When I became a patient of my new provider she ran a battery of tests. I had never had anyone run so many tests on me. Usually, they just checked my A1C and Cholesterol. She looked at my vitamin and mineral levels, genetic markers, how quickly I metabolize medication, undiagnosed viruses, yeast levels, and much more. We found I was deficient in several essential vitamins that affect mental health. Other tests gave us better insight into my particular issues and how we could best treat my overall health to improve my mental health. Simple things like a systemic yeast infection cause leaking gut and inflammation in the body. Inflammation affects the brain. We treated the yeast infection with an antifungal medication and a low carb/low sugar diet. Within weeks I felt a lot better. I had lost weight and felt more balanced. For me, sugar is a trigger. The more I keep a low and stable sugar/carb intake the better I feel mentally.
Some tests to request
Thyroid Panel – Checking T3, T4, and TSH. This is important as most doctors just look at the TSH. All three need to be evaluated.
Fasting Glucose and Glycosylated Hemoglobin – Checking your blood sugar levels for diabetes mellitus which can be a side effect of certain medications.
CBC – Complete Blood Count which looks at your white blood cell count, haemoglobin, and platelet count. All of these can indicate mental health issues and unknown infections.
Blood Urea Nitrogen and Creatinine – This checks your kidney function because certain medications can affect their efficiency.
Folate, Niacin, Vit C, Zinc, and B12 – These are nutrients that when deficient can cause issues like psychosis, fatigue, and personality changes.
Liver Enzymes (ALT, AST, and GGT) – Checks for liver damage which is also a side effect of certain medications.
Triglycerides – This is checking your lipid levels as certain medications can raise your cholesterol.
Magnesium – A deficiency can cause agitation anxiety, muscle cramps, and delirium.
Calcium – Low and high levels can cause depression and irritability.
Prolactin – Some antipsychotic can cause this to be blocked at the dopamine receptors in the pituitary gland and affect thigs like libido, bone calcification, and menstrual cycles.
Homecysteine – Checks cholesterol levels. Especially if there is a history of family issues with heart disease and cholesterol. Low cholesterol can cause mental illness.
Urine Screen – Checking yeast levels and often a drug screen. They want to know what you are on and if it will impact your mental health.
This is just a battery of labs that should be taken and reviewed. Even if you are not on medication yet this gives the baseline of your health to work from and refer against with future tests. In my case we didn’t have any other labs to refer to when we got my results other then cholesterol and A1C. I was within the limits of “healthy” but we don’t know if my liver and kidney function has changed at all because of my medication. The last thing you want is to wait until there is a problem and you fall outside of the healthy range. Then the damage is significant.
Vitamins that can help
Vitamin D – This is a big one. Every cell in our body has a Vitamin D receptor on it. We haven’t even brushed the surface on how critical this vitamin is to our overall health. I take 5,000 IU every other day. I use Premier Research Labs D3 Serum. Each drop is 1,000IU.
Probiotic – Your gut is 80% of your immune system. Probiotic keeps the good bacteria flourishing and yeast at bay. This is especially important if you take medications such as antibiotics or birth control. I take Raw Probiotics Vaginal Care 50 Billion/38 Probiotic Strains. This is not just for women.
Magnesium – The original chill pill. This helps relax your body and mind. So take a Epsom salt bath or take a supplement (Recommended Daily Allowance is 320-420mg). I use Purest Vantage Pure Transdermal Magnesium Oil Spray.
Fish Oil – This is a biggy! This reduces inflammation and helps the brain function. There is a certain ratio that needs to be met for fish oil to be effective. The one I take (Bronson Omega-3 Fish Oil Triple Strength) has 1250mg of EPA and 488mg of DHA.
This is by no means a comprehensive list but it will get you started down the road to better mental and physical health. These can be bought at your local grocery or holistic store. I get most of mine online though Amazon or the provider directly. I recommend certain brands based on their reputation, business practices, potency, and quality. I personally take these and wouldn’t recommend anything I don’t use myself.
Sources: Psychiatric Lab Workup. 2011. Retrieved from http://www.sharinginhealth.ca/labs/other/psychiatric_workup.html
Deans, Emily. 2011. Magnesium and the Brain: The Original Chill Pill. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201106/magnesium-and-the-brain-the-original-chill-pill
Moore, Liz, NP. 2018. Reid Psychiatric Associates.
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