Over-eating foods that are high in fat could be a cause of anxiety and depression, a study has suggested.
The research, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, revealed that increased body weight and high blood sugar may cause anxiety and depressive symptoms as a result of ‘measurable changes in the brain’.
The study, which was carried out on mice, found that the beneficial effects of antidepressants were reduced in test subjects that were fed a high-fat diet.
The reverse was also true. Reducing the fat content of the subjects’ diet ‘completely reversed the animals’ metabolic impairments and lessened their anxious symptoms’.
Dr Bruno Guiard, the study’s senior author, said: ‘When treating depression, in general there is no predictor of treatment resistance. So if we consider metabolic disorders as a putative treatment resistance predictor, this should encourage psychiatrists to put in place a personalised treatment with antidepressant drugs that do not further destabilise metabolism.’
Dr Guiard said the research could help diabetes patients. ‘This finding reinforcing the idea that the normalisation of metabolic parameters may give a better chance of achieving remission, particularly in depressed patients with type 2 diabetes.’
The study’s authors said these results will set the tone for future investigations on the link between metabolic and psychiatric disorders.
The link between weight-gain and depression is well established, but evidence on the relationship between the conditions is lacking.
A study carried out at the University of Alabama found that that being depressed can cause a person to gain weight.
It is worth pointing out, however, that obesity and depression are two of the most common ailments, and there is inevitably an overlap between the two conditions.