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Put on those running shoes and run off those blues
It is still not clear, exactly why people suffer from the “BLUES”.
Yes, it does have something to do with serotonin, this is why medicines that increase serotonin levels, can help people who are feeling “miserable”, feel “better”. But, it doesn’t always work and it takes a while to see the benefit.
This is a little odd, because the drugs, bump up serotonin levels IMMEDIATELY.
As scientists have continued to dive into the story of depression, another chemical, kynurenic acid, has been implicated.
So what is kynurenic acid ?
Let’s start off by calling it something more accessible, it is nicknamed KYNA. I kyna like this, it is a lot easier to say……………
So where does KYNA come from ?
Actually it is made from the same basic building block that serotonin is made from – tryptophan. When you eat a meal with lots of tryptophan i.e. a protein rich meal, the tryptophan can be
- used to build you i.e. make human proteins
- converted to the neurotransmitter serotonin, or
- changed into L-kynrenine, from here it is converted to KYNA, by an enzyme called KAT (kynurenine aminotransferase)
What is made, when…….. depends.
We know that the more “stressed” YOU ARE, the more KYNA is made. And, when all is said and done, more KYNA, especially more KYNA in the brain, is problematic.
KYNA influences brain neurotransmitter patterns, contributing to the BLUES.
But KYNA, is kind of complicated
The reason………. KYNA itself, is not able to get inside of your brain. So, how much KYNA gets into your brain, is related to how much tryptophan is converted to kynrenine in your body.
Depressed people, have more kynrenine, relative to tryptophan, in their body, than “HAPPY” people. And this leaves them with more KYNA inside their brain’s.
Eish ! I said it was complicated. It is a tale of two KYNAs,….
Researchers from Karolinska Institute, have managed to piece together some of the biochemistry behind, the KYNA story.
Believe it or not, the story begins in the muscles….
Muscular muscles KYNA like it
The team set about creating “super” fit mice – they cheated a little, the mice were not required to do hours and hours of training on an exercise wheel, instead they were genetically gifted with “fitness”.
Eish ! Don’t you wish, you could get a little help too ?
The “fitness” gene these mice received was extra copies of the gene PGC-1 alpha-1. If you regularly workout, you automatically have this gene firing on all four cylinders.
The “STRESS” test
Next, the team subjected two groups of mice to “a little” STRESS. They were forced to live through multiple EARTHQUAKES (they shook the cages), flashing lights and endure all nighters. The trauma went on for several weeks.
- The normal mice, flipped out – they became DEPRESSED.
- The “special” super fit mice, did not get all shook up, by all the shaking. They took all the trauma, in their stride.
The reason, they were so much more resilient………
It KYNA helps to be fit
Muscles with more PGC-1 alpha-1, also have more KAT (kynurenine aminotransferase) – this is the enzyme, that turns turns, kynurenine into KYNA.
Now KYNA is bad in the brain, but “beneficial” in the muscle.
Because more KYNA in the muscle, means less kynurenine in the general circulation. So………… less kynurenine is able to get into the brain. So…………..you end up with less KYNA, in the brain.
KYNA amazing ?
Exercise is an anti-depressant
Fit muscles, can help mop up some of those stresses. So one way to protect yourself from the blues………. is to move more.
Looking for a bit of a pick me up but you’re on a tight budget ? Just take a walk PERIOD, it will clear your memory and stop sinking thinking
You can help your osteoclasts clean off the grime on your bones, without actually getting your hands dirty. All it takes is a little bone jiggling.
Walking is the ultimate way to move more – there is only one problem, you need to have somewhere to walk to. Does your neighbourhood have walkability ?
Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind “the blues”
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