Mental Health

Last Updated: August 16, 2022

Mental health refers to emotional and psychological well-being. Diet and dietary supplements can be helpful in maintaining mental health.

What is mental health?

Mental health can be defined as having the necessary emotional and psychological well-being to enjoy life, manage stress, and develop meaningful relationships. Disorders such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and ADHD negatively impact mental health and can be difficult to manage. Additionally, having a mental health disorder may increase the risk of developing other diseases, including type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease.[1][2] [3]

How could diet affect mental health?

There does appear to be a relationship between diet and mental health. However, the effect of diet on mental health is highly complex, and its mechanisms are yet to be fully understood. Similar to other aspects of health, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish, and lean protein can benefit mental health.[4]

Which supplements are of most interest for mental health?

The supplements that are of interest for mental health include ashwagandha, curcumin, D-serine, fish oil, kava, saffron, and sarcosine. Before starting any supplement for mental health, it is important to consult a healthcare professional because concurrently taking a drug for mental health disorders and a dietary supplement could lead to adverse effects.

Don't miss out on the latest research

Frequently asked questions

Other FAQs

  1. ^Yu M, Zhang X, Lu F, Fang LDepression and Risk for Diabetes: A Meta-Analysis.Can J Diabetes.(2015-Aug)
  2. ^De Hert M, Detraux J, Vancampfort DThe intriguing relationship between coronary heart disease and mental disorders.Dialogues Clin Neurosci.(2018-03)
  3. ^The content of this page was partially adapted from MedlinePlus of the National Library of Medicine accessed 16 May 2022
  4. ^J Douglas Bremner, Kasra Moazzami, Matthew T Wittbrodt, Jonathon A Nye, Bruno B Lima, Charles F Gillespie, Mark H Rapaport, Bradley D Pearce, Amit J Shah, Viola VaccarinoDiet, Stress and Mental HealthNutrients.(2020 Aug 13)
  5. ^The American College of Rheumatology nomenclature and case definitions for neuropsychiatric lupus syndromes.Arthritis Rheum.(1999 Apr)
  6. ^Dantzer R, O'Connor JC, Freund GG, Johnson RW, Kelley KWFrom inflammation to sickness and depression: when the immune system subjugates the brain.Nat Rev Neurosci.(2008-Jan)
  7. ^Eisenberger NI, Berkman ET, Inagaki TK, Rameson LT, Mashal NM, Irwin MRInflammation-induced anhedonia: endotoxin reduces ventral striatum responses to reward.Biol Psychiatry.(2010-Oct-15)
  8. ^Goldsmith CA, Rogers DPThe case for autoimmunity in the etiology of schizophrenia.Pharmacotherapy.(2008-Jun)
  9. ^Kayser MS, Dalmau JThe emerging link between autoimmune disorders and neuropsychiatric disease.J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci.(2011)
  10. ^Roos RP, Davis K, Meltzer HYImmunoglobulin studies in patients with psychiatric diseases.Arch Gen Psychiatry.(1985-Feb)
  11. ^Nair R, Maseeh AVitamin D: The "sunshine" vitaminJ Pharmacol Pharmacother.(2012 Apr)
  12. ^Parker GB, Brotchie H, Graham RKVitamin D and depressionJ Affect Disord.(2017 Jan 15)
  13. ^Allan GM, Cranston L, Lindblad A, McCormack J, Kolber MR, Garrison S, Korownyk CVitamin D: A Narrative Review Examining the Evidence for Ten BeliefsJ Gen Intern Med.(2016 Jul)
  14. ^Gowda U, Mutowo MP, Smith BJ, Wluka AE, Renzaho AMVitamin D supplementation to reduce depression in adults: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trialsNutrition.(2015 Mar)
  15. ^Spedding SVitamin D and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis comparing studies with and without biological flawsNutrients.(2014 Apr 11)
  16. ^F Vellekkatt, V MenonEfficacy of vitamin D supplementation in major depression: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trialsJ Postgrad Med.(Apr-Jun 2019)
