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Depression Induced by Interferon

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by MeSci, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Relevant to another recent thread on interferon, and suggesting a remedy:

    I have done some reading up on interferon, depression and related issues and have decided to try 5-HTP for current low mood. I'm already taking omega-3s, and it may be that my leaky-gut regime (which I have been on for almost 2 years) is taking me back through the stages of developing ME and I am reaching my depressive early stage, which I seem to recall one of the numerous abstracts and papers I viewed today cited as being characterised by particularly-high interferon levels.

    My brain is getting very tired, so for simplicity I will just paste my notes on what I have found:

    Interferon and ME/CFS

    Abstract here may be relevant:

    http://www.jwatch.org/na33597/2014/...ion-induced-interferon?query=topic_depression

    It says:

    “February 13, 2014

    An Easy Preventive Treatment of Depression Induced by Interferon

    Steven Dubovsky, MDreviewing Su K-P et al. Biol Psychiatry 2014 Jan 27.

    Prophylaxis with omega-3s decreases the risk.

    Pretreatment with antidepressants can prevent depression caused by interferon-α (IFN) treatment of hepatitis C and other disorders, but antidepressants can be complicated to use in this setting. To find an alternative prophylaxis, researchers examined the effect of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for just 2 weeks prior to 6 months of treatment with IFN and ribavirin. A total of 162 hepatitis C patients were randomized to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 3.50 g), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 1.75 g), or placebo; 152 completed IFN treatment and were included in the analysis.

    Over the course of IFN treatment, the incidence of depression was significantly lower with EPA pretreatment (10%) than with placebo (30%; DHA pretreatment, 28%). When IFN-induced depression did occur, onset was significantly delayed with EPA or DHA pretreatment (12 weeks vs. 5 weeks with placebo). DHA pretreatment increased DHA levels, whereas EPA pretreatment increased both EPA and DHA levels.”

    This abstract :

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2816380/?report=classic

    Which I got by searching online for abstract from ME Research UK list of publications says:

    “Kuibitang (identical to Chinese Gui-Pi-Tang, Japanese Kihi-to) markedly inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-10 and transforming growth factor-β1 production and increases interferon-γ production in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of CFS patients (35).”

    That also says :

    “In animal experiments, treatment with Peony root (Paeonia lactiflora Pall.) inhibits 5-HT synthesis and tryptophan hydroxylase expression, which may reduce fatigue, both during exercise and the resting state (24).”

    This seems inconsistent with associations between depression and fatigue. Why would reducing 5-HT synthesis reduce fatigue? Maybe an example of the unreliability of animal ‘models’.

    Numerous abstracts in ME Research publications doc refer to interferons being high in ME/CFS.

    So could reducing leaky gut actually increase interferon and thus depression, thus possibly explaining my development of mood swings about 2 years after starting leaky-gut regime? Is it just a phase? Should I take 5-HTP? Something breaks down tryptophan to kynurenine. This paper discusses this process:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3021918/

    Paper here

    http://www.cfids-cab.org/cfs-inform/Immunology/patarca-montero.etal01.pdf

    says:

    “Typical Th1‐type cytokines include IL‐2 and interferon‐gamma, and some of the therapies induce their production.”

    So could that mean that my self-treatment is correcting the TH1/2 balance?

    Relevant info about 5-HTP on Examine.com here:

    http://examine.com/supplements/5-HTP/#ref22

    NB there have been a number of references to kynurenine on the Resistant Starch thread recently but I can't recall the context. Will post another message or edit shortly.

    Edit:

    Maybe just do a search for 'tryptophan' or 'kynurenine' in this thread.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
    rosie26 and Valentijn like this.
  2. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    3.5 g EPA, damn that's a high dose.
     
  3. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    It does sound high, doesn't it?!

    I checked in Examine.com here and it says that even higher doses can be taken, mentioning 6 g for example., although they confusingly treat EPA, DHA and 'fish oil' as synonymous.

    (It annoys me no end that most sites, even supplement sites, list all omega-3 supplements under 'fish oil', thus giving people the impression that they must consume often-unsustainable animal products to get EPA and DHA. In fact there are algal sourced EPA and DHA available, and which I take.)
     
  4. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    The assertion that depression is directly related to reduced serotonin levels in the brain is little more than a marketing slogan by the pharmaceutical industry.

    http://chriskresser.com/the-chemical-imbalance-myth
     
  5. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    I know that the way SSRIs work has been found not to be closely related to increases in serotonin. But if 5-HTP has reasonable evidence for efficacy in depression I think it's worth a try when that is a problem. How it does it is less important to me right now. It seems to have a corrective effect on some of the abnormalities seen in ME.

    I'm starting with a lowish dose (100g) and a product without added Vitamin B6, as I didn't previously tolerate a supplement containing B6.
     
  6. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    Apples and oranges. The question as to why antidepressants work is different from the question how effective they are. I find the the cytokine hypothesis of depression credible.
     
    wastwater likes this.
  7. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    Interferon-gamma upregulates the 5-HT transporter, so it makes sense that increasing serotonin levels would ameliorate the depression.
     
  8. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    So do I! Not sure what you are saying. We agree, I think!
     
  9. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Just looking through the info in Examine.com and one study claims that 5-HTP increases salivary cortisol. As we seem to have generally low cortisol, this is hopefully a good thing. Here is the abstract.

     
  10. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Looking at more papers, specifically related to interferon and 5-HTP, and found an interesting one here.

    Particularly interesting to me is this phrase:

    I am also very interested in this quote from the other interferon thread:

    [ill for less than 3 years]

    which supports my insane theory that I am moving back along the course of my illness, which is also supported by reappearance of symptoms which were present at the start but which had gone. :D

    Highly speculative and optimistic, but...
     
  11. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Well, I have been taking 100g 5-HTP a day for almost 3 weeks.

    EDIT: 100 mg!!!

    Nothing observed at first, then slightly odd mentally for maybe 2-3 days starting maybe about 10 days after I started the 5-HTP, then there was a subtle but noticeable improvement in mood about 2 weeks after starting 5-HTP, which has continued. Things seem more bearable and manageable, and I can even think about sad events without plunging into profound sadness as I was before, and no longer getting the feeling of being hit in the chest or abdomen which I had had when getting those episodes of plummeting mood.

    Although subtle, the improvement is very useful/helpful. No adverse effects except the temporary weirdness which was maybe my brain rewiring! No horrible agitation and insomnia like I had in 1996 after taking Prozac/fluoxetine. I feel calm and normal.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
    rosie26 likes this.
  12. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    I keep saying 100g when I mean 100 mg! Please don't take 100g! :eek:
     
  13. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Just come across a possibly-very-relevant paper from 2008 - apologies if it has been posted elsewhere. I can only access the abstract but that provides clear details of associations:

    (sorry about journal name!)

    I'm still on the 5-HTP and have no plans to stop.
     

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