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Nutrition for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

We all obsess from time to time: what to wear, which route to take, how to approach a work-related issue, and more.


For most people, arriving at a decision and moving on isn’t that big of an issue. But for everyone suffering from OCD, ‘letting go’ and ‘moving on’ are often easier said than done.


Today, we’ll look at OCD and how nutrition for obsessive compulsive disorder might play a role in the condition.


What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by obsessions that lead to compulsive behavior (1). 


A mild example of OCD could be double-checking that you’ve locked your door or turned off the oven after using it. But OCD can be debilitating for some people and lead to repetitive behaviors, thoughts, and urges that can lead to anxiety, stress, and a lower quality of life.


For example, a more severe obsession could be to keep everything incredibly clean and tidy. So a person with this obsession would resort to the compulsive behavior to clean all the time, even if they know they don’t have to. They simply can’t help it.


Safe Places to Talk About OCD


The internet is a blessing and a curse. These days, we can find information on all sorts of topics in mere seconds. We can also communicate with people on forums and social media.


The problem is, some issues are best left for professionals with deep knowledge and practical experience. OCD is a nuanced condition, and scientists have yet to fully understand what factors cause it and how we might manage it. 


It’s best to communicate with qualified health professionals like registered dietitians and doctors. Such people can help you understand the condition better and give you practical ideas to help you manage the condition in your specific situation. 


How Does Nutrition Relate to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?


Nutrition is an often overlooked aspect of health and disease. These days, many practitioners would prefer to prescribe medicine and be done with it. But addressing root causes of conditions like OCD often involves looking at the patient’s nutritional habits and possible deficiencies.


Nutrition alone is probably not enough to treat patients. But since various vitamins, minerals, and proteins play an important role in brain health, we can’t overlook it (2). 


Some researchers suggest that OCD can stem from communication problems within the brain. Certain parts of the brain use serotonin – a neurotransmitter – to carry out messages (3). The idea is, by raising serotonin levels inside the brain, we can alleviate OCD symptoms (4). 


Our nutrition plays a role in the battle against OCD because several key nutrients appear essential for serotonin synthesis. Specifically:


  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) (5)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B9 (folic acid) (6)
  • Vitamin C (7)
  • Zinc (8)
  • Magnesium (9)
  • Taurine (10)


The Bottom Line On OCD


OCD is a nuanced condition, and every person has to deal with it differently. While research is yet to catch up on OCD, nothing says that you can’t lead a healthy and fulfilling life. 


It’s essential to communicate your worries and anxieties with qualified professionals and your family. Different therapies, medications, and nutritional approaches can help you manage the symptoms and prevent the condition from ruling over your life.