A Systematic Review on The Supplementation of Zinc to Treat Depression [paper]




Strunck, Kaymee M.

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As rates of depression continue to increase and current pharmacological first – line treatments are not producing high levels of remission alternative treatment options should be investigated. While links between zinc and depression date back to the 1980’s little is known about the effects of zinc supplementation on depressive symptoms. To answer this question a systematic review was conducted to determine if current literature supported the supplementation of zinc to treat depressive symptoms. CINAHL, PubMed, and MEDLINE Complete were searched for relevant literature addressing the relationship between zinc and depression. Seven articles were identified that met inclusion criteria and included three randomized control trials (Gosh et al., 2022; Sarris et al., 2019; Yosaee et al., 2020), three cross-sectional studies (Li et al., 2018; Mousa & Al-Diwan, 2023; Nakamura et al., 2019) and one cohort study (Jung et al., 2017). The total sample size across studies was 18,942. Results yielded that increasing zinc in the diet via supplementation improved symptoms of depression as evidenced by a decrease in self-reported depressive symptoms and individuals who reported consuming an adequate amount of zinc in the diet reported a decrease in depressive symptoms. There was also an association between low serum zinc detected in blood and worse depressive symptoms. Findings from this review suggest that increasing zinc in the diet can decrease depressive symptoms and that low levels of zinc in the diet are related to increased depressive symptoms. Future studies should include RCT’s on larger populations of patients diagnosed with MDD and explore zinc as a monotherapy for depression to determine if zinc alone could be a primary, secondary, or tertiary treatment for depressive symptoms.



zinc, depression, MDD, adults, symptoms


Strunck, K. M. (2023). A systematic review on the supplementation of zinc to treat depression [paper]. St. David's School of Nursing, Texas State University.


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