Why Iron and Zinc are Essential for Mental and Physical Health

Recently, many individuals have been struggling with symptoms of depression, leading them to seek help at our clinic. The current circumstances and environmental factors can often exacerbate feelings of exhaustion and anxiety, contributing to the manifestation of depressive symptoms.

Here at The Hayakawa Mental Health Clinic, we primarily focus on pharmacological therapy for the treatment of depression. However, our approach aims to alleviate distressing symptoms with minimal medication and improve overall quality of life.

When administering pharmacological therapy, we closely monitor the function of the liver and thyroid through blood tests. Additionally, we assess the levels of iron and zinc, essential minerals for maintaining both physical and mental health.

Iron plays a crucial role in maintaining normal bodily functions, particularly in the formation of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in red blood cells. A deficiency in iron can lead to conditions like iron deficiency anemia, characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, pale complexion , among others. suggestive, iron deficiency has been linked to depressive symptoms due to its role in dopamine production, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and motivation.


Similarly, zinc, the most abundant neurotransmitter in the body, is vital for various brain functions, including cognitive control and mood regulation. Studies have indicated that individuals diagnosed with depression tend to have lower zinc levels compared to non-depressed individuals, and adequate zinc intake has been associated with a reduced risk of depression.

While pharmacotherapy and supplementation can be effective in treating depression, it’s crucial to have the guidance of a medical professional. Regular monitoring through blood tests ensures a tailored treatment approach while minimizing potential side effects.

Moreover, besides medication and supplements, various lifestyle interventions can also help alleviate depressive symptoms. These include maintaining communication with loved ones, practicing mindfulness and deep breathing exercises, expressing gratitude daily, engaging in physical activity, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, and adhering to a balanced diet while limiting alcohol intake.

By adopting a holistic approach to treatment and exploring different coping strategies, individuals can effectively manage their depression and improve their overall well-being.

References: (1) Youdim, MB, Ben-Shachar, D., Ashkenazi, R., & Yehuda, S. (1983). Brain iron and dopamine receptor function. Advances in biochemical psychopharmacology, 37, 309-321.

(2) Erikson, KM, Jones, BC, Hess, EJ, Zhang, Q., & Beard, JL (2001). Iron deficiency decreases dopamine D1 and D2 receptors in rat brain. Pharmacology biochemistry and behavior, 69(3-4) ) ), 409-418.

(3) Knovich, MA, Storey, JA, Coffman, LG, Torti, SV, & Torti, FM (2009). Ferritin for the clinician. Blood reviews, 23(3), 95-104.

(4) Nowak G., Szewczyk B.: Mechanism contributing to antidepressant zinc actions. Pol. J. Pharmacol., 2002,54, 587–592.

(5) Swardfager W, Herrmann N, Mazereeuw G, Goldberger K, Harimoto T, Lanctôt KL. Zinc in depression: a meta-analysis. Biol Psychiatry. 2013 Dec 15;74(12):872-8. doi: 10.1016/ j.biopsych.2013.05.008. Epub 2013 Jun 24. PMID: 23806573.

(6) Vashum KP, McEvoy M, Milton AH, et al. Dietary zinc is associated with a lower incidence of depression: findings from two Australian cohorts. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2014 Sep;166:249-257. DOI: 10.1016/ j.jad.2014.05.016.