View Full Version : Gene linked to Depression & Anxiety Weakens Mood-Regulat
Here's an article that's slightly technical which describes how one gene that's been linked to depression and anxiety can alter the way the mood-regulating circuit in the brain works, thereby increasing or decreasing the chance someone may become depressed (or anxious). The gene is coded to create a 'transporter' protein for the serotonin neurotransmitter/chemical. The protein recycles the serotonin after it has been released into the synapse between neurons, taking it back into the neuron which released it. We inherit two copies of the gene from our parents, which comes in two forms - a short and a long version. The short version makes less of the 'transporter' protein, and thus more serotonin is left floating about inside the synapse. This short variant doubles the risk of depression and is also linked to anxious temperaments
p.s. Once again, I'm left confuse because I thought more serotonin was better. I need to read more to fully understand how this all works.
Because the serotonin thing confuses me, I just thought I'd post another article which does pretty much indicate that 'more is better', as far as depressive people go. (Anxiety is also linked to the same serotonin neurotransmitter)
This article, titled "Depression traced to Overactive Brain Circuits", mentions that drops in serotonin levels brings on depressive symptoms in certain people who are (possibly) genetically predisposed to be adversely affected by 'inadequate serotonin activity'. Another thing it mentions is the way antidepressants work by increasing serotonin levels.
The article mainly focuses on the amino acid tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin (meaning it is converted into serotonin by the body).
Side Note: Tryptophan was once marketed as a supplement in the 1980's in the USA, but was taken off the market due to a manufacturer defect that caused people to get eosinophilia-myalgia, a number of them dying from the disease. It was later discovered that most of the cases could be traced back to one manufacturer. The drug was then made available by prescription-only, and we stopped importing it from other countries where manufacturing facilities were less controlled. Currently pharmaceutical-grade tryptophan is used as a nutrient in infant milk formulas and in intravenous feeding.
There is currently another serotonin precursor on the market called 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), which also converts to serotonin. There are mixed results about its usage, some people insisting it works, others that it doesnt at all. More research and clinical trials need to be performed before more accurate conclusions can be drawn on its effects. (my own personal experience with 2 different brands of 5-HTP yielded nothing, but I've heard of others having some success)
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