Mood for Life

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Archive of ‘minerals’ category

Zinc and depression

by Richard Aiken MD PhD



Zinc is an essential trace mineral, a component of hundreds of enzymes and proteins.  It is required for intracellular message transmission, protein synthesis, maintenance of cell membranes, cellular and intracellular transmembrane transport, and is involved in regulation of the neuronal, endocrinal and immunological systems[1] [1].

Zinc deficiency induces neurological symptoms as well as psychopathological symptoms that mostly correspond with clinical depression (e.g., poor appetite, reduced sense of taste, reduction in immune function, irritability, mood liability, cognitive impairment)[2]

The mechanisms in which zinc is linked to antidepressant activity is a active area of research but there are indications that it is involved in the neurogenesis processes[3].

There is a delicate balance in the relation of zinc to copper, so supplementation is not recommended.  A whole-food varied-plant diet is the best assurance of getting zinc in the correct doses and  food context.


[1] Takeda A. Movement of zinc and its functional significance in the brain. Brain 224 Res Rev 2000;34(3):137–48.

[2] Swardfager W, Herrmann N, McIntyre RS, Mazereeuw G, Goldberger K, Cha DS, 226 et al. Potential roles of zinc in the pathophysiology and treatment of major 227 depressive disorder. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2013;37(5):911–29.

[3] Levenson CW, Morris D. Zinc and neurogenesis: making new neurons from 388 development to adulthood. Adv Nutr 2011;2(2):96–100.