Is Glucose Metabolism Dysfunction In Depression?

Stress is a significant factor in the development of depression. Evidence suggests that depressive symptoms are accompanied by real and detectable physiological changes. These changes may be caused by the stress hormone cortisol. One problem that may occur following chronic release of cortisol is a dysfunction to the glucose metabolism system. Evidence suggests that with certain forms of depression, especially unipolar depression, there may be the development of insulin resistance, characterised by an inability of the body to correctly pass glucose into cells. As glucose is pivotal to brain function, there is a suggestion that this dysfunction contributes to the development of imbalances in the normal function of the brain. One possibility is that exercise or diet could be a confounding variable. Both exercise and good diet are known to improve glucose utilisation and also reduce rates of depression. Therefore the poor glucose utilisation may result indirectly from poor diet or lack of physical activity. 

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Wright, J. H., Jacisin, J. J., Radin, N. S. and Bell, R. A. 1978. Glucose metabolism in unipolar depression. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 132(4): 386-393
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Is Good Nutrition Is More Important As You Age?

Evidence shows that good nutrition is the major factor in the health of the individual. Those who eat a healthy diet are not only protected from disease, but also experience positive health effects that include both physical and mental aspects. There is evidence that good nutrition plays a significant role in health in later years, and those who consume certain nutrients in infancy may have much lower rates of certain diseases. As people age, absorption rates of most nutrients fall, and there is a less robust ability to adapt to stressful conditions. Therefore good quality nutrition in the elderly can in many ways be considered a more significant factor in health than in comparison to the younger person. As absorption rates are lower, food consumed must be more nutrient dense in order to allow the same level of nutrient assimilation. This can be achieved through a combination of a very high quality diet containing nutrient dense foods, as well as supplementation of key nutrients, perhaps including a multivitamin and mineral formula. 

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Chlorophytum borivilianum: Anti-Stress and Antioxidant Effects

Chlorophytum borivilianum is a herb that is native to parts of India and belongs to the Liliaceae or lily family of plants. In India, the plant is sometimes called safed musli or musli. The plant is grown as a vegetable and is therefore of culinary interest nutritionally. However, evidence suggests that Chlorophytum borivilianum may have some medicinal effects. Extracts of Chlorophytum borivilianum have been shown to possess antioxidant and anti-stress effects in animals. The roots of Chlorophytum borivilianum are thought to possess phytochemicals that produce adaptogenic effects, and these may be able to modulate the stress reaction in animals to maintain normal physiological function. Extracts of the plant are thought to contain steroidal saponins and alkaloids, which may be the primary components that facilitate the adaptogenic properties of the roots. Other phytochemicals may provide significant antioxidant protection in the tissues of animals that consume the plant.  

Chlorophytum borivilianum adaptogenic antioxidant

Chlorophytum borivilianum is an adaptogenic plant grown in India and used in traditional Indian medicine. Image by Pankaj Oudhia – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https:// commons.wikimedia.org/ w/ index.php?curid=22363863.

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Kenjale, R. D., Shah, R. K. and Sathaye, S. S. 2007. Anti-stress and antioxidant effects of roots of Chlorophytum borivilianum (Santa Pau & Fernandes). Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. 45: 974-979
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Adaptogenic Herbs Against Depression

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Adpatogenic Herbs: Main Mechanisms

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Oxalis Plants: Memory Enhancers

Oxalis plants are a group of medicinal plants that are called wood sorrel. For example, Oxalis corniculata, or creeping wood sorrel, grows in the tropical regions of the world and is used therapeutically as a medicinal herb. Oxalis corniculata has been shown to possess wound healing activity, cardio relaxant activity, nematocidal activity, anticancer activity, antimicrobial activity, antifungal activity, antiamoebic activity, anti-stress activity, antioxidant activity and is a possible anxiolytic agent. Oxalis plants may also have certain memory enhancing effects. Animal experiments suggest that Oxalis corniculata may enhance memory retrieval and memory retention. That oxalis plants have central nervous system effects is therefore evident, and this will undoubtedly relate to the phytochemicals contained within the tissues of the plant. One aspect of the herb that may be responsible for the central nervous system effects is the anti-stress effects it possesses. Stress is known to disrupt brain function and can impair memory.  

