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The effects of psychological and environmental stress on micronutrient concentrations in the body: A review of the evidence

Lopresti, A.L.ORCID: 0000-0002-6409-7839 (2019) The effects of psychological and environmental stress on micronutrient concentrations in the body: A review of the evidence. Advances in Nutrition, 11 (1). pp. 103-112.

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Stress is the nonspecific response of the body to any demand for change. Excess or chronic psychological or environmental stress is associated with an increased risk of mental and physical diseases, with several mechanisms theorized to be associated with its detrimental effects. One underappreciated potential mechanism relates to the effects of psychological and environmental stress on micronutrient concentrations. Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are essential for optimal physical and mental function, with deficiencies associated with an array of diseases. In this article, animal and human studies investigating the effects of various psychological and environmental stressors on micronutrient concentrations are reviewed. In particular, the effects of psychological stress, sleep deprivation, and physical exercise on micronutrient concentrations and micronutrient excretion are summarized. Micronutrients identified in this review include magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron, and niacin. Overall, the bulk of evidence suggests stress can affect micronutrient concentrations, often leading to micronutrient depletion. However, before definitive conclusions about the effects of stress can be made, the impact of different stressors, stress severity, and acute versus chronic stress on micronutrient concentrations requires investigation. Moreover, the impact of stress on micronutrients in different populations varying in age, gender, and premorbid health status and the durability of changes after a stressor is resolved require examination. The medical, physical, and psychological implications of nutrient changes caused by a stressor also remain to be determined.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Copyright: © American Society for Nutrition 2019
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