No matter how healthy your diet, occasional lifestyle excesses can take their toll. Stress, certain ailments like celiac or Crohn’s disease and excess alcohol consumption deplete nutrients, especially B vitamins — crucial for metabolism, energy and brain function — which can leave you feeling drained, moody, foggy and fatigued.
As a group, the eight B vitamins (see “B Vitamin Basics: Why It’s a Little Complex”) are critical for a variety of physiological functions: They have been found to play a role in cell proliferation, metabolism, red blood cell and DNA formation, neurotransmitter production and immune function. Some B vitamins are crucial for nervous system function, brain health and mood — especially important during these stress-filled days. Research shows that low levels or deficiencies of certain B vitamins have been linked with an increased risk of depression, irritability and mood problems, and several studies suggest that getting sufficient levels of B vitamins — especially folate, B12 and B6 — can enhance mood, lower stress and improve overall quality of life.