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Depressed? Anxious? Maybe You Need More Zinc

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ZINC IMPROVES DEPRESSION

Clinical studies and experimental work using animals have both revealed a link between zinc and neuropsychological disorders like depression and anxiety. Not only has zinc deficiency been shown to induce depression and anxiety, supplementation with zinc has been used as an effective treatment for major depression. Zinc also improves the effect of antidepressants in depressed patients.

ZINC ALSO REDUCES ANXIETY AND PSYCHOSIS

A double-blind study with 674 school children in Guatemala gave half of them 10 mg of zinc 5 days per week for 6 months and the other half were given a placebo. Significant decreases in depression and anxiety were seen in the group given zinc compared to the group given the placebo.

Zinc not only reduces anxiety and depression in mice, but also psychosis.

ZINC IMPROVES AND PROTECTS AGAINST TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

Traumatic brain injury is associated with a wide variety of behavioral deficits, including memory loss, depression, and anxiety. While treatments for these outcomes are currently limited, human clinical data suggest that zinc can be used during recovery to improve cognitive and behavioral deficits associated with brain injury. Additionally, zinc may increase resilience to traumatic brain injury, making it potentially useful in populations at risk for injury.

ZINC PROTECTS THE BRAIN FROM ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS

Zinc may have another role in protecting the brain from damage. Most people probably know that cancer and other diseases are linked to environmental toxins but depression can also be caused from toxic chemicals in the environment like pesticides. Malathion is a widely used pesticide in agriculture that is linked to depression. Malathion residue, like many other pesticides, can remain on fruits and vegetables that have not been grown organically. Researchers in Brazil exposed a group of rats to malathion for 3 days to induce depression. A second group was given zinc while exposed to the malathion. Neurochemical damage including disruption of neurotransmitters and depressive behavior was evident in both groups but the malathion had less damaging effects in the group given the zinc. The damage done in both groups was completely reversed when treated with zinc.

It appears that zinc acts as a protector of the brain, mediating the effects of traumatic brain injury as well as the damaging effects of environmental toxins. Beyond protecting the brain, zinc can also reverse some kinds of damage. Zinc deficiency can cause depression and anxiety, which is quickly relieved when adequate zinc levels are restored.

Sources of zinc:

  • Oysters (oysters are higher in zinc by far than any other food)
  • Beef
  • Crab
  • Lobster
  • Pork
  • Beans
  • Chicken
  • Yoghurt
  • Cashews
  • Chickpeas
  • Oats
  • Milk
  • Cheese

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