Depression is a well-known ailment, but many people don't quite understand what it is; the most commonly-known symptom of depression is a listless, debilitating melancholy mood that lasts for a substantial amount of time, but that is far from the only symptom. Other than "the blues", depression often also consists of sleeplessness, irritability, an inability to focus, mental fogginess and headaches. Often the first response is to treat ongoing depression with prescription medications, but this can get very expensive and may not even be helpful; sometimes all the body needs to fight off depression are certain essential nutrients.
Many of the B vitamins are crucial to normal everyday function. You may not know you have a deficiency in any given vitamin because sometimes the only clues are restlessness, anxiety, fatigue or other such symptoms that may be chalked up to a hectic schedule, added stress at work or similar everyday elements of a busy life. However, if you are consistently having difficulties concentrating, are anxious for no discernible reason or find that you're regularly melancholy, a B-vitamin deficiency may be the cause.
Studies indicate that vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid are essential for proper brain function. Without a good balance of these vitamins you may experience symptoms of depression - and it may be preventable or easily alleviated with the addition of specialized supplements. In certain studies about 30% of elderly depressed patients showed a deficiency of vitamin B12, though the deficiency can and does occur in younger patients as well.
If it goes undiagnosed, a serious B12 deficiency can eventually lead to permanent adverse effects such as brain damage or dementia.On the other hand, there is evidence to suggest that B12 supplementation helps reduce mania in mental patients as well as aids in mental clarity and lowers stress levels. Enough vitamin B12 is stored in the body to last a person 3-5 years, so a deficiency will not be immediately discernible and there is often a large time margin for treatment. Many doctors recommend that all depression patients take additional B12 even if they're not tested as deficient in the vitamin; its beneficial effects don't seem to be limited to those who have less than the healthy amount in their systems.
Additional B12 is available in injectable form for severe cases, but those who suffer from mild or moderate depression - who are not at immediate risk for some of the more severe results of B12 deficiency - generally do not need to go through the expense or inconvenience of vitamin injections. A good multivitamin is a good place to start, but it is recommended that an additional specialized B12-containing supplement be added to your regime as well in order to help alleviate depression symptoms.
Whenever an internal imbalance occurs, the body reacts with a huge variety of symptoms ranging from a mild headache to debilitating anxiety or hyposomnia. The best way to isolate and possibly eliminate your body's complaints is to make sure you have sufficient exercise, a healthy diet and all the necessary nutrients. You may find that the proper supplementation will make you feel better and alleviate symptoms without having to result to prescription drugs.