Nutrition & Mental Health

The Key Vitamins and Minerals That Support Sanity


Currently, an estimated one out every seven people suffer from mental health issues; depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and others. Allopathic doctors usually resort to drugs to manage these issues. However many of these drugs have side effects that may be worst than the condition they are meant to treat. As a result, many people choose to suffer in silence. Among the known causes of mental disturbances besides physical impairment, are jinn possession, over-emotionality, genetic predisposition, and nutritional deficiencies. My focus today is on the nutrients necessary to support our mental faculties.


  1. Introduction

  2. The Key Nutrients and the Best Sources of Them

  3. Lesser Nutrients Still Important for Brain Function.

  4. Conclusion


We have all witnessed the rise in violent crimes these days. Why have these acts increased so much? Along with this, we have the ever-increasing rates of autism, ADHD ( attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ), depression, and bipolar disorders. There are a number of factors to consider in regards to the rise in rates of mental disorders. One is awareness, people, in general, are more aware and sympathetic towards those afflicted with mental disorders. There is evidence suggesting genetic predispositions to many of these disorders. The genetic predisposition combined with the lack of moral training prevalent these days has led to many of the youth to be confused about their roles in society and to lack the ability to adhere to boundaries. So at times what has been considered a mental disorder is actually a spiritual issue. However, what I am discussing today, is the nutritional imbalances that could lead to the manifestation of some of these disorders.



Vitamins A, D, and K



I've discussed the importance of vitamins A and D before. Their role along with their sister, vitamin K, is critical for mental health. Vitamin A deficiency (especially during pregnancy) has been linked to abnormal behavior in children later in life such as; schizophrenia, impaired spatial learning, and memory, apathy, lack of insight, even hallucinations, and delusions. Organ meats are a particularly high source of vitamin A. Better if the animals have been raised naturally on pasture that hasn't been sprayed with pesticides (these pesticides may interfere with our bodies' abilities to absorb the necessary vitamins and minerals from our food).



Not to be outdone, there are studies that show that vitamin D deficiency is often linked in cases of depression and panic. Not everything is known about the role of vitamin D in functions of the brain however we do know that vitamin D is found spread all over the brain and that vitamin D is involved with motor control, learning, and memory. In addition, vitamin D deficiency causes decreased levels of serotonin ( a neurotransmitter ) which may lead to inattentiveness, inability to delay gratification, and inability to plan and act on plans in a sequential manner. Vitamin D is produced by our bodies in response to direct contact with the sun through the skin and/or eyes as well as through eating foods rich in vitamin D. Sunscreen and sunglasses are the main culprits in preventing us from producing adequate amounts vitamin D. For those afflicted with depression, they might try some sun therapy, regular periods in direct contact with the morning sun. As for food sources, vitamin D is often found along with vitamin K in foods such as; fish, meat ( especially organ meats ), and egg yolks.


As for the last sister, vitamin K, not much is known about how she influences the brain. What is known is that there are lipids present in great quantities in brain cell membranes; vitamin K has a role in the development of those lipids. It is also known that vitamin K has an important function in cell growth as well as cognition and psychomotor functions. Vitamin K is found in meat fats, real butter, egg yolks, fish, and organ meats.


These three vitamins are of great importance. Many of us through our insistence to avoid all fats suffer deficiencies of these three vitamins to varying levels. These three are fat-soluble vitamins and so are stored by the body. So it is not necessary to consume sources of these every day. However, it is very important to be sure you are getting an adequate amount of all three. Many of us are eating foods laden with pesticides, artificial hormones, and fortified with synthetic vitamins all of which make it more difficult for our bodies to absorb what it needs from our food. It is recommended to look for sources of meat, milk, and fat from animals raised on pasture. Also stay away from GMOs, which no one can be certain of yet how they affect the body.



Other Key Vitamins and Minerals



Some other vitamins and minerals play important roles in our cognitive functions as well. The water-soluble vitamin, vitamin B is one; B1 and B3 (thiamine and niacin) specifically. Some cognitive effects of Vitamin B deficiency are dementia, depression, irritability, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, and in severe cases insanity ( inability to distinguish fantasy from reality, lack of ability to conduct one's own affairs due to psychosis, or subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior ). Because Vitamin B is water-soluble, it is not stored by the body so we need regular access to a sufficient amount. Thiamin ( vitamin B1 ) is found in whole grains, legumes, meat, real dairy, and fish. Sources of niacin ( vitamin B3 ) include greens, real dairy, meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.


Meat, eggs, and poultry also provide the amino acids required by our bodies to produce serotonin ( regulates sleep, mood, and appetite ) as well as other neurotransmitters and hormones. Many of which, directly or indirectly have an effect on cognitive function.



Real milk and other dairy products are solid sources of many of the vitamins and minerals necessary for brain development and function. Including vitamins; thiamin ( vitamin B1 ), riboflavin ( vitamin B2 ), niacin ( vitamin B3 ), pantothenic acid ( vitamin B5 ), pyridoxine ( vitamin B6 ), cobalamin ( vitamin B12 ), vitamin C, as well as folate and the minerals; calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc. Whole, real milk is a complete food source.



In Conclusion



We can use this information in diet planning for our families. To ensure that their nutritional needs are met. Perhaps we can begin to move away from the harsh drugs and other responses that are usually taken by allopathic medicine if we focus more on prevention through nutritional balance. I hope you found the information beneficial. I ask Allaah to protect all of us, Ameen.


In conclusion, I leave you with this quote from ibn al-Qayyim:


يقول ابن القيم رحمه الله:

...وأما طب الأبدان فجاء من تكميل شريعته ، ومقصودا لغيره ، بحيث إنما يستعمل عند الحاجة إليه ، فإذا قدر على الاستغناء عنه كان صرف الهمم والقوى إلى علاج القلوب والأرواح وحفظ صحتها ودفع أسقامها وحميتها مما يفسدها هو المقصود بالقصد الأول ، وإصلاح البدن بدون إصلاح القلب لا ينفع ، وفساد البدن مع إصلاح القلب مضرته يسيرة جدا ، وهي مضرة زائلة تعقبها المنفعة الدائمة التامة وبالله التوفيق " انتهى من " زاد المعاد " (4/23)


Ibn al-Qayyim (رحمه الله تعالى) said:  

With regard to physical medicine, that is something that is complementary to Islamic teachings and is not something to sought in and of itself; therefore it is only to be used in the case of necessity. If there is no need for it, then the focus should be on treating hearts and souls, guarding their well being, warding off (spiritual) sickness and protecting them from what may harm them; this should be the priority. Taking care of the body without taking care of the soul is of no benefit. If the body is sick when the heart (soul) is sound, the harm done is minimal, and the harm soon passes when it is followed by the perfect eternal benefits. And Allah is the source of strength.

Zaad al-Ma‘aad, 4/23. 








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