  17. ^Sepehrmanesh Z, Kolahdooz F, Abedi F, Mazroii N, Assarian A, Asemi Z, Esmaillzadeh AVitamin D Supplementation Affects the Beck Depression Inventory, Insulin Resistance, and Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized, Controlled Clinical TrialJ Nutr.(2016 Feb)
  18. ^Retraction of Vitamin D Supplementation Affects the Beck Depression Inventory, Insulin Resistance, and Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial. J Nutr 2016;146(2):243-8.J Nutr.(2021 May 11)
  19. ^Vaziri F, Nasiri S, Tavana Z, Dabbaghmanesh MH, Sharif F, Jafari PA randomized controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation on perinatal depression: in Iranian pregnant mothersBMC Pregnancy Childbirth.(2016 Aug 20)
  20. ^Wilczyński KM, Chęcińska K, Kulczyk K, Janas-Kozik MVitamin D deficiency and depressive symptoms: meta-analysis of studies .Psychiatr Pol.(2022-Dec-31)
  21. ^Dean AJ, Bellgrove MA, Hall T, Phan WM, Eyles DW, Kvaskoff D, McGrath JJEffects of vitamin D supplementation on cognitive and emotional functioning in young adults--a randomised controlled trialPLoS One.(2011)
  22. ^Yalamanchili V, Gallagher JCTreatment with hormone therapy and calcitriol did not affect depression in older postmenopausal women: no interaction with estrogen and vitamin D receptor genotype polymorphismsMenopause.(2012 Jun)
  23. ^Wang R, Xu F, Xia X, Xiong A, Dai D, Ling Y, Sun R, Qiu L, Ding Y, Xie ZThe effect of vitamin D supplementation on primary depression: A meta-analysis.J Affect Disord.(2024-Jan-01)
  24. ^Srifuengfung M, Srifuengfung S, Pummangura C, Pattanaseri K, Oon-Arom A, Srisurapanont MEfficacy and acceptability of vitamin D supplements for depressed patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.Nutrition.(2023-Jan-07)
  25. ^Pilz S, Frisch S, Koertke H, Kuhn J, Dreier J, Obermayer-Pietsch B, Wehr E, Zittermann AEffect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in menHorm Metab Res.(2011 Mar)
  26. ^Wehr E, Pilz S, Boehm BO, März W, Obermayer-Pietsch BAssociation of vitamin D status with serum androgen levels in menClin Endocrinol (Oxf).(2010 Aug)
  27. ^Rodgers S, Grosse Holtforth M, Hengartner MP, Müller M, Aleksandrowicz AA, Rössler W, Ajdacic-Gross VSerum testosterone levels and symptom-based depression subtypes in menFront Psychiatry.(2015 May 4)
  28. ^Johnson JM, Nachtigall LB, Stern TAThe effect of testosterone levels on mood in men: a reviewPsychosomatics.(2013 Nov-Dec)
  29. ^Bassil N, Alkaade S, Morley JEThe benefits and risks of testosterone replacement therapy: a reviewTher Clin Risk Manag.(2009 Jun)
  30. ^Zarrouf FA, Artz S, Griffith J, Sirbu C, Kommor MTestosterone and depression: systematic review and meta-analysisJ Psychiatr Pract.(2009 Jul)
  31. ^Davis SR, Wahlin-Jacobsen STestosterone in women--the clinical significanceLancet Diabetes Endocrinol.(2015 Dec)
  32. ^Sharma A, Madaan V, Petty FDExercise for mental healthPrim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry.(2006)
  33. ^Melrose SSeasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview of Assessment and Treatment ApproachesDepress Res Treat.(2015)
  34. ^O'Hare C, O'Sullivan V, Flood S, Kenny RASeasonal and meteorological associations with depressive symptoms in older adults: A geo-epidemiological studyJ Affect Disord.(2016 Feb)
  35. ^Golden RN, Gaynes BN, Ekstrom RD, Hamer RM, Jacobsen FM, Suppes T, Wisner KL, Nemeroff CBThe efficacy of light therapy in the treatment of mood disorders: a review and meta-analysis of the evidenceAm J Psychiatry.(2005 Apr)
  36. ^Lam RW, Levitt AJ, Levitan RD, Enns MW, Morehouse R, Michalak EE, Tam EMThe Can-SAD study: a randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness of light therapy and fluoxetine in patients with winter seasonal affective disorderAm J Psychiatry.(2006 May)
  37. ^Kerr DC, Zava DT, Piper WT, Saturn SR, Frei B, Gombart AFAssociations between vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms in healthy young adult womenPsychiatry Res.(2015 May 30)
  38. ^Frandsen TB, Pareek M, Hansen JP, Nielsen CTVitamin D supplementation for treatment of seasonal affective symptoms in healthcare professionals: a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trialBMC Res Notes.(2014 Aug 14)