May 16, 2019 - 10:31 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Dietary fats can enter the brain through the bloodstream, and cause alterations that could lead to depression, according to a study that may pave the way for new therapies to treat the disorder, PTI reports.
The team also found that by decreasing the expression of a specific enzyme called phosphodiesterase, symptoms of obesity-linked depression can be reduced.
The team from University of Glasgow in the UK conducted a study in mice to show how dietary habits are linked to mental health.
The study, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, shows that saturated fatty acids enter the brain through the bloodstream, and thereafter accumulate and affect crucial brain signals related to depression.
Obesity and depression have long been linked, with previous clinical studies finding an association between these two conditions.
However, until now, the mechanisms of how obesity affects depression and vice versa have not been fully understood.
"We often use fatty food to comfort ourselves as it tastes really good, however in the long term, this is likely to affect one's mood in a negative way," said George Baillie, from University of Glasgow.
"Of course, if you are feeling low, then to make yourself feel better you might treat yourself to more fatty foods, which then would consolidate negative feelings," Baillie said in a statement.
Through trials conducted in mice, scientists identified a mechanism linking exposure to a high-fat diet to alterations in hypothalamic functioning.
They found that fatty acids move through bloodstream and gradually accumulate in brain.
The research provides an insight into how making significant dietary changes can also prove beneficial for mental health.