Pets Improve Your Mental Health, New Study Suggests

If you love your pets and feel happier around them, scientists say there is real science behind that feel-good feeling. A new study in BMC Psychiatry found that pet ownership actually contributes to better mental health. According to Health, the researchers found that the “intensiveness” of connectivity people have with their companion animals contributes positively to managing a mental health condition.

It’s long been known that animals provide astonishing benefits for both emotional and mental health. Animal-assisted therapy has been shown to be effective in improving symptoms of autism, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and more, as well as providing emotional support and comfort for people in nursing homes, hospitals and schools.

To this end, the use of service animals to help people with physical disabilities has become widely accepted, but up until now, their use for emotional support was still a gray area. Hopefully, the new findings will provide support for those who might need a little extra help when it comes to emotions and mental health.

Another way to help deal with mental disorders is to address your nutritional needs. While there are hundreds of nutrients that are important for health, in the brain, six or seven dominate. These are nutrients that are either involved in synthesis or functioning of neurotransmitters. Nutrients that have a powerful influence on mental health include zinc, copper, B6, selenium, folates and S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe).

Just as important, studies have consistently shown that having low levels of vitamin D have a significant effect on a person’s mental health. So, one of the first things you need to is have your vitamin D levels checked and address any vitamin D deficiency you may have. Sunlight exposure is the best way to optimize your levels, but if that's not possible, vitamin D3 supplementation is a viable alternative. Just keep in mind that if you take a vitamin D3 supplement, you need to take magnesium and vitamin K2, since these nutrients work in tandem.

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