Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a cluster of metabolic disorders that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease when present in combination with each other. The disorders that elevate the risk include hypertension, central obesity, glucose intolerance and serum lipid disorders. While these conditions are good enough to put the individual in a high-risk category for heart problems there is a greater chance that the individual could suffer from cardiovascular issues when they occur in together. There has been an increasing concern regarding MetS as more than 23% of the adult population seems to be affected making them susceptible to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and diseases related to fatty build-up in artery walls. So, when we look at the risk factors behind this disease its none other than obesity, overweight, physical inactivity, genetic factors and ageing.
Its been found that certain MetS features such as excessive adiposity, dyslipidaemia and glucose intolerance are strongly associated with depression-a health condition that now exists as the fourth biggest cause of disease burden in the world. Women are the primary victims of this condition though these days increasing number of men silently suffer from its effects. Depression involves change in mood and cognitive function besides being linked to a proinflammatory process that increases the risk of being affected by cardiovascular disease. There is a widespread prevalence of an activated peripheral immune system in these adults with overproduction of proinflammatory cytokine that has the potential to increase the risk of depressive symptoms. As it is now evident that both MetS and depression are commonly present bearing increased public health implications there has been interests shown in finding out an association between them. Depression involves dysregulation of the adrenocortical and autonomic nervous systems both of which increase the risk of MetS by supporting abdominal fat accumulation and insulin resistance. MetS is generally linked to increased levels of inflammatory cytokines and leptin resistance and c-reactive protein (CRP) is one of the commonly present inflammatory markers in subjects with MetS.
Health experts have come up with various proposals for controlling MetS occurrence the most common of which includes lifestyle changes (that includes diet modifications and exercises) and drug therapy. The Mediterranean diet has been generally prescribed as the best weight loss approach that’s beneficial for both MetS and depression. But we do have questions arising on how weight loss can have a positive effect on the mind in terms of reducing symptoms of depression. The study below exactly deals with this concern-it uses a subsample of the RESMENA-S study that tries to reduce MetS using a hypocaloric diet for a period of six months. It was generally assumed that the this diet does have a positive effect on depressive symptoms as well and the research team tried to understand the process through which it happens.
The study included 93 subjects (52 men and 41 women) aged around 50 years with a BMI around 36 kg/m2 diagnosed with MetS. Six months after following the hypocaloric diet 26 participants were eliminated due to different reasons and 7 of the 67 participants who did complete the study did not finish the Beck Depression Inventories (BDI) and hence, the study was left with not more than 60 participants who were able to complete the BDI in three visits (at baseline, after two months and end of six months). All the participants were put into either of the two groups randomly-control group or the RESMENA diet. All the participants were requested to carry on with their regular physical activity schedules and their performance was measured using a 24-hour physical activity questionnaire at the beginning and end of study. The research team measured serum glucose, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides and free fatty acids serum concentration.
Depression symptoms were analysed thrice over the course of the study (at baseline, after two months and at the end of the study) using a Spanish version of the BDI. A score of ≥10 reflects moderate depressive symptoms.
Results showed that:
A Decline in Inflammation is Associated with Less Depressive Symptoms after a Dietary Intervention in Metabolic Syndrome Patients: https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-13-36
Systematic Inflammation is Associated with Depressive Symptoms Differentially by Sex and Race: A Longitudinal Study of Urban Adults: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41380-019-0408-2
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