The Association Between Zinc Intake and Depression

A number of studies have demonstrated that zinc supplements are effective at treating mood disorders. This may suggest that a zinc deficient state is one of the possible causes of low mood. This may relate to the fact that zinc is required as a cofactor for a large number of enzymes, and therefore having a zinc deficiency could negatively affect certain metabolic pathways. If these pathways are required for example in neurotransmitter synthesis or other neuronal functions, low mood could result. Further, zinc is required for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase, and therefore a low zinc intake could reduce antioxidant defences and increase free radicals. As free radicals and oxidative stress are a likely causative factor in low mood, this may also explain the role of zinc. Studies investigating the mood of elederly subjects have shown that those with the highest intake of zinc have a significantly lower prevalence of depression compared to those with the lowest intake, suggesting that zinc intake may be pivotal in maintaining mental health. 

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Anbari-Nogyni, Z., Bidaki, R., Madadizadeh, F., Sangsefidi, Z. S., Fallahzadeh, H., Karimi-Nazari, E. and Nadjarzadeh, A. 2020. Relationship of zinc status with depression and anxiety among elderly population. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN.

About Robert Barrington

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