Depression Leads to Bone Loss, Especially in Young Women

New Findings Support Depression as Official Risk Factor for Osteoporosis

Depressed people have lower bone mineral density (BMD) than people who are not depressed, according to new research stating that depression should be included as an official risk factor for osteoporosis.

As recently detailed in the journal Biological Psychiatry, researchers examined all studies on depression and bone mineral density conducted to date, with 23 papers identified and approximately 2,322 depressed and 21,141 non-depressed individuals studied.

Analysis of these studies revealed that bone mineral density is lower in individuals suffering from depression in comparison to non-depressed people.

Furthermore, low bone density was higher in depressed women than depressed men, especially for young women who were depressed before the end of their monthly menstrual cycles.

The study also found that depression is associated with increased cell activities that break down bones. According to researchers, depression significantly activates the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which secretes increased levels of a neurotransmitter (norepinephrine) that may contribute to bone loss.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that depression increases the risk for osteoporosis, a thinning of the bones that can cause them to become porous and fragile, and thus fracture.

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