Nutrition is an under-recognized factor in the development of mental health disorders in children and kid’s therapy. Evidence supports the significant contributing role of diet in the treatment of certain mental health problems, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), depression, and anxiety (Ryrie, Cornah, & Van de Weyer, 2006). Low amounts of dietary elements, such as B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, and zinc have been linked with a higher risk of developing depression (Nemets, Nemets, & Apter, 2006). At Mindful Child, we treat the whole child and recognize that a healthy diet is essential in kid’s therapy. For this post, we will focus on one set of vitamins, B vitamins.
There are eight different B vitamins all of which your body needs for wellbeing. Each one has its own name, like riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3). Each B vitamin has a different function in the body, from supporting blood production to promoting DNA repair.
Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12 keep the nervous system healthy. This is where stress relief from B vitamins comes in – a strong nervous system is essential to being able to successfully fight the symptoms of stress. Certain B group vitamins are required for energy production, which is needed to support the bodily systems that respond to stress.
What Science Tells us about B Vitamins
Research demonstrates benefits can be gained from vitamin supplementation. One study found vitamin B supplements preserve brain health in the absence of an healthy diet. Other research validates the link between vitamin supplementation, including B vitamins, and mental health.
Benefits of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Stabilizes mood
- Keep the nervous system healthy
- Boosts memory and concentration
Vitamin B1 is found in nuts, seeds, fish, and soybeans
Benefits of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Calms the nervous system
- Regulates mood and energy
- Metabolizes fats and carbohydrates
Vitamin B2 is found in eggs, salmon, milk, yogurt, and spinach.
Benefits of Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Stabilizes mood; Low B3 levels increase stress, irritability, and depression
- Improves nerve health
- Controls blood sugar levels and digestion
Vitamin B3 is found in fish, meat, seeds, and peanuts
Benefits of Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Makes neurotransmitters, such as mood-boosting serotonin
- Supports your immune system (especially during times of anxiety)
- Aides adrenal function
Vitamin B6 is found in bananas, chickpeas, and lentils.
Benefits of Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
- Improves brain function
- Enhances mood
Vitamin B6 is found in broccoli, spinach, and beans.
Benefits of Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
- Boosts energy if deficient
- Supports healthy brain function
- Enhances melatonin and serotonin production, important for mood and sleep
Vitamin B12 is found in eggs, milk, cheese, and fish.
B vitamins can help your child’s body manage stress symptoms. Even though each B vitamin has distinct functions, each of the B vitamins play a role in mood stabilization and a host of other brain and nervous system functions. Adrenal glands regulate your child’s response to stress and can become fatigued when overworked. The Stress B-Complex from Thorne supports the body’s ability to manage stress while improving immune and adrenal function. Want to learn more ways to decrease stress? Bring your child in for a kid’s therapy assessment today! We do a comprehensive assessment coupled with a meeting to provide your family with valuable resources.
Nemets, H., Nemets, B, & Apter, A. et al. (2006). Omega-3 treatment of childhood depression: A controlled, double-blind pilot study. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163, 1098-1100
Ryrie, I., Cornah, D., & Van, d. W. (2006). Food, mood and mental health. Mental Health Today, 23-6. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/212463167?accountid=14872