Zinc and Depression

Saturday, September 20, 2008
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

A new human study shows that zinc1 can activate the production of BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), a key substance needed to ward off depression and keep nerve cells alive.

Zinc is needed in hundreds of enzyme systems in your body, especially those relating to bone health, muscles, hormones, immunity, and digestion.  Zinc is highly concentrated in your inner ear, assisting balance.  It is also involved in your sense of taste and smell.

A lack of zinc results in poor digestion, general weakness, and reduced immune function.  Zinc is readily lost by stress or sweating, thus athletes are often at risk for a lack of zinc.

This new study shows the importance of zinc to mental function and mood.  Women usually need 25 to 50 mg per day.  Men may need as much as 100 mg per day.  While spots on your nails is a classic zinc deficiency sign, as are the other collection of issues mentioned above.  Fixing a lot of different issues may be as simply as making sure zinc status is adequate. 


Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Zinc and BDNF  J Neural Transm.   Sowa-Kućma M, Legutko B, Szewczyk B, Novak K, Znojek P, Poleszak E, Papp M, Pilc A, Nowak G.

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