Exercise May Protect Seniors From Depression

American scientists have found that exercise helps fight depression in older people. Exercise increases the production of substances that improve mood. The results of the study are published in the American Journal of Physiology – Cell Physiology .  

Researchers at McCaster University in Ontario studied a small group of people that consisted of healthy men over 65 who had no history of depression. The subjects actively did bench press exercises and trained on a stationary bike for 12 weeks. Scientists took samples of their blood and muscle tissue before, during and after the experiment.

They found that training increases the expression of certain proteins called transmission factors. These proteins help regulate the level of tryptophan in the body. Tryptophan is involved in the production of serotonin, which affects mood and a lack of which can lead to depression.

In order for tryptophan to be released in the body in a form that promotes mood elevation, the enzyme CAT is also required. Vigorous exercise increases its activity and thus promotes the production of tryptophan.

Scientists have already studied the link between physical activity and mood enhancement. However, previous studies have only focused on young people. The study authors noted that further research needs to be done on the effect of exercise intensity on the change in transcription factors in adults who suffer from depression.

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