10 Vitamins and Minerals for Mental Health

10 Vitamins and Minerals for Mental Health

Vitamin B

This supplement has been shown to help mental health by lifting mood and reducing stress and anxiety. Another bonus is that Vitamin B is absorbed quickly unlike Vitamin D, that can take months to reach the full effect.

It hasn’t been shown to be as effective for depression.

This supplement doesn’t seem to have significant side effects unless taken in high doses & the recommended dose for adults is 2,400 mg daily.  (Young, 2019)



Fish Oil

Fish oil can be used for borderline personality disorder and ADHD.

Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to people with depression and schizophrenia, making it a good option for those diagnoses too.

Plus, mental health conditions are usually connected with heart disease and diabetes & fish oil will reduce chances of heart attacks and stroke.

Some side effects are upset stomach, blood thinning, low blood pressure, heartburn, burping, or the bad fish oil aftertaste.

There ARE brands that have eliminated the bad aftertaste though.

Up to 3,000mg is considered safe. (Stokes, 2005).


Depression and anxiety are linked with higher levels cortisol and DHEA and Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce both. It is also possible that this supplement helps increase testosterone levels in males.

Another bonus is that it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Ashwagandha has positive effects on serotonin and GABA which both tie into depression and anxiety.

Many people claim this supplement gives them energy and motivation.

There also haven’t been significant adverse effects noted.

Recommended to start around 300mg/day and increase as tolerated, 6,000mg/day is about the max dose recommended. (Lopresti, 2019)



 Vitamin D 

This supplement is widely known to support mental health conditions. Specifically, depression and anxiety but even has the potential to improve behavior and has anti-inflammatory effects.

When taking too much vitamin D you can have weakness, nausea, vomiting or dry mouth.

*one of the most commonly prescribed out of all vitamins and minerals for mental health. 

In general, adults can take 800 international units (20 micrograms) of vitamin D per day. (Abska, 2021)




There is a connection between zinc deficiency and depression especially in those over age 65.

Zink can improve symptoms of dementia, anxiety, psychosis and can even improve behavior.

Anxiety is less studied, but the effects still seem promising. Zinc plays a part in healing and immunity as well.

In general, it is tolerated well but too much can cause stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.

The recommended daily amount of zinc is 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men. (Gronli, 2013)





Daily supplementation of magnesium leads to a significant decrease in depression and anxiety symptoms regardless of age, gender, baseline severity of depression, or use of antidepressant medications.

This is another supplement that is tolerated well aside from taking way too much.

The recommended amount for magnesium for adults is 310–420 mg depending on age and gender. (Tartleton, 2017)




Vitamin C

Vit C is involved in anxiety, stress, depression, fatigue and mood.

Several studies have shown 7 different effects of vitamin C on the body that all help reduce depression. This supplement also seems to improve symptoms of schizophrenia.

Unless you take far too much you shouldn’t have any significant side effects.

Dosing is 90 mg daily for men and 75 mg for women. For pregnancy and lactation, the amount increases to 85 mg and 120 mg daily, respectively.

Smoking can also deplete vitamin C levels in the body, so an additional 35 mg beyond the RDA is suggested for smokers. (Kocot, 2017)





Not only does this supplement improve depression and anxiety symptoms but also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antidiabetic properties.

It’s been shown to improve dementia symptoms by improving memory and learning.

The most common side effects are headache, nausea, appetite changes, anxiety, dry mouth, drowsiness, and constipation.

A less common, but serious risk is serotonin syndrome,  especially when taking multiple medications that impact serotonin levels.

Up to 1,500mg daily is considered safe. (Singletary, 2021)





Too little or too much of it can cause depression anxiety and other negative effects on mood. Calcium may even play a large role in PMS (premenstrual syndrome), since the ovarian hormones affect calcium metabolism and absorption.

Calcium supplements can improve sleep disorders as well.

1,000 mg per day is the standard.  (Alkhatatbeh, 2021)





5-Hydroxytryptophan (5- HTP) is a precursor to serotonin that’s known to help treat obesity, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, migraines, fibromyalgia, insomnia, panic disorder, anxiety, depression and was even useful for the treatment of emotional suffering related to unreciprocated romantic love.

What doesn’t it do?

If you’re already taking a medication to increase serotonin (SSRIs) you’ll be more likely to have side effects which include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, anxiety, shivering, and heart problems.

A less common, but serious risk is serotonin syndrome,  especially when taking multiple medications that impact serotonin levels.

Usually 50-100mg per day of 5-HTP is taken. (Maffei, 2020)





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“The law defines dietary supplements in part as products taken by mouth that contain a “dietary ingredient.”

Dietary ingredients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs or botanicals, as well as other substances that can be used to supplement the diet.” U.S. FDA


Sources used for 10 vitamins and minerals for mental health

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Peet M, Stokes C. Omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Drugs. 2005;65(8):1051-9. doi: 10.2165/00003495-200565080-00002. PMID: 15907142.

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Gł ˛abska, D.; Kołota, A.; Lachowicz, K.; Skolmowska, D.; Stacho ´n, M.; Guzek, D. The Influence of Vitamin D Intake and Status on Mental Health in Children: A Systematic Review. Nutrients 2021, 13, 952. https://doi.org/10.3390/ nu13030952

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Tarleton EK, Littenberg B, MacLean CD, Kennedy AG, Daley C (2017) Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PLOS ONE 12(6): e0180067. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180067

Kocot J, Luchowska-Kocot D, Kiełczykowska M, Musik I, Kurzepa J. Does Vitamin C Influence Neurodegenerative Diseases and Psychiatric Disorders? Nutrients. 2017; 9(7):659. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9070659

Singletary, Keith PhD Saffron, Nutrition Today: 11/12 2020 – Volume 55 – Issue 6 – p 294-303 doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000449

Alkhatatbeh, M., Khwaileh, H., & Abdul-Razzak, K. (2021). High prevalence of low dairy calcium intake and association with insomnia, anxiety, depression and musculoskeletal pain in university students from Jordan. Public Health Nutrition, 24(7), 1778-1786. doi:10.1017/S1368980020002888

Maffei M. E. (2020). 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): Natural Occurrence, Analysis, Biosynthesis, Biotechnology, Physiology and Toxicology. International journal of molecular sciences, 22(1), 181. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010181

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