Both zinc deficiency and excess are known to affect the immune system. A study using oral zinc aspartate to treat EAE (experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a MS-like disease in mice) resulted in reduced clinical signs during the relapsing-remitting from the disease.
In a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, researchers examined the effect of zinc on depression and neurological signs in people diagnosed with MS. Forty-three people with MS and major depressive disorder were randomly assigned to one of two groups: the placebo group (n=22) and the intervention group (n=21) which received zinc sulfate (220mg containing 50mg zinc element) for 12 weeks.
Results of the study indicated that depression scores were reduced in participants who received the zinc supplement compared to those in the placebo group. However, there was no difference between the groups during neurological examinations that evaluated abnormal ocular (eye) movement, muscle strength, and gait (walking ability).
Researchers conclude that zinc supplementation is an appropriate choice to manage depression in patients with MS.
Dietary sources of zinc
According to the National Institutes of Health, a wide variety of foods contain zinc, but none more than oysters. Most Americans get zinc from red meat and poultry. Other good food sources include beans, nuts, certain types of seafood (such as crab and lobster), whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products.
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Can Zinc Help Reduce MS Depression?