoms in some people.
Selenium is an antioxidant among the trace minerals. It helps prevent cell damage. It may improve mental health by its role in reducing inflammation. This can help with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Benton & Cook’s study, “The impact of selenium supplementation on mood” showed a strong correlation between depression symptoms and selenium in 50 people. The ones consuming the most amounts of selenium had the most elevation of mood, energy levels and also the lower their anxiety. Interestingly, the lower the level of selenium in the diet, the more anxiety, depression, and fatigue were found.
Selenium is an important nutrient and supplementation may help alleviate symptoms of mental distress.
Duke University scientists found that consuming chromium picolinate, a trace mineral has significant effects on people suffering from atypical depression.
In a double-blind pilot study at Duke University Medical Center, 15 people with atypical depression were given supplements of 600 mcg of chromium picolinate, 5 of which were given a placebo. In eight weeks, seven of the 10 who were given chromium picolinate had a significant improvement in their depression symptoms.
Later, in a double-blind, multicenter, 8-week replication study, 113 adult outpatients with atypical depression were randomized 2:1 to receive 600 mg/day of the mineral chromium picolinate or placebo.
Chromium picolinate produced improvement in appetite, eating, carbohydrate craving, and diurnal variation of feelings. For people with high carbohydrate cravings, scores improved significantly in patients treated with chromium picolinate compared with placebo.
The results show that the effect of chromium was on carbohydrate craving and regulating appetite in depressed patients. That 600 mg of elemental chromium might be of benefit to people with atypical depression who also have severe carbohydrate cravings.
Molybdenum acts as a catalyst for enzymes and helps facilitate the breakdown of amino acids. It is an essential nutrient.
Molybdenum is important for people with the MTHFR as it acts as a co-factor.
Deficiency is very rare and most people don’t have to worry about not getting enough of this nutrient.
The Mood Mineral Lithium
Lithium is an important essential trace mineral for mental health. Lithium can offer relief to people suffering from mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder and alcoholism. It is beneficial in very small dosages and in the form of lithium orotate and is more bioavailable than lithium carbonate. Unlike lithium carbonate, you can get lithium orotate without a prescription. Lithium orotate has no real known side effects as opposed to the side effect profile found in lithium carbonate.
If trying lithium orotate, start low, and find your therapeutic dosage.
The Mineral Overloader:
This one isn’t on the list. It is essential for overall health, but in mental health, copper overload is a concern. Copper overload can alter the amount of dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine neurotransmitters in the brain. This can lead to an elevation of mental health symptoms.
Too much copper can put the nervous system into a state of overdrive.
If you think you have a copper overload reduce your intake slowly so copper isn’t released too quickly from the body.
Copper dumping may make your symptoms temporarily worse. Symptoms of depression and anxiety-like nervousness, panic, severe mood swings, rage, manic behavior, and impulsive behaviors can occur.
You can choose one mineral to start to see how it affects you or a multi-mineral supplement if you know you do well with minerals and want a greater effect.