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Antioxidants may help patients with depression and anxiety

December 17, 2012

Increased intakes of beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E may improve symptoms of depression and anxiety for patients with insufficient blood antioxidant levels, suggests a new study from India.

In the study, the blood serum levels of vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E were measured among
80 men and women aged 20–60 years, who suffer from either generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or depres-sion. The levels were compared to blood levels of normal healthy control subjects (1). Subsequently, the patients’ blood levels and disease symptoms were examined after receiving daily supplements containing vitamin A, C and E for a period of six weeks. The study results showed that patients with GAD and depres-sion had significantly lower levels of antioxidant vitamins than those of the healthy control subjects. After supplementation with vitamins, a significant increase in blood levels and a reduction in anxiety and depres-sion scores were observed.

The researchers concluded that an antioxidant supplement treatment may be useful as an adjuvant therapy for patients with stress-induced psychiatric disorders. Anxiety and depression are the most common forms of stress-induced psychiatric disorders. To combat the biochemical changes which occur as a result of stress, there is antioxidant defence in the biological system. Antioxidants like vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-caro-tene are thought to act as secondary non-enzymatic defence against oxidative stress and its potential negative effects.

References

  1. Gautam M. et al. Role of antioxidants in generalised anxiety disorder and depression. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2012; 54(3):244–247.