Introduction: Though there are a wide range of stress-induced disorders, depression forms the commonest stress-induced psychiatric disorder.
To combat the biochemical changes that occur as a result of stress, there is the antioxidant defence in the biological system. Secondary defence is by the nonenzymatic antioxidants like vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and beta-carotene.
Therefore, the authors’ interest was aroused to examine the status of these antioxidants in the biological system of patients suffering from stress-induced psychiatric disorders.
Objectives: The study was carried out with following aims:
• To find out whether patients with depressive disorder have any differences in blood serum levels of vitamin A (betacarotene), vitamin C, and vitamin E in comparison with normal healthy control group.
• To find out whether supplementation of adequate doses of vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C, and vitamin E leads to improvement in anxiety and depression and reduction in scores of the patients.
Materials and methods: Totally, 40 subjects in the age group of 20 to 60 years, who attended psychiatric clinic of a private hospital and who met inclusion and exclusion criterion of the study and consented for psychological evaluation and blood screenings for detecting the serum levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E were included in the study. Approval was sought from the Institutional Ethics Committee for collecting blood samples from these subjects before and after vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E supplements had been given for a period of 6 weeks.
Results: It was observed that patients with depression had significantly lower levels of vitamins A, C, and E in comparison with healthy controls. After dietary supplementation of these vitamins for a period of 6 weeks, it was observed that there was significant reduction in the anxiety and depression scores of patients. A significant increase in the blood levels of antioxidants was observed in patients except that of vitamin E.
Conclusion: Findings suggest that antioxidant supplement therapy as an adjuvant therapy is useful in patients with stressinduced psychiatric disorders; the results have been discussed.
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