Breaking Research: Why exercise beats depression


A workout promotes a natural endorphin hit but we now know this isn't the main mechanism underlining the powerful anti-depressant affects of exercise.

With estimates upward of 350 million people worldwide living with depression, finding ways to manage and alleviate it is critical.

💪 It should come as no surprise that exercise causes positive changes in muscle. We know that lifting weights alters contractile proteins that promote size and strength. Cardio exercise alters cellular proteins responsible for oxygen transfer as well as improve nutrient uptake.
💪 But now we know that exercise training also increases the concentration of certain proteins within muscle that act to protect the brain.

Researchers found that the concentration of one specific protein, PGC-1alpah1, was remarkably higher in exercise trained muscle compared to untrained muscle. This particular protein PGC-1alpha1 is important because it maintains a high concentration of what we call KAT enzymes.

KAT enzymes in muscles are responsible for converting kynurenine into kynurenic acid - a really important process. 

In times of stress, this key mechanism protects against kynurenine crossing the blood-brain barrier causing damage to delicate tissue in the brain. Damage that results in behaviour changes and depression. ðŸ‘€ 👀 👀

👉👉👉 The biochemical changes that occur in the muscle during exercise help to prevent the brain from stress-induced damage.

The researchers compared exercised muscle to organs such as the liver or kidneys for their unique ability to help remove potentially harmful substances that build up in the blood during times of stress.

Regular exercise helps combat and prevent depression. One of the mechanisms appears to be by increasing the concentration of certain proteins within muscle that act to protect the brain against depression. 

It's a critical reason why you need to keep exercising through a lock down, or quarantine and other stressful times.  

The Role of Exercise in Preventing and Treating Depression. Curr Sports Med.

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