“Loneliness in adults aged 50 and over during the COVID-19 lockdowns is linked to worsening depressive and other mental health symptoms, according to a large-scale online study.” [Source: Medicalexpress.com]
This study provides a reminder that, in addition to their devastating economic costs, COVID-19 lockdowns are having highly damaging effects on people’s mental health and wellbeing. Older people and those living alone are particularly at risk. Ultimately, this problem cannot be fully resolved until lockdowns and the pandemic are brought to an end. In the meantime, for people at risk of depression, rather than resorting to taking dangerous and highly addictive antidepressant drugs, research shows that nutritional and dietary approaches may be helpful.
A meta-analysis published in 2016 looked at 13 studies involving 1,233 participants and found that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce symptoms of even major depressive disorder.
Other research has found evidence linking a deficiency of B vitamins with depression. A scientific review published in 2017 noted that low levels of B vitamins are common in the condition and that supplementation with these nutrients has been shown to improve depression outcomes.
Similarly, a clinical trial published in 2017 showed that magnesium supplements are effective in the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression. Finding that daily supplementation with magnesium leads to a significant decrease in depression and anxiety symptoms, and that it works quickly and is well tolerated, the study concluded that magnesium may be a safe over-the-counter alternative to antidepressant drugs.
To read about research showing that eating a vitamin-rich Mediterranean-style diet may help prevent depression, see this article on our website.