Imbalances in minerals

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The right balance of minerals is essential for mental health. There are about 15 minerals that work together to maintain health. Deficiencies and imbalances in the following minerals in particular can cause or exacerbate mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and cognitive issues Sathyanarayana Rao, T., Asha, M., Ramesh, B. and Jagannatha Rao, K. (2008). Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses. [online] Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 50 (2), pp. 77-82. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738337/ [accessed 24 Aug. 2017].Pfeiffer, C. (1975). Mental and Elemental Nutrients: A Physician’s Guide to Nutrition and Health Care. New Canaan, Conn.: Keats Pub..

Zinc

Zinc has many functions, from cell division, cell growth and immune system boosting to aiding wound healing and enabling taste and smell Deshpande, J. D., Joshi, M. M. and Giri, P. A. (2013). Zinc: The trace element of major importance in human nutrition and health. [online] International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health, 2 (1), pp. 1-6. Available at: http://www.scopemed.org/?mno=26819 [accessed 28 Aug. 2017]..

Zinc is also essential for mental health and its deficiency can manifest as depression, mood issues, anxiety and cognitive dysfunction Siwek, M., Szewczyk, B., Dudek, D., Styczeń, K., Sowa-Kućma, M., Młyniec, K., Siwek, A., Witkowski, L., Pochwat, B. and Nowak, G. (2013). Zinc as a marker of affective disorders. [online] Pharmacological Reports, 65 (6), pp. 1512–8. Available at: http://if-pan.krakow.pl/pjp/pdf/2013/6_1512.pdf [accessed 28 Aug. 2017]..

Zinc deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies, and yet zinc is one of the most important nutrients for mental health Holford, P. (2004). Patrick Holford’s New Optimum Nutrition Bible. London: Piatkus, p. 67.:

