Though we still have much to learn about the causes of depression—such as how much of it is determined by genetic factors, versus societal and lifestyle factors, versus other circumstances in life—a new study published in the Journal Nature Genetic appears to be making some big headway in furthering our understanding of depression.
Specifically, the study, which scanned the genomes of 135,458 people with depression (and close to 350,000 people without) discovered 44 genes that likely affect depression. The authors also allege that everyone has at least some of these genes, and that major depression might also be linked to schizophrenia.
The full study can be read here: (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-018-0090-3).
If you’re someone who suffers from depression, don’t get too depressed thinking there’s nothing you can do because it’s “just in my genes!”
Because, the more than 200 scientists who worked on this study claim this new information will help us figure out the best ways to treat depression in different people, as not everyone reacts to various types of treatments the same way. The hope is to use this new information to open up new ways of treating depression, and to hopefully discover improved remedies.
That’s good news, considering major depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States in people aged 15 to 44 years old, yet only 60 percent of people with major depression are receiving treatment. On a global scale, it’s believed close to one million people with the illness take their own life each year.
Though this study focused mostly on genetic factors that may contribute to depression, it’s commonly understood that other lifestyle, social and circumstantial factors also contribute to the mental illness. In light of this, the authors of this study were clear that DNA is just one potential driving force, and in fact, they also discovered that having a higher body mass index (BMI) is also linked to major depression.
Many other studies have also linked obesity to depression. For further reading, here are two of them:
1. “Overweight, obesity, and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies:” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20194822)
2.”The Relationship Between Obesity and Depression Among Adolescents” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3749079/)
Without trying to toot our own horn and tell you we have the magic cure for depression, our entire mission is to help people become healthier mentally and physically, through diet and exercise, to ultimately help you live a better life. And we have certainly witnessed countless people regain their mental health by regaining their physical health first.
So no pressure, BUUUUUUTTTT if you think you’re ready to commit to a long term diet and lifestyle change (and, of course, an exercise program), please reach out. We might just be able to help.