14 Mar Research Suggests Exercise Plays a Key Role in Mental Health
A study from UC Davis Health System has shown exercise keeps you not just physically fit, but mentally fit, too. According to imaging studies, rigorous exercise increases the levels of two common neurotransmitters that are deficient in people with certain mental illnesses like depression. These neurotransmitters, glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid, help brain cells that control emotional health communicate better. Because exercise naturally increases them, it may now become an important part of treating major depressive disorder and other mental illnesses. While the study results are preliminary, lead study author Richard Maddock calls the findings “very encouraging.”
“From a metabolic standpoint, vigorous exercise is the most demanding activity the brain encounters, much more intense than calculus or chess, but nobody knows what happens with all that energy. Apparently, one of the things it’s doing is making more neurotransmitters,” Maddock also said.
This is your brain on exercise
Vigorous exercise boosts critical neurotransmitters, may help restore mental health
Richard Maddock and his team conducted MRI exams of people before and after vigorous exercise to determine the effect of exercise on neurotransmitters.
People who exercise have better mental fitness, and a new imaging study from UC Davis Health System shows why. Intense exercise increases levels of two common neurotransmitters — glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA — that are responsible for chemical messaging within the brain.
Published in this week’s issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, the finding offers new insights into brain metabolism and why exercise could become an important part of treating depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders linked with deficiencies in neurotransmitters, which drive communications between the brain cells that regulate physical and emotional health. Read more at Science Daily.
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