Depression is sometimes thought of as most easily treated through psychotropic medication that can rebalance hormones or brain chemicals. For those not ready to sign up for heavy pharmaceuticals, there might be another way. Well regarded as a power mineral for the body's central systems, zinc repletion might be vital in relieving symptoms of depression. While it's naturally found in trace amounts in the body, clinical studies have shown that those suffering from depression are also zinc deficient. The more depressed tested individuals are, the lower their zinc levels have proved to be.
Low Zinc Levels & Diet
The most talked about symptoms of low zinc levels range from wounds that won't heal to a decreased sense of smell and taste to open sores on the skin. Children who are not getting enough zinc suffer from stunted cognitive and motor abilities. One of the most significant contributing factors to low zinc levels is poor or restrictive diets. It's found in the highest concentrations in animal proteins such as oysters, beef, and dark meat chicken. Non-animal sources do include beans, mushrooms, and spinach. The issue becomes low-quality diets or those such as vegan or vegetarian diets that do not contain enough foods rich in zinc.
As levels of this critical mineral continue to dip, the chances for depression creep higher. People who know they may not be taking in enough zinc according to their diet alone should consider a supplement to ward off all adverse side effects associated with deficiency.
Supplements For Depression
As early as the 1920s doctors were using zinc supplementation to treat psychosis and emotion regulation issues. Today's studies are more focused on the role zinc plays in neurological formation, communication, and function. The highest concentration of zinc in our bodies is found in our brain, specifically in the hippocampus. This part of the brain is primary in short and long term memory formation. It also plays a role in regulating our emotions. Our hippocampus requires adequate zinc levels to work correctly. Insufficient levels of zinc effectively handicap the hippocampus and throw a wrench in the system necessary for regulating our mood.
Zinc is a building block for hundreds of systems in our body. Depleting it wreaks havoc on immunity, inflammation control, and cell growth, among others. Some researchers are now showing concern over long term use of antidepressants and their overall success rate. Studies based around zinc for aiding in treatment, though, show a wide range of benefits that include but are indeed not limited to relief from depression symptoms.
As with all good things, it is possible to have too much zinc. Those wishing to explore zinc supplementation as an aid to combat depression symptoms should first consult with their physician. Current diet and zinc levels should be reviewed before increasing your zinc intake. Symptoms of too much zinc include vomiting, digestion problems, and drowsiness. Symptoms typically dissipate within a few hours, but consistent overuse can cause iron or copper deficiencies, which will create a host of new issues to deal with.