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Metabolic Syndrome & Depression

Metabolic Syndrome is a constellation of symptoms centered around the effects of insulin resistance. Patients with insulin resistance, high insulin levels, hyperglycemia, hypertension high levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL-cholesterol are at serious risk for metabolic syndrome and its consequences. The number one factor which needs to be addressed in metabolic syndrome is, according to most studies on the subject, insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is associated with inflammation, blood clotting abnormalities, blood vessel dysfunction, sleep apnea, PCOS, gout, non alcoholic fatty liver disease and some cancers. Insulin resistance in overweight patients can be estimated by the ratio of triglycerides to HDL-cholesterol. Ratios above 3 suggest insulin resistance. 35% of Americans have metabolic syndrome. There has been research into a gene that predisposes patients to metabolic syndrome. Most of the genes being looked at are the ones that code for proteins that are involved in energy metabolism control.

Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes go hand in hand and are nutritional in nature. A large number of patients with Type 2 Diabetes have major depression. The prevalence of major depression in diabetics is three times greater than the general public. Patients with depression often have insulin resistance, huh blood pressure, abdominal obesity, hyperlipidemia and elevated fating blood sugars that are associated with Metabolic Syndrome. studies have also shown a direct relationship between insulin resistance and major depression. Did you know that insulin resistance is four times more likely to occur in patients with depression?

There is evidence to suggest that depression can set the stage for the development of Metabolic Syndrome late on. Depression is chronic stress which inevitably leads to metabolic syndrome and heart disease according to multiple studies. Women who have complaints of depression, anxiety and anger are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome later on in life than women who do not have these symptoms. Furthermore, the occurrence of Metabolic Syndrome, obesity and depression together is more common in women than in men.

Depression fosters a lifestyle that is not healthy and the insulin resistance component of Metabolic syndrome may play a role in major depression. The two entities are intertwined and feed off of each other. Current research suggests that declining insulin activity in the brain due to insulin resistance in brain tissue, may play an enormous role for the development of major depression.

Interestingly, a chromium mineral which enhances the effectiveness of insulin has been shown to relieve the symptoms of depression. Chromium has also been shown to effectively treat dysthymia, a minor form of depression.

In the next post, I will discuss the effects of other agents such as lithium metals, omega 3 fatty acids and cortisol on metabolic syndrome and depression.

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