  • Zinc has an important modulatory effect on the neurochemical processes involved in mental health, and supplementation with zinc shows beneficial effects across a range of mental health problems Sarris, J., Logan, A. C., Akbaraly, T. N., Amminger, G. P., Balanzá-Martínez, V., Freeman, M. P., Hibbeln, J., Matsuoka, Y., Mischoulon, D., Mizoue, T., Nanri, A., Nishi, D., Ramsey, D., Rucklidge, J., Sanchez-Villegas, A., Scholey, A., Su, K. and Jacka, F. (2015). Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry. [online] The Lancet Psychiatry, 2 (3) pp. 271–274. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26359904 [accessed 18 Aug. 2017].
  • Zinc helps with the digestion and absorption of nutrients, which is crucial to making healthy hormones and neurotransmitters – both keys to mental health
    • Zinc helps with the synthesis of enzymes required to digest fats, carbohydrates and proteins Greenblatt, J. (2011). The Breakthrough Depression Solution. North Branch, MN: Sunrise River Press, p. 122.
    • It aids the production of hydrochloric acid for digestion
  • Zinc supports the conversion of omega 3 and omega 6 into prostaglandins Holford, P. (2004). Patrick Holford’s New Optimum Nutrition Bible. London: Piatkus, p. 37., which are involved in the experience of pain, and in inflammatory processes, both of which play a role in various mental health conditions McCabe, D. and Colbeck, M. (2015). The effectiveness of essential fatty acid, B vitamin, Vitamin C, magnesium and zinc supplementation for managing stress in women: a systematic review protocol. [online] JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports, 13 (7), pp. 104–18. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26455850 [accessed 28 Aug. 2017]., Wohleb, E. and Godbout, J. (2013). Basic Aspects of the Immunology of Neuroinflammation. [online] Modern Trends in Pharmacopsychiatry, 28, pp. 1-9. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jonathan_Godbout2/publication/265690693_Basic_Aspects_of_the_Immunology_of_Neuroinflammation/links/569d3ed408ae00e5c98ec0cb.pdf [accessed 28 Aug. 2017]. 
  • Zinc supports the synthesis of key neurotransmitters
    • Serotonin and melatonin, both of which are key for sleep, mood and appetite Holford, P. (2004). Patrick Holford’s New Optimum Nutrition Bible. London: Piatkus, p. 80.
    • GABA, the calming and focus neurotransmitter Swardfager, W., Herrmann, N., McIntyre, R. S., Mazereeuw, G., Goldberger, K., Cha, D. S., Schwartz, Y. and Lanctôt, K. L. (2013). Potential roles of zinc in the pathophysiology and treatment of major depressive disorder. [online] Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 37 (5), pp. 911–29. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23567517 [accessed 28 Aug. 2017].Ruiz, A., Walker, M., Fabian-Fine, R. and Kullmann, D. M. (2004). Endogenous Zinc Inhibits GABAA Receptors in a Hippocampal Pathway. [online] Journal of Neurophysiology, 91 (2), pp. 1091-6. Available at: http://jn.physiology.org/content/91/2/1091 [accessed 28 Aug. 2017]., Barberis, A., Cherubini, E. and Mozrzymas, J. W. (2000). Zinc Inhibits Miniature GABAergic Currents by Allosteric Modulation of GABAA Receptor Gating. [online] The Journal of Neuroscience, 20 (23), pp. 8618–27. Available at: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/jneuro/20/23/8618.full.pdf [accessed 28 Aug. 207].
  • Zinc has an impact on hormones
    • Zinc helps with oxytocin, making our cells more receptive to this important love and bonding hormone/neurotransmitter Scott, T. and Daniel, K. (May 2015). Real food for Anxiety: Butter, Broth and Beyond. [online] The Anxiety Summit, Season 3. Available at: http://season3.theanxietysummit.com/.
    • Zinc also boosts estrogen and also progesterone levels
  • Zinc may also be important for maintaining attention and processing auditory information Lake, J. (2009). Integrative Mental Health Care. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., p. 195.
  • Zinc can help with memory Scott, T. and Amen, D. (May 2015). The Brain Warrior’s Way to Attacking Anxiety, Depression and Ageing. [online] The Anxiety Summit, Season 3. Available at: http://season3.theanxietysummit.com/. as it facilitates communication between neurons in the hippocampus (the brain’s learning and memory centre)
  • Depression
  • Post partum issues
    • Several research papers have shown that women have very low levels of zinc and B6 after giving birth, probably because these nutrients are passed through the placenta to the baby several days before birth in order to boost the baby’s immune system Gluck, M. and Edgson, V. (2010). It Must Be My Hormones. Camberwell, Vic.: Penguin Group (Australia), p. 123.
  • Poor concentration and attention
  • Poor memory
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia
    • Low serum zinc levels may result in accelerated formation of amyloid plaques
  • Anxiety
  • Hyperactivity
  • Autism
  • ADD
  • Anorexia
  • Psychotic symptoms and bipolar symptoms
  • Sleep issues
  • Hormonal imbalances such as low testosterone
  • Low libido

Grønli, O., Kvamme, J. M., Friborg, O. and Wynn, R. (2013). Zinc Deficiency Is Common in Several Psychiatric Disorders. [online] PLoS One, 8 (12), e82793. Available at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0082793 [accessed 28 Aug. 2017].Talbott, S. (2007). The Cortisol Connection. Alameda, CA: Hunter House, p. 251.Lake, J. (2009). Integrative Mental Health Care. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., p. 236., Holford, P. (2004). Patrick Holford’s New Optimum Nutrition Bible. London: Piatkus, pp. 67-8, p. 80.Greenblatt, J. (2011). The Breakthrough Depression Solution. North Branch, MN: Sunrise River Press, p. 195.

