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Obesity & Underweight Increases Depression Risk In Women

By Staff

Being obese can increase the risk of developing several health issues. On the contrary, being underweight is also equally dangerous. Hence, maintaining a healthy body weight and taking care of the food that you eat is very essential in order to keep the diseases at bay.

However, many a times people fail to understand the consequences and tend to become victims of obesity and underweight, thus giving way for many diseases.

A new study has found that women who are extremely underweight and obese are likely to be at an increased risk of developing common mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

This generally happens as a result of low feel good neuroactive steroid according to the study. Neurosteroid "Allopregnanolone" also known as "allo" is a metabolite of the hormone progesterone, a well known female hormone.

About The Study:

For the study, the researchers had taken into consideration women with anorexia nervosa and amenorrhea (whose menstrual periods have stopped) whose body mass indices were less than 18.5, normal-weight women with BMIs between 19 and 24, and obese women with BMIs at 25 or higher.

Findings Of The Study:

During the course of the study it was found that women with anorexia nervosa, blood levels of allo were 50 per cent lower than they were in women with normal body mass index (BMIs). Women who were clinically obese had allo levels approximately 60 per cent lower than women with normal weights.

Also the participants with lower levels of allo had greater severity of depression symptoms, the researchers noted.

In addition, progesterone levels were similarly low across both groups, suggesting that the decrease in allo in these participants may have been caused by improper functioning of enzymes.

The enzymes that convert progesterone into allo may not be working properly, causing decreases in allo that lead to mood disorders.

"Depression is an incredibly prevalent problem, especially in women, and also particularly at the extremes of the weight spectrum," said Karen Miller, professor at Harvard Medical School.

"We are beginning to see more and more evidence that low allo levels are tightly linked to depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mood disorders," added Graziano Pinna, associate professor in the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The study was recently published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

(With Agency Inputs)

Read more about: obesity depression weight
Story first published: Monday, November 13, 2017, 12:36 [IST]
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