Depression, otherwise known as Major Depressive Disorder is a clinical presentation that is serious and is a common mood disorder. People who suffer from depression often feel continuous sadness and hopelessness and worst of all they lose interest in day-to-day activities they once enjoyed.
Depression does not only affect the mental and emotional aspects of one’s self but also permeates into the physical realm. This manifests in a plethora of signs and symptoms ranging from chronic pain to digestive issues and more. For some women, it can even alter their menses.
How Is Depression Diagnosed By Doctors?
Generally, a trained and licensed psychotherapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist will take a history and assess if you meet the diagnostic criteria for Depression by the DSM-5. Often, a persistence of many of the symptoms for two weeks is a starting point where a diagnosis of depression may be made.
Some of the diagnostic criteria by the DSM-5 are the individual must experience five or more symptoms during the same two week period and at least one of the symptoms should be either 1 – depressed mood or 2 – loss of interest or pleasure.
The DSM-5 Criteria:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
- Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
- A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
- Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
- Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.
To receive a diagnosis of depression, these symptoms must cause the individual clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The symptoms must also not be a result of substance abuse or another medical condition.
Can Phosphatidylserine Help?
Well, to answer this question, it is important to talk about what Phosphatidylserine is first! Phosphatidylserine is an acidic phospholipid that is a natural component of the brain neuronal membrane. Even though it is a minor percentage of the phospholipids that compose biological membranes, they are especially important in determining neuronal membrane surface potential and the local ionic environment, and thus is indispensable for a normal neuronal activity (1).
This is why it is classified as a brain-specific nutrient (2). As Phosphatidylserine within the neural membrane is especially important for the activation of protein kinase C (PKC) and PKC activity declines with age, (3) it is speculated that there are age-related deficits in Phosphatidylserine in humans.
A decrease in PS in the brain with aging may relate to cognitive decline and impairment. Pharmacokinetics studies indicate that exogenous PS crosses the blood-brain barrier, (4) and the effects of Phosphatidylserine on cognitive decline and impairment have been reported (5-7).
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***The information found on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical or professional advice. It should not be used for diagnosing and/or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical care or advice. If you have or suspect you might have any health problems, please consult a physician.***
1. Blusztajn JK, Richardson UI, Liscovitch M, et al. Phospholipids in cellular survival and growth Hanin I, Ansel GB. Lecithin: technological, biological, and therapeutic aspects. New York: Plenum Press; 1987. pp 85-9.
2. McDaniel MA, Maier SF, Einstein GO. Brain-specific nutrients: a memory cure? Nutrition 2003;19:957-75.
3. Pascale A, Govoni S, Battaini F. Age-related alterations of PKC, a key enzyme in memory processes: physical and pathological examples. Mol Neurobiol 1998;16:49-53.
4. No authors listed. Phosphatidylserine. Monograph: Altern Med Rev; 2008;13:245-7.
5. Amaducci L. SMID Group. Phosphatidylserine in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Results of a multi-centric study. Psychopharmacol Bull 1988;24:130-6.
6. Cenacchi T, Bertoldin T, Farina C, et al. Cognitive devline in the elderly: a double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter study on the efficacy of phosphatidylserine administration. Aging Clin Exp Res 1993;5:123-33.
7. Crook TH, Tinklenberg J, Yesavage J, et al. Effects of phosphatidylserine in age-associated memory impairment. Neurol 1991;41:644-9.
8. Komori, T., 2021. The effects of phosphatidylserine and omega-3 fatty acid-containing supplement on late life depression. [online] Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4508628/> [Accessed 3 February 2021].