Especially in Kids
New research from Oklahoma State University suggests that consuming energy drinks early in life may make some more prone to anxiety, depression and addictive behaviors later on. Dr. Conrad Woolsey calls the drinks a “pharmacological Molotov cocktail.” Because the human brain does not fully develop until age 25, it is more susceptible to being affected by the ingredients in the pumped-up soft drinks. Energy drinks often contain additives such as taurine and inositol which are used in some anti-anxiety and antidepressant medication. When taken alongside a stimulator, like caffeine or guarana, they can affect the action of neurotransmitters in the brain. Overstimulation of stress neurotransmitters early in life can cause them to be overactive later, leading to anxiety and depression.
Not Only Due to Estrogen Loss
Up to 70 percent of new mothers experience symptoms of depression within the first week after giving birth. While, the symptoms dissipate in most cases, up to 13 percent of women experience clinical level postpartum depression (PPD). Fluctuations in estrogen have been to blame but now new research reveals that, while estrogen levels drop 100 to 1000 fold after giving birth, levels of the enzyme monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) increase dramatically throughout the brain. MAO-A is responsible for breaking down neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, and, ultimately, for controlling our moods. By balancing MAO-A, this research “could have an impact on prevention and treatment of postpartum depression in the future", says lead author Julia Sacher.
Wider Reach Than Drugs
Researchers at Southern Methodist University analyzed numerous studies to determine that exercise is a magic drug for treating anxiety and depression. Exercise is inexpensive, easily achievable and may be better than drugs or behavior therapy. "Exercise appears to affect, like an antidepressant, particular neurotransmitter systems in the brain, and it helps patients with depression re-establish positive behaviors. For patients with anxiety disorders, exercise reduces their fears of fear and related bodily sensations such as a racing heart and rapid breathing," says Jasper Smits, director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at SMU. Researchers say that health care providers should tell patients of the immediate benefits of exercise and not focus on the long term for best success.