In a study at Rush University Medical Center in Oak Park, Illinois, researchers found the prevalence of depression in older adults to be as high as 49%. The causes of depression in older individuals are complex.  Some older people have a biological predisposition or history of depression that makes them particularly vulnerable.  Others have lost a partner, other loved ones or social support.  Medications including common drugs like those taken for high blood pressure can also trigger depression.  Disappointment with unfulfilled life expectations and health problems may all contribute.

     Symptoms of  depression in older adults can be hard to identify since such typical signs as fatigue, weight loss, insomnia and appetite changes may be attributed to health problems, medical interactions or old age.  Usual treatment consists of medication, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and counseling.

   Using tools to prevent depression from occuring to start with can be valuable. Among these tools is the use of vitamins.  The Rush University Medical Center study was of 3,500 adults age 65 and older and found that those who had a higher intake of vitamins B6 and B12 were at lower risk of depression.  They found that the B vitamins could be consumed in either food or supplements.

     Kimberly A. Skarupski, Ph.D., M.P.H. at the medical center reported that for each additional 10 mg. of B6 and 10 mcg. of B12, the olds of developing symptoms dropped by two percent per year.  Foods particularly high in both B vitamins include milk seafood, liver and lean meats.  If you are concerned about depression affecting yourself or an older person in your life know that it can be warded off by consumption of B vitamins.