Deficiencies of vitamins and trace minerals have been reported in people with mood disorders, and these days, deficiencies are widespread. Modern, industrial, processed food does not give our bodies the protective nutrients – especially, vitamins and minerals – needed for optimal physical and mental health, and emotional balance.
Correcting the deficiencies with dietary supplements sometimes helps. Most frequently cited as a good candidate for supplementation is the B-complex of vitamins, a group of water-soluble compounds that the body cannot store and needs constantly for optimum metabolism. Its need for them is increased by stress, erratic diets, use of drugs and alcohol, smoking, illness, shift work, and demanding travel. In short, there is no reason not to take the whole complex of B-vitamins in supplement form, but also no reason to take them apart from a daily multivitamin/multimineral supplement.
Allow Dr. Weil to emphasize: Dietary supplements are not the whole answer, as they are not substitutes for good diets. At best, they are partial representations of the full spectrum of protective elements in whole foods. But they are good insurance against gaps in the diet. Dr. Weil grows a lot of his own food in rich, organic soil, prepares it himself, and is thoughtful about what he eats. He also takes daily supplements including a good multivitamin/multimineral and advises you to do so, too, because he considers it another good and safe measure to optimize emotional well-being.
Here’s the “antioxidant cocktail” Dr. Weil recommends for emotional balance physical and mental health:
- Vitamin C. Aim for 200 milligrams per day.
- Vitamin E. Most adults should limit their daily supplement intake of vitamin E to 100-200 IU (in the form of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols).
- Selenium. Aim for 100-200 micrograms per day.
- Mixed Carotenoids. Aim for a daily intake of 10,000-15,000 IU.
- Antioxidants. A convenient way to get the recommended amounts of antioxidants is to take them as part of a daily multivitamin/multimineral supplement. The multivitamin should not contain iron (unless you are a female with regular menstrual periods). It should not include preformed vitamin A (retinol), as well. It is best to take these supplements with your largest meal of the day.
Some other measures to consider:
- Fish Oil. Dr. Weil suggests eating oily fish at least twice weekly, but if you don’t, consider a fish oil supplement. Look for one in liquid or capsule form (2-3 grams a day of a product containing both EPA and DHA). Also choose molecularly distilled products that are certified to be free of heavy metals and other contaminants.
- Low-Dose Aspirin Therapy. This may be something to discuss with your physician. Generally it is one to two baby aspirins per day (81 or 162 milligrams).
- Anti-Inflammatory Spices. Eat both ginger and turmeric regularly; if you do not, consider supplemental forms of these spices.
- CoQ10. Add this to your daily regimen – choose a softgel with 60 to 100 milligrams and take with your largest meal of the day.
- Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA). If you are prone to metabolic syndrome, take alpha-lipoic acid, 100 to 400 milligrams a day.