Thread: Depression vs hormones?
09-15-2002, 06:31 AM #1
Depression vs hormones?
Just wanting to hear some feedback from anyone that suffers from depression. I have been battling depression for 5 years now and I was wondering if anyone thinks there is a link between hormone imbalances ie low test levels, high estrogen levels and depression in men? I have had complete blood work up done (many times) and according to my doctor everything looked normal. I am wondering if he knows what to look for in the way of hormones? Maybe I can bounce your ideas off my doctor and see what he thinks.
09-15-2002, 07:31 AM #2
I have suffered depression while taking clomid like many have...so IMO i would say that when my test levels are dropping, thats when i experience depression
09-15-2002, 07:44 AM #3
This is not exactly related to your question but thought you might want to read it as depression can sometimes be combated by these. I took this from an AF post by Ulter. I am not sure how useful they would be in more severe cases of depression.
Nootropics, also known as smart drugs or cognition activators, are drugs that enhance mental function. Several mechanisms that affect nerve function may be attacked. Compounds that are used by the body to manufacture neurotransmitters constitute one group (precursors). Reuptake and degradation inhibitors form another. Mimetics of excitatory neurotransmitters and antagonists of inhibitory ones can both stimulate neural function. Antianoxics enhance the ability of neurons to burn glucose. Phospholipid compounds affect the fatty excitable membranes of nerve cells, which are responsible for transporting a depolarization pulse down dendrites and axons. Steroid compounds also affect membrane chemistry. Vasodilators which act in the CNS increase blood supply to brain cells. Still other drugs increase the flexibility of red blood cells so they can gain access to more neurons more often. All these effects be theoretically be used to enhance neurological function in the CNS.
precursors & mimetics
Glycine systems perform inhibitory functions in the CNS. Enhancement of these pathways imparts antianxiety effects and so stabilizes mood. Glycine itself is a zwitterion and so does not pass the blood-brain barrier very well. Dimethylglycine is stabilized by the methyl groups; its greater lipophilicity results in better transport to the CNS, where it is converted to glycine. Milacemide is a pro compound which decomposes (via MAO-B) to glycinamide and then glycine in the CNS.
Glutamate and aspartate are another group of excitatory neurotransmitter prominent in the CNS. Since they are acidic amino acids they have difficulty crossing the blood-brain barrier, but standard tricks can be used to deliver them to the CNS. Making an amide out of a carboxy acid is one of these (as in glutamine and aceglutamide); a somewhat more radical method is to make a covalent salt with calcium, as in calcium-N-carbamoylaspartate.
Carnitine is a catabolic (tearing-down) amino acid which serves as a neuroprotectant at NMDA receptors (a subset of glutamate/aspartate receptors). Acetylation of the hydroxy group gives ALC, which again has the effect of promoting transport into the CNS.
Cholinergic neurons play an enormous role in peripheral systems. In the CNS they are central to memory function. By consuming precursor compounds such as choline and lecithin one can stimulate memory capacity and mental functioning. This has been recently proven scientifically through the use of ginkgo biloba extract in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Another precursor to acetylcholine, dimethylamino ethanol (deanol, DMAE) has been used as an antidepressant. Pantothenic acid, one of the B vitamins, is a major constituent of royal jelly; it is also present in large quantities in liver. The homologous compound hopantenic acid is also considered a nootropic.
The catecholamines (norepinephrine, dopamine, and epinephrine) comprise an important set of excitatory CNS neurotransmitters. By supplementing the diet with precursor compounds it is possible to peak the neurotransmitter pool to enhance alertness. Tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin, another important mood-setting neurotransmitter. A bad batch of the free amino acid caused the FDA to outlaw its sale in the late 1980s. It is only presently available in the US in amino acid mixtures. This, along with the food and drug act of 1993 marked the inception of increased regulation of amino acids, which, to be intellectually honest, are not drugs but nutrients or foods.
enzyme & uptake drugs
MAO inhibitors have been used to combat Parkinsonism and Alzheimer's as well as depression. Degeneration of excitatory pathways is common to all three disorders. The major effect of MAOIs is to promote adrenergic function by inhibiting degradation of catecholamine neurotransmitters in the synapse following vesicular release.
Tranylcypromine is a reversible MAO inhibitor which may be present in an anti-Alzheimer's preparation known as Gerovital. Bifemelane is another MAOI which has been used as a nootropic. Below about 30 mg/day, selegiline (Eldepryl) is a selective blocker of MAO-B in the brain. By allowing MAO-A in the gut to remain chemically active, the hypertensive "cheese reaction" is avoided.
