Zinc deficiency has multiple effects, including neurological and somatic symptoms. Zinc deficiency can lead to depression, increased anxiety, irritability, emotional instability, and induced deficits in social behavior. Clinical studies have shown that low levels of zinc intake contributes to the symptoms of depression and patients suffering from depression have a lower serum zinc level. Also the animal studies have shown an important role of dietary zinc deficiency in the induction of depressive‐like symptoms. Moreover, both preclinical and clinical studies have indicated the potential benefits of zinc supplementation as an adjunct to conventional antidepressant drugs or as a stand‐alone intervention. This chapter focuses on the role of the zinc deficiency in the pathogenesis of depression, changes in animal behavior induced by dietary zinc restriction, the role of zinc supplementation in the treatment of depression, and the possible mechanisms involved in these relationships. Both clinical and preclinical studies related to these findings will be discussed.
Part of the book: Nutritional Deficiency