Depression: Why You May Be Suffering Part III

Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., M.S.

As the incidence of depression reaches epidemic proportions, I sometimes wonder how one can overlook or may I say ignore the research documenting known causes that can be easily identified and treated.

Another common cause is the relationship between nutrient deficiencies, chemical toxins and depression.

The medical literature is “over-flowing” with peer-reviewed abstracts proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that depression, nutritional deficiencies and chemical toxicities are linked.

Our bodies require optimal amounts of trace minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and vanadium.. to name a function. Not too much and not too little.. just the right balance..Excesses or deficiencies of specific minerals can set off symptoms of depression. For instance, low levels of zinc are associated with resistant depression. Deficiencies of magnesium can bring on a wide range of psychiatric symptoms related to depression and psychosis. Research has revealed a link between high levels of the mineral vanadium and manic symptoms.

Chemical Connection: Invisible Brain Toxins

One of the big problems with chemicals is they have this nasty ability to sneak up on you when you least expect it. Most of the chemical sensitivities sneak up on a person over a period of weeks, months or years slowly damaging your detoxification pathways. It is not unusual for a person to experience a sudden onset of depression when a new carpet is installed or a building is renovated or freshly painted.

Let me explain some basic biochemistry…

In order to detoxify chemical toxins, your body requires adequate amounts of zinc. Zinc runs the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase and it is this important enzyme which is responsible for detoxifying everyday home and office chemicals. The most common chemical found in carpets, home furnishings, copy machines, secretarial white-out, commercial floor cleaners, polishers, waxes, glues, adhesives and other common household and office surroundings is a chemical called trichloroethylene.

You may be asking how trichloroethylene can cause depression. Let me explain.. When you are exposed to this chemical, it is likely that you either inhaled it or absorbed it through your skin. Normally this chemical, like most chemicals, will be neutralized by your body’s detoxification system and eliminated.

However, if your body’s ability to neutralize chemicals is impaired (possibly a zinc deficiency), the chemical will back up and will accumulate in the brain. When trichloroethylene is stored in the brain it is likely converted to choloral hydrate. If you are a baby-boomer reading this.. you may remember the old ” Mickey Finn” or knockout drops. And this is exactly how a person feels who is sensitive to tricholoroethylene. They will feel spacey, dizzy, dopey, unable to concentrate, foggy and very depressed.

I have simply presented one chemical linked to depression. There are other environmental toxins linked to depression. My goal was to provide another piece of the depression mystery.

There is no one treatment that will fix all people.. Take ten people suffering with depression and it is likely the cause and the treatment can be different for all ten. What may help one person may do absolutely no good for five others. With that in mind, it is wise to be certain what may be causing your health problem.. You may indeed be suffering with a zinc deficiency which would interfere with the body’s ability to effectively eliminate chemicals off-gassing from your new carpet. 

Again, what works for one will undoubtedly fail on another. With that in mind, it is imperative to have a physician who understands the potential causes of a disease and for the sake of this report.. depression.

Your physician MUST conduct a thorough and rather exhaustive interview/consultation with each patient and determine what direction to go in.. For one patient, your physician may determine that an evaluation of the thyroid and cortisol levels would be a good start. For another patient, maybe checking for chemical toxicities and nutrient deficiencies would be the way to go.. No matter what.. the recommending of an anti-depressant without this type of medical detective work is simply not acceptable..

If you think that the cause of your depression is linked to chemical toxicity and/or nutrient deficiencies, then I recommend that you ask your doctor to order the following tests:

  • RBC mineral/toxic chemical assay (Genova/MetaMetrix)
  • Toxic Effects Core (Genova/MetaMetrix)
  • Urine Toxic Metals- DMSA Challenge (Doctor’s Data)

Depression is disease which claims new victims everyday. The causes of this mental disease can range from thyroid, cortisol deficiencies to nutrient deficiencies/chemical toxicity exposure.


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The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Grisanti and his functional medicine community. Dr. Grisanti encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. Visit for more information on our training in functional medicine. Look for practitioners who have successfully completed the Functional Medicine University’s Certification Program (CFMP) This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Dr. Grisanti is required.


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