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Summary of Depression
Depression is a state of low mood, often associated with hopelessness and apathy. It's not simply sadness, that may be part of it, but sadness can be a normal transient response to upsetting events, while depression is more rooted in dysfunctional brain activity, with symptoms persisting for weeks. At that point, it's referred to as major depressive disorder and considered medically serious.
Personality can factor into the expression of depression. Some people may become withdrawn and hesitant to socialize, having feelings of guilt and worthlessness, while some may be excessively irritable and hostile. The common thread, again, isn't necessarily sadness but may be mild anhedonia—a diminished ability to feel pleasure.
Foods and supplements that affect depression may do so through altering brain energetics, neurogenesis, and synaptic plasticity, and may do this through being neurotransmitters and hormones, affecting their synthesis, reuptake, and signaling, affecting inflammatory signaling, ion channel function, protecting neurons, and more.
By far, the most common way to measure depression is through the use of various questionnaires designed to rate the severity of known symptoms of depression. There are other approaches such as behavioral assessments, and neuroimaging, but those are much less common in research.
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Human Effect Matrix
The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what supplements affect depression.
|Grade||Level of Evidence [show legend]|
|Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials|
|Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled|
|Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies|
|Uncontrolled or observational studies only|
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
|Notable||Very High See all 28 studies|
|Notable||Very High See all 9 studies|
|Notable||Very High See all 8 studies|
Get access to the latest nutrition research summarized
By becoming an Examine Plus member, you'll have access to all of the latest nutrition research on over 400 supplements across over 600 different health goals, outcomes, conditions, and more.
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