Nutrition And Mental Health

What Effects Does Nutrition Have on​ Mental Health
It has been an enduring belief that nutrition plays a​ significant role in​ the​ state of​ mental health of​ an individual. But is​ this true or​ not?
Recent as​ well as​ previous researches have proven that nutrition or​ the​ lack of​ it​ does have effects on​ how a​ persons brain functions,​ his moods and his behaviors.
Say for example,​ a​ person who has skipped a​ meal is​ observably weak,​ out of​ focus and irritable. This case worsens when extended to​ a​ certain period of​ time when the​ person becomes severely moody and indifferent to​ the​ demands of​ his environment thus showing decreased speed in​ reaction time.
These behaviors occur due to​ the​ lack of​ nutrition supply to​ the​ brain. the​ brain requires high energy and nutrient supply. it​ comprises,​ in​ fact,​ 20% to​ 30% of​ all the​ energy consumption of​ the​ body during rest periods. Thus,​ any change in​ diet or​ nutrition level of​ the​ body directly reflects in​ the​ mental functioning.
Chronic energy deprivation,​ such as​ the​ case of​ malnourished people,​ results to​ the​ eventual shutting down of​ the​ body by decreasing its activities and redirecting all its energy sources towards the​ systems that require higher energy supply. This results to​ altered levels of​ activities,​ changes in​ hormonal levels,​ lessened immune system efficiency and transport of​ nutrients and oxygen to​ certain body parts,​ all of​ which could directly or​ indirectly influence mental health. People with extremely low nutrition are more likely to​ become sad,​ depressed and emotional as​ compared with those who have adequate nutrition.
Newborn babies and fetuses are also susceptible to​ brain damage if​ they are subjected to​ lack of​ necessary nutrition. the​ type and degree of​ damage is​ dependent on​ the​ severity of​ malnutrition. Also,​ malnutrition among babies has proven to​ produce low level of​ intelligence,​ cognitive defects as​ well as​ functional abnormalities.
Protein,​ carbohydrates,​ lipids and vitamins all have individual effects on​ the​ brain. Lack of​ supply of​ these necessary nutrients result to​ alterations in​ the​ activities of​ the​ neurotransmitters,​ a​ chemical component in​ the​ brain that transmit one nerve impulse from one nerve cell to​ another. Malfunctioning of​ the​ transmitters could influence a​ persons mood,​ thinking and even sleep patterns. Additionally,​ deficient levels of​ nutrition may result to​ nerve cell damage that could disrupt cognitive and mental functions.
Neurotransmitters are partly made of​ amino acids,​ the​ building block of​ protein. Trytophan for example,​ makes up the​ neurotransmitter serotonin. if​ the​ required amino acid is​ lacking,​ the​ functions of​ the​ neurotransmitter could not be executed affecting the​ normal functioning of​ the​ brain. in​ case of​ deficient protein consumption and failure to​ supply the​ necessary amino acid to​ make serotonin,​ the​ body would experience low mood and perhaps,​ aggression. on​ the​ other hand,​ diseases that could cause the​ build up of​ certain amino acids could lead to​ brain damage thus affecting the​ mental health of​ an individual.
Mood regulation could also be associated with the​ sufficient intake of​ dietary fats. Some studies have yielded inconclusive results on​ the​ correlation between serotonin level and intake of​ omega3 fatty acids,​ a​ certain type of​ fat found only in​ white fish to​ stress and symptoms of​ bipolar disorder a​ mood disorder having the​ representations of​ both mania and depression.
Directly or​ indirectly,​ nutrition has an effect on​ mental health. Changes in​ the​ nutritional intake of​ a​ person could lead to​ alterations in​ the​ mental health and vice versa.

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