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How Exercise Cures Depression

By: Joseph Mercola, DO, Doctor.

On this brief video, Dr. Rhonda Patrick, a biomedical researcher and researcher with the Salk Institute of Biological Sciences in La Jolla, California, discusses the science behind the mood-boosting results of train.1 In truth, many specialists agree that train is among the handiest instruments obtainable. to stop and handle melancholy.

For instance, a meta-analysis2 revealed in 2016, which looked at 23 randomized managed trials using exercise to deal with unipolar melancholy, discovered that, compared to any intervention, coaching “produced a large and significant effect size” leading to their conclusion: “Physical training effective treatment for depression. "


How Exercise Relieves Depression

One of the ways that exercise promotes mental health is to normalize insulin resistance. Mechanical studies, many of which are highlighted in Patrick's video, have also linked the depressive effects of exercise to molecular mechanisms, including: regulates neuroplasticity and new growth of nerve cells

  • Endocannabinoid system
  • Beta-endorphin, endogenous opioid neuropeptide and peptide hormone
  • Exercise increases kynurenine metabolism. Patrick, tryptophan is an essential amino acid needed for the synthesis of serotonin, melatonin, vitamin B3 and kynurenine. Although kynurenine is associated with higher levels of stress and depression, higher serotonin levels are associated with an improved mood.

    Training gives some control over where tryptophan is synthesized. By allowing more tryptophan to pass into the brain, exercise increases your serotonin and prevents conversion to kynurerin, thereby improving mood and preventing depression.


    Chronic stress and low-grade inflammation, in turn, make tryptophan more. available for conversion to kynurenine and less serotonin, which has a depressing effect. Kynurenine, in turn, is a precursor to a neurotoxic compound called quinolinic acid, as well as a neuroprotective compound called kynurenic acid. Here too, exercise – and especially endurance training – activates a gene that prevents kynurenine from forming quinolinic acid and therefore causes it to be converted into kynurenic acid. Animal research3 has also shown that well-trained muscles are higher enzymes that help to metabolize kynurenine and thus release the body from it. As the authors have stated: 4

    “Our original research hypothesis was that trained muscles produce a substance that has positive effects on the brain. In fact, we found the opposite: well-trained muscles produce an enzyme that purifies the body of harmful substances. So in this context, muscle function is similar to kidney or liver function. ”


    Endurance training promotes anti-inflammatory myokines.

    Myokines are a kind of chemical messenger class referred to as cytokines. Most of the cytokines we already know are fatty tissue, physique fats, especially trunk, which provides you that apple form. Many of those are inflammatory cytokines, comparable to tumor necrosis factor alpha (19659003). TNF-alpha) and the interleukin-1 household (IL-1), which are concerned in many disease states together with most cancers. Apparently, cytokines produced by muscle tissue, referred to as myokines ("myo" is the Latin root of the muscle), have anti-inflammatory effects.

    Myokines also improve your insulin sensitivity by enhancing glucose utilization in your muscle and appearing as chemical messengers, myokines assist forestall the discharge of inflammatory cytokines produced by body fat.


    Transient inflammation has useful results. in response to training. Apparently, inflammatory cytokines are answerable for this useful effect. Although the persistent release of inflammatory cytokines may cause critical hurt – and is related to melancholy – the transient inflammation brought on by vigorous exercise truly has constructive effects. [19659003] In response to the studies cited by Patrick, low BDNF ranges have been included as a central element of melancholy as a result of depressed sufferers sometimes have lower levels than healthy controls. As in a 2013 study5 on the interaction between train, melancholy, and BDNF ranges:

    “[T] here is strong evidence that reduced BDNF is associated with… increased risk of depression, whereas increasing BDNF through aerobic exercise seems to reduce… depression. “

    Exercise is known to increase BDNF secretion while chronic stress reduces it. In one study, 6 moderate-to-intense intensity cycles increased BDNF levels by an average of 32% from baseline.

    As you might expect, duration plays an important role in the production of BDNF. Moderate or vigorous intensity for 40 minutes produced significantly greater growth than those exercising at the same intensity for only 20 minutes.

    Cannabinoid receptors on the human body were discovered in the 1990s, which in turn led to the realization that we make compounds in our bodies – endogenous cannabinoids – that act on these receptors. It was also found that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) organizes communication between other bodily systems such as the respiratory, digestive, immune and cardiovascular systems.

