People tend to think of supplements in terms of the physical boost they can provide, not necessarily their mental benefits. But according to holistic psychiatrist Meredith Bergman, M.D., vitamin and mineral deficiencies can exacerbate (or even masquerade as) serious psychiatric problems, like depression and anxiety, and they’re so, so common. Which is where supplements come in.

In her practice, Dr. Bergman—who relies on a mix of Eastern and Western medicine—routinely starts off by checking patients’ nutrient levels, because even super healthy eaters can have serious deficiencies. (That’s partly because “bioavailability,” i.e., the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, is a surprisingly complex thing.)

The good news? Once patients start supplementing strategically, most deficiencies can be corrected in a matter of months, Dr. Bergman says—even days. She’s seen immediate improvement with issues like fatigue, migraines, and general mental clarity.

Of course, you should always check with a doctor first—and know that sometimes there is simply no replacement for medication and therapy. It’s also important to be a discerning consumer: “Look for certified products that carry a seal from the United States Pharmacopeia, NSF International, Consumer Lab, or products that are made in a facility with Good Manufacturing Practices, which means [it] was made in accordance with FDA standards,” Dr. Bergman recommends. Then give it a shot! They just might be your happy pills.


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