News - Low zinc levels may be linked to depression in women
Previous research suggests that the biochemical changes that occur during depression are linked to decreased levels of the mineral zinc. Given these findings, it is plausible that consistently low dietary zinc intakes contribute to depressive symptoms, but until recently, research in this area was lacking.
Now, a new study led by scientists in the US has tested this hypothesis by comparing dietary data from the population-based Boston Area Community Health survey with depressive symptoms. Diet data and supplement use were collected by food frequency questionnaires and current depressive symptoms were assessed using a standardised depression scale.
The results showed that while zinc intake was not associated with depression risk in men, women with low dietary or supplemental zinc intake were more likely to have depressive symptoms. This association was even stronger among women using antidepressant medications.
In their conclusions to the study, the authors wrote: “These findings suggest inadequate dietary zinc intake contributes to depressive symptoms in women, and supplemental zinc is a beneficial adjunct to antidepressant therapy in women. Additional research on both men and women is needed to verify these novel findings”.
Maserejian NN et al. Low dietary or supplemental zinc is associated with depression symptoms among women, but not men, in a population-based epidemiological survey. J Affect Disord. 2011 Oct 24.