    One of the cannabinoids produced by your body is called anandamides – a nod to the word "Ananda", the Sanskrit word for "bliss" when it attaches to the same CB1 receptors to which cannabis-attached psychoactive THC is linked.

    RELATED STORY: [19659016] Although the high level of runner is typically due to the release of endorphins, the run also dramatically increases the body's anandamide and not only is it a CB1 receptor, but it also affects the opioid and endorphin receptors. So it is not surprising that the higher the level of anandamide in an individual, the better they will become known.

    The study cited by Patrick shows that people who do moderate running or cycling increase their levels of anandamide and that the greatest increase occurs in exercise. 70% to 80% of your maximum heart rate.7

    Exercise increases good hormone therapy. Exercise also triggers beta-endorphin, endogenous (i.e., made by your body) release, opioid neuropeptide and peptide hormone. in specific nerve cells located in the central and peripheral nervous system. As noted in the 2008 Journal, 8 “Runner's High: Opiodergic Mechanisms in Human Brain”:

    “Decreases in opioid receptor availability have been primarily observed in the anterior and limbic / paralimbic brain buildings. The extent of euphoria elevated considerably after operating and inversely correlated with opioid binding to the anterior / orbitofrontal cortex, etinging cortulate, bilateral insulations, parainsular cortex and temporoparietal regions.

    These findings help the runner's high "opioid principle" and suggest region-specific effects on frontolimbic brain areas involved in the treatment of affective states and mood. "

    Different Studies That Show Exercise Can Remedy Depression [19659006] As Patrick stated, there's a strong and rising body of scientific proof displaying that train is a vital key to the profitable remedy of melancholy. Along with the mechanistic research highlighted in his video, here’s a temporary record of studies and scientific evaluation articles exploring this often-overlooked recipe:

    JAMA Psychiatry 20189.10 (a research funded partially by the National Institute of Psychological Health) current approaches to depressed mood. "

    Contrary to public opinion, they found that although physical activity influenced participants' moods later, their mood did not influence the amount of physical activity they performed. practice. This defies the general assumption that depression causes physical inactivity. In fact, the results suggest much to the contrary.

    Frontiers in Pharmacology 201711 addressed the question of whether the comparison of exercise and medication is evidence-based, stating:

    “There is an extensive literature on the benefits of exercise in depression. All recent reviews where you focus on antidepressants over other therapies as the basis for clinical practice guidelines, mainly recommend antidepressants, except exercise as a viable option for the treatment of depression. The purpose of this approach is to analyze the literature by examining the causes of this difference.

    [I] it is possible that researchers and health care professionals are skeptical of seeing exercise as a medicine. Perhaps there is a reluctance to accept that lifestyle changes, rather than pharmacological treatment, may alter biological mechanisms. "

    In conclusion, they discovered three randomized managed trials evaluating four months of train to using antidepressants (two in patients with main melancholy and one in patients with delicate melancholy). They all found that exercise and antidepressant treatment have been equally efficient.

    In 11 randomized controlled trials evaluating exercise as adjunctive therapy to antidepressants (combination comparisons) with many various controls, 10 of them discovered that “after a big improvement in melancholy, the exercise period and / or the proportion of sufferers who responded clinically have been greater in train. "

    The article examines the various biological mechanisms by which exercise can benefit depression, including boosting BDNF. and serotonin and reduce biomarkers of inflammation. The authors also note that:

    “Two meta-analyzes that examined the effectiveness of exercise in the treatment of depression concluded that exercise in the treatment of depression could be recommended as an independent treatment or as an additive to antidepressants. , and that exercise can be considered as evidence-based treatment for depression management…

    Almost all reviews looking at exercise versus other antidepressant treatments, including antidepressants, support the use of exercise to treat depression, at least as an adjunct to treatment…

    some or all of the RCTs published between 1999 and 2016, and most or all of the meta-analyzes / systematic reviews published between 2009 and 2016 show that training is a proven antidepressant medicine – at least as an adjunct to antidepressants. “

    Current Psychology Statement 201512 highlighted the role of inflammation in depression and how biological markers can help explain how exercise reduces the symptoms of depression. As explained in this report:

    “The effectiveness of procedures in treating individuals with mild to moderate depression continues to grow… This article examines contemporary theoretical evidence and the latest empirical evidence that points to neuroinflammatory conditions. and neurotropin production as potential in response to antidepressant medication …

    Recent studies indicate that depressed patients have elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, with the most reliable observed elevation being for Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor. alpha (TNF-alpha)…

