Anxiety and Zinc- the missing link?
Anxiety, Panic Attacks & Depression are incredibly common today. There are a number of nutrient imbalances that can contribute to all of the above; B12, folate, zinc, copper, vitamin D, choline, B6 and riboflavin B2, just to name a few. In this blog, we will look specifically at the role of Zinc and Copper and the parts they can play in causing or worsening these crippling conditions. Kinesiology tries to get to the root of the problem and address it at that level, instead of just suppressing symptoms.
Why are Zinc and Copper so relevant?
Zinc and copper work in a see-saw relationship in the body and are very important for neurotransmitter health. Ideally, the two minerals should be in an 8:1 ratio in favour of zinc in the tissues. If not, all sorts of neurological and behavioural disorders can emerge, including depression, anxiety and even schizophrenia. Recent studies have found that individuals with chronic anxiety had significantly higher plasma levels of copper and very low levels of zinc. Studies are also currently being carried out in relation to Alzheimer’s and low levels of zinc in the brain.
Zinc is a trace element (metal) and it can often be lacking in modern processed diets. Supplementation has been shown to have antidepressant effects in humans. Antidepressants themselves actually increase serum zinc levels. Zinc is very calming and sedating, as it enhances GABA activity (chemical messengers) in the brain, which reduces anxiety and depression.
Copper is also a trace element (metal) and too much copper can have a powerful effect on the mind and alter mood and behaviour. The accumulation of excess copper in the brain enhances the production of stimulatory neurotransmitters (epinephrine and norepinephrine), which can further promote anxiety. Too much copper can also Inhibit and block the neurotransmission of GABA, one of the main calming neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. If copper toxicity continues to build up in the body, it becomes increasingly exhausting on the body and the individual can start to break down mentally, leading to an inability to cope adequately with stress.
The Limbic System and Zinc
Our Nervous and Limbic systems require several dozen minerals, vitamins, fatty acids and amino acids to function at all properly. The Limbic System consists of a number of structures within the brain that collectively support a variety of functions including emotion, behaviour, motivation, long-term memory, and olfaction (sense of smell).
Let’s look at two parts of the limbic system that have the highest concentration of zinc in the body:
- The Hippocampus
The Hippocampus plays a very important part in the formation of our memories, and more recent studies have suggested that it has an important role when it comes to depression as well.
- The Amygdalae
The amygdalae are important for emotional processing, particularly negative emotions such as fear and anxiety.
Low levels of zinc in the body lead to a chemical disruption in the Hippocampus and Amygdalae, which in turn, leads to anxiety, panic, depression and a host of other symptoms.
Before considering anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication, it may be wise to consider supplementing with zinc and cutting down on copper exposure. This can be done in conjunction with your current medication but should be done under the supervision of a GP or qualified Health Practitioner. Always consult your GP if you would like to come off Anti-Depressant or Anti-Anxiety medication.
What steps can I take to help my Anxiety?
1. Stop taking a multi-vitamin if you are taking one or check it’s copper content!
Many multi-vitamins and multi-mineral supplements contain relatively high doses of copper. However, there are some multi-mineral supplements that purposely don’t include copper, so look for one with no copper such as these..
2. Don’t drink tap water
Copper piping for water has become the norm, which contributes to ingesting much more copper than what can be found in your diet. Consider changing to bottled water with a low copper content. Alternatively, purchase a good reverse osmosis water filtration system.
3. Cut down on copper heavy foods
Plant foods such as soy products, beans, whole grains and nuts all are copper-heavy. When these foods are emphasized in the diet, the all-important zinc-copper ratio can become skewed, leading to the development of copper build-up.
4. Take a good quality Zinc supplement every day:
At Midlands Kinesiology, we recommend specific brands that are of very high quality for a period of 2-3 months. If you are looking for a shop bought supplement, buy Zinc Picolinate as it is best absorbed.
5. Supplement with vitamins D and B6
They have been shown to improve the absorption and utilization of zinc
6. Eat Zinc-rich foods
Oysters, grass-fed beef, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, Brazil nuts and legumes. Raising zinc levels is a more straightforward approach than trying to lower copper levels
7. Heavy Metal Chelation/ Detox:
Glutathione and Metallothionein are major antioxidants that protect the brain and can capture and remove excess copper from the body. Taking NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine) Selenium, and Vitamin C are nutrients that are essential for the production of glutathione and metallothionein and can support the chelation process (removal of heavy metals from the body).
If you are suffering with Anxiety or Depression, Kinesiology treats the body at a Physical, Nutritional, Chemical, Emotional and Energetic level. We look at what your body needs and can establish whether your body needs a combination of Zinc, B6, B12, or vitamin D. Your body would also tell a practitioner whether a Heavy Metal Detox would be of benefit. On an emotional level, we also see if Australian Bush Flower Essences would help you in terms of coping with your emotions. As gut health is so closely linked with depression and anxiety, we would also check whether you need a probiotic as a supplement. Read Amy’s story below on how kinesiology helped her overcome anxiety.
To book an appointment or speak to us about how Kinesiology can help you, get in touch at Midlandskinesiology@gmail.com or call us on 0906400184
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without Maeve. I went to her in May with migraines/anxiety after my mam passed away. so far I’m 25 days Migraine free and my anxiety has nearly gone! The bush flowers and supplements have worked wonders! If you suffer from anxiety I highly recommend kinesiology. It really works!”- Amy Fox, Athlone