Vitamin B deficiency has been shown to be a causal factor in depression in the elderly. Diet, specifically an adequate balanced diet, is especially necessary for this age group when food intake drops and stomach problems are often prevalent. The elderly are also more at risk of developing depression as they are more liable to become isolated as they leave the workplace and become infirm, sick and live alone.
Vitamin intake is important throughout life, but is especially crucial for the elderly. This is a time when energy levels and food intake can drop, often necessitating supplementation in the form of vitamins.
In a twelve year study that followed 3500 seniors, who were at least 65 years of age, intake of Vitamin B6 and B12 was found to lower the risk for developing depression.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that an increased intake of these vitamins, correlated to a lower risk of developing the condition.
This is because Vitamin B6 and B12 are crucial in ensuring the functioning of the nervous system, including DNA production. Foods rich in B6 include fish such as salmon and tuna, as well as bananas, peanuts, beans, potatoes, chicken and red meats. Dairy products, eggs, fish and beef are high in Vitamin B12. Though these vitamins are not prescribed as a cure for depression, they can significantly reduce the risk of developing the condition.
Other coping strategies for dealing with depression include regular exercise, healthy sleep patterns, relaxation techniques and positive thought techniques. For the elderly, socialisation - particularly regular interaction with people is also very helpful.