Zinc is on the periodic table as a metal. However, its significance goes far beyond the periodic table. Zinc is also a signaling molecule in the brain and an “essential trace element” necessary for human health. Zinc is involved in the immune system, focus, sex, healthy eating habits, and your mood, among many other functions. Most importantly, zinc may play a very important role in a positive state of mind, and your general feelings of happiness.
Zinc deficiencies have been linked to depressive tendencies*
In a Japanese study (1), rats deprived of zinc for two weeks showed elevated levels of the stress hormone corticosterone. Additionally, when exposed to stress, they displayed more symptoms associated with lows – such as immobility – than the control group. Similarly, in another study at Florida State University (2), rats deprived of zinc also showed decreased food intake, weight loss, less exploration, and less time spent in environments with light – all symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. These findings suggest that zinc deficiency may contribute to symptoms associated with depression and the blues.*
Higher zinc levels may be implicated with less anxiety*
In a Polish study (3), scientists found that zinc inhibits anxiety in rodents. Rats given zinc were found to enter more previously unexplored places and handle stress better; behaviors associated with less anxiety. In another Polish study (4) conducted with humans, patients exhibiting depressive symptoms were found to be lower in zinc. As the patients went through treatment, researchers found that the increase in zinc correlated with a decrease in MADRS (Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale) scores, in which a lower score translates to a lower severity of blues. These results suggest that more zinc is related to you experiencing less anxiety and and a more positive outlook.
Zinc supplementation may improve the response of antidepressant treatments.*
A study conducted by Jagiellonian University (5) found that providing zinc along with Imipramine (antidepressant) to patients undergoing depression, bettered overall symptoms. Additionally, zinc supplementation was found to significantly improve the response of patients that are resistant to treatments. Researchers found a higher decrease in the Beck Depression Inventory Score than patients lacking zinc in their treatment. The improved responsiveness of these patients suggests that zinc supplementation may be a beneficial supplement for people working with doctors to resolve depressive symptoms. [Note: Please do not take any supplement with your medications, or change your medications, without your doctor’s supervision. Withdrawal symptoms from changes in medications can be dangerous.]
These findings suggest that zinc has a role in your mood and happiness, and that it is beneficial to be “zinc adequate” to stave off the blues.
You can obtain Zinc in your diet through:
- Whole Grains
Other articles you may enjoy include:
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(1) Neurochem Int. 2010 Feb;56(3):410-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2009.11.014. Epub 2009 Nov 18.
(2) Physiol Behav. 2008 Oct 20;95(3):365-9. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2008.06.017. Epub 2008 Jul 3.
(3) Pharmacol Rep. 2011;63(4):1050-5.
(4) J Affect Disord. 2010 Nov;126(3):447-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2010.04.024. Epub 2010 May 20.
(5) J Affect Disord. 2009 Nov;118(1-3):187-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2009.02.014. Epub 2009 Mar 10.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.