  • Pesticides: foods sprayed with the pesticide glyphosate (Roundup) have 50% lower levels of zinc
  • Excessive copper
    • Most people have too much copper in their diets
    • Zinc and copper compete for the same protein binding site, so if you’re ingesting too much copper, or taking a multivitamin with copper at the same time as a zinc supplement, they’ll compete for absorption
  • Copper isn’t the only nutrient that competes with zinc: Vitamin B9, folate, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium do as well Scott, T., Calton, M. and Calton, J. (May 2015). Micronutrients for Eliminating Anxiety. [online] The Anxiety Summit, Season 3. Available at: http://season3.theanxietysummit.com/
  • Depression, schizophrenia, anxiety
  • Stress
  • Frequent alcohol consumption
  • Blood sugar problems
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Low zinc in diet
  • Digestion and absorption issues
  • Drinking tea or coffee with meals
  • Medical drugs
  • Illness or infection
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency
  • Excessive sweating
  • Frequent ejaculation in males
  • Phytic acid
    • Present in grains, beans and nuts, can limit the body’s uptake of zinc
    • Soaking grains and beans for 8-12 hours before consumption can reduce the amount of phytic acid

Talbott, S. (2007). The Cortisol Connection. Alameda, CA: Hunter House, p. 151., Holford, P. (2004). Patrick Holford’s New Optimum Nutrition Bible. London: Piatkus, p. 68., Forsyth, C. Fact Sheets. Available at: http://www.dr-forsyth.com/Dr_Charles_Forsyth/Dr_Charles_Forsyth_-_Homeopathy,_Nutrition,_Allergy,_Ecological_Medicine_-_Reigate,_Croydon,_Surrey_%26_Biolab,_Central_London_2.html.

Magnesium

Magnesium is important for maintaining a normal bone structure in the body, for cellular energy, the immune system, the cardiovascular system, and is also crucial for mental health Sarris, J., Logan, A. C., Akbaraly, T. N., Amminger, G. P., Balanzá-Martínez, V., Freeman, M. P., Hibbeln, J., Matsuoka, Y., Mischoulon, D., Mizoue, T., Nanri, A., Nishi, D., Ramsey, D., Rucklidge, J., Sanchez-Villegas, A., Scholey, A., Su, K. and Jacka, F. (2015). Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry. [online] The Lancet Psychiatry, 2 (3) pp. 271–274. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26359904 [accessed 18 Aug. 2017]..

Magnesium is involved around 300 enzymatic reactions in our body, and has a key role in how the mitochondria function. If you don’t have enough magnesium, you won’t be able to make the energy that your cells need, which can lead to chronic pain, headaches and poor sleep.

Magnesium deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies Volpe, S. L. (2013). Magnesium in disease prevention and overall health. [online] Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal, 4 (3), 378S–383S. Available at: http://advances.nutrition.org/content/4/3/378S.abstract [accessed 28 Aug. 2017]..

Magnesium helps with stress management by regulating brain signals (neurotransmission) and hormones:

  • Magnesium is an essential cofactor needed for the binding of serotonin to its receptor, and is essential for serotonin production, modulating its pathway Ruljancic, N., Mihanovic, M., Cepelak, I., Bakliza, A. and Curkovic, K. D. (2013). Platelet serotonin and magnesium concentrations in suicidal and non-suicidal depressed patients. [online] Magnesium Research, 26 (1), pp. 9–17. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23614979 [accessed 28 Aug. 2017].Greenblatt, J. (2011). The Breakthrough Depression Solution. North Branch, MN: Sunrise River Press, p. 185.
  • Magnesium modulates GABA transmission
  • Magnesium is required for energy production and the nervous system Talbott, S. (2007). The Cortisol Connection. Alameda, CA: Hunter House, p. 187.
  • Supplementing magnesium has been shown to help patients with depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, drug abuse and short term memory loss Holford, P. (2004). Patrick Holford’s New Optimum Nutrition Bible. London: Piatkus, p. 66.Scott, T. and Bongiorno, P. (May 2015). Serotonin and Anxiety, Happiness, Digestion and our Hormones. [online] The Anxiety Summit, Season 3. Available at: http://season3.theanxietysummit.com/.Scott, T. and D’Eramo, K. (May 2015). How to use MindBody Medicine to Reverse Anxiety in 3 Minutes or Less. [online] The Anxiety Summit, Season 3. Available at: http://season3.theanxietysummit.com/.
  • Magnesium can enhance relaxation and lower stress levels Talbott, S. (2007). The Cortisol Connection. Alameda, CA: Hunter House, p. 187., Gluck, M. and Edgson, V. (2010). It Must Be My Hormones. Camberwell, Vic.: Penguin Group (Australia), p. 76.
  • Magnesium supports thyroid function Gluck, M. and Edgson, V. (2010). It Must Be My Hormones. Camberwell, Vic.: Penguin Group (Australia), p. 76.
  • Magnesium (in combination with other nutrients) has been shown to help reduce symptoms of autism and hyperactivity in children Holford, P. (2004). Patrick Holford’s New Optimum Nutrition Bible. London: Piatkus, p. 66.
  • Magnesium increases calcium absorption, and calcium is also important for calming the nervous system  Talbott, S. (2007). The Cortisol Connection. Alameda, CA: Hunter House, p. 187.
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Exhaustion
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Addiction
  • Poor memory
  • Poor concentration and attention

