Is depression an oxidative stress disorder ?

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There is now a growing body of scientific evidence which has found that oxidative stress disorders may play a role in the pathogenesis of depression.

Oxidative stress is defined as a disturbance in the balance between the production of reactive oxygen species(free radicals) and the body’s ability to counteract these free radicals through the various anti-oxidant defense systems.

There is now evidence that major depression is accompanied by abnormalities of inflammatory, immune, oxidative and nitrosative stress (IO&NS) pathways and can also be accompanied by a lowered antioxidant status.

A meta-analysis study from 2015 concluded – “This meta-analysis finds that oxidative stress, as measured by 8-OHdG and F2-isoprostanes, is increased in depression. Larger-scale studies are needed to extend the evidence on oxidative stress in depression, and examine the potential impact of treatment.” [1]

One study review from 2012 investigating the role of oxidative stress in depressive disorders concluded – “We found numerous reports elaborating depressive disorder and oxidative stress. Most of the previous studies concentrated on investigating antioxidants in human blood as well as in animal models.” [2]

Another recent study review from 2014 investigating the link between oxidative stress and psychological disorders concluded – “In summary, accumulating evidence implicates free radical-mediated pathology, altered antioxidant capacity, neurotoxicity and inflammation in neuropsychiatric disorders. To what extent oxidative stress contributes to the specific clinical symptomatology of these complex and debilitating psychiatric ailments remains to be seen. A major question remains regarding the causal role of oxidative stress in these illnesses, which is highly critical for early and preventive intervention.” [3]

Co-Enzyme Q10 Deficiency, Oxidative Stress & Depression

Co-Enzyme Q10 Deficiency DepressionResearch has found individuals with depression to have lower blood plasma levels of a nutrient called Co-Enzyme Q10.

Co-Enzyme Q10 is a very important mitochondrial nutrient involved in cellular energy production and has potent anti-oxidant properties, which helps to combat oxidative stress.

The studies found that Co-Enzyme Q10 levels were related to the treatment resistance of depression, chronic fatigue symptoms and were also found to be another risk factor which explained the early mortality by cardiovascular disease in those with depressive disorders.

Co-Enzyme Q10 deficiency, increased oxidative stress states, increased inflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction, all go hand, in hand.

Research confirms that correcting Co-Enzyme Q10 deficiency is an important pathophysiology, especially for those with depression and chronic fatigue syndrome/me.

One study from 2009 concluded – “The results show that lower CoQ10 plays a role in the pathophysiology of depression and in particular in TRD and CFS accompanying depression. It is suggested that depressed patients may benefit from CoQ10 supplementation.

The findings that lower CoQ10 is a risk factor for coronary artery disease and chronic heart failure (CHF) and mortality due to CHF suggest that low CoQ10 is another factor explaining the risk to cardiovascular disorder in depression. Since statins significantly lower plasma CoQ10, depressed patients and in particular those with TRD and CFS represent populations at risk to statin treatment.” [4]

Ubiquinol is the reduced form of Co-Enzyme Q10 and is considered to be the most absorbable form of Co-Q10 available.

Curcumin for treating major depression

Curcumin For Treating Major Depression StudyIf abnormalities in immune, inflammatory, oxidative stress and nitrosative pathways do lie at the root etiology of major depression, then it could pave the way for the use of many alternative treatments.

One natural phytonutrient which is showing massive potential for its broad spectrum of therapeutic benefits is Curcumin, a compound derived from the popular Indian culinary spice Turmeric Root.

There has already been some preliminary human double-blind clinical research, which has found that curcumin may be of benefit for treating major depressive disorder.

A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study from 2014 investigating the use of Curcumin for treating major depression claimed – “Curcumin, the principal curcuminoid derived from the spice turmeric, influences several biological mechanisms associated with major depression, namely those associated with monoaminergic activity, immune-inflammatory and oxidative and nitrosative stress pathways, hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity and neuroprogression “

The study concluded – “Partial support is provided for the antidepressant effects of curcumin in people with major depressive disorder, evidenced by benefits occurring 4 to 8 weeks after treatment.” [5]


1. Is depression associated with increased oxidative stress? A systematic review and meta-analysis.

2. The role of oxidative stress in depressive disorders.

3. Oxidative Stress and Psychological Disorders

4. Lower plasma Coenzyme Q10 in depression: a marker for treatment resistance and chronic fatigue in depression and a risk factor to cardiovascular disorder in that illness.

5. Curcumin for the treatment of major depression: a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study.

The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.

One thought on “Is depression an oxidative stress disorder ?

  • August 16, 2016 at 8:24 am

    I thank you a lot for your precious time in writing this post.


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