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Aruna, K., Rajeswari, P. D. R. and Sankar, S. R. 2017. The effect of Oxalis corniculata extract against the behavioral changes induced by 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1, 2, 3, 6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) in mice. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science. 7(03): 148-153
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Diet And Its Influence On Mood

The link between stress and mood disorders is well established. Anecdotally, most people can relate low mood to a period of stress. However, what is less well understood is the role that a low quality diet can have in the development of mood disorders. In this regard, poor dietary habits have been shown to be a significant contributory factor in the development of both depression and anxiety. One dietary factor that may be particularly detrimental to mental health is sugar. High intakes of sugar in the diet have for example been shown to lead to neurotransmitter imbalance and detrimental mood changes. In one study, rats were fed a high sugar diet, and then the animals were exposed to experimental stress in the form of food deprivation. The rats that were used to high sugar diets showed significantly more evidence of anxious behaviour compared to rats that were not fed high sugar diets. Therefore high sugar diets may significantly increase the risk of mood disorders, and care should be taken to limit sugar intake. 

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RdB

Avena, N. M., Bocarsly, M. E., Rada, P., Kim, A. and Hoebel, B. G. 2008. After daily bingeing on a sucrose solution, food deprivation induces anxiety and accumbens dopamine/acetylcholine imbalance. Physiology And Behavior. 94(3): 309-315
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Huperzia serrata: An Anxiolytic Herb?

Huperzia serrata is a plant belonging to the Lycopodium or clubmoss group of plants. In traditional Chinese medicine the plant is referred to as Qian Ceng Ta. A number of medicinally relevant phytochemicals have been identified from Huperzia serrata including alkaloids, flavones, Triterpenes and phenolic acids. Of these the alkaloid huperzine A has been identified as a possible anxiolytic agent in animals. For example, in one study rats were administered huperzine A and exposed to experimental stress. The researchers observed that the rats displayed significantly less anxious behaviour following administration of huperzine A, compared to control rats. The anxiolytic effect observed by the researchers was equivalent to that of diazepam. Therefore huperzine A may have anxiolytic effects in animals that is equivalent to the anxiolytic effects of mainstream medical drugs. Although huperzine A appears to possess significant anxiolytic effects, flavonoids, phenolic acids and terpenes may also be anxiolytics.  

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Kaur, J., Singh, R., Singh, P., Kaur, J. and Kaur, H. 2017. Anxiolytic and motor coordination activity of huperzine A in rats. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research. 8(6): 2560-2566
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Huperzine: A Neuroprotective Agent?

Huperzine A is an alkaloid isolated from the plant Huperzia serrata. The plant is commonly called the toothed clubmoss, and is native to India and Southeast Asia. Evidence suggests that huperzine A is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. A number of studies suggest that huperzine A may improve memory and may be useful in the treatment of age-related memory deficit, Alzheimer’s disease, or simply as a nootropic to enhance learning and memory. However, huperzine A also shows the ability to protect neurones in the brain from damage caused by experimental stressors, and therefore may be considered a neuroprotective agent. It is thought that huperzine is neuroprotective because it acts as an antioxidant in tissues and this prevents oxidative stress, a major cause of neuronal damage. Huperzine A is used in traditional Chinese medicine as a memory enhancer and the alkaloid has become popular as a dietary supplement in the West where it is marketed as a nootropic. 

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Wang, R. and Tang, X. C. 2005. Neuroprotective Effects of Huperzine A. Neurosignals. 14(1-2): 71-82
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Oxalis corniculata As An Anxiolytic

Oxalis corniculata is a plant commonly called creeping wood sorrel or sleeping beauty. It belongs to a group of similar plants that are often also called wood sorrel. Oxalis wood sorrel plants belong to the family Oxalidaceae. The leaves of Oxalis corniculata are edible and taste of lemons. Because of this flavour, a decoction can be made by adding the leaves to hot water. The plant is high in a number of phytochemicals, particularly vitamin C, and this may explain its anti-inflammatory effects. Medicinally the plant can be used as a stimulant and tonic, and it may have central nervous system effects that explain its ability to prevent convulsions. Evidence suggests that Oxalis corniculata has anxiolytic effects in animals. For example, in one study researchers administered extracts of Oxalis corniculata to mice and they experienced significantly less anxious behaviour. In addition, the mice also showed less tendency to fight, suggesting that they may have been calmer and less agitated. 

oxalis anxiety depression mood

Oxalis corniculata contains a number of phytochemicals in addition to its high vitamin C content. Studies show the presence of Fatty acids (palmitic acid, a mixture of oleic, linoleic, linolenic and stearic acid), tannins, phytosterols, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and a volatile oil.

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Gupta, G., Kazmi, I., Afzal, M., Rahman, M. and Anwar, F. 2012. Anxiolytic effect of Oxalis corniculata (Oxalidaceae) in mice. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease. 2: S837-S840
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