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Does it seem like everyone you know is a little moodier these days? It’s not just you. Research over the past few years has found a spike in crabby behavior. From road rage to outbursts at work or even lashing out on social media—Americans seem to agree that we’re madder than ever. When asked about how they feel now compared to a generation ago, 84% of survey respondents said they were angrier today than ever before.
What’s causing the drastic change? Some hypothesize the internet has a role, others say we’re living in a big “anger incubator.” Nutrition experts and co-authors of “The Better Brain: Overcome Anxiety, Combat Depression, and Reduce ADHD and Stress with Nutrition”, Dr. Julia Rucklidge and Dr. Bonnie Kaplan, believe the issue might actually be a result of poor diet. Process Emotions or Food?
When it comes to macronutrients, Drs. Rucklidge and Kaplan agree most people are doing just fine. The abundance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates in our traditional North American diets provides enough to fuel our bodies.
Micronutrients, however, are a different story.
These essential vitamins and minerals are critical to our brain health and play a major role in our biochemistry. What’s more, the body cannot synthesize them—they have to come from food or supplements. Check out this blog for a deeper dive into cofactors and micronutrients.
Micronutrients are not abundant in the western American diet and ultra-processed foods like sodas, pre-packed snacks, or fast food. These products have the convenience of being easy but lack the micronutrients our minds and bodies need to fully function.
“Given that our society’s food choices have moved so strongly toward ultra-processed, we need to learn about the substantial scientific evidence proving that micronutrient intake influences mental health symptoms, especially irritability, explosive rage, and unstable mood,” Drs. Rucklidge and Kaplan explain in an article on The Conversation news site.
What we’re learning is that a lack of micronutrients has a serious effect on mental health, which could be the cause of many mood disorders.
In a study of almost 90,000 people in Japan, researchers found the suicide rate in those consuming a whole foods diet was half of those eating less healthy diets. In a Canadian study, researchers discovered children aged 10 to 11 would have a likely referral for a mental disorder diagnosis within two years as a result of their poor diet and too much screen time.
“To support brain metabolism, our brains require at least 30 micronutrients to ensure the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, as well as breaking down and removing metabolic byproducts,” explain Drs. Rucklidge and Kaplan.
When we don’t meet these requirements—and it’s estimated that 67% of us in the United States might not —we struggle with mood dysregulation, emotional outbursts, aggression, and other behavioral and mental health disorders.
As these nutrition experts point out, the evidence is clear. If we want to step away from the brink of anger, the first place we should look is our micronutrient consumption.
Learn more about Rucklidge and Kaplan’s work by clicking here.
Learn more about supplementing with micronutrients at Try.HardyNutritionals.com. Hardy Nutritionals micronutrients are backed by many independent studies for mood and mental health, including studies by Drs. Kaplan and Rucklidge in their university labs.