A specific cause of depression remains unclear. However, several factors can contribute, including:
- Physical brain differences – people with depression may have physical changes in their brains.
- Chemical imbalances – since brain functions are carefully controlled by a delicate balance of chemicals and neurotransmitters. So if these chemicals change, you can develop symptoms of depression.
- Hormonal changes – changes in hormones can also cause symptoms of depression. Hormones can change due to thyroid problems, menopause or other conditions.
- Personal problems – the loss of a loved one, the end of a job or a relationship, financial stress, as well as any trauma can trigger depression.
- Genes – If a close relative has been diagnosed with depression, you may have a genetic predisposition for developing depression as well.
In addition, nutritional deficiencies also contribute to the risk of depression . Researchers have found that people suffering from depression and mood disorders lack not only one, but several nutrients. That is why it is so important to have an adequate diet rich in nutrients.
Nutrients for Depression
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The omega-3 fatty acids offer numerous health benefits. They play a key role in the development and functioning of the central nervous system. Omega-3 DHA is critical to the structure of brain cells, while omega-3 EPA impacts neuron function and reduces inflammation.
Deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids worsens depression. Researchers point out that adequate intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and dietary interventions with omega-3 fatty acid supplements can help prevent and cure depression.
According to scientific studies, people with depression tend to have low vitamin D levels . Therefore, increasing the levels of this vitamin can relieve the symptoms of the disease.
The lack of vitamin D is associated with both depression and dementia and autism. This vitamin helps in the production of serotonin, the brain hormone associated with mood and the feeling of happiness. An adequate level of serotonin helps to prevent and cure mild depression.
Vitamin D deficiency is common among the elderly, adolescents, obese individuals and people with chronic diseases. These people, therefore, have a higher risk of depression. Adequate levels to benefit from are 40 to 60 on the exam.
The Magnesium is another important nutrient whose lack can lead to depression. It helps to activate the enzymes necessary for the production of serotonin and dopamine, in addition to influencing various systems associated with the development of depression. Magnesium still keeps bones healthy and reduces anxiety and blood pressure.
Magnesium deficiency is among the leading causes of major depression and mental health problems, including loss of IQ. Brazil has magnesium deficiency in the soil, so supplementation of this nutrient is even more fundamental.
In recent years it has been discovered that zinc is a key player in the neurotransmission of the nervous system. As well as the fact that its consequent deficiency is associated with depression, asthenia and other diseases.
The consumption of zinc is highly recommended when depression is related to the onset of menopause , as this trace element can also regulate hormonal changes.
Zinc increases the production of neurotransmitters and their functioning, in addition to being involved in more than 250 biochemical pathways that support the functions of various organs. Depression is associated with a lower concentration of zinc in the peripheral blood.
The vitamin C is essential to strengthen the immune system , but also plays a very important role on the nervous system. Their lack can cause feelings of fatigue and sadness.
If you have a mild disability, the damage may not even be significant. However, if it is chronic and comes with other factors, it can trigger depressive states.
It is also recommended to take vitamin C in important states of physical and mental stress, as it can help prevent oxidation generated in the body. Vitamin C can influence negative moods.
The selenium is essential for brain function and helps improve mood and depressive symptoms. In addition, it plays a key role in the proper functioning of the thyroid.
Low selenium intake is related to the risk of major depressive disorder. Good selenium concentrations are associated with low depressive symptoms and less negative mood among young adults.
People with depression respond better to treatment when they have higher levels of vitamin B12 .
That’s because the vitamin contributes to cellular metabolism. Furthermore, it is also responsible for regulating various bodily processes. It is even one of the essential vitamins in the production of serotonin, the brain chemical responsible for regulating mood, and therefore improves the symptoms of depression.
Vitamin B12 also helps to keep the levels of homocysteine, a by-product of protein metabolism, lower. Patients with depressive symptoms who were treated with vitamin B12 supplementation and with antidepressants showed significant improvement.
The folate , a vitamin B soluble in water, it is necessary for correct biosynthesis of serotonin, adrenaline and dopamine neurotransmitters. The lack of folic acid in the diet can affect mental health and lead to depression. In addition, a low level of folate in the body is able to lessen the effect of various antidepressant drugs. Folate can also help prevent birth defects, blood disorders and tumors. Oral doses of folate and vitamin B12 should be used to improve treatment results for depression.
Not only is vitamin B6 involved in controlling symptoms such as anxiety or depression, but its deficiency can cause irritability.
Vitamin B6 (and also other B complex vitamins) act in the production of certain neurotransmitters, which are important in regulating mood and other brain functions. Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is the cofactor for enzymes that convert L-tryptophan into serotonin, so vitamin B6 deficiency can result in depression. It helps to produce and control chemicals that influence mood and other brain functions.