Can Zinc Deficiency Cause Low Energy and Depression?
written by: BStone
• edited by: DaniellaNicole
• updated: 7/28/2010
How is a zinc deficiency related to low energy and depression? Is it safe to supplement with zinc to treat these conditions? Read on to discover these and other answers.
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Why the Body Needs Zinc
Zinc is an essential mineral. It plays a vital role in enzyme activity and overall well-being. It is necessary for a healthy prostate gland, and for the proper development of the reproductive glands. Something as serious as infertility, can be rooted in a lack of this mineral. Many people take zinc lozenges during the cold and flu season to boost immune health. Without enough zinc, the body is more susceptible to infection.
Responsible for collagen formation, and balanced oil glands, zinc is important for clear, healthy skin. It is essential for proper wound healing, for liver and bone health, and for protein synthesis. It is needed for the absorption of some nutrients, and the balance of others. Adequate zinc, from food or supplements, is necessary for the body to function properly. This mineral also seems to have a direct relationship with neurological-based conditions.
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Zinc Deficiency and the Mind
It is believed that a zinc deficiency can lead to low energy and depression. Many patients who are suffering from psychological conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorders, ADD, and even schizophrenia, have low zinc in their blood. Also, a connection has been made between people who have behavioral problems, and imbalances of essential minerals — not only zinc, but also copper, magnesium, calcium, and manganese.
A zinc deficiency is of particular concern, as researchers believe that the mineral actually acts as a neurotransmitter. An imbalance could then disrupt healthy mental functioning. Low levels can cause irritability, fatigue, a faulty memory, and diminished senses, specifically taste and smell. Also, as zinc balances with copper in the body, a deficiency implies high levels of copper in the blood. Excess copper is linked to depression, violence, and learning disabilities.
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Supplementing with Zinc
Will the connection between a zinc deficiency, low energy, and depression, be solved with supplements? Simply taking zinc supplements is not a definite solution, nor even a safe one. Taking extra zinc over a long period of time can have adverse effects. Excess can impair immune health, and make it difficult for the body to absorb other nutrients. Copper, iron, and magnesium levels are all affected by zinc. The FDA recommends no more than 40 mg per day. Chronic low energy and depression are serious, debilitating conditions. Although nutrition is a common cause, there are many potential factors in psychological disorders.
If experiencing the common signs of a zinc deficiency, such as acne, fertility problems, hair loss, and high cholesterol, along with feelings of anger and depression, it is important to consult your doctor. They can test your blood to find out if there are abnormal levels of zinc, and then offer solutions for low energy and depression.
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Balch, Phyllis, CNC. "Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition." (The Penguin Group, 2006).
"Zinc Deficiency and Metabolism." (Dr Kaslow.com) <http://www.drkaslow.com/html/zinc.html>