What deficiencies cause depression

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  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.

In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.

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Last Updated: 08/30/2022

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9 Nutrients Deficiencies Lead to Depression

Photo: Lack of proteins, carbohydrates and fatty acids in the body can trigger depression // CHROMORANGE / Bilderbox / Global Look Press

Experts from the UK have named 9 nutrients, the lack of which can trigger depression in the body.

Iron deficiency. The researchers concluded that women are significantly more likely to become victims of depression than men. And in 2008, scientists found that this is due to the greater prevalence of anemia among the fair sex in the age group from 25 to 45 years. Anemia is an iron deficiency that also causes chronic fatigue.

Zinc deficiency. Over the past few decades, at least five research groups have concluded that zinc levels are markedly reduced in victims of clinical depression. Researchers later found that oral zinc supplementation made antidepressant treatment more effective. Another plus is that zinc also provides protection for brain cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Folic acid deficiency. Doctors have repeatedly observed that in patients with depression, the level of folate, or folic acid, is reduced by 25% compared to people who do not suffer from depression. If you are taking antidepressants and have a folic acid deficiency, the effect of the treatment may be reduced. However, taking 500 micrograms of folic acid along with antidepressants is thought to make the treatment more effective.

Carbohydrate deficiency. Low-carb dieters lose more weight in the long run, which can lead to depression. This is due to the fact that the production of the brain chemicals serotonin and tryptophan, which provide a feeling of good mood, is stimulated by carbohydrate-rich foods.

Protein deficiency. Protein isn't just good for muscle building athletes, it also helps improve brain function and mental health. This is because many neurotransmitters in the brain are made from amino acids found in proteins. If you follow an unhealthy diet and do not eat enough protein, then you are at risk of depression.

Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency. The brain is the organ with the highest levels of lipids or fats. In fact, gray matter is 50% fatty acids. Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids reduce symptoms of depression and effectively improve mood.

Vitamin B deficiency. Researchers observed that patients with depression reported improved mood after treatment for a deficiency in the B vitamins, which include vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12 and thiamine. Teenagers and older adults who are deficient in vitamin B often experience cognitive changes that can lead to depression.

Magnesium deficiency. In 2012, researchers stated that victims of chronic stress should use magnesium supplements, as a deficiency of this particular mineral leads to depression and anxiety. Increasing the magnesium content in the body through food protects mental health.

Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency slows down calcium absorption. Because of this, calcium begins to be taken by the body from the bones, which leads to a decrease in their mineral density. Vitamin D deficiency causes muscle weakness and pain. These factors may well become direct or indirect causes of depression.

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Scientists: lack of vitamin D is not the main cause of depression in women - Gazeta.Ru

Scientists: lack of vitamin D is not the main cause of depression in women - Gazeta.Ru | News

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Russian scientists have analyzed more than one and a half hundred clinical studies of depression in women and the relationship of vitamin D deficiency with it. They showed that world science considers vitamin D not to be the root cause of depression, as previously assumed, but only one of the factors. Using the accumulated data can help in the development of new drugs for the treatment of this disease. The work was published in the journal Current Neuropharmacology . The study was supported by the Russian Science Foundation.

Vitamin D is a whole group of important compounds in the human body, among which are cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and ergocalciferol (vitamin D2). The former is found in meat and oily fish, while the latter is found in vegetables, herbs, and fruits. In the body, vitamin D is synthesized by the outer layer of the skin. The speed of the process depends on the time of year, geographic latitude and skin exposure activity, with city dwellers being more likely to be deficient in vitamin D than rural dwellers. Its main role in the body is to ensure the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the intestines; it is also important for the anti-inflammatory and antitumor defense of the body and performs many other functions. A lack of vitamin D leads not only to bone problems (for example, the well-known rickets), but also to mental and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Depression has become a very common mood disorder in today's world. Doctors characterize it for at least a two-week state, in which a person is characterized by a depressed mood, a feeling of uselessness, sleep and appetite disturbances, and a lack of interest in life. An estimated 840 million people suffer from depression, with women being affected twice as often as men. This is due to the instability of the hormonal background that accompanies certain periods: puberty, pregnancy, time after childbirth and menopause. Age-related changes and the extinction of ovarian function are especially difficult for a woman. However, due to the current economic situation and the pension reform in Russia during this period of her life, she is forced to continue working. Together, these conditions lead to a complete imbalance of the nervous system - which is why women during menopause often have obvious psychiatric symptoms and an affective disorder of the depressive spectrum.

Russian scientists, together with foreign colleagues, studied existing studies on the relationship between vitamin D and depression in women. There are several arguments in favor of the fact that its level in the body affects the occurrence of an affective disorder. For example, people with depression tend to have lower levels of vitamin D. Moreover, receptors for it are located in the parts of the brain responsible for behavior and emotions. It regulates the production of the "happiness hormone" serotonin and is involved in the immune system, which can affect stress levels and is involved in the mechanisms of neuroinflammation, leading to the death of nerve cells. Many scientists have investigated whether increasing the dose of vitamin D received can relieve depression in patients, but there is still no definitive answer. At the same time, as the authors of the article note, some studies have shown that with the help of the additional appointment of vitamin D, it is indeed possible to maintain psychological and physiological health in women with diabetes, as well as in pregnant women.

Russian scientists have analyzed a large number of articles on this topic, which led them to conclude that although vitamin D may have a positive effect on mood, the available research is not enough to draw a definitive conclusion. Many of them were limited in sample size or were conducted on people with too different diagnoses.

The authors also studied clinical data on the influence of intestinal microflora on the development and occurrence of depression. They noted that problems with the intestines (in particular, dysbacteriosis) contribute to mood problems. This is due to the fact that the supply of vitamin D3 from the intestines to the blood, and then to the brain, is disrupted. However, in this case, vitamin D3 supplementation can help with depression by normalizing processes both in the intestines and in the nervous system.

“In summary, there are several lines of clinical evidence in the current literature that indicate a strong association between vitamin D and depression in women. Its deficiency can contribute to the appearance of mood disorders, however, it remains only one of the additional aggravating factors, and not the root cause. However, many aspects of how vitamin D affects depression still remain unclear. Further studies are needed to explore the potential positive effect of vitamin D in the treatment of affective disorders in women,” commented Yulia Fedotova, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Leading Researcher at the Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology of the I.P. Pavlov Institute of Physiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (St. Petersburg) and Leading Research Specialist at the International Research Center "Biotechnologies of the Third Millennium" at ITMO University (St. Petersburg).

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