Vitamins A, C, E
There are three major antioxidant vitamins and they are vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Antioxidants work to reduce free radicals in the brain and body. They are free radical scavengers. What’s important is that these vitamins combat brain inflammation which is thought to be a cause of mental health disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Vitamins A and E are fat-soluble vitamins that protect the brain and cell walls. Vitamin C is water-soluble. Beta carotene is a form of vitamin A that is an important antioxidant. Natural vitamin E is preferred over the synthetic form for brain health as well as natural vitamin C from fruits and vegetables. Although, when in the form of ascorbic acid, vitamin C can help with oxidative stress just as well.
These vitamins work together to achieve optimal brain health along with other antioxidants. Vitamins A, C & E can help with anxiety and depression as well as being needed for overall mental health.
Vitamin B9 (folate or folic acid) and vitamin B12 are important in homocysteine balance and therefore can benefit the body and brain.
Mehtyl folate and methylcobalamin are methylated forms of B9 and B12. They are important for normal methylation. Methylation status is recently thought to play a role in mental health conditions, but further studies need to be conducted.
Folinic acid or calcium folinate is a form of B9 that can cross the blood-brain barrier just as easily as methyl folate, but without the side effects that methyl folate can bring. Folinic acid is especially useful for those sensitive to methylated vitamins. It is useful in schizophrenia and autism among other health conditions.
Adenosylcobalamin and hydroxocobalamin are other forms of B12. These are also helpful for mental help and can cross the blood-brain barrier easily. These may be your go-to option for energy production.
Riboflavin is important to help convert folate and B12 to methionine. Folate is sometimes so deficient in individuals that they need extra support from riboflavin, instead of upping their dose of folates.
Vitamin B6 as P5P is also important for methylation. Vitamin B6 can alleviate anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and more. It is especially helpful for those with pyrrole disorder in the form of pyridoxine hydrochloride.
Vitamin B3 Niacin/Niacinamide is especially helpful for over methylated individuals that do not tolerate methylated b vitamins. Niacin increases the amount of serotonin that is produced in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in happiness and mood regulation. Therefore, it is helpful for anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia.
Vitamin B5 reduces stress and anxiety levels and is important for the adrenal glands.
B Vitamins: Which Form to Choose?
It is important to note that for mental health conditions you may want to stick with the synthetic forms of b vitamins such as folic acid and B6 pyridoxine hydrochloride. They work just as well, are very effective and have more studies on them for mental health then the methylated b vitamins. Synthetic is not bad or harmful in most cases for mental conditions. They work the same over time, the difference is they are better tolerated.
If these do not help enough, then trying the non-methylated forms of b vitamins can also help. These include folinic acid and hydroxocobalamin. Remember, these are powerful vitamins so your dosages may be less than with synthetic forms.
There is conflicting evidence at this point about methylated and co-enzyme b vitamins actually being helpful for mental health conditions, and they can sometimes make symptoms worse instead. But, if you have the MTHFR, you know how important folate and b12 are for your health. Be cautious with your approach and with your use of methyl folate to be specific. This form is not a one fits all form of folate.
If you do not feel relief by the synthetic b vitamins or non-methylated forms, then perhaps the methylated and co-enzyme forms are exactly what you need. Start with low doses and work your way up to a therapeutic amount. You may be an under methylator who thrives on methyls. Just be cautious of methyl folate as this can exacerbate mental health symptoms of all kinds. Remember, these forms of vitamins work as methyl donors and you can quickly become over methylated by supplementing too much too fast.
D & K
We naturally get vitamin D from the sun. This is the best way to achieve your daily value of this important vitamin.
Vitamin D deficiency is more common than previously thought. Getting an adequate intake of this vitamin can help with depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
Canadian researchers reviewed 14 studies involving 31,424 people and found a strong relationship between depression and low Vitamin D levels.
The lower the level of vitamin D, the more the person has a chance of being depressed.
The National Institute of Health cites many studies where sunshine improves mood.
There is evidence that a lack of vitamin D is correlated with mental illness.
A side note: sunscreens actually minimize the amount of vitamin D you are able to absorb so supplementation is often recommended.
A 2016 study investigated the effects of vitamin K-2 in rats with symptoms of anxiety and depression. After 10 weeks, treatment with vitamin K reduced their symptoms.
Vitamin K-2 plays a role in the energy production of defective mitochondria. Defective mitochondria are also found in Parkinson’s patients.
vitamin K-2 may be a new treatment for Parkinson’s to consider.
You may want to order vitamin lab testing before deciding on a supplement protocol.