Ondansetron and granisetron are selective 5-HT3 antagonists. This receptor subtype is found on cholinergic neurons; when it is activated it inhibits release of acetylcholine. Blocking the receptor thus promotes cholinergic function. Indeloxazine is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor which has been shown to effect reversal of ethanol-induced memory impairment in humans. Zimeldine also inhibits serotonin reuptake. Tacrine, a respiratory stimulant, is also a central cholinesterase inhibitor and curare antidote. Although it has been used in Alzheimer's disease, "problems with toxicity limit its use;" cholinesterase inhibitors are used in chemical warfare and as potent pesticides.
phospholipid membrane esters
Nerve membranes are composed of tubular bilayers of fatty acid esters. Dietary supplements of lecithin promote healthy nervous function, while also providing a source of choline for acetylcholine synthesis. Typically obtained from soybeans, it is a mixture of triglycerides, molecules combining two fatty acid moieties and a phosphate moiety bonded to a glycerol base. The cis-linoleic-stearic ester form of lecithin is shown; linoleic moieties are present at about 55% abundance in soy lecithin.
Phospholipid molecules self-organize to bilayers in solution, which further self-organize to spherical micelles with the fatty tails directed inward in the outer layer. Vesicles so formed probably played an important role in the initial stages of the evolution of self-replicating molecules since they provide a protected environment within which copy errors are less punitive.
Several steroids have been used to bolster mental function and libido. Both testosterone and estrogens have been administered historically to increase vitality and sexual drive as people grow older (replacement therapy). Precursors to estrogen and androgen steroids such as DHEA and pregnenolone have recently been marketed as nutrients. These steroids do not have significant estrogenic or androgenic properties until converted by the body to active forms. As with all precursors, one trusts the body's homeostatic mechanisms to regulate formation of active molecules by rate-limiting steps, competitive mechanisms, and tachyphylaxis (tolerance).
The use of anticonvulsant medications for psychotropic purposes has recently grown, primarily to prophylact against manic and/or panic syndromes. Phenytoin and carbamazepine probably work by affecting ion-gating systems in excitable membranes. Phenytoin structurally resembles the barbiturates while carbamazepine has a tricyclic structure like the tricyclic antidepressants. Propanolol, a beta-blocker, has been used to calm peripheral reactions to stress, such as stage fright.
Propanolol is a beta-adrenergic blocker prescribed for performance phobia or stage fright. Clonidine is an alpha agonist sometimes used to calm peripheral tremor as in alcohol withdrawal. Verapamil, a calcium-channel blocker, is also used for this purpose.
The piracetam group of antianoxic compounds work by several mechanisms to invigorate neural function. By supplying glutamic acid analogs to the Krebs cycle they enhance glucose utilization in aerobic respiration, the major means by which animal cells extract chemical energy from sugars via ATP formation. This in turn raises phospholipid cAMP levels, enhancing the function of dopamine and acetylcholine neurons. Additionally they function as antioxidants (compare the structure to that of vitamin C) and retard lipofuscin formation. Experimentally, piracetam has been shown to increase athletic performance, to reverse alcohol-induces brain degeneration, and has been tried as a treatment for dyslexia.
cerebral vasodilators & anticoagulants
Methylxanthines are used as bronchodilators in the treatment of asthma (typically theophylline) and in conjunction with analgesics to treat headache. Pentoxyfylline and propentofylline have central and peripheral vasodilatory properties. Increased blood supply to brain tissue probably accounts for whatever nootropic properties they have. Pentoxfylline also increases the elasticity of red blood cells, enabling them to better squeeze through constricted capillaries. Such drugs are called anti-ischemics, ischemia referring to a lack of blood supply to a tissue.
Pyritinol is another vasodilator which has been used against dementia senilis (senility). Idebenone resembles ubiquinone, a compound which catalyzes mitochondrial metabolic processes. It promotes secretion of nerve growth factor (NGF) and may also protect cell membranes against lipid peroxidation. Ergocryptine is an ergot alkaloid which has been used to combat age-related memory loss and Alzheimer's. It dilates blood vessels by blocking alpha-adrenoceptors. It has been used in accident victims to increase blood flow to the brain following trauma to prevent tissue damage by anoxia. Vinpocetine and vincamine are two alkaloids from the vinca plant which also have anticoagulant and vasodilation effects.
corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH)
adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH; corticotropin)
The body uses peptides as hormones as well as cell structures. They are among the most important means of communication between glands in the brain and peripherally. Because they are structurally more complex and low in absolute concentration, our understanding of these systems has lagged that of other hormone systems such as steroids. Small amounts of peptide compounds can drastically alter the homeostatic balance of other chemical systems, especially those of the gonadal and adrenal organs. Peptide therapy is complicated by the fact that most long-chain proteins are decomposed by proteolytic enzyme in the gut and have trouble passing the blood-brain barrier.
CRH, secreted from the hypothalamus, causes the pituitary to release ACTH and beta-endorphin. ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone, corticotropin) exits the brain and travels to the adrenal gland, causing release of adrenaline. In the other half of the feedback loop, adrenaline receptors in the brain retard further release of peptides. HGH (human growth hormone , somatotropin), a hormone regulating growth of skeletal bone during youth, has recently been applied to reestablish vigor in geriatric patients. Giractide is another peptide with similar applications. It is homologous to the first 18 residues of ACTH with L-serine replaced by glycine.
Exifone has shown activity against parkinsonim and in reversing memory impairment.
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