Nutrition, Neuronal Protection and Depression
Neuronal protection (protection against cognitive decline) requires glutathione peroxidase (a crucial enzyme which requires selenium, cysteine, carotenoids, zinc, and vitamin E) is an important aspect of the treatment of mood disorders both because they tend to be recurrent over one’s life, and because they are associated with neuronal loss in specific parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus. R-lipoic acid, vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids are also critical to neuronal protection.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin D, and Depression
There are numerous studies of the efficacy of omega 3 EFA’s in depression. A recent large-scale (33,000) cohort of Swedish women (12) found that “a frequent consumption of fish, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids appears to reduce the risk of positive psychotic-like symptoms. Interestingly, they found a lower rate of psychotic-like symptoms with increasing vitamin D intake.” It is unclear what the optimal dose of Omega 3’s is, and while it is thought that EPA is better for mood disorders, this is not clear yet.
In a cross-sectional study (13) of older adults (N=80), vitamin D deficiency was associated with low mood and with impairment on two of four measures of cognitive performance. After adjusting for age, race, gender, and season of vitamin D determination, vitamin D deficiency was associated with presence of an active mood disorder (p = 0.022).
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