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Finding Exercise Motivation When You're Depressed

How to Get Moving When You're Low on Energy


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    I've lived with depression for 50 years - and I have NEVER found that exercise helps when I'm in a depressed stage. But then depression is not a monolithic thing. There are probably as many pathways leading to depression as there are depressed people.

    Exercise may be as effective as either antidepressants or placebo for some people with mild to moderate depression, but there is evidence that as the severity of depression increases, the effectiveness of exercise decreases, while the effectiveness of the right antidepressant increases.

    The right antidepressant for the individual, just like exercise, depends on the person's genome. For example, I recently ran my DNA results through Promethease. To my amazement, I found that I'm 7.7x as likely to respond positively to Bupropion as the general population as well as 4x less likely to respond to tricyclics or to placebo. This has been my actual experience. Bupropion opened the door to a world I had no idea existed - a world with colour and taste and smells that are sharp and clear.

    As to exercise: my geneset is homozygous for AMPD1 deficiency. This means that my skeletal muscles very rapidly run out of oomph. Again, this has been my actual experience. Even as a child, I got tired very quickly, so while my peers were running around, I would get a book and lie on the floor or take a blanket onto the lawn.

    Further, I carry one copy of each of two genes that code for low tetrahydrobiopterin production. I'm pasting in a section from World's Healthiest Foods on the role of tetrahydrobiopterin in neurological health:

    "In what has come to be named the BH4 Cycle (where is an abbreviation for tetrahydrobiopterin), researchers have verified a close connection between production of multiple neurotransmitters (with special emphasis on serotonin and dopamine) and availability of folate. In fact, part of the molecule for which this BH4 Cycle is named (dihydrobiopterin, or BH2) can itself be readily converted into a form of folate (dihydrofolate). In addition, researchers now know that BH4 cross over the blood brain barrier using the same transport mechanism as folate.

    Interest in these nervous system messaging molecules and folate has been fascinating and widespread. Since much of the dopamine produced in our nerve cells begins with conversion of one amino acid (phenylalanine) into another amino acid (tyrosine), folate availability has been shown to be closely connected with this neurotransmitter pathway since BH4 is required for conversion of phenylalanine into tyrosine. Yet broader still are possible connections between two additional neurotransmitters—glutamic acid and GABA—and folate metabolism."

    I often think that the people who write these articles have never personally experienced depression. Depression is not simply a matter of feeling sad and lethargic - it's a soul-sucking black hole. One's brain disappears into a freezing fog.

    Here's an article showing that blood tests may well help to identify people for whom non-medication therapies may be effective:

    Here's one on genetic testing:

    Depression is multifactorial. Each person very likely needs a unique combination of protocols. Genetic testing alone isn't enough. Nutritional requirements are also individual. Exercise may help or harm. This article recommends paying attention to how your body feels after exercise, but immediately goes on to imply very strongly that exercise will definitely help you if you can only get over the speedbump in your head. There's no acceptance that, if your body doesn't feel better exercise, that this is a valid feedback response.
  • Great information!
  • exercise seems to be good for whatever ails you
  • Great information
  • Exercise can be so beneficial when you are depressed!
  • I needed this right now! Thanks!
  • Great information!
  • Great information!
  • Terribly been there, but kept pushing with my exercise and treatment.
  • Great information!
    Exercise helps with depression.
  • Excellent. Thanks!
    Why can't people use a free grammatical error auto fix app when writing articles? I don't get it. Don't they realize it hurts our brains to read, "Just because you're depressed doesn't mean you'll to have to spend weeks or months forcing........." Please tell me I am not alone. If I am too picky than feel free to curse me to death.
  • thank you very much

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