MENTAL HEALTH PANEL

  • Brain derived neurotrophic factor (depression)

  • Salivary cortisol profile (adrenal function and anxiety)     

  • Trace elements (Zinc, Copper, Magnesium, Selenium)

  • Omega 3 index

TESTING STRATEGY

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is an important neurotrophin in the brain that modulates dopaminergic neurons. BDNF levels have consistently been linked with depression. BDNF levels have been shown to be high in autism spectrum disorders. Although much more research is needed, we have included this promising assay in the mental health panel. Some small studies have shown an increased in BDNF levels as prognostic of treatment outcomes even before relief from symptoms. Many nutritional treatments are thought to act by increasing BDNF.

A normal healthy cortisol level is high in the morning and falls during the day. Abnormally high cortisol levels or a delayed release of cortisol are linked with stress and anxiety.

Zinc and copper ratios have been shown to be altered in depression and in particular post-partum depression. Zinc therapy has been shown to increase BDNF levels. Magnesium is an important trace element and is a popular supplement prescribed for anxiety. Although the evidence for this is lacking, it is included in the trace element profile as a monitoring tool. Selenium levels have been shown to correlate with depression scores in some studies and supplementation appears to increase BDNF levels.  

Omega 3 fatty acid levels have been linked with various mood disorders. Treatment with omega 3 supplements and increased omega 3 index levels have been associated with improved symptoms.  

TREATMENTS

Exercise and several nutritional supplements have been shown to increase the levels of BDNF. Trace element supplementation has also been shown to correlate with improvements in depression scores. Omega 3 supplementation has been shown to be an important long-term treatment for mood disorders.

MONITORING

Repeat testing of the entire panel is recommended every 2-3 months.

ADDITIONAL TESTING

  1. Gut Health Panel

  2. Thyroid Panel