Exercise improves depression

Exercise improves depression

Researchers sought to explore brain functioning and the association between peripheral levels of brain- derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and exercise regimes and how it affected depression and antidepressant treatment. Peripheral levels of brain- derived neurotrophic factor regulates glucose and energy metabolism and prevents exhaustion of alpha cells. Decreased levels of BDNF is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and Huntington's disease. Thus, BDNF may be useful in the prevention and management of several diseases including Diabetes.

They studied over 100 manuscripts published over 20 years. The review showed that high- intensity exercise elevated BDNF levels temporarily in people living with depression, which then rapidly returned to baseline levels. The research suggested that anti-depressants also increased peripheral BDNF levels in people living with depression. But the timeline of increase in BDNF levels took longer with anti-depressants than with high-intensity exercise.

The researchers hypothesised that taking into consideration the cost and problems associated with adherence to anti-depressants, strategies such as exercise to lower depression and improve patient well-being were worth considering. The researchers concluded that doctors should encourage people living with depression to exercise daily. This could possibly lead to a reduction in antidepressant dosage.

Frontiers in Physiology, 2023

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