Low levels of a substance known as acetyle-L carnitine in the blood has a link to the duration and severity of depression, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by Stanford University as well as The Rockefeller University, suggests that people with depression have low blood levels of acetyle-L carnitine which in turn helps the body in producing energy.

Even though acetyle-L carnitine is naturally produced by the body, it is still available as a nutritional supplement at drug stores as well as other retailers. People who have severe depression or those who start experiencing bouts of depression at an earlier age specifically have low levels of acetyle-L carnitine.

Natalie Rasgon of Standford University and an author of the study said that the study extends an exciting addition of understanding the mechanism of depression.

The findings of the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal on Monday, were build using extensive experiments on rodents and showed that there was a link between low levels of the biomarker to depression. When the animals were given acetyle-L carnitine, their behaviours returned back to normal, said the researchers.

In another study, the researchers analysed the patients who were diagnosed with depression and found that they had much low blood levels of acetyle-L carnitine. They also discovered that the patients having the lowest levels of the biomarker suffered with the most acute case of depression.

Rasgon said that further study is needed to know whether giving the patients acetyle-L carnitine supplements could really help to improve their behaviors related to depression.

Depression, also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is the most common mood disorder in the US as well as across the world. At a given time, it affects eight to ten percent of the general population, with every 4th person most likely to have experienced depression over the course of his/her life.


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