not strictly speaking sober stuff, but may be of interest re general mental health – just been reading on the Runners World website about a theory that exercise detoxes our brains of depressive chemicals, based on a more sciency article published by the Karolinska Institutet.
I’m a bit nervous of linking to the RW website itself as I don’t seem to be able to log out of it and have no wish to unintentionally out myself! do have a look at the original RW article if you can – or if you can be arsed 😉 if not: here’s an extract:
‘It’s fairly well established that exercise is an effective countermeasure to depression, but it’s not clear why. Is it something to do with the cardiovascular system? Psychosocial factors related to getting out and exercising? Is there some chemical produced in the brain during exercise that fights depression (that would have been my guess), or a chemical produced in the muscles that then travels to the brain? Turns out it’s none of the above.
Depression is very complex and multi-faceted, so there are likely lots of different factors involved. But the particular pathway identified in the new study is sort of the opposite of the chemical-produced-in-the-brain hypothesis. Instead, it appears that there’s a chemical called kynurenine produced mainly in the liver in response to stress that then travels to the brain, where it’s linked to (among other things) neuroinflammation, cell death, and depression. Exercise causes your muscles to increase levels of a protein called PGC-1alpha1, which in turn leads to higher levels of an enzyme that converts kynurenine into kynurenic acid – and the key difference is that kynurenic acid is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier, so (unlike kynurenine) it can’t get into your brain and wreak havoc.
So the short version is: stress produces kynurenine which may lead to depression, but exercise helps you convert kynurenine into a harmless substance, leaving you more resilient to stress-induced depression.’
had a fantastic run today. buzz buzz buzz. whatever it is, it works for me 🙂
was trying to come up with running song as reward for you for getting through all of that PGC-1alpha1 malarkey. and this is a bit of a stretch but damn, it’s a great song I haven’t heard in years!
The Pretenders and “The Middle of the Road.” bad place to run. fab song 🙂
16 days to go to one year.