Van's Health Foods

In Historic Downtown Livermore since 1972

According to earlier studies, depression may have a link to cells damaged by oxidative stress. In this analysis, doctors compared antioxidant levels to signs of depression in 1,798 adults aged 20 to 85 and found, compared to those with lowest levels, people with the highest circulating levels of antioxidant carotenoids were 59 percent less likely to have depressive symptoms. There was also a direct link: as carotenoid levels increased, signs of depression decreased.

Carotenoids–the naturally occurring bright red, yellow, and orange pigments in fruits and vegetables like carrots–are powerful antioxidants. Doctors found three carotenoids in particular were most closely linked to better mood; beta-carotene in both men and women, and lutein and zeaxanthin in women only. Lutein and zeaxanthin also protect eyesight, as many earlier studies have confirmed. Discussing their findings, doctors said antioxidants may help reduce oxidative damage in the brain and hope new studies reveal more mood benefits of antioxidants.

Reference: British Journal of Nutrition; August, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the February 2013 newsletter

Van's Health on February - 28 - 2013

Vitamin D supplements improved symptoms

In this study, doctors measured vitamin D levels in 54 Swedish adolescents with depression and found 89 percent were deficient. Forty-eight began taking 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day for a month, then 2,000 IU per day for two more months. Vitamin D levels rose from 41 nanomoles per liter of blood (nmol/L) at the start of the study to 91 nmol/L at the end. As vitamin D levels increased, feelings of well-being also rose. In eight of nine areas; feeling depressed, irritable, tired, mood swings, difficulty sleeping, weakness, ability to concentrate, and pain, well-being improved.

Better vitamin D levels, less depression

Depression is common in adolescence and this is one of the first studies to test the link between vitamin D and depression in children. In the study, doctors measured vitamin D levels in 2,752 10-year-olds and followed up for four years. Children who began the study with higher levels of vitamin D were more likely to show a decline in depressive symptoms during the follow-up period and were 10 percent less likely to have depressive symptoms at the end of four years.

Talking about their findings, doctors said that because depression can affect so many children and adolescents, and because it is so easy to increase vitamin D levels, new research should include larger studies to see if its is possible to prevent depressive symptoms in young people. Doctors also said that is was not vitamin D2, but vitamin D3 that provides the benefit in reducing symptoms of depression.

Doctors believe the optimal range for vitamin D levels is 20 to 60 nanograms per milliliter of blood, or 50 to 150 nonomoles per liter.

Reference: Acta Pediatrica; February, 2012, Electronic Prepublication

From the July 2012 newsletter

Van's Health on August - 16 - 2012
categories: Vitamins

Saffron reduced anxiety

In this study, 35 women with normal sense of smell breathed saffron odor for 20 minutes. Half were pre-ovulation, the other half post-ovulation. Regardless of menstrual phase, saffron significantly decreased levels of cortisol, the hormone the adrenal glands release in response to stress.

 

Vitamin D reduced depression

Researchers in the study measured vitamin D in the diets of 81,189 women, aged 50 to 79, and followed up for three years. Overall, compared to those who got less than 100 IU of vitamin D per day, women who got a total of at least 800 IU of vitamin D per day from all sources were 21 percent less likely to have depressive symptoms. In a subgroup of women who did not have depressive symptoms at the start of the study, those who got at least 400 IU of vitamin D from food were 20 percent less likely to have depressive symptoms after three years.

 

Low levels of zinc in depression

Researchers thought that consistently low levels of zinc in the diet contribute to depressive symptoms. In this study of 3,708 men and women, while there was no link in men, women with low levels of zinc in the diet were more likely to have depressive symptoms than were women with normal zinc levels. Doctors also found an even greater tendency toward depressive symptoms in those taking anti-depressants whose zinc levels were low.

 

Reference: Phytomedicine; 2011, Vol. 18, No. 9, 726-30

From the March 2012 newsletter

 

Van's Health on April - 4 - 2012
categories: Herbs, Supplements, Vitamins
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