Essential elements are very important for the proper functioning of the human body. They are required for fundamental life processes such as cell division and differentiation and protein synthesis. Thus a deficiency of these essential elements is associated with an enormous health risk that can ultimately lead to death. In recent years, studies have provided valuable information on the involvement of essential elements in psychiatric disorders, in particular depression and anxiety. There is strong evidence indicating that deficiency of essential elements can lead to the development of depressive and/or anxiogenic behaviour and supplementation can enhance therapeutic effect of antidepressants and anxiolytics. This review presents the most important results from preclinical and clinical studies showing involvement of essential elements such as zinc, magnesium, lithium, iron, calcium and chromium in depression and anxiety. From these studies it is evident that different types of depression and anxiety respond to treatment at different receptors indicating that the underlying mechanisms are slightly different. Furthermore, administration of low dose antidepressants supplemented with an element is effective and can reduce unwanted side effects in different types of depression/anxiety.
Copyright © 2014 Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences. Published by Elsevier Urban & Partner Sp. z o.o. All rights reserved.