Zinc is the second-most abundant trace mineral in our bodies. It plays crucial and vital functions in a number of processes. Perhaps most notable these days is its contribution to our immune systems.
But what kind of a role could it play in your mental health?
With depression being the number one cause of disability in the United States for people between the ages of 15-44, the impact our diets have on depression and mental health has to be at the forefront of our dietary knowledge.
To that end, researchers from the University of Innsbruck in Austria researched whether or not zinc-deficient diets in mice would have an impact on depression and anxiety.
(Note – we are against all forms of animal testing and present this information for informational purposes, not in support of the methods used.)
The results of their research, published in the journal Amino Acids in January 2009, might give us some actionable information.
They found that the mice fed a zinc-deficient diet (40% of the daily zinc requirement) showed enhanced depression-like behavior in two of the four tests administered, when compared to normally-fed mice. These results in the zinc-deficient mice were reversed when the mice were administered a pharmaceutical anti-depressant (desipramine).
What does this tell us?
Obviously, this kind of test needs to be replicated in humans to determine whether the results can be applied to humans.
But with that said, the fact that the normally-fed mice did not exhibit the same results as the zinc-deficient mice gives us an indication that, at bare minimum, simply meeting the recommended daily amount of zinc intake could be a solution for at least some who deal with depression.
That is not exactly a remedy that is out of reach.
This can be achieved by simply retooling your diet to include more zinc-containing foods, or perhaps by including a supplement that ensures you consume the RDA of zinc (not in excess).
Simple solutions are often the best and are exactly what we want to find as our first line of defense, or offense for that matter.
If we can reverse chronic health conditions and thrive mentally simply by consuming a balanced diet with readily available foods and supplements, we are way ahead in the game.
In this case, ensuring you are getting the appropriate amount of zinc every day is an easy, almost effortless fix, accessible to all, and frankly, one that will help you in more ways than you know anyway.
Wins all the way around.
So, be sure to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or health regimen and, when you do, ask whether or not zinc-containing foods or a safe zinc supplement would be appropriate for you.
Thanks for being here and here’s to your health!
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