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苦悩する男
苦悩する男

うつ病とセロトニンの重要な関係性

苦悩する男

セロトニンはうつ病を予防する働きがあります。

セロトニンは精神をリラックスさせる神経伝達物質ですので、セロトニンの働きを維持させることは、うつ病の予防に意味があります。セロトニンを増やすためには、食事や運動、ダイエットの方法などに注意することが重要です。本稿ではセロトニンをふやしてうつ病を予防する方法についてまとめています。

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精神リラックスのために欠かすことができないセロトニン

真夜中の月

セロトニンとは、神経伝達物質の一種で、不安を解消し、気持ちを落ち着かせる脳内物質です。セロトニンの作用は最近、非常に着目されており、幸せ物質などと呼ばれることもあります。気持ち・精神をリラックスさせるためにセロトニンは欠かすことができない神経伝達物質です。

セロトニンの減少がうつ病の原因となる?

このような脳内をリラックスさせる物質であるセロトニンが減少することでうつ病は発症します。うつ病の引き金となるのは、精神的なストレスなどではありますが、うつ病発症による脳内・身体の変化としてセロトニンが減少するということが挙げられます。

そのため、うつ病の治療方法としてはセロトニンの分泌を促進させる薬(SRRIなど)が投薬されることとなります。

うつ病によるセロトニン減少を防止するためには

このようにうつ病の原因は、身体的には脳の神経伝達物質であるセロトニンが減少することにあります。そのため、うつ病を防止するためにはセロトニンの分泌を活性化することが重要となります。セロトニンの分泌を活性化させ、うつ病を予防するためにはどのような点に注意することがポイントとなるのでしょうか。

セロトニンの生成物質であるトリプトファンを多めに摂取する

まず、食事によってセロトニンを増やし、うつ病を防止するという方法が考えられます。
セロトニンはトリプトファンという肉類や豆類、乳製品や穀類に含まれる物質によって作られます。そのため、セロトニンを増やしてうつ病を予防するためには、これら肉・豆類・乳製品・穀類といったトリプトファンを多く含む食品を意識的にとることによってセロトニンを増やし、うつ病予防に役立てることができます。

過剰なダイエットを避ける

次に、セロトニンを増やし、うつ病を避けるためには過剰なダイエットは避けることがおすすめできます。ダイエットをするとどうしても脂質・糖質を避けがちとなります。しかし、セロトニンを生成する基礎物質であるトリプトファンを摂取し、うつ病を防止するという観点からは、過剰なダイエットはおすすめすることができないことになります。

先に述べましたように、肉類や穀類などの脂質や糖質を含む食べ物は、トリプトファンが含まれているのでセロトニン生成の基礎となります。そのため、脂質や糖質を避けるとセロトニンが作られず、うつ病の防止という観点からはあまり良いということはできません。