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Critical Nutrients for Mental Wellness

Written by Karen Gibbs

To work efficiently, our whole body, including our brain, needs plenty of nutrients. Our brain uses up almost a quarter of the nutrients we ingest. That is more than any other organ so it should follow that we look after it. We have been created to thrive and to heal ourselves when required. To be healthy, we need to eat correctly and know the critical nutrients for mental wellness. It’s a great idea to eat lots of leafy greens, good fats and to avoid refined sugar. I know this sounds so cliche that we hardly pay attention any more.


You know those cravings we get when we want something sweet? Well, that is our body telling us that we have become addicted to sugar. It gives us a bit of a rush, some extra energy and temporarily makes us feel good.


The trouble is, our body wants more and more and here is the downside. Our body uses up lots of energy and churns through lots of minerals while going through the high that refined sugar produces. That’s great if we have eaten foods containing lots of minerals. If not, our body quickly becomes depleted, and things start to go wrong.


Diabetes is probably the best example that most will be familiar with, but there are so many more problems caused to our overall health. Among other nutrients, our brain thrives on minerals, which is why mental health issues come to the fore when our body’s supply is out of balance.


The term “a chemical imbalance” originated from this fact. When certain minerals become depleted, our brain becomes unbalanced, but that is not the only cause of brain dysfunction. Many sufferers are prescribed antidepressants to get through the day. These drugs mask the symptoms and often don’t work as desired due to the side-effects.


The task is to find a Doctor who has a holistically based practice. It’s not right to mask symptoms as problems will appear elsewhere in the body. We need to find the cause of the problem and rectify that. Each case is different, so you need a doctor willing to listen and help you to heal. If you have depression or anxiety, your doctor will talk to you and work out the best plan of action. A check of your dietary habits is essential as your brain thrives on nutrients so he/she will likely recommend supplements.


Nutrition is key to good health, especially if your diet is lacking in the nutrients critical for mental wellness.  Of course, this may be the tip of the ice-berg as there is so much involved in mental health issues, but nutrition is the best place to start. If the problems are very severe, the best idea is to have brain chemical testing done by a qualified specialist. You will know which minerals are lacking in your brain, and the doctor can prescribe what is needed to bring everything back into balance.


A healthy diet provides our body with everything it needs to thrive and repair itself. When we eat the wrong foods, our system has to work twice as hard to improve the chaos caused within. Taking supplements might be recommended.


On the list, I have “lithium orotate” which is something I have only heard about recently. Many doctors believe it is a crucial nutrient for the brain. It is different from the drug “lithium carbonate” often prescribed by doctors. Wikipedia lists it as “a dietary supplement barely researched between 1973-1986 used to treat alcoholism and Alzheimer’s disease. It is capable of supplying the body with lithium, but the US food and drug administration has not approved it for the treatment of any medical condition.” I’m not surprised by this, but I am interested to note that many doctors now believe it is a crucial nutrient for the brain.


Many doctors say that Lithium Orotate is harmless to try and see if you feel better. I’m told it does not have the side-effects of the drug Lithium Carbonate so check with your doctor to see what he/she thinks. I know I intend to ask my doctor just that.


Calcium, zinc, magnesium and selenium are other “brain food” nutrients. Also, found in fish and chia seeds, is omega 3, another source of nutrient for the brain.


Some plant-based supplements are said to be very useful too. Ashwagandha, lemon balm, L-theanine, to name a few. 5-HTP is an amino acid which our body uses to produce serotonin. If our serotonin levels are low, amino acid supplements could help our nerve cells to function correctly.


The fact is, our brain needs food to function well. I hope you found this article to be a good starting point in developing better health and proper nutrition practises. This article has been written from my own experiences and research but I urge you to search for a good doctor who is interested in your health and well being. A doctor who you feel comfortable talking to and that is the best place to start as he/she will be able to guide you on your unique path to health.

About the author

Karen Gibbs

'Empowering Connections' is my thing. Hi there, I'm Karen, a Circle Facilitator, Author and Coach, empowering individuals to feel connected and positively impact the lives of others.
Through my writing, I advocate for those who struggle with depression or anxiety by supporting and serving their families and friends to understand mental health issues better.
My latest book is entitled "Stop The Downward Spiral: Everything the person in your life who struggles with depression wishes you knew."
I published my first book, Scrapbook Creations, in 2002 and won the Sunshine Coast Excellence in Business award for my business of the same name.
Helping others to connect and live a happy, faith-infused life is my passion. I gain inspiration daily from God and nature.
From my heart to yours, Karen x

You can follow Karen’s writings at
or see her inspirational quotes at either of her facebook pages