Show Me How to Live: 8 Minerals that Can Help You Cope with Depression

Mental Health

By Joy Stephenson-Laws JD, Founder

Iconic singer and frontman of the famous rock bands Audioslave and Soundgarden Chris Cornell died this past Thursday day from what appears to be a suicide. He was 52-years-old.

After playing a sold out show in Detroit, he was found just hours later dead in his hotel room with a band around his neck.

Cornell battled drug addiction and depression for most of his life, even since the young age of 13. In a Rolling Stone magazine article from 1994, Cornell opened up about his struggle with depression, loneliness and substance abuse. He also said he had an addiction to OxyContin, an opioid pain medication.

He is survived by his three young children and wife, who says there is more to his death than suicide.

Cornell’s wife, Vicky Cornell, said "[w]hat happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life."

A full autopsy report has not been shared yet.

Before his death and performing for the show in Detroit, he told his wife he took an extra ativan, an anti-anxiety medication. After knowing this, she alerted security and said they needed to keep an eye on him, but tragically it was too late.

This is an incredibly sad story and may even be hard for some people to understand. He had fame, fortune, a beautiful wife and kids and talent. Why would someone like this suffer from depression or possibly want to take his own life? This just goes to show mental illness and drug abuse can affect anyone no matter their race, gender, socioeconomic status and age. It affects us all. Approximately 12 percent of men and 25 percent of women will suffer from depression at some point in their lives.

How can we be proactive about this issue?

Of course, tragic life events and other circumstances may cause mental illness, depression and drive someone to substance abuse. Depression can also arise without any triggering events or for no apparent reasons.

I’m a firm believer food is medicine. We cannot control many aspects of our lives, but we can control what we put into our bodies. And many of us may not be aware we have nutrient deficiencies, and these deficiencies not only affect our physical health but also our mental health.

There are many critical minerals linked to mental health and depression including:

  • Magnesium. Several studies have shown an improvement in the severity of symptoms of depression when study participants were given 125-300 mg of magnesium with each meal and at bedtime. Symptoms that improved included irritability, insomnia, hopelessness and anxiety. Foods containing magnesium include spinach, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, kefir, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs, dark chocolate and bananas.
  • Chromium. This mineral is a metallic element that humans require in very small amounts. We may not need a lot of chromium, but a study of patients with atypical depression showed that 70 percent who took 600 mcg of chromium picolinate had improvement in their symptoms. Foods high in chromium include broccoli, free range eggs, sweet potatoes, corn, oats and grass fed beef.
  • Iron. Decreased levels of iron can result in apathy, depression and fatigue. Many women experience depression during childbearing years (25-45), and one reason for this could be that women lose iron during menstruation. Iron-rich foods include red meat, pork, poultry, seafoods, beans, spinach (and other leafy greens), peas, cherimoyas and iron-fortified cereals.
  • Selenium. Depression, as a result of selenium deficiency, has been established in at least five different studies. Depression may be the result of oxidative stress, which is why selenium may be helpful. Selenium has antioxidant properties. Foods high in selenium include Brazil nuts, yellowfin tuna, halibut, sardines and chicken.
  • Zinc. Many clinical studies have been done to determine the relationship between zinc and depression. Zinc levels are generally low in those with major depression. Eat lamb, pumpkin seeds, grass fed beef, mushrooms, chickpeas, spinach and chicken to get more zinc in your daily diet.
  • Copper. This mineral is important in depression because it is a component of the enzymes that metabolize brain chemicals that help you respond to stress, feel happy and be alert. Copper rich foods include sunflower seeds, lentils, almonds, dark chocolate, beef liver and asparagus.
  • Manganese. This mineral is a large component of dismutase (SOD) and was found to be low in the depressive episode of bipolar patients compared to controls. Treatment with the antidepressant fluoxetine increased the level of this enzyme. Dietary sources of manganese include nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, tea, wheat germ, whole grains, legumes and pineapples.
  • Calcium. There is no clear relationship between calcium and depression, but some studies found low calcium in depressed patients and others found elevated levels. However, you cannot ignore calcium’s role because it affects the levels of magnesium in your body. For foods rich in calcium, click here.

As you can see, there are a lot of minerals we need to keep track of. Each mineral has a special role, and sometimes different minerals depend on one another to nourish your body and keep you feeling your best mentally and physically.

To learn more about the critical minerals that can help with depression, read Minerals - The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy.  

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, health care attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.   

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