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Ralph Teller

How Exercise Protects Brain from Depression

Ralph Teller, Ironman Triathlete

Aerobic muscle conditioning purge a harmful protein associated with depression

Depression is a debilitating condition with a profound impact on quality of life for millions of people worldwide.

Studies have linked high levels of the enzyme kynurenine - which readily crosses the blood-brain barrier - to depression, suicide and schizophrenia.

It has been known that exercise can be very helpful in preventing and treating depression. Physical exercise, especially aerobic physical exercise, is a primary natural treatment strategy that should be a first line of defense to prevent and treat depression. Exercise is a natural health remedy.

Researchers are studying how exercise works to help prevent depression.

Recently, researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm have found that muscles conditioned to physical exercise have the ability to quickly metabolise kynurenine to help prevent the accumulation of kynurenine in the brain during stress. It's the accumulation of kynurenine in the brain that can cause depression.

“If you consistently exercise and your muscle is conditioned and adapted to physical exercise, then you acquire the ability to express this class of enzymes that have the ability to detoxify something that accumulates during stress and that will be harmful for you,” states study author Dr. Jorge Ruas of the Karolinska Institutet.

The study was publish in Cell. See Skeletal Muscle PGC-1a1 Modulates Kynurenine Metabolism and Mediates Resilience to Stress-Induced Depression

Dr. Ruas and his colleagues are planning more studies to learn about the correlation between exercise, depression and kynurenine levels.

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