Iron Status and Mood

Mood disorders are highly complex and in many cases it is not clear what the cause of the disturbance is. However, in many cases the causes of mood disorders can relate to imbalances in the intake of essential nutrients. Iron deficiency is associated with mood disorders, although the reason for the relationship, and the cause and effect, is not clear. For example, one study investigated the prevalence of depression in a large group of female medical students who were in good health. The subjects filled in a questionnaire to determine their mood status with regard to their levels of depression. The participants then had their iron levels measured using a clinical test. The results of the study showed that the serum ferritin levels of the subjects were inversely associated with levels of depression, such that those subjects with the lowest serum ferritin and the highest risk of being depressed. However, the subjects did not show signs of anaemia, suggesting that low iron intakes may cause mood changes before anaemia occurs.

iron mood depression anxiety

Low iron intakes are best addressed through dietary changes, which can include the addition of more red meat and fish to the diet. If red meat and fish are not to be consumed an absorbable form of iron such as iron bisglycinate could be used.

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Shariatpanaahi, M. V., Shariatpanaahi, Z. V., Moshtaaghi, M., Shahbaazi, S. H. and Abadi, A. 2007. The relationship between depression and serum ferritin level. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 61(4): 532-535

About Robert Barrington

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