Dehydration and Mood

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Stimulation of New Brain Cells by Polyphenols

It has been evidenced that at least two parts of the brain are able to generate new neurones (neurogenesis). These areas are the the subventricular zone and the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. Factors that can inhibit this process include stress, ageing, anxiety and depression. In contrast, a number of factors have been shown to stimulate this process, and these factors include diet, exercise and environmental enrichment. A number of dietary factors have been shown to influence neurogenesis, including caloric restriction and polyphenols. With regard to polyphenols, studies have evidenced that they possess neuroprotective effects and this has been related to their antioxidant effects. For example, in rats, blueberries have been shown to increase neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Researchers have also evidenced that flavonoid from the Chinese herb Xiaobuxin-Tang were able to stimulate neurogenesis. Diets high in polyphenols may therefore have particular effects at protecting the brain by stimulating neurogenesis.

polyphenols stress anxiety depression

Of all the factors that inhibit neurogenesis, stress is thought to be the most damaging. The ability of stress to inhibit neurogenesis may explain the association between stress and mood disorders. It is though that stress can damage the brain through the generation of free radicals. Interestingly, some evidence suggests that antidepressants may have stimulatory effects on neurogenesis, and this may explain their mode of action. This may relate to the antioxidant function that many antidepressants share, although mechanism of action in this process are not fully understood. That antioxidants play a role in neuroprotection is demonstrated by the effectiveness of antioxidant rich foods such as blueberries and curcumin at significantly stimulating hippocampal neurogenesis.

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Dias, G. P., Cavegn, N., Nix, A., do Nascimento Bevilaqua, M. C., Stangl, D., Zainuddin, M. S. A., Nardi, A. E., Gardino, P. F. and Thuret, S. 2012. The role of dietary polyphenols on adult hippocampal neurogenesis: molecular mechanisms and behavioural effects on depression and anxiety. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2012. Article ID 541971
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Green Tea as An Antidepressant

Tea (Camellia sinensis) is the most commonly drunk beverage in the world following water. Evidence suggests that tea has particular health effects and these may stem from the polyphenolic antioxidants contained within tea leaves. The most abundant polyphenols in tea leaves are the catechins, which chemically belong to the flavan-3-ol subgroup of the flavonoids. Higher consumption of green tea has been shown to be associated with a lower incidence of depression, suggesting that green tea may have particular antidepressant effects. One suggestion is that this occurs because green tea polyphenols inhibit the monoamine oxidase enzyme involved with breaking down neurotransmitters in the brain. In animals, administration of green tea polyphenols have been shown to decrease depressive-like behaviour and this is further evidence that green tea polyphenols act as antidepressants. Drinking green tea may therefore be protective of mental health and reduce the risk of mood disorders.

green tea depression

Green tea polyphenols have been shown to reduce the corticosterone levels of mice. Further, green tea polyphenols have been shown to reduce the adrenocorticotropin releasing hormone in mice. Therefore green tea polyphenols may have particular anti-stress effects, and this may explain their antidepressant activity as stress is a major cause of mood disorders.

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Zhu, W. L., Shi, H. S., Wei, Y. M., Wang, S. J., Sun, C. Y., Ding, Z. B. and Lu, L. 2012. Green tea polyphenols produce antidepressant-like effects in adult mice. Pharmacological research. 65(1): 74-80
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Iron In Mood Disorders

Iron is an essential element required for neurotransmitter synthesis and cell function. Iron is important in the oxygenation of cells , and plays role in oxygenation of the brain, enzymes and neurotransmitters. Proper iron status is therefore pivotal to correct mental function. Iron is able to interact with the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor as iron forms part of the iron responsive-element binding protein (IRE-BP). This protein is required for post transcriptional RNA synthesis following activation of the NMDA receptor by nitric oxide. This may explains the association between iron and mental health. Despite this, some confusion remains about the role of iron in depression because it has been suggested that low iron status may result from depression, rather than be the cause of it. However, it is clear that iron deficiency may be a causative factor in mental deterioration and modifications to normal behaviour, and so a diet low in iron is likely to exacerbate any potential causes of a mood disorder.

iron depression mood

Dietary iron can be obtained easily from red meat, as this contains both haemoglobin and myoglobin, which are rich in iron. Vegetarians are therefore most at risk of an iron deficiency due to the absence of red meat in the diet. Women are also more at risk of iron deficiency than men. Roughly 11 % of women and 4 % of men have too low levels of iron in the diet.

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Młyniec, K., Davies, C. L., de Agueero Sanchez, I. G., Pytka, K., Budziszewska, B., & Nowak, G. 2014. Essential elements in depression and anxiety. Part I. Pharmacological Reports. 66(4): 534-544
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Lithium: The Forgotten Mineral

Lithium is an essential trace element in human nutrition. In its role in human physiology, lithium interacts with a number of enzymes, and is known to be involved with the function of certain hormones and vitamins. The recommended dietary intake of lithium is somewhere between 650 to 3100 micrograms per day, and it has been estimated that dietary intakes range from 7 to 28 micrograms per litre. The connection between lithium and mental health is well established as lithium is a mainstream treatment for mood disorders. With the therapeutic doses used, chronic lithium administration appears to have neuroprotective effects. Lithium is thought to interact with the 5-HT1B serotonin receptor, and in this way may be able to elevate low mood. While studies have shown positive effects for lithium administration at therapeutic doses, it is unclear what role dietary lithium plays in mood disorders. Low dietary lithium could be a causative factor in the development of depression, but this the role of dietary lithium is not clear.

lithium mood depression anxiety

Good sources of lithium include grains, vegetables and drinking water. Low intakes of lithium can result from a poor quality diet devoid of plant material. Also in certain areas, drinking water is low in lithium and this can result problems in obtaining the recommended intakes through the diet.

