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Depression in Australia

Depression is still the leading cause of disability worldwide, with one in six Australians experiencing the mental illness at some stage of their lives.

A recent Australian study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders investigated whether dietary zinc and the zinc-to-iron ratio predicted the incidence of depression by examining data from two large longitudinal studies involving mid-age and older Australians. After taking many of the confounding variables into account, the researchers concluded that low dietary zinc intake was associated with a greater incidence of depression in both men and women.

With depression’s high prevalence and association with mineral deficiencies such as zinc deficiency, it’s not surprising that Mauve Factor is gaining much popularity among clinicians. In fact, reports indicate that the depression experienced by 12-46% of patients may be caused by a biochemical abnormality causing a severe deficiency in certain nutrients.

First reported back in the late 1950’s, Mauve Factor is caused by an abnormality in the synthesis and metabolism of haemoglobin, the oxygen carrying component of red blood cells. This results in an elevation of the pyrrole, Hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL) otherwise known as Mauve Factor. This by-product of haemoglobin accumulates in the body, binding to zinc and B6 and resulting in mild to severe deficiencies.

The implications of Mauve Factor are wide and varied, with the high prevalence in mental health disorders. This can be expected as both zinc and B6 play direct roles in many enzyme systems required for neurotransmitter formation and synthesis, with deficiencies in these nutrients resulting in low brain levels of serotonin, GABA and dopamine.

Discoveries by the late Dr Carl Pfeiffer and the William Walsh Institute demonstrated that some patients receiving B6 treatment failed to respond – the difference being the form that this vitamin is taken in.

For a comprehensive assessment always consult a qualified natural health practitioner. Naturopaths have access to quality, practitioner-only supplements which are prescribed to meet your individual needs.