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LETTER JANUARY 2018 Meet the Men Behind Your Meals
www.OctoberKitchen.com | 860-533-0588 | 309 Green Rd, Manchester, CT 06042
A SUPPLEMENT FOR THE MIND When we teach kids about vitamins and minerals, we focus heavily on what these nutrients do for our bodies. But I believe it’s time we start to focus on how vitamins and minerals impact our minds. In addition to negatively impacting our bodies, certain vitamin deficiencies have been found to damage our mental state. Vitamin D deficiency, resulting from a lack of sunlight, is a well-documented source of seasonal depression, especially for seniors. This is why it’s so important to make time for even a brief walk in the afternoons. Another vitamin that has been shown to affect our mood and mental health is vitamin B12. sertraline and risperidone. Additionally, blood tests were ordered, including thyroid-stimulating hormone, vitamin B12, and folate levels. The results were all within normal limits, except for vitamin B12, which proved to be extremely low at a serum level of less than 100 pg/mL. Ms. A. was quickly treated with a series of vitamin B12 injections, bringing her levels back to normal limits (500 pg/mL). At this point, Ms. A. showed significant improvement in her mood, sleep, self-care, and activity levels. As she returned to her baseline levels, the treating psychiatrist discontinued the risperidone and reduced the dosage of sertraline.
Ms. A.’s experiences mirror those of another patient from 2003 who, after suffering from severe depression, was found to have low levels of B12. Like Ms. A., this patient improved dramatically following vitamin B12 replacement therapy. The case report stated, “Evidence for neuropsychiatric symptoms related to vitamin deficiency is sparse, but when there is such a causal relationship, the treatment response is dramatic and at times lifesaving … Large-scale controlled studies and surveys of vitamin status among the elderly and mentally ill may shed more light on this topic and may help improve the care of the mentally ill.” While there is no substitute for a healthy diet, seniors often find themselves at particular risk for certain deficiencies due to absorption problems or their life situation. For this reason, when paired with a balanced and nutritious diet, multivitamins and other supplements can help older adults maintain their physical and mental well-being.
One case, reported in The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, examined the role vitamin B12 deficiency might have on an elderly patient’s depression. Megaloblastic anemia is the most common and most serious illness associated with B12 deficiencies, but even a mild decrease in a patient’s B12 level may lead to neurologic and psychiatric problems. Dr. Susan Hanna, Dr. Leonard Lachover, and Dr. R.P. Rajarethinam wrote a case report about “Ms. A.,” a 66-year-old woman who, in 2004, was hospitalized for DSM-IV major depressive disorder with psychosis. Though she had no family or past history of mental illness or substance abuse, Ms. A. spent the prior 6 months withdrawn in her bed and reported sleep disturbances, sad mood, and lack of interest, energy, and motivation. During this time, she neglected her personal hygiene and lost 30 pounds. Diagnosed with major depressive disorder with psychotic features, Ms. A. was treated with
“In addition to negatively impacting our bodies, certain vitamin deficiencies have been
found to damage our mental state.”
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