With a growing interest in mental illnesses and disorders, experts are starting to discover that our psychological wellbeing is deeply connected to our biochemical origins.
The brain is the most complex organ in our body that can perplex even the most learned scientists. This is why we hear about new research or studies every day that either refute existing claims or reinforce them even further.
Research on depression, for example, has shown the condition is connected to the way the neurotransmitters in our brain send and receive messages. Some studies have also shown that mental illnesses like depression and anxiety could be brought about by oxidative stress in our brains.
If you don't know about oxidative stress, it's a process where free radicals in our body weaken the cells and shorten their lifespan. Free radicals are often a result of poor lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking, excessive sun exposure, and consumption of processed foods.
Some scientists have also claimed that the diagnosis of some psychological conditions might be a direct result of low glutathione (GSH) levels in our bodies. A 2017 research investigated the link between GSH levels in adolescents and the risk of depression.
The researchers used magnetic spectroscopy to determine the levels of GSH in people with Major Depressive Disorder in comparison to healthy subjects. It was found that the subjects suffering from MDD had lower GSH levels than their healthy counterparts.
Since GSH is a marker of free radicals in our bodies, low levels can mean higher oxidative stress, which could play a role in our psychological wellbeing. Since the results are preliminary, it's too early to assume that restoring the GSH levels in mental health patients could alleviate some symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Some scientists argue that GSH isn't the only chemical that affects our mental health. In fact, most mental illnesses are a result of imbalances in various chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.
Researchers are still looking for the real cause behind psychological illnesses but the brain is a complex organ with many chemicals and neurotransmitters. But a lack of GSH could contribute to neurochemical dysfunction and oxidative stress.
Regardless of the cause, there is a unanimous agreement among scientists and doctors that meditation, exercise, and healthy lifestyle habits can make stress and anxiety more manageable.