What are myokines and why do they help your mental health?

Exercise releases muscles and helps your mental health./Photo: Bond Sport.

mental health

Endorphins aren’t the only thing responsible for making you feel good when you exercise. Myokines also play a role in this well-being, and also improve memory, learning and depression.

By Maria Corisco

March 6, 2024 / 1:30 pm

Whenever people talk about the benefits of sports for their mood, they mention endorphins. These chemicals, known as “happiness hormones”, Capable of reducing pain and promoting feelings of well-being and euphoria, are released when we do physical exercise. Therefore, many sports fans report how good they feel mentally and emotionally after a good workout. But there are other, less well-known molecules that contribute to this well-being. Are myokines,

These are colloquially called “Molecule of Hope”Because They offer hope in the field of regenerative medicine and treatments for conditions for which treatment options previously were limited.

It’s easy for his name to be unfamiliar to you. Myokines are a group of molecules that are released by musculoskeletal tissue during muscle contraction. That is, muscles, when contracting – such as when we exercise – secrete these chemicals into the bloodstream,

Over the years, researchers have focused on its ability to provide therapeutic benefits in a variety of conditions, such as metabolic, inflammatory, bone and muscle diseases. But, recently, this focus has expanded and their role in mental health is now being looked at.

Thus, it has been observed that these molecules of hope travel from the bloodstream to the brain, cross the blood-brain barrier and have the ability to function antidepressant: Improves mood, learning ability, and may even help Protect the brain from the negative effects of aging, This is known as the muscle-brain endocrine circuit.

One of the greatest exponents of this field is Dr. Bente Klarlund PedersenProfessor of Exercise Physiology and Director of the Center for Physical Activity Research (CFAS) at the University of Copenhagen, whose studies have made significant contributions to the understanding of how myokines can affect human physiology and health, and their use as therapeutic molecules. How can it be done in Treatment of various diseases and medical conditionsIncluding mental health.

Thus, in one of their studies, they reported that “exercise has many beneficial effects on brain health, contributing to reducing the risks of dementia, depression and stress, and restoring and maintaining cognitive function and metabolic control. plays a role”.

From here, the role played by molecules of hope is considered, and he explains that “evidence is accumulating May improve neuron formation, memory and learning, Similarly, it details the mechanisms by which myokines may reduce depression-like symptoms.

Traditionally, research has focused on the effects of myokines on metabolism and muscle health, but recent studies are exploring It affects mental health and mood,

  • They control neuroinflammation. It has been suggested that some myokines, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), may have anti-inflammatory effects in the central nervous system. Neuroinflammation has been linked to mood disorders such as depression, and it is believed that reducing inflammation may have positive effects on mental health.
  • Stimulation of neuronal growth. Some research suggests that certain myokines, such as fibroblast-derived growth factor 21 (FGF21), may promote growth and existence of neurons in the brain, It may impact mental health by improving neural plasticity and cognitive function.
  • Reduction in oxidative stress. Myokines may also have antioxidant properties that help reduce oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress has been linked to mood disorders like anxiety and depression Reducing this stress can have beneficial effects In mental health.
  • To promote the general welfare. Physical exercise, which is a way to stimulate the release of myokines, is consistently linked to better mental health and more positive mood. Myokines may play a role in the beneficial effects of exercise on mental health by improving brain function, reducing stress, and promoting an overall sense of well-being.

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