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Zinc: The New Antidepressant?

CITATION:  Levenson, C. W. (2006). Zinc: The New Antidepressant? Nutrition Reviews, 64(1), 39-43.

ABSTRACT:  Low serum zinc levels have been linked to major depression. Furthermore, zinc treatment has been shown to have an antidepressant effect. With the hope of understanding the role of zinc in mood disorders, recent work has begun to explore possible mechanisms of zinc action on serotonin uptake in the brain.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified psychiatric illnesses such as depression and anxiety as a critical problem for the 21st century. Fifteen million people in the United States alone have been diagnosed with major depression, with an additional 15 million experiencing milder forms of depression at some point during their lifetime. Unfortunately, the development of new treatments for depression and depression-related illnesses has been hampered by the fact that we do not fully understand the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie the development of these disorders. Recently, there has been an increased interest in the possible role that nutrient deficiencies may play in the development of depression and how diet may be used as an adjunct to the treatment of mood disorders.

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