Nutrients for Managing Anxiety and other Mental Health Problems

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There are numerous incidences of natural agents being used to reduce the consequences of increased anxiety; some of these have a better sense of position in science than others. It must be remembered that there are still many unknowns about the whys and whats of all mental health disorders, but many people wish to explore the safer options first.

In an article out in The journal Advances in Mind Body Medicine, the Fall 2012 issue has a very informative article written by Mark Zell and Oliver Grundmann.[1] The following table has been extracted from the article; more detail may be discovered by reading the free journal here.

Orthomolecular supplements suggested or studied daily dosage and reference sourced for the discussed psychiatric disorders.

Indication Orthomolecular Supplement Daily Dosage References
Schizophrenia Vitamin B3 (niacin) 1-6 g [2]
Glycine 30 g [3]
Omega-3 Fatty acids (EPA) 2 g [4]
Bipolar Disorder Vanadium 3 g [5]
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) 100-200 mg [6]
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) 0.2 mg [7]
Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) 0.3-0.6 mg [6]
Depressive disorders Tryptophan Not known [8], [9]
Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA) 1.5-2 g [10]
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) 0.8 mg [11],[12],[13]
Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) 0.4 mg [10]
Magnesium 125-300 mg [14]
Zinc 50 mg [5]
Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder DHA (omega-3 fatty acid) 480 mg [15]
EPA (omega-3 fatty acid) 80 mg [14]
GLA (omega-6 fatty acid) 60 -96 mg [16]
Zinc 55- 150 mg [17],[18]
Anxiety disorders Calcium 2 g [5]
Magnesium 0.6 – 1 g [13]
Vitamin B3 (niacinimide) 2.5 g [19]
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 5- 10 g [5]
Zinc 50 -80 mg [20]


[1] Zell M, Grundmann O. An Orthomolecular approach to the prevention and treatment of psychiatric disorders. Advances in Mind Body Medicine. 2012 Fall:14- 28 View Journal

[2] Vaughan K, McConaghy N. Megavitamin and dietary treatment in schizophrenia: a randomised, controlled trial. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 1999 Feb;33(1):84-8. View Abstract

[3] Lakhan SE, Vieira KF. Nutritional therapies for mental disorders. Nutr J. 2008 Jan 21;7:2. Review. View Abstract

[4] Peet M. Eicosapentaenoic acid in the treatment of schizophrenia and depression: rationale and preliminary double-blind clinical trial results. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2003 Dec;69(6):477-85. View Abstract

[5] Naylor GJ, Smith AH, Bryce-Smith D, Ward NI. Tissue vanadium levels in manic-depressive psychosis. Psychol Med. 1984 Nov;14(4):767-72. View Abstract

[6] Balch JF, Balch PA. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. 3rd Edition. Garden City Park, NY: Avery; 2000

[7] Coppen A, Bolander-Gouaille C. Treatment of depression: time to consider folic acid and vitamin B12. J Psychopharmacol. 2005 Jan;19(1):59-65. Review.  View Abstract

[8] Jans LA, Riedel WJ, Markus CR, Blokland A. Serotonergic vulnerability and depression: assumptions, experimental evidence and implications. Mol Psychiatry. 2007 Jun;12(6):522-43. Epub 2006 Dec 12. Review. View Abstract

[9] Spring B, Hitsman B, Pingitore R, McChargue DE, Gunnarsdottir D, Corsica J, Pergadia M, Doran N, Crayton JW, Baruah S, Hedeker D. Effect of tryptophan depletion on smokers and nonsmokers with and without history of major depression. Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Jan 1;61(1):70-7. Epub 2006 Aug 7. View Abstract

[10] Adams PB, Lawson S, Sanigorski A, Sinclair AJ. Arachidonic acid to eicosapentaenoic acid ratio in blood correlates positively with clinical symptoms of depression. Lipids. 1996 Mar;31 Suppl:S157-61. View Abstract

[11] Sánchez-Villegas A, Doreste J, Schlatter J, Pla J, Bes-Rastrollo M, Martínez-González MA. Association between folate, vitamin B(6) and vitamin B(12) intake and depression in the SUN cohort study. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2009 Apr;22(2):122-33. Epub 2009 Jan 16. View Abstract

[12] Young SN. Folate and depression–a neglected problem. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2007 Mar;32(2):80-2. View Abstract

[13] Farah A. The role of L-methylfolate in depressive disorders. CNS Spectr. 2009 Jan;14(1 Suppl 2):2-7. Review. View Abstract

[14] Szewczyk B, Poleszak E, Sowa-Kućma M, Siwek M, Dudek D, Ryszewska-Pokraśniewicz B, Radziwoń-Zaleska M, Opoka W, Czekaj J, Pilc A, Nowak G. Antidepressant activity of zinc and magnesium in view of the current hypotheses of antidepressant action. Pharmacol Rep. 2008 Sep-Oct;60(5):588-9. Review. View Abstract

[15] Kidd PM. Omega-3 DHA and EPA for cognition, behavior, and mood: clinical findings and structural-functional synergies with cell membrane phospholipids. Altern Med Rev. 2007 Sep;12(3):207-27. Review. View Abstract

[16] Young GS, Conquer JA, Thomas R. Effect of randomized supplementation with high dose olive, flax or fish oil on serum phospholipid fatty acid levels in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Reprod Nutr Dev. 2005 Sep-Oct;45(5):549-58. View Abstract

[17] Akhondzadeh S, Mohammadi MR, Khademi M. Zinc sulfate as an adjunct to methylphenidate for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children: a double blind and randomized trial [ISRCTN64132371]. BMC Psychiatry. 2004 Apr 8;4:9.

[18] Bilici M, Yildirim F, Kandil S, Bekaroğlu M, Yildirmiş S, Değer O, Ulgen M, Yildiran A, Aksu H. Double-blind, placebo-controlled study of zinc sulfate in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Jan;28(1):181-90. View Abstract

[19] Prousky JE, Niacinimides potent role in alleviating anxiety with its benzodiazepine-like properties: a caser report: J Orthomolecular Medicine. 204;19(2):104-110.

[20] Petrie WM, Ban TA. Vitamins in psychiatry. Do they have a role? Drugs. 1985 Jul;30(1):58-65. Review. View Abstract

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