Friday, February 6, 2009

A little red meat may help your depression

If you have depression, you are not depressed because there is a deficiency of antidepressants in your body...

...however... may be depressed because you have some basic nutritional deficiencies. One mineral that is involved in numerous brain and nervous system functions, and that has been extensively studied with regards to its role in the development of depression, is zinc.

Various doses of zinc were recently shown to improve immobility time in rats. Immobility in a stressful situation is a common behavior in depression. (When you are not depressed, you have better decision making and response times when it comes to managing stressful situations.)

That's exactly what fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), imipramine (Tofranil), desipramine (Norpramin), and bupropion (Wellbutrin) do!

When zinc and antidepressants were administered together, immobility time was reduced by more than either therapy produced on its own.

Practically what that says is that:
(1) if you are at risk for, or have had a history of depression, emphasizing high-zinc dietary choices and/or zinc supplementation would be a smart strategy, and
(2) if you are on an antidepressant, supplementing with zinc would be important to be sure that you get enough medication to do the job without getting so much that you set yourself up for detrimental side effects.

In fact, it seems to me that it should be an automatic recommendation of any physician, when prescribing an antidepressant, to write "zinc supplement" in the script as well...

FYI, your best sources of zinc include: red meats, liver, and oyster. And, when the originating soil is in good condtion...wheat, sweet corn, lettuce, beans, nuts, almonds, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and blackcurrant. That's a lot of different options, something for practically everyone, meat eater or not!

Cunha MP, Machado DG, Bettio LE, Capra JC, Rodrigues AL. Interaction of zinc with antidepressants in the tail suspension test. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Dec 12;32(8):1913-20. Epub 2008 Sep 11.

1 comment:

Anthony Sepe said...

I love this blog! You have given me a lot to think about, even though I am not a meat eater, but there are certainly many options to choose from otherwise. In addition, I agree that adding zinc should be a an "automatic" for MD's writing scripts for those with depression. Thanks again for the great blog!
~Anthony Sepe