Iron and clinical depression
It is an established fact that iron is very essential for neurological functions and development. Iron deficiency is very prevalent all over the world. This deficiency can lead to depressed neurotransmitter response, leading to clinical depression. When iron is not transported from the blood plasma pool to the cerebrospinal fluid, depression can set in.
The Importance Iron Balance
The importance of iron for sustaining good health cannot be underestimated. Lack of iron can lead to exhaustion, clinical depression, vulnerability to viruses, cancer, and various degenerative conditions.
On the other end of the spectrum, excess iron or change in the iron-binding capability leads to a situation where the free unbound iron causes or aggravates all diseases, infections, cancers and toxicities.
Therefore, in our efforts to acquire the right proportion of iron or lose excess iron, we must not overlook the fact that iron must be bound and properly guided through the body from the time of ingestion to excretion.
If we do not pay attention to bind and properly guide iron during the detoxification process, the toxic effects of iron may nullify its various benefits.
It is very difficult to determine the exact iron content in the body, since no test or combination of tests, under any clinical condition, can give us the accurate estimate.
Before laboratory investigations lead us to any conclusion, it must be understood that the results of each laboratory test may be influenced by factors such as infection, inflammation, liver disease and malignancy. Sometimes laboratory tests are inadequate.
Most elements can either donate or accept electrons in order to attain a stable electronic configuration; but iron can both, donate as well as accept electrons.
Due to this ability of iron, it is highly reactive and can be highly toxic. Hydrogen Peroxide in our body readily dismutates in the presence of iron, giving rise to free radicals. Unbound iron speeds up this process of producing free radicals. Free radicals play havoc by damaging cell structures and ultimately killing the cell, resulting in various diseases.
The role of Proteins
Most living organisms bind iron atoms to protein molecules in order to prevent this damage done by unbound iron. This enables them to restrict the damaging action and take advantage of the various benefits offered by iron.
Proteins play an important role in metabolism by speeding up biochemical reactions by their enzymatic action. Enzymes produced due to chronic inflammation, action of free radicals and change in the related subclinical markers cause a breakdown of connective tissue, which holds the body together.
The words protein, peptide and polypeptide tend to be a little confusing. Although they have common characteristics, they are distinct.
Protein is a complete biological molecule with a three dimensional structure, whereas peptide is a finite chain of amino acids which lacks proper structural arrangement. A polypeptide is an infinite chain of amino acids which also lacks a proper structure.
Biochemical screening is a test done to detect the presence of any disease. Such tests have revealed that every degenerative disease results from six subclinical defects, namely, pH imbalance, anaerobic metabolism, free calcium excess, chronic inflammation, connective tissue breakdown and oxidative stress.
Our body metabolism and exposure to pollution gives rise to extremely reactive ions called free radicals. Free radicals are produced due to iron imbalance which indicates that iron is not bound to protein and therefore, is free to cause damage to cells.
Iron deficiency or Copper deficiency?
Acute inflammation is actually a positive sign since it triggers the immune system to fight diseases and withhold iron. This is kept in mind by health professionals while formulating medications for treating cancer, iron deficiency, excessive tiredness, memory loss and depression.
Sometimes tests show that a person has low iron content in blood serum. Prescribing iron supplements may pose a risk because low iron may actually indicate low copper content.
When clinical tests show low serum iron, elevated Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) and low Transferrin Saturation, it could not only mean that there is free iron but also a copper deficiency.
How do we know? Let’s get a little technical. Ceruloplasmin is a copper protein complex found in blood plasma. Ferritin is a protein complex that is found in cells, and it stores iron in soluble and non-toxic form. Transferrin is a blood plasma protein that binds iron tightly and therefore, reduces free iron. Now, Ceruloplasmin takes iron from Ferritin and attaches it to Transferrin. Two molecules of iron can be attached to a single molecule of Transferrin. Therefore, there is a vacancy for two iron molecules on every Transferrin molecule. In a normal person, only 30% of these vacancies get filled. When fewer iron molecules are attached to Transferrin, the TIBC rises. This is an indication of low copper. Since copper is low, it cannot produce Ceruloplasmin and the above-mentioned process of attaching iron to Transferrin cannot take place.
In short, clinical tests that show low iron content in blood serum may actually indicate low copper content. Therefore, prescribing iron supplements may aggravate the condition.
What else does free iron indicate?
Also, when there is free iron, it can mean that there are not enough amino acids. Amino acids are the most abundant neurotransmitters available in the brain. Research has shown that a lack of specific neurotransmitters may induce clinical depression. Antidepressants regulate the action of these neurotransmitters thereby providing relief to the person.
Moving towards the Right Solution
If the above-mentioned factors are studied well, a proper diagnosis and treatment for clinical depression can be arrived at.
The risk of infection, disease and high toxic levels can be reduced once we identify iron imbalance. Thereafter appropriate measures must be taken to restore the iron balance. Therefore we must consider a few factors:
1. Since intestinal mucosa contains Transferrin, it must be well maintained.
2. Protein levels should be optimally maintained.
3. The right balance of aerobic-anaerobic metabolism must be attained. Too much of anaerobic metabolism results of production of toxins and resulting in fatigue, which is a symptom of clinical depression.
4. Overpowering acid stress by maintaining alkalinity
5. Getting rid of toxins and organic solvents that may hinder the iron binding action done by proteins.
6. Individuals who are diagnosed to have free iron should take to a diet rich in whole eggs and cultured dairy products.
7. A proper phlebotomy and testing program must be conducted to monitor iron overload.
Since iron deficiency or excess plays a key role at every step in the diagnosis and treatment of clinical depression, we should be careful to monitor its status in order to avoid the chain of events that are triggered by its imbalance.
Last but not least, a clinical depressed person who snores, needs to address to apply snoring remedies in order to stop the snoring and support their biochemistry.