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Młyniec, K., Davies, C. L., de Agueero Sanchez, I. G., Pytka, K., Budziszewska, B., & Nowak, G. 2014. Essential elements in depression and anxiety. Part I. Pharmacological Reports. 66(4): 534-544
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Magnesium In Mood Disorders

Magnesium is an essential mineral that has a wide range of physiological functions in humans and animals. Magnesium is a cofactor in roughly 300 enzymes and is pivotal in energy production. The intake of magnesium required for health is not fixed, but depends on a number of factors most notably the intake of other minerals including calcium. Therefore two individuals with equal intakes of magnesium may not have equal magnesium status because it will depend what else is in their diet. Low intakes of magnesium may cause activation of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor and this may cause excessive release of glutamate into the cells, which can lead to hyper-excitability in neurones. As with zinc, magnesium may also affect the stress response through modification of the limbic-hypothalamus-pituitary axis in the brain. Supplements of magnesium have been shown to have beneficial effects against anxiety and depression, and this is particularly evident in those with a magnesium deficiency.

magnesium anxiety depression

Magnesium is well absorbed in most forms and while small benefits in absorption can occur with highly bioavailable magnesium such as magnesium aspartate, magnesium oxide is so cheap that a larger amount can be taken to compensate for any shortfall in absorption.

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Młyniec, K., Davies, C. L., de Agueero Sanchez, I. G., Pytka, K., Budziszewska, B., & Nowak, G. 2014. Essential elements in depression and anxiety. Part I. Pharmacological Reports. 66(4): 534-544
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Vinegar, The Forgotten Health Food

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On The Fat Content Of Meat

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Zinc As An Anxiolytic Agent

Evidence suggests that zinc supplements have anxiolytic effects. This may stem from the observation that zinc deficient diets are a cause of behaviour that may be described as anxious. Animal experiments have shown that in both rats and mice, anxious behaviour can be induced with a zinc deficient diet. Evidence that zinc supplements reduce this anxious behaviour is fairly well established and supplements of zinc hydroaspartate have been shown to induce anxiolytic effects in animals. In addition, zinc chloride given chronically to animals has been shown to reduce behaviour associated with anxiety. The ability of zinc to decrease anxiety may relate to the antidepressant effects of zinc, or could be a separate effect. If the former is true, then zinc may interact with the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor and this may lead to a reduction in the excitability of the brain. Alternatively, zinc may decrease stress hormone production, and this may in turn provide neuroprotective effects to the brain during periods of stress.

zinc anxiety depression

Zinc is available in a number of forms as a supplement. Common forms that have good absorption are zinc aspartate, zinc picolinate and zinc bisglycinate. As the zinc content of food can vary so much, treatment of mood disorders is best achieved with supplements.

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Młyniec, K., Davies, C. L., de Agueero Sanchez, I. G., Pytka, K., Budziszewska, B., & Nowak, G. 2014. Essential elements in depression and anxiety. Part I. Pharmacological Reports. 66(4): 534-544
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Zinc As An Antidepressant

Evidence suggests that a zinc deficiency is associated with depressive symptoms in animals and humans. Studies have investigated whether a low zinc intake is a cause of depression, or that low blood levels of zinc are a consequence of depression. In this regard animal experiments where deficiencies are caused in animals through the feeding of low zinc diets indicate that a zinc deficiency is a causative factor in the development of depression. In clinical trials zinc salts such as zinc sulphate, zinc hydroaspartate and zinc chloride have antidepressant effects. One interesting finding regarding zinc is that when it is given in combination with pharmaceutical antidepressants at doses below their effective level, zinc is able to increase the effectiveness of the drugs. In addition, combination therapy reduces the time taken for improvements in mood to be seen. A number of mechanisms have been suggested to account for the antidepressant effects of zinc supplements, including attenuation of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor and attenuation of the stress response.  

zinc anxiety mood

One explanation for the effectiveness of zinc as an antidepressant is that it is able to attenuate the glutamatergic system through an inactivation of the glutaminergic NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor. This may relate to the NMDA receptor being involved in depression and mood changes through overactivation. By attenuating this overactivity, zinc may have antidepressant effects. Another possibility is that zinc deficiency increases the release of stress hormones such as corticosterone in animals and cortisol in humans. Higher zinc intakes may attenuate this stress response and this may have antidepressant effects.

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself

RdB

Młyniec, K., Davies, C. L., de Agueero Sanchez, I. G., Pytka, K., Budziszewska, B., & Nowak, G. 2014. Essential elements in depression and anxiety. Part I. Pharmacological Reports. 66(4): 534-544
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