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Zinc deficiency can make you crazy

Psychiatric patients noticeably often have a zinc deficiency report psychiatrists at the University of Tromsø in PLoS One. That might mean that zinc supplements or - even better - an improvement in the diet can alleviate psychiatric illnesses such as depression or psychosis.

The researchers measured zinc levels in the blood of 100 people over the age of 64 who had been admitted for a psychiatric disorder. The researchers also did the same with a control group of 882 healthy over 64s.

Most of the patients suffered from depression, some in combination with other psychiatric disorders.

Zinc deficiency can make you crazy

Zinc deficiency can make you crazy

In the control group 10-18 percent of the participants had less zinc in their blood than scientists regard as optimal. Among the group of psychiatric patients 37-47 percent of the participants had too little zinc in their blood.

After filtering out the effect of all sorts of other factors, the researchers saw that the zinc deficiency was associated above all with the patients who did not suffer from depression. Many of the people in this group suffered from psychoses.

Zinc deficiency can make you crazy

"Zinc deficiency is quite common among psychogeriatric patients and appears to be even more prominent in patients without depression," the researchers wrote. "However, the present investigation does not provide a clear answer as to whether the observed differences represent a causal relationship between zinc deficiency and psychiatric symptoms."

"Prior studies have suggested potential differences in the dietary intake of zinc between depressed patients and controls. This factor might also apply to patients with other psychiatric disorders compared with controls."

"Increased levels of inflammatory factors might also contribute to lower levels of zinc in depressed patients; however, it is unknown whether this could also be a factor in patients with other psychiatric disorders."

"Although there might be different causes of low zinc levels, animal studies [Behav Brain Res. 2003 Sep 15;144(1-2):87-93.] [Pharmacol Rep. 2007 Jan-Feb;59(1):46-52.] and intervention studies [J Affect Disord. 2012 Jan;136(1-2):e31-9.] have suggested that the administration of zinc to depressed patients zinc may yield a positive effect. The etiology of psychiatric disorders is complex, and biological, environmental, medical and possibly modifiable risk factors may all play a role [World J Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Sep;12 Suppl 1:28-34.]."

"Additional research on this topic is necessary to further explore the role of zinc in the treatment of depression and to further investigate whether zinc may be of importance to other psychiatric disorders."

In the vlog below the Australian clinical psychologist Abdul Saad calls zinc 'the mental health mineral'. Saad talks about the role of zinc in chronic stress, depression and other mental disorders.

PLoS One. 2013 Dec 19;8(12):e82793.

Diet rich in omega-6 fatty acids stimulates psychoses 14.07.2016
Strength training works as medicine for schizophrenia 21.11.2015
Fish oil protects for up to seven years against psychoses 09.10.2015


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