A Simple Blood Test May Lead to Better Depression Treatments

More than 300 million people are currently suffering from this disease.

Depression is one of the most widespread diseases, with more than 300 million people worldwide suffering from it—yet it remains a mystery to scientists and doctors in many ways.

Researchers have found a possible biomarker for depression, which could help diagnose the disease and its severity, potentially leading to earlier and better treatment, according to news reports.

A new study authored by Natalie Rasgon, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, found that a chemical called acetyl-L-carnitine (LAC) is lower in the blood of those with depression. Correcting the LAC levels in patients with depression may help in treating the disease, according to this and previous studies, ABC News reports.

The next step is to analyze how exercise, diet, and sleep impact LAC levels. Researchers found that participants taking antidepressants still had low LAC levels, leading researchers to wonder if supplementing with the chemical could help the medication work more effectively.

Still, “There are many questions to be answered – who will ultimately benefit from taking this supplement, what is the right dose, what is the appropriate duration of use,” Rasgon told ABC News.


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