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

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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