Thursday, January 30, 2014

New information to stop depression and work better....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 1-30-2014

You know you have less mental energy and feel a bit less focused or even grouchy if you don’t get enough sleep or sleep well.

But now we know much more about why that’s so AND a new way to sleep better.

That information was in our last post on Tuesday, 1-28, earlier this week. The title was:
Why sleep is so important & how to sleep better.

Recently two studies came out that relate improving depression to the information in that post.

One said that even before you turn down depression, you can be more effective at work right away by improving sleep & sleep habits, improving mental focus & reducing worry time and found that doing these things boosted productivity in practice.

The other, an Israeli study, found that “changes in one type of non-neuronal brain cells, called microglia, underlie the depressive symptoms brought on by exposure to chronic stress.”

This sounds promising!  Drugs based on this finding that are safe might actually work!

But note that this is very similar to the information in our post on sleep!  Glial cells also are a key to getting better sleep.

So any method that reduces your real and perceived stress or helps you sleep better in other ways or helps you keep your glial and microglial cells healthy will tend to lessen or even stop depression.

Sure it would be nice to have a safe drug that did that – restoring your glial cells to good health.  But it may never happen.  Drugs to induce sleep tend to produce sleep of poor quality and may not work for this purpose and are quite dangerous to take besides.

The much better news is that you can do a great deal to use this information right now without needing a drug to do it.:

1.  Meanwhile, mastering stress recovery and resilience could reduce the underlying cause.

Reducing the kinds of stress that cause this clearly does help because it removes the cause.

(The info on PTSD reversal might be helpful with this.)

One way to do that and improve sleep and mental focus at work is by worry management.

Here are three key ways to do that:

a) Make an appointment with yourself to deal with the things you are worrying about.  Then if you begin to worry when you are trying to focus on your work or the other things you need to do, STOP and remind yourself of when you decided to work on those things.

b) When you are at the time you set, WRITE DOWN what you are worried about and why exactly it’s a threat. 

c) Then think carefully or do fact checking to see if you are worried by something that might happen but either might not or the evidence suggests it won’t happen at all. Sometimes the things we worry about were never real threats or don’t happen.  In fact, one author of a book on worry said he found the majority of things people worry about don’t happen!  That can sometimes cut your stress a  LOT!

d) The ones that look as if they actually could happen, remind yourself of similar things you survived, accept that that harm might happen, then immediately think up at least 3 things you can to or at least try to make the harm less much less likely.

e) Decide which one you will act on first and set a time to do it. Then follow up.

2.  High inflammatory response kills the microglia to cause the problem.  So lifestyles and practices that minimize chronic inflammation would cut the number killed and can help prevent depression or lessen how severe it is and how long it lasts. 

Avoid eating fats from grain fed animals or eating soy or corn oil or canola oil at all and use extra virgin olive oil instead.  (If you can afford them and get them, eat foods like wild caught fish or eggs from pastured chickens or cheese or meat from animals fed only grass or on pasture.)
Take turmeric or curcumin supplements and use yellow or orange curries containing turmeric and/or ginger on some of your foods.

3.  By taking ubiquinol and PQQ that lessen the death of these cell's mitochondria and restore them to cells that are harmed but not dead, that too might have protective or reversing effects.

4.  Causing BDNF release to grow new cells in the brain might also cause these cells to be replaced sooner and faster and have curative effects.  Taking DHA & bacopa and doing vigorous exercise most days of every week and NOT taking statin drugs would be very helpful. (Statins prevent exercise from many of its protective effects and harm your mitochondria.  And there are many more heart protective things than statins that are far safer to use.  One is the same regular vigorous exercise that releases BDNF.  The key is to avoid working very hard with no breaks or failing to build up the intensity gradually or continuing to eat and drink heart attack starters like hydrogenated oils – which also boost inflammation!)

5.  The carotene, luteolin, protects glial cells as does enough sound sleep.  Since these are microglia cells and may be closely related, that means that the exercise which helps with sound sleep and using other methods to sleep well plus eating broccoli or kale and carrots 7 or more times a week might also help because they are high in luteolin and related carotenes.

Here’s the study reference if you’d like to see it:

Discovery of new mechanism underlying depression could lead to efficient and
fast-acting antidepressant drugs
The World health Organization calls depression "the leading cause of disability
worldwide," resulting in more years of disability than cancer, HIV/AIDS, and
cardiovascular and respiratory...

Here are some key quotes:

“Despite recent progress in understanding depression, scientists still don't understand the biological mechanisms behind it well enough to deliver effective prevention and therapy. One possible reason is that almost all research focuses on the brain's neurons, while the involvement of other brain cells has not been thoroughly examined.

Now researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have shown that changes in one type of non-neuronal brain cells, called microglia, underlie the depressive symptoms brought on by exposure to chronic stress.

In experiments with animals, the researchers were able to demonstrate that compounds that alter the functioning of microglia can serve as novel and efficient antidepressant drugs.”

….”The researchers examined the involvement of microglia brain cells in the development of depression following chronic exposure to stress. Comprising roughly 10% of brain cells, microglia are the representatives of the immune system in the brain; but recent studies have shown that these cells are also involved in physiological processes not directly related to infection and injury, including the response to stress.”

The researchers mimicked chronic unpredictable stress in humans - a leading cause of depression - by exposing mice to repeated, unpredictable stressful conditions over a period of 5 weeks.”

….”The researchers found that during the first week of stress exposure, microglia cells undergo a phase of proliferation and activation, reflected by increased size and production of specific inflammatory molecules, after which some microglia begin to die.

Following the 5 weeks of stress exposure, this phenomenon led to a reduction in the number of microglia, and to a degenerated appearance of some microglia cells, particularly in a specific region of the brain involved in responding to stress.

When the researchers blocked the initial stress-induced activation of microglia with drugs or genetic manipulation, they were able to stop the subsequent microglia cell death and decline, as well as the depressive symptoms and suppressed neurogenesis.

However, these treatments were not effective in "depressed" mice, which were already exposed to the 5-weeks stress period and therefore had lower number of microglia. Based on these findings, the investigators treated the "depressed" mice with drugs that stimulated the microglia and increased their number to a normal level.”

“…. "We were able to demonstrate that such microglia-stimulating drugs served as effective and fast-acting antidepressants, producing complete recovery of the depressive-like behavioral symptoms, as well as increasing the neurogenesis to normal levels within a few days of treatment.” “

This is the part that the supplements ubiquinol and PQQ may do from some to a lot in some cases.  Ubiquinol helps your mitochondria stay healthy to begin with and PQQ has been found in studies at the University of California, Davis to cause new mitochondria to grow.

If this does indeed cause fewer microglial cells to die or stop functioning well or help BDNF from exercise and taking or eating DHA to build new and healthy microglial cells, it does look likely to stop this cause of depression.

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