B Vitamins, Omega-3, Mental Illness And Brain Function

June 11, 2014

in BLOGS,Brain,Digestion,General,Health Protection


What does B vitamins and omega-3 have to do with mental illness and brain function?

Mental illness has once again been brought to our attention by the recent killing spree a young college student went on in Santa Barbara, CA. We can blame lots of different things on the cause of mental illness. However once again I want to suggest nutrition as being a possible contributing factor.

A few months ago another killing spree was the topic of another of my blogs. I discussed many of the possible causes of violence and “Why?”

Quote from “Nutrition, Violence and Safety

“Some of the more common answers are guns/weapons of all types, violent video games, movies, TV shows, sugar, breakdown of core/family values, poor self-esteem, drugs, forsaking God; and of course, the big one, terrorism which is very much alive in the world today.”

The brain is a complex and energy demanding organ that serves as the center of the nervous system. Malnutrition can compromise all functions.

Pellagra is a vitamin deficiency disease known as ‘the 4 D’s; diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, and death. It is most often caused by a deficiency of niacin (vitamin B3.) Common symptoms are:

  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Aggression
  • Dermatitis (skin conditions)
  • Hair loss
  • Edema (swelling)
  • Tongue inflammation
  • Insomnia
  • Weakness
  • Mental confusion
  • Ataxia (lack of coordination)
  • Paralysis of extremities
  • Nerve damage
  • Diarrhea
  • Enlarged, weakened heart
  • Dementia

Brain-FoodOne of the tragedies of modern medicines and mental illness is that supplementation is normally not considered to benefit those with mental illness.

Consider the health benefits of B vitamins:

  • Helps prevent birth defects having to do with the spine and the brain.
  • Supports heart health directly linked to buildup of homocysteine, a toxic substance.
  • Regulates neurotransmitters in the brain which control alertness and mood (Even a mild deficiency of B vitamins can lead to clouding of the mind.)
  • Supports immune function it is quite common for chemo patients to need extra B vitamins – perhaps the cause of ‘chemo brain.’
  • Critical to the nervous system – aids in metabolism, digestion, energy, and growth. Deficiencies can lead to muscle weakness, inflammation, skin disorders, infertility, sensitivity to pain, and numbness or tingling of feet or hands.

A deficiency of B vitamins is a common form of malnutrition.

  • B vitamins are water soluble and must be eaten daily; they are not stored in the body.
  • Refining, canning, and overcooking contribute to the destruction of B vitamins. A huge percentage is lost when wheat is milled into white flour.
  • Medications, alcohol, caffeine, stress, infections, and other physical conditions can destroy B vitamins.
  • Special diets that eliminate entire food groups can increase the risk of being deficient in B vitamins. Examples could be gluten free, dairy free or vegan diets.

Depletion of B vitamins:

  • Food refining – depletes natural nutrients including the removal of natural essential oils.
  • Food selection – a diet of balanced nutrients will help prevent vitamin deficiencies.
  • High corn diets – corn has nutritional benefits however the form of niacin in corn is indigestible.

Whole food sources of B vitamins are – notice that most of these foods contain natural essential fatty acids:

  • Meat from fish, beef, or poultry
  • Dairy – milk, yogurt, cheese
  • Grains and legumes such as wheat, rice and soy
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Nuts

Omega-3 fatty acids are critical for the function of B complex vitamins. Manic-depression and schizophrenia both have been shown to respond positively to a combination of omega-3 fatty acids and B complex vitamins.

  • A 25% improvement has been shown in those in a mental hospital for 5+ years.
  • A 50% improvement shown in those not in a mental hospital but with a mental condition for 5+ years
  • A 75% improvement shown in those who have had a mental condition for 2 to 5 years
  • A 90% improvement shown in those who have only had a mental condition for 1 year

mental-illnessMental conditions shown to respond to omega-3 and B complex vitamin supplementation are:

  • Postpartum depression
  • Major depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Attention deficit
  • Schizophrenia
  • Memory loss
  • Cognitive impairment/dementia

Unfortunately much of this information has been rejected by the psychiatric medical establishment.

  • Their focus is on pharmaceuticals rather than nutrients.
  • Standard medical information is controlled by the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Physicians and psychiatrists learn and practice under the control of big pharma. They are often threatened that they might lose their licenses if they stray from this control.

