Minerals Make a Difference for Depression : Terry Talks Nutrition

Study Spotlight

Study Spotlight

Minerals Make a Difference for Depression

Until fairly recently, nutrient intake has been a fairly overlooked aspect of depression. However, with an estimated 17 million American adults dealing with the condition, it simply can’t be ignored.

One aspect of depression that may sound surprising is that levels of common minerals – zinc, magnesium, and selenium – are linked with whether or not someone suffers from the disease.

This review found that of the three, low zinc intake appears to show the most evidence of being associated with depression. This is because of the way that zinc interacts with the regions of the brain, the adrenal glands, signaling compounds, and even inflammation. The good news is that zinc supplementation may also provide relief from depression symptoms.


Wang J, Um P, Dickerman BA, Liu J. Zinc, Magnesium, Selenium and Depression: A Review of the Evidence, Potential Mechanisms and Implications. Nutrients. 2018;10(5):584.

Micronutrient deficiency and depression are major global health problems. Here, we first review recent empirical evidence of the association between several micronutrients – zinc, magnesium, selenium – and depression. We then present potential mechanisms of action and discuss the clinical implications for each micronutrient. Collectively, empirical evidence most strongly supports a positive association between zinc deficiency and the risk of depression and an inverse association between zinc supplementation and depressive symptoms. Less evidence is available regarding the relationship between magnesium and selenium deficiency and depression, and studies have been inconclusive. Potential mechanisms of action involve the HPA axis, glutamate homeostasis and inflammatory pathways. Findings support the importance of adequate consumption of micronutrients in the promotion of mental health, and the most common dietary sources for zinc and other micronutrients are provided. Future research is needed to prospectively investigate the association between micronutrient levels and depression as well as the safety and efficacy of micronutrient supplementation as an adjunct treatment for depression.

Here is the complete article: Zinc, Magnesium, Selenium and Depression: A Review of the Evidence, Potential Mechanisms and Implications

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