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Ex­er­cise has also been found to boost mood and re­duce anx­i­ety.

Stud­ies have for some time now been tout­ing the ben­e­fits of ex­er­cise not just on the body but also on the mind. Now re­searchers from Swe­den’s Karolin­ska In­sti­tutet have found the link. It turns out that when mus­cles are at work dur­ing ex­er­cise, they pro­duce an en­zyme that breaks down kynure­nine – a com­pound that’s higher in peo­ple with de­pres­sion – into kynurenic acid. Since kynurenic acid can’t cross the blood­brain bar­rier, and is also cleared from the blood­stream when mus­cles are work­ing, ex­er­cise ef­fec­tively pre­vents it wreak­ing havoc in the brain. It’s a re­la­tion­ship that goes both ways; re­duc­ing kynure­nine not only helps to re­duce de­pres­sion, it also boosts fat me­tab­o­lism and the body’s anti-in­flam­ma­tory re­sponse.

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