Past research has shown that dietary zinc can help improve recovery if given after a traumatic brain injury (TBI), as well as reduce damage if taken prior to a TBI. Other research has found that zinc can specifically improve depression, anxiety, and memory in the general population. But until recently, no studies have looked into the use of zinc for specific mood disorders or cognitive impairments that are related to TBI.
A recent animal study found that the early administration of dietary zinc significantly improved memory and learning after a TBI. The study did not find significant improvement in mood disorders with the use of zinc, however, there was a trend towards the reduction of depression. Although further research is needed, the researchers suggest that the use of zinc is best if:
1. It is taken prior to a TBI, which may be useful for at-risk populations.
2. It is not used solely for the treatment of depression or anxiety, but as an adjunctive treatment.
3. It is taken early after injury.
Cope EC, Morris DR, Scrimgeour AG, & Levenson CW. Use of zinc as a treatment for traumatic brain injury in the rate: Effects on cognitive and behavioral outcomes. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. (March 2012).