Minerals and Nutrients Behind Cognitive Function and Mood Regulation

Mental Health Awareness Symbol Tree Cognitive Nutrients
Posted: May 2, 2023

According to the CDC, taking care of yourself and your body by eating well and getting enough sleep are healthy ways to cope with stress.1 Nutrition, and the nutrients within our diet, play important roles in overall cognitive function and help support the regulation of our mood.  

What we experience as our daily mood relies on a complex system of neurotransmitters for the regulation of normal brain function. Our brain, and the neurotransmitters it relies on, are often made in part from, or their function is aided by, nutrients such as Choline, Iron, and Magnesium.

Let’s explore these nutrients, how they work to support cognitive function and mood, and ways we can get more of them in our diet. 

Newest Nutrient Choline

Choline is the most recently established essential nutrient in the United States, having been recognized as essential in 1998 by the Institute of Medicine.2 One of choline’s primary roles in the body is to serve as a precursor for acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter that aids in: 

  • Brain and nervous system functions 
  • Muscle control 
  • Memory  
  • The regulation of mood  

Despite its importance, just 11% of Americans get enough choline in their diet. 3 

Iron’s Importance  

Iron is an essential nutrient that helps to carry oxygen in the body – making it necessary for neurological development and cellular function. Iron deficiency during pregnancy and early childhood can cause lasting consequences on cognitive function4 and behavior.5 Sadly, iron deficiency is more common than we might appreciate – 

Iron’s essential role in supporting healthy cognitive function and behavior* are key aspects of nutrition to help support a healthy lifestyle*.  

Mighty Magnesium 

Magnesium is an essential mineral that aids in multiple functions in the body, from supporting muscle and nerve function to blood pressure regulation.9 Sometimes referred to as “nature’s physiological calcium channel blocker”, Magnesium works as an antagonist to calcium, helping muscle cells to relax.10 There are multiple benefits to magnesium supplementation, but one noteworthy example is that a recent meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials showed that magnesium supplementation has been shown to help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep (known as “sleep onset latency”) in otherwise healthy adults.11 

Maintaining Magnesium

Magnesium is involved with maintaining a healthy mood*, and indeed Magnesium deficiency can lead to “personality changes”.12 The prevalence of Magnesium deficiency in the United States is largely unknown, as there are many methodological challenges with assessing magnesium status.13 However, nationally representative surveys show that roughly half (48%) of all Americans do not get enough Magnesium in their diets from food and beverages alone.14 Older adults are especially at risk of Magnesium inadequacy, due to a combination of: 

  • Lower dietary intake 
  • A higher prevalence of chronic disease 
  • The use of specific medications which can increase the risk of Magnesium depletion15 

Discover Nutrient Solutions  

Balchem offers multiple options for brands looking to provide innovative nutritional products to help consumers support a healthy mood* — from our award-winning16 VitaCholine17 to our family of Albion Minerals18we have options to help you across multiple application formats and business segments.

Contact us today to let us help you innovate, grow, and help your consumers lead healthier lives! 

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Federal Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

We provide members of the public with general information about diet, health, and nutrition based on our understanding of the latest science.  This information should not be considered as advice and is not meant to be a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. You should always consult with your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider if you are considering making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, or nutrition. 


  1. Tips for Coping with Stress|Publications|Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC 
  1. Choline – Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov) 
  1. Choline – Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov) 
  1. Iron: Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamins (A, K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Zinc, etc.) | NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov) 
  1. Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for Iron (wiley.com) 
  1. Estimation of Total Usual Dietary Intakes of Pregnant Women in the United States – PubMed (nih.gov) 
  1. Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition in the U.S. Population (cdc.gov) 
  1. Micronutrient deficiencies among preschool-aged children and women of reproductive age worldwide: a pooled analysis of individual-level data from population-representative surveys – PubMed (nih.gov) 
  1. Magnesium – Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov) 
  1. Magnesium – Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov) 
  1. Oral magnesium supplementation for insomnia in older adults: a Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis – PubMed (nih.gov) 
  1. Magnesium – Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov) 
  1. Challenges in the Diagnosis of Magnesium Status – PubMed (nih.gov) 
  1. Usual Nutrient Intakes From Food and Beverages, by Gender and Age (usda.gov) 
  1. Magnesium – Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov) 
  1. NutraIngredients-USA Awards: Meet the Ingredients of the Year! 
  1. VitaCholine® | Human Nutrition and Health (balchem.com) 
  1. Albion® Minerals | Human Nutrition and Health (balchem.com) 

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