Zinc supplementation versus depression
Zinc gluconate is an antidepressant, a small human trial suggests. In people with depressive symptoms, zinc supplementation can increase the concentration of BDNF in the blood.
Zinc & depression
In depressed people, less BDNF circulates than normal, and neurologists believe this perpetuates depression. With their trial, the researchers from Iran wanted to determine whether zinc supplementation could be useful for depression. Because the concentration of BDNF is often lower than normal in people who are overweight, the researchers decided to conduct a trial with people with a BMI higher than 25.
The researchers divided 46 people aged 18-35 who weighed more than was good for them into 2 groups. For 12 weeks, one group received a placebo every day and the other a supplement that provided 30 milligrams of elemental zinc daily.
The researchers used a product from Nature Made. The form of zinc contained in that supplement is zinc gluconate.
The researchers measured the extent to which the subjects were burdened by symptoms of depression using the Beck Depression Inventory questionnaire. They measured the concentration of BDNF in the blood. BDNF, short for brain-derived neurotrophic factor, is a protein that stimulates brain cells to remain vital and form new connections.
The Beck Depression Inventory scores of the subjects without depressive symptoms decreased, but this decrease was not statistically significant. In those subjects in the other group, Beck Depression Inventory scores also decreased. And that decrease was statistically significant.
The concentration of BDNF increased considerably and significantly in the blood of the 'depressed' subjects. In the other subjects, the concentration of BDNF remained more or less constant.
"Zinc monotherapy may be an effective and safe treatment option for decreasing the depression severity in people with depressive symptoms", the Iranians write.
Nutr Neurosci. 2015 May;18(4):162-8.
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