Diet and mental health of modern man

As is well known, the correct diet affects our body. It helps to keep a youthful appearance, prevents the onset of many diseases and supports the treatment of those that already occur, but does it also affect mental health? More and more patients who come to a dietary clinic mention depression as one of the diseases or complain of low mood or malaise.

The modern diet is poor in vitamins, minerals and polyunsaturated fatty acids from the Omega 3 group. To boost your mental health, focus on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables along with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as sesame seeds and salmon. Sesame seeds is one of the commendable anxiety-reducing foods that gives your body the best possible foundation to function healthily and happily. These wonder seeds are very high in an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan helps your body produce the neurotransmitter called serotonin, which helps you feel at ease.

The health consequences of poor diet are far-reaching and are associated with the advent of non-communicable diseases. In the present era, a large chunk of the population is grappled with nutrition deficiencies, which is defined by their food choices and the lifestyle they lead. Also, the carnivore diet, a dietary plan that involves consuming only animal products, such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, has gained popularity in recent years. However, the carnivore diet risks are grave and it could damage the colon and degrade your gut health. Simple carbohydrates, trans fatty acids and Omega 6 are consumed in excess that may cause obesity. This group of patients has the highest percentage of people concurrently receiving treatment for depression. Many studies show that obesity (BMI ≥ 30) increases the risk of depression by 50–150%. In view of such observations, the next step is to carefully analyze the components of the patient’s diet and identify nutritional deficiencies that may affect mental health.

As we know, depression affects about 10% of the population, it is classified by the WHO in fourth place among health problems in the world. According to the latest scientific reports, apart from treatment in a psychiatric and psychological clinic, it is worth examining the patient’s eating habits in a comprehensive manner.

If you have any kind of mental health disorders – don’t try to treat yourself on your own. Our article is for general knowledge and better understanding processes in your brain. We recommend finding a treatment center and get professional help.


Takes part in over 100 enzymatic reactions. It is essential in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It is indispensable for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, e.g. serotonin from tryptophan, dopamine and norepinephrine.

Serotonin is a tissue hormone that regulates sleep, appetite, body temperature and blood pressure. Low levels of it can cause aggressiveness, fatigue, increased sensitivity to pain and depressive disorders.

Vitamin B6 is found in such food products as: beef and pork meat, fish, sesame seeds, walnuts, potatoes, rice, baker’s yeast, carrots, cabbage and cauliflower.

The most common symptoms of pyridoxine deficiency are: dermatological problems (dermatitis, rash, itching as well as inflammation of the oral mucosa) and diseases of the nervous system (depression, feeling confused).

Vitamin B6 deficiency is not quite common, it may appear in people with a poorly varied diet. Patients with the following diseases are more likely to develop a deficiency of this vitamin: kidney diseases, autoimmune diseases (especially celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis), alcohol addiction. Patients with these diseases always require a thorough nutritional analysis and consideration of possible vitamin B6 supplementation.


Folic acid is involved in the synthesis of purine bases, nucleic acids and many amino acids. It is essential for the functioning of the hematopoietic and nervous systems and for the development of body cells. The source of vitamin B9

are mainly green leafy vegetables, in smaller amounts it is found in tomatoes, lentils, beets, nuts, sunflower seeds, whole grains, yeast, cereal sprouts, citrus fruits, egg yolks and liver. Folic acid is synthesized in small amounts by the intestinal bacteria.

This vitamin is very sensitive to sunlight, high temperature and a pH below 7. High losses of folic acid (50–90%) occur during storage, processing and cooking of food.

(40% of the daily intake) comes from whole grain cereal products.

From food in the gastrointestinal tract, 50–90% of folate is absorbed, while 100% of bioavailability is synthetic folic acid used for food supplementation and enrichment. Folic acid deficiency may result from insufficient supply of this component in food, malabsorption disorders in the intestines, alcohol abuse, smoking, and due to interactions with certain drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, antiepileptic drugs, cortisone, sulfa drugs, antibiotics, oral contraceptives and antagonists). folic acid: methotrexate, trimethopin). Vitamin B12, C, iron and zinc deficiency may also affect the folate deficiency in the body.


Participates in the formation of blood cells in the hematopoietic system. It also plays a vital role in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. In the human nervous system, it takes part in the construction of myelin sheaths and nerve transmitters. Good sources of vitamin B12 are: meat, fish, offal, shellfish, milk, cheese, eggs. Vegans are particularly prone to deficiency of this vitamin. This vitamin is not found in plant-based products, exceptions are fermented vegetables, e.g. fermented soybeans. miso.


They are found in soybean oil, rapeseed oil, corn oil, linseed oil, wheat germ and marine fish fat. The most important representative of n-3 is α-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a precursor of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA acid participates in the synthesis of eicosanoids. These are tissue hormone substances that strengthen or weaken the action of hormones and neuromediators in cells. They have anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant properties and regulate the activity of the cardiovascular system. DHA acid is a building material for the brain and the retina of the eye.


The health-promoting properties of intestinal bacteria have been known for a long time. The composition of the microflora of each person is unique. It is estimated that the total mass of intestinal bacteria is even 1.5–2 kg.

Microbiota performs the functions of:

  • metabolic (breakdown of food debris
  • by fermentation),
  • synthesizes B vitamins and vitamin K,
  • protects the intestinal epithelium against pathogens,
  • stimulates the immune system.

Further functions of the intestinal bacterial flora are still being explored. The discovery of the influence of intestinal bacteria on the central nervous system is noteworthy. The vagus nerve, which is part of the gut-brain axis, connects the intestines with the brain. Thus, the intestinal microbiota affects the nervous, endocrine and immune systems. It has the ability to reduce the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines and affects the metabolism of tryptophan. These actions are of great importance in the treatment of depression.

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