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Metals and Mental Health

Metals and Mental Health

It might sound like a strange theory, but there is actually plenty of scientific evidence to back up the notion that metals can have an effect on your mental health. From your general mood to long-term neurodegenerative disorders, there are a few surprising facts to learn about the power of metals.

How can metals and minerals affect your mental health positively?

Let’s start with the evidence that metals can have a beneficial effect on your mood. It is important to note that all metals and minerals have a complex relationship with one another inside your body. When you have the right amount of each mineral, your brain creates neurotransmitters at a healthy and constant level. 

The role of supplements is to help your body to get more of the minerals it is lacking. Take iron supplements for iron deficiencies, for example. However, you must be careful not to take too much of a supplement, because high doses of zinc, for instance, can reduce the role of copper. Copper is important to the brain’s reward, attention and learning systems.

However, zinc has been shown to reduce depression in a number of patients. Depressed people tended to have around 14% less zinc in their blood than the average person. This is why there is plenty of research going into zinc sulfate as a potential treatment for depression.

Similarly, lithium has long been accepted as a primary treatment for bipolar disorder. Although around half of patients do not respond to lithium, it still reduces symptoms for a large cohort. Trials are underway to explore why lithium does not have the same effect on all patients with bipolar disorder.

Lithium has also been shown to have neuroprotective properties and help to slow the progression of dementia.

How can metals and minerals affect your mental health negatively?

Lead and mercury are two metals to be wary of. At high enough concentrations, they can cause poisoning which can lead to depression. Be sure that your household products do not contain high levels of lead or mercury, and if you work in a sector like dentistry which involves high exposure to mercury, be aware of the potential for high mercury levels in your body.

Manganese and arsenic can be considered neurotoxins which are detrimental to mental health. They tend to stimulate the processes involved in Alzheimer’s Disease, interfering with cognitive function and neural processes. One way to decrease your manganese exposure is to eat a healthy diet, since low levels of iron can increase manganese uptake.

Written by Jack Vale