    In combination with elevated levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines in individuals with depression, several studies demonstrate lower-than-average levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as Interleukin-10 (IL-10), and their lack of correlation Between -10 and IL-6, suggesting that there is an inflammatory system in d patients among depression practitioners…

    Exercise has emerged as an effective strategy to counter inflammatory regulation. For example, acute training periods that act as stressors release the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6 from the muscles. This release of IL-6, in turn, activates the synthesis of anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-10, and inhibits the release of inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-alpha, suggesting that exercise thereby promotes anti-inflammatory activity. surroundings. Similarly, when exercise (exercise) occurs chronically, it reduces the production of inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 and TNF-alpha and increases the production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. "

    Many different research help the view that melancholy is mediated and probably instantly brought on by 13 inflammations, notably gastrointestinal irritation.14 Cytokines15 in your blood and / or inflammatory mediators reminiscent of CRP, interleukin-1, interleukin-6, and TNF-alpha. , in all melancholic melancholy, bipolar disorder, and postpartum melancholy, white blood cells, referred to as monocytes, categorical inflammatory genes that provoke cytokine secretion.18 Collectively, these inflammatory substances switch info to your nervous system, sometimes by stimulating the vaginal nerve that connects your intestine and brain.

    In one research, 19 researchers advised that "depression can be a neuropsychiatric symptom of chronic inflammatory syndrome," and that "these findings justify the assumption that treating gastrointestinal inflammation can improve the effectiveness of current treatments for depression …"

    melancholy is the result of your body's attempts to protect itself from an inflammatory response, and is accompanied by hormones and neurotransmitters. melancholy. "

    Here, they highlighted ten different biological effects of exercise that are known to have a beneficial effect on depression. These effects include the norepinephrine increase in or increase in the levels of inin, serotonin, BDNF, endorphins and endocannabinoids, and lowering or decreasing levels of cortisol, TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, IL-6 and ACTH.

    They also note psychosocial effects that have positive effects, such as self-control, social interaction, and distraction. According to this assessment, the most depressed patients who are most likely to benefit from exercise are: 20-40 years of age, higher education, uneducated, and mild to moderate depression. Features of a physical activity program most likely to benefit from depression include: Guided and / or structured exercise; an individually tailored exercise consisting of aerobic exercise and resistance training (or blending); low to moderate intensity; 45 to 60 minutes per session, at least three to four times per week, for at least 10 weeks. The writers also encourage physicians to hire a multidisciplinary team and point out that:

    “It is very helpful to encourage physicians and physical experts to work with depression and physical therapies. It seems that most medical professionals have little or no training in exercise programs, and exercise professionals are unfamiliar with the clinical population, particularly depressed patients.

    Physicians' recommendation is often limited to "extra train", whereas a physical activity expert can advise on physical activities that are not really beneficial for depression patients.

    However, it is possible for a multidisciplinary team to prescribe a training program in a safer, more efficient, more operational, more objective and more realistic manner. Such a multidisciplinary team may include a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist, a sports medicine expert, and a fitness instructor. “

    The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 201123, after 12 weeks of intensive exercise, achieved a 28.3% remission rate in patients who had previously failed to receive relief from SSRIs.
    Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice 2006.24 This meta-analysis of 11 studies that recommend physicians recommend exercise to patients with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders because the evidence has shown "vital advantages." . "
    Archives of Inner Drugs 199925 reported that 16 weeks of aerobic exercise was as efficient as Zoloft in treating melancholy in older sufferers.

    Contemplate way of life modifications before using drugs

    . to help average to vigorous aerobic train and power coaching to treat melancholy, I additionally encourage you to re-evaluate your food regimen.

    Food has a huge effect on your mind, and consuming entire meals as described in my vitamin plan greatest supports your psychological and physical well being. Avoiding processed foods, sugar and grains is particularly necessary because it helps to normalize your insulin and leptin levels, which is a vital contributor to melancholy.


    Certain vitamins are additionally recognized to cause signs of melancholy when absent, and certain herbs and nutritional supplements may also assist combat the symptoms.

    An inventory of nutrients, herbs and supplements which were shown to be notably useful within the remedy of melancholy, as well as an extended record of research displaying how ineffective antidepressants are. are and instructions for protected drug stopping, see “What" the best evidence "says about antidepressants?" in a video) the place he explains the hyperlinks between melancholy and inflammation and warmth stress as a therapeutic measure within the remedy of melancholy.