Minerals and mood article

Minerals and Mood

Most of us are continuously juggling multiple roles and responsibilities and hence it’s easy to overlook something as basic as our dietary habits. However, a recent study showed some fascinating insights that suggest that, from a mental health point of view, our meal choices can be incredibly influential. 

A Deep Dive into Dietary Minerals and Depression

A comprehensive analysis involving over 20,000 participants from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007-2018) brought to light the complex relationship between nine key dietary minerals and depressive symptoms. These minerals studied were:

  • Calcium (Ca)
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium (Mg)
  • Iron (Fe)
  • Zinc
  • Copper (Cu)
  • Sodium
  • Potassium (K)
  • Selenium (Se)

The study employed sophisticated statistical models (such as the Bayesian kernel machine regression) to assess the impact of these minerals on depression, measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) scores. This is a standard tool used in primary care to quantify the extent of patients’ depression. 

It’s Not Just What You Eat, But How They Interact

The results were intriguing:

  • Negative Association That’s Positive: A higher intake of these minerals was linked to lower PHQ-9 scores, indicating fewer depressive symptoms.
  • Role of Selenium and Potassium: Selenium emerged as the key player, showing the most significant impact, closely followed by potassium.
  • Interactions Matter: Interactions between certain minerals, like calcium and iron, also influenced depressive symptoms.
  • Gender-Specific Effects: Interestingly, copper showed a more pronounced effect in females.

What Does This Mean for Us?

This study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that our diet, specifically mineral intake, plays a significant role in mood regulation. Minerals are not just building blocks for our bodies; they are crucial for the synthesis of mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.

So, What Can We Do?

Here’s a quick guide to foods rich in these crucial minerals:

  • Nuts and Seeds: A treasure trove of selenium, especially Brazil nuts. These are are great for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Eggs: Dubbed nature’s multivitamin. Don not worry about the Mapco of eggs on cholesterol. 
  • Cruciferous Vegetables: Such as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
  • Beans: High in fibre and a useful source protein (the bean soup at la Pizzica deli is highly recommended as the source of beans!).
  • Avocados and Berries: These are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and essential minerals.
  • Leafy Greens: Folate-rich and which is important for nutrient transport to the brain.
  • Shellfish and Sardines: High in zinc and omega-3s.

A Note on Supplementation

While a balanced diet is the gold standard, some patients, especially those facing severe mental health challenges, might find it difficult to maintain such a diet. In these cases, a multimineral supplement might be  helpful

We’re here not just to treat but to educate and empower. This study offers a glimpse into the significant impact of diet on mental health. Try to embrace these findings in your culinary choices. And, as always, we’re here to guide you on this journey towards a healthier, happier you.

P.S. For personalised advice on nutrition and mental health, to check your nutrient levels or to discuss this study further, feel free to book an appointment. 

Dr. J. Hugh Coyne

Coyne Medical