Depression Linked to Shortage of a Single Naturally Occurring Chemical

But don’t go trying to treat it with supplements.

Approximately one-third of people with major depression don’t experience relief from existing methods of treatment. It affects 3.2 million patients in the United States alone, which is why researchers are urgently trying to find depression-linked molecules in the brain to target with new drugs. On Monday, scientists revealed the identity of one particularly promising bio-marker, a molecule named acetyl-L-carnitine.

Acetyl-L-carnitine, or ALC, is naturally produced in the body and aids in the metabolism of food into energy. In the new Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper, researchers reveal people with depression have lower levels of ALC in their blood. This link was previously established in animal studies, but this paper is the first to indicate that it exists in humans, too.  more

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