The brother of one of my friends was committed to a mental institution as a young adult. He was in a padded room for his own protection. My friend and his mother signed to get him out and started providing him with high amounts of good nutritional supplements and a healthy diet. The brother recovered, married, had a family, and became a responsible member of society.

So what does B vitamins and omega-3 have to do with mental illness and brain function?

Could this latest killing spree in Santa Barbara, CA have been avoided if the young man would have supplemented with quality omega-3 and B complex vitamins? I do not know but wouldn’t it be worth considering supplementation for anyone with any of the above conditions or symptoms?

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

By Benjamin Franklin



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PatMoon  Pat Unlocks the Key to Your Future Health with Wisdom, Knowledge and Common Sense

Pat has been married to the same man for 52 years, is the mother of 3 adult children, and grandma to 8 grandchildren. Growing up in the country gave her a head start to living a healthy lifestyle.  This grandma became interested in nutrition as a mother and for the past 27 plus years she has specialized in teaching others the importance of good nutrition.  Challenges along the road have been many; her father overcoming congestive heart failure with nutrition, her husband's battle with GERD and dealing with major heart issues, her daughter's battle with a brain tumor, her grandson beating Hodgkin's Lymphoma, her mother's stage 4 lung cancer, her mom-n-law's dementia, and others.  Her goal is to empower the future health of others with wisdom, knowledge and common sense so they can have the BEST REAL HEALTH possible. 


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Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.

(All information on this blog site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Information on this site has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.)

Copyright© 2014 Pat Moon – All Rights Reserved!


Comments on this entry are closed.


1 Beverley Golden July 2, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Starting a B-50 supplement has noticebly contributed to keeping me calm and to improved sleep, Pat.  I remember hearing about the work that Dr. Abraham Hoffer was doing with Niacin and Schizophrenia and how the medical profession preferred to keep the patients on drung vs. implementing vitamin therapy. Obviously it is more complicated than that, however, it speaks to your article above and how nutrition is often a viable solution, yet isn't embraced.  For years, I found that B vitamins upset my digestive tract and now I am delighted I can take them and absorb them, to experience the beneftis.  Great post!  Thanks for sharing all the detailed information that you always do. 

2 Pat Moon July 9, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Hello Beverley,

What great news that you are now able to take B vitamins and experience the benefits!

Yes, mental health and brain function is complicated but even as you have experienced more calmness and improved sleep, we can grasp how much good nutrition plays a role. It is too bad the majority of the medical and drug professions do not recognize the importance of supplementation.

Thanks for your supportive comment.


3 Roslyn June 15, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Wish more people realized that nutrition affects mental health. Great info. Thanks

4 Pat Moon July 1, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Hi Roslyn,

Our mental health is so important to healthy aging.

Thanks for reading and commenting.


5 Linda Horn June 12, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Excellant information sis,keep the good information coming we all need it.


6 Pat Moon July 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Hi Linda,

Glad you like the info.

Love ya, sis.


7 Meire Weishaupt June 12, 2014 at 9:09 am

I, always, have prefered the "natural" way of treatment, and I learn a lot about this subject here in your blog. I never could imagine that nutrition could be related as a possible contributing factor in a tragic act like the ones we have seen.

8 Pat Moon July 1, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Hi Meire,

We do not know for sure if the recent tragedy was caused by poor food choices but it very likely may have been a contributing factor. Mental health is so connected to what we eat.

I’m so happy you learn from my blog. It’s great to have readers like you.


9 Alexandra McAllister June 11, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Good physical and mental health is so important, especially as we get older.  I know most doctors will not accept "natural" alternatives…likely because they're not making any money. I prefer to go the "natural" way as much as possible.  Thanks so much for sharing all the details and info about your healthy alternatives.

10 Pat Moon July 1, 2014 at 1:07 pm

You are welcome, Alexandra.

Yes, natural alternatives are best!


11 Meryl Hershey Beck June 11, 2014 at 4:50 pm

It is important to keep our bodies at their best. Leanring to listen to our bodies can be a challenge at times but I always look for healthy alternative ways for supplementing my nutrition. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. 

12 Pat Moon July 1, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Hi Meryl,

Yes, learning to listen to our bodies can be a challenge but education does help us be aware.

Thanks for reading and commenting.


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