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A recent study showed that selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) inhibit absorption of calcium into bones. In addition to this, the SSRIs can also lower blood pressure in people, resulting in falls which may lead to broken bones. Indiscriminate prescription of SSRIs by doctors and ingestion by patients at risk of depression or other mental health problems may put them at increased risk of fractures. Compounded by the fact that they may be aging and already taking other medications, may also predispose them to osteoporosis. Many studies on the association of chromium in human’s depression have been recorded which indicate the significance of this micronutrient in mental health.
Iodine plays an important role in mental health. The iodine provided by the thyroid hormone ensures the energy metabolism of the cerebral cells. During pregnancy, the dietary reduction of iodine induces severe cerebral dysfunction, eventually leading to cretinism.
Iron is necessary for oxygenation and to produce energy in the cerebral parenchyma (through cytochrome oxidase), and for the synthesis of neurotransmitters and myelin. Iron deficiency is found in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Iron concentrations in the umbilical artery are critical during the development of the fetus, and in relation with the IQ in the child; Infantile anemia with its associated iron deficiency is associated with disturbance in the development of cognitive functions. Research findings pointed out that twice as many women as men are clinically depressed. This gender difference starts in adolescence and becomes more pronounced among married women aged 25-45, with children. Furthermore, women of childbearing age experience more depression than during other times in their lives. These indicate the possible importance of iron in the etiology of depression since its deficiency is known to cause fatigue and depression. Iron deficiency anemia is associated, for instance, with apathy, depression, and rapid fatigue when exercising.
Lithium, a monovalent cation, was first discovered and defined by Johan August in 1817 while he did an analysis of the mineral petalite. The role of lithium has been well known in psychiatry. Half a century into its use, its choice for bipolar disorder with antimanic, antidepressant, and anti-suicidal property. The therapeutic use of lithium also includes its usage as an augmenting agent in depression, schizoaffective disorder, aggression, impulse control disorder, eating disorders, ADDs, and in certain subsets of alcoholism. But adequate care has to be taken while using lithium, the gold standard mood stabilizer, in the mentally ill. Lithium can be used in patients with cardiovascular, renal, endocrine, pulmonary, and dermatological comorbidity. The use of lithium during pregnancy and lactation, in pediatric and geriatric population needs careful observation about its toxicity.
Mineral deficiencies have also been linked to MDD development, although much of this relationship awaits more extended research. Selenium and zinc are two of the minerals that aroused scientific interest. Low selenium intake is associated with lowered mood status. Selenium improves mood and diminishes anxiety. Zinc participates among others in the process of gustation (taste perception). At least five studies have shown that zinc levels are lower in those with clinical depression. Furthermore, intervention research shows that oral zinc can influence the effectiveness of antidepressant therapy. Zinc also protects the brain cells against the potential damage caused by free radicals.
Several studies have revealed the full genetic potential of the child for physical development and mental development may be compromised due to deficiency (even subclinical) of micronutrients. When children and adolescents with poor nutritional status are exposed to alterations of mental and behavioral functions, they can be corrected by dietary measures, but only to certain extent. It has been observed that, nutrient composition of diet and meal pattern can have beneficial or adverse, immediate or long-term effects.
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