Vital Elements to Maintain Mental Health?

While mental health issues are being gradually destigmatized, it is still unclear to many what exactly mental illnesses are, what kinds of those exist and if there is a way to prevent them. However, scientists are progressively uncovering the facts about them, making it possible for us to at least take some precaution measures in order to decrease probability of developing mental problems. What are the latest news in the field?

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The Study

A team of Japanese researchers from Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences has found connections between low levels of such elements as Vitamin B6 and Iron and anxiety and panic attacks.

According to the study, the group of people with panic attacks or hyperventilation attacks who visited emergency departments because of their conditions was compared with the control group of people without these conditions, and much lower levels of Vitamin B6 and Iron were found in the system of the former group. Thus, deficit of these two elements has been linked to higher probability of developing panic and anxiety attacks.

Panic Attack

Panic attack is a state of sudden acute fear that develops to its peak point literally within a few minutes and results into inability to properly focus and act, followed by at least four physical symptoms from the list below.

  • Pain in the chest;
  • Sweating;
  • Heart palpitations, fast heart beating;
  • (Feeling of) nausea, discomfort in one’s abdomen;
  • Dizziness of fainting;
  • Trembling or shaking;
  • Breathing problems or sensation of those;
  • Feelings of numbness or tingling;
  • Feeling that one’s choking;
  • Fear or feeling of losing control over one’s actions/reality, feeling of detachment from it, inability to operate in it;
  • Fear of dying.


Anxiety is a state different from panic attacks, characterized by lengthy and significantly less intense feelings, what allows this state to persist for much longer periods than a panic attack that comes and goes within minutes, though both conditions significantly affect an individual’s life quality.

According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, panic disorder usually develops in adults older than 20, though children can also have it sometimes. Their statistics say that about 2-3% of Americans experience it every year, with women suffering from it twice as much as men. Anxiety, however, affects more than 18% of Americans every year, which is 18 million people. So what preventive measures can one take in order to reduce probability of developing one of the aforementioned conditions?

Vitamin B6 can be found in such sources as fish, poultry and organ meats; starchy vegetables; and fruits other than citrus ones. One can also get it from multivitamin or B complex supplements or as a separate supplement if necessary. Though Americans generally get enough of B6 from their diet, there are people who are more likely to have its deficiency for a number of reasons. Those are people with kidney conditions, including kidney dialysis and a kidney transplant, people with a range of autoimmune conditions that cause an organism’s attacks on its own healthy tissues, and alcoholics.

Iron is present in poultry, seafood and lean meat; various beans, e.g. lentils, peas, kidney beans, white beans, spinach; in dried fruits, nuts and in iron-fortified bread and cereals. A number of multivitamin supplements and iron-only supplements can be found in pharmacies, too. Among groups of people with risk for developing iron deficiency are pregnant women of all ages, prematurely-born or low-birthweight babies, people who frequently donate blood, girls and women with heavy periods and people with gastrointestinal issues, history of heart failure(s) and cancer patients.

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