Serefko, A., Szopa, A., Wlaź, P., Nowak, G., Radziwoń-Zaleska, M., Skalski, M. and Poleszak, E. (2013). Magnesium in depression. [online] Pharmacological Reports, 65 (3), pp. 547–554. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23950577 [accessed 28 Aug. 2017].Holford, P. (2004). Patrick Holford’s New Optimum Nutrition Bible. London: Piatkus, p. 66, p. 68., Amen, D. (2013). Unleash The Power Of The Female Brain. New York: Harmony Books, p. 111., Lake, J. (2009). Integrative Mental Health Care. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., p. 172., Talbott, S. (2007). The Cortisol Connection. Alameda, CA: Hunter House, p. 187., Gluck, M. and Edgson, V. (2010). It Must Be My Hormones. Camberwell, Vic.: Penguin Group (Australia), p. 76.

In children, magnesium deficiency is associated with:

  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Depression

Dean, C. (2007). The Magnesium Miracle. New York: Ballantine Books, p. 20, p. 55., Greenblatt, J. (2011). The Breakthrough Depression Solution. North Branch, MN: Sunrise River Press, p. 133.Talbott, S. (2007). The Cortisol Connection. Alameda, CA: Hunter House, p. 149.

  • Digestion and absorption issues such as leaky gut and IBS
  • Stress
    • Stress can deplete the body’s store of magnesium
  • Taking psychiatric medication
    • Psychotropic drugs can further reduce levels of magnesium and calcium
  • Illness or injury

Dean, C. (2007). The Magnesium Miracle. New York: Ballantine Books, p. 51., Holford, P. (2004). Patrick Holford’s New Optimum Nutrition Bible. London: Piatkus, p. 66.

Calcium

There is more calcium in the body than any other mineral, and it is important for maintaining healthy bones, regulating muscle contraction, and blood clotting Uusi-Rasi, K., Kärkkäinen, M. U. M. and Lamberg-Allardt, C. J. E. (2013). Calcium intake in health maintenance – a systematic review. [online] Food & Nutrition Research, 57. Available at : http://journals.co-action.net/index.php/fnr/article/view/21082 [accessed 28 Aug. 2017]..

  • Calcium is key for brain and nerve function, and it is important for mental health, especially in terms of
    • Regulating mood (reducing mood swings)
    • Reducing anxiety and calming the nervous system Rossom, R. C., Espeland, M. A., Manson, J. E., Dysken, M. W., Johnson, K. C., Lane, D. S., LeBlanc, E. S., Lederle, F. A., Masaki, K. H. and Margolis, K. L. (2012). Calcium and vitamin D supplementation and cognitive impairment in the women’s health initiative. [online] Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 60 (12), pp. 2197–2205. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23176129 [accessed 28 Aug. 2017]., Talbott, S. (2007). The Cortisol Connection. Alameda, CA: Hunter House, pp. 185-6.
  • Higher levels of calcium have been shown to reduce depressive symptoms Miki, T., Kochi, T., Eguchi, M., Kuwahara, K., Tsuruoka, H., Kurotani, K., Ito, R., Akter, S., Kashino, I., Pham, N. M., Kabe, I., Kawakami, N., Mizoue, T. and Nanri, A. (2015). Dietary intake of minerals in relation to depressive symptoms in Japanese employees: the Furukawa Nutrition and Health Study. [online] Nutrition, 31 (5), pp. 686-690. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25837213 [accessed 28 Aug. 2017].
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Stress, anxiety and panic
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Hyperactivity
  • Cognitive impairment

Forsyth, C. Fact Sheets. Available at: http://www.dr-forsyth.com/Dr_Charles_Forsyth/Dr_Charles_Forsyth_-_Homeopathy,_Nutrition,_Allergy,_Ecological_Medicine_-_Reigate,_Croydon,_Surrey_%26_Biolab,_Central_London_2.html.Talbott, S. (2007). The Cortisol Connection. Alameda, CA: Hunter House, pp. 185-6.

Iron

Iron is an essential mineral with several important functions in the body – including the production of red blood cells, the transport of oxygen through the blood, and the regulation of cell growth.

  • A deficiency in iron leads to a decrease in oxygen, which can lead to fatigue, lowered immunity, and mental health issues Greenblatt, J. (2011). The Breakthrough Depression Solution. North Branch, MN: Sunrise River Press, pp. 140-2.
  • Iron plays a key role in brain function and deficiency of iron has been implicated in various cognitive, motor and psychiatric disorders
  • Recently a link has been established between iron deficiency and ADHD Gottfried, R. J., Gerring, J. P., Machell, K., Yenokyan, G. and Riddle, M. A. (2013). The iron status of children and youth in a community mental health clinic is lower than that of a national sample. [online] Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 23 (2), pp. 91-100. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609602/ [accessed 28 Aug. 2017].
  • Iron is a cofactor for making serotonin and GABA, the neurotransmitters for mood, sleep, focus and calm Scott, T. and Amen, D. (May 2015). The Brain Warrior’s Way to Attacking Anxiety, Depression and Ageing. [online] The Anxiety Summit, Season 3. Available at: http://season3.theanxietysummit.com/.
  • Exhaustion
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Poor concentration and attention
  • Low motivation
  • Poor memory
  • Brain fog
  • Low libido
  • Heart palpitations
  • Anxiety

Scott, T. and Bongiorno, P. (May 2015). Serotonin and Anxiety, Happiness, Digestion and our Hormones. [online] The Anxiety Summit, Season 3. Available at: http://season3.theanxietysummit.com/., Scott, T. and D’Eramo, K. (May 2015). How to use MindBody Medicine to Reverse Anxiety in 3 Minutes or Less. [online] The Anxiety Summit, Season 3. Available at: http://season3.theanxietysummit.com/., Scott, T. and Maree, K. (May 2015). Pyroluria, Amino Acids and Anxiety: Real Cases, Real Solutions. [online] The Anxiety Summit, Season 3. Available at: http://season3.theanxietysummit.com/., Amen, D. (2013). Unleash The Power Of The Female Brain. New York: Harmony Books, p. 80., Gottfried, S. (2013). The Hormone Cure. New York, NY: Scribner, pp. 254-5.

Iron deficiency can be caused by:

  • Lack of iron in the diet, as is more often seen in vegetarian or vegan diets
  • Poor digestion and absorption of iron
    • Due to gut issues
    • Due to consumption of nutrients that block iron absorption, such as calcium
  • Blood loss from heavy menstrual periods or other causes

(2017). Ferritin test. [online] Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/ferritin-test/basics/results/prc-20014449 [accessed 30 Oct. 2017].

Manganese

Manganese is a trace element that helps create and activate specific enzymes in the body.

Manganese is an important antioxidant that protects brain areas, in particular the hippocampus, from free radical damage.

In addition, manganese enzyme systems are important in depression, and reduced enzyme levels are seen in depressed patients.

Manganese can cause mental health issues when it is too high, as well as too low.

Manganese deficiency can contribute to

  • Psychotic episodes
  • Over-stimulation of the nervous system
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Fits and convulsions

Holford, P. (2004). Patrick Holford’s New Optimum Nutrition Bible. London: Piatkus, pp. 66-7.

Manganese excess can contribute to

  • When inhaled, manganese can be toxic to the brain and gives rise to ‘manganism’
    • In the early stages of manganism there is anxiety and irritability, which can eventually lead to Parkinson’s disease-like syndrome with continued exposure
  • There is also a link between high levels of manganese and cognitive impairment Młyniec, K., Gaweł, M., Doboszewska, U., Starowicz, G., Pytka, K., Davies, C. L. and Budziszewska, B. (2015). Essential elements in depression and anxiety. Part II. [online] Pharmacological Reports, 67 (2), pp. 187–94. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25712638 [accessed 28 Aug. 2017].
  • High levels of manganese cause dysregulation of two neurotransmitters: glutamate and GABA
  • Alterations of glutamate and GABA are seen in anxiety disorders and depression, both of which are seen in manganism
  • Nervous disorders and psychosis (however, this is very rare)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Selenium

Selenium is a trace mineral that plays an important role in our immune system’s function and in reproduction. It also helps to prevent damage to cells and tissues and is an important mineral for mental health.

  • Selenium has been shown to help with mood problems
    • Selenium has a significant modulatory effect on dopamine, which is involved in controlling mood Pasco, J. A., Jacka, F. N., Williams, L. J., Evans-Cleverdon, M., Brennan, S. L., Kotowicz, M. A., Nicholson, G. C., Ball, M. J. and Berk, M. (2012). Dietary selenium and major depression: a nested case-control study. [online] Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 20 (3), pp. 119–23. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22500660 [accessed 28 Aug. 2017].
    • Selenium has been shown to improve mood and well being in selenium deficient people Gottfried, S. (2013). The Hormone Cure. New York, NY: Scribner, p. 254.
  • Selenium has been shown to help with anxiety Lake, J. (2009). Integrative Mental Health Care. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., p. 172.
  • Selenium is essential for thyroid hormone balance Schomburg, L. (2011). Selenium, selenoproteins and the thyroid gland: interactions in health and disease. [online] Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 8 (3), pp. 160-71. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22009156 [accessed 28 Aug. 2017]., and an imbalance in thyroid hormone can lead to mental health issues such as depression Medici, M., Direk, N., Visser, W.E., Korevaar, T.I., Hofman, A., Visser, T.J., Tiemeier, H., Peeters, R.P. (2014). Thyroid function within the normal range and the risk of depression: a population-based cohort study. [online] The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 99 (4), pp. 1213-9. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24564323 [accessed 28 Aug. 2017].

Selenium deficiency can contribute to

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cognitive decline

Pasco, J. A., Jacka, F. N., Williams, L. J., Evans-Cleverdon, M., Brennan, S. L., Kotowicz, M. A., Nicholson, G. C., Ball, M. J. and Berk, M. (2012). Dietary selenium and major depression: a nested case-control study. [online] Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 20 (3), pp. 119–23. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22500660 [accessed 28 Aug. 2017]., Lake, J. (2009). Integrative Mental Health Care. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., p. 156, p. 172., Gottfried, S. (2013). The Hormone Cure. New York, NY: Scribner, p. 254.

Chromium

Chromium is an essential, trace mineral. It influences insulin metabolism, insulin sensitivity (reducing insulin resistance) and cholesterol levels, as well as stabilises blood sugar and energy levels Greenblatt, J. (2011). The Breakthrough Depression Solution. North Branch, MN: Sunrise River Press, p. 137..

Chromium is important for mood, anxiety levels and motivation:

  • It directly enhances serotonin activity
  • It may have a downstream effect on dopamine
  • The serotonin, dopamine and insulin pathways are all involved in control of food intake, but also in mood, anxiety levels, and motivation

A chromium deficiency can make it harder to balance blood sugar levels Talbott, S. (2007). The Cortisol Connection. Alameda, CA: Hunter House, p. 116. which can cause:

  • Unstable moods
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor memory
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sugar cravings
  • Exhaustion
  • Emotional hypersensitivity
  • Depressive symptoms before the age of 30

Holford, P. (2004). Patrick Holford’s New Optimum Nutrition Bible. London: Piatkus, pp. 244-5.

Iodine

Iodine is a mineral that is necessary for the maintenance of thyroid function and the production of thyroid hormones. Iodine is particularly helpful for boosting energy production and metabolism.

A deficiency of iodine can lead to hypothyroidism, which can cause lethargy and exhaustion, depression and low mood, poor memory and concentration, etc. Greenblatt, J. (2011). The Breakthrough Depression Solution. North Branch, MN: Sunrise River Press, p. 137..

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is an essential mineral primarily used for growth and repair of body cells and tissues as it stimulates protein development. It is also found inside the cells of our brain where it promotes cognitive development.

A deficiency in phosphorus can cause:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

Lake, J. (2009). Integrative Mental Health Care. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., p. 172.

Copper

Copper is a trace element that has several important functions, including the production of red and white blood cells, bones, nerves and brain development.

Our bodies only need a small amount of copper.

  • Copper is present in high concentrations in the brain
  • It helps with energy production in the cells, by acting as a cofactor for mitochondria
  • It is essential for enzyme production in the brain
    • The enzymes affect many aspects of brain function including neurotransmitter production-particularly dopamine and adrenaline
    • The enzymes also contribute to the myelin (outer coating) of nerves
    • Copper transports protein which transports copper to neural synapses, helps with nerve-to-nerve communication Schlief, M.L., West, T., Craig, A. M., Holtzman, D. M. and Gitlin, J.D. (2006). Role of the Menkes copper-transporting ATPase in NMDA receptor-mediated neuronal toxicity. [online] Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103 (40), pp. 14919-24. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1578502/ [accessed 28 Aug. 2017].
  • Copper helps with memory, learning ability and neural communication Schlief, M.L., West, T., Craig, A. M., Holtzman, D. M. and Gitlin, J.D. (2006). Role of the Menkes copper-transporting ATPase in NMDA receptor-mediated neuronal toxicity. [online] Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103 (40), pp. 14919-24. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1578502/ [accessed 28 Aug. 2017].
  • Copper protects the brain from oxidative damage
  • Copper excess is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease
  • There are genetic disorders affecting brain function due to copper transport problems in the brain Telianidis, J., Hung, Y. H., Materia, S. and La Fontaine, S. (2013). Role of the P-Type ATPases, ATP7A and ATP7B in brain copper homeostasis. [online] Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 5, p. 44. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3750203/ [accessed 28 Aug. 2017].
  • Too much or too little copper can contribute to depression Greenblatt, J. (2011). The Breakthrough Depression Solution. North Branch, MN: Sunrise River Press, p. 130.
  • Too little copper can contribute to
    • Confusion
    • Impaired coordination
  • Too much copper can contribute to
    • Feelings of doom
    • Brain fog
    • Headaches/migraine
    • Mood swings
    • Depression
    • Paranoia
    • Despair
    • Poor concentration and attention
    • Poor memory
  • The use of the oral contraceptive pill raises copper levels
  • Stress raises copper levels Malter, R. (2016). Copper Excess (Toxicity): Psychological Implications for Children, Adolescents, and Adults. [online] The Malter Institute. Available at: http://www.malterinstitute.org/pdf/Copper_Toxicity_01a.pdf [accessed 31 Aug. 2017].
  • The prevalence of copper pipes in water supplies

Lithium

Lithium is a chemical element that influences the actions of numerous enzymes, hormones and vitamins.

Lithium has strong links to easing depression. In the UK, lithium carbonate is the medication most commonly used to treat bipolar disorder.

  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Suicidal tendencies

Greenblatt, J. (2011). The Breakthrough Depression Solution. North Branch, MN: Sunrise River Press, p. 137.