A Finnish study has shown that people suffering from depression have lower levels of natural arginine in the body.
People with severe depressive disorder have lower levels of natural arginine in their bodies. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital.
Arginine is one of the 20 amino acids that make up our proteins. It plays a role in wound healing, immune system function, vascular regulation and growth hormone secretion. The reduced bioavailability of arginine is also known as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
99 adults with diagnosed severe depressive disorder and 253 non-depressive adults participated in the study. The concentrations of three amino acids, arginine, citrulline and ornithine, were analyzed based on their fasting blood samples. People with depression were found to have a lower bioavailability of arginine than non-depressive participants.
The bioavailability of arginine
“It is possible that depression-induced inflammatory reactions can lead to decreased levels of arginine. This may lead to insufficient production of nitric oxide for the nervous system,” says Toni Ali-Sisto, researcher at the University of Eastern Finland and lead author of the study. However, we still do not know exactly what causes the reduced bioavailability of arginine in people suffering from depression. The researchers emphasize the interest in conducting more studies to assess the role of arginine in the recovery from depression.
Depression is a common mental disorder that affects more than 300 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and contributes significantly to the global burden of disease.