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  • mercurialmind 10:05 pm on October 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: antidepressant, , fatty acid metabolism, ,   

    Fish intake might improve antidepressant response 

    Approximately half of the people suffering with depression don’t respond to SSRIs. Recently a group of Dutch researchers discovered that adding fish oil to antidepressants increases the response rate.

    According to a lead researcher they saw that depressed patients had an altered metabolism of fatty acids, and this altered metabolism was affected by stress hormones. In the experiment the researchers planned on examining the relationship between depression and fatty acids, and hormones such as cortisol.

    They took 70 patients with depression and compared them to 51 healthy controls, by measuring their fatty acid levels and cortisol levels. They then gave the depressed patients 20mg of an SSRI daily for 6 weeks, and in those who did not respond to the SSRIs the dose was gradually increased up to 50mg/day. Fatty acid and cortisol levels were measured during the trial.gel capsules

    They found that the MDD patients who didn’t respond to the SSRI also tended to have abnormal fatty acid metabolism, so they checked the dietary habits of all those taking part in the trial. Fatty fish is rich in fatty acids, such as the well-known Omega-3 DHA. So the researchers looked at the amount of fatty fish in the diet of all involved in the trial. They categorised the patients into 4 groups, according to their fatty fish intake, and they found that those who took the least fish tended to respond badly to anti-depressants, whereas those who had most fish in the diet responded best to anti-depressants. Those who ate fatty fish at least once a week had a 75% chance of responding to antidepressants, whereas those who never ate fatty fish had only a 23% chance of responding to antidepressants.

    There were a couple of problems with this study. For one thing the study was on the small side and should be replicated with a larger one. A second problem is that the researchers appeared to know the fatty acid status of the depressed patients so they might have subconsciously altered the depression scores in order for their hypothesis to be proven correct. How the depression scores were measured is unclear from the article.

    Andrew Stoll was one the first researchers to notice the antidepressant effect of fish oil. He theorized that fish oil might effect the composition of nerve cell membranes and consequently neurotransmission. Barry Sears, author of ” The Zone”, was another researcher who mentioned that stress could effect the type of fatty acids. They both probably inspired this study. I did not read the original article so if you are curious you will have to pay for the article through ECNP.

  • mercurialmind 9:27 pm on October 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: antidepressant, , exercise, Kynurenine   

    One way exercise could act as an antidepressant 

    Researchers have recently discovered that there is an enzyme in muscle that detoxifies a substance which tends to be high in the mentally ill. The substance Kynurenine is produced when an individual is exposed to stress. Exercise has long been considered as an antidepressant with stress reducing properties. This could perhaps be one explanation and a new way to target depression.

    The researchers discovered that mice with higher levels of PGC-1a1 in muscle also had higher 01wellphysed-tmagArticlelevels of enzymes called KAT. KATs convert a substance formed during stress (kynurenine) into kynurenic acid, a substance that is not able to pass from the blood to the brain. The exact function of kynurenine is not known, but high levels of kynurenine can be measured in patients with mental illness. In this study, the researchers demonstrated that when normal mice were given kynurenine, they displayed depressive behaviour, while mice with increased levels of PGC-1a1 in muscle were not affected. In fact, these animals never show elevated kynurenine levels in their blood since the KAT enzymes in their well-trained muscles quickly convert it to kynurenic acid, resulting in a protective mechanism.

    In comparison to medication I have received more benefits from exercise with respect to stress reduction. Many antidepressants can also reduce stress however they have side effects, one of which is sedation with a loss of motivation.

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