Teenagers go through huge mental and physical changes during adolescence and we know from the work of neuroscientists that adolescence isn’t only characterised by hormonal changes. There’s also a massive and comprehensive re-wiring of the adolescent brain which drives common teenage behaviour from mood swings to risk taking and aggressive behaviour.
We don’t often think of nutritional deficiencies being part of the problem with behaviour but it’s one area that is easy to fix. Recent research in The Journal of Nutrition found that children aged 6-12 with low vitamin D levels are more likely to have behavioural problems during adolescence. Topping up can be as simple as getting the kids out in the sun or taking a vitamin D supplement. For teenagers, it’s still worth taking vitamin D supplements – low levels of vitamin D is generally associated with depression, anxiety and aggression. It’s also worth considering a multivitamin and mineral. B vitamins and magnesium in particular are needed for the nervous system to function properly and are depleted by stress; low levels have an impact on mood and behaviour. When we are low in these important nutrients we will feel out of sorts, stressed and tense. Supplements aren’t a cure-all but they may have a useful role in helping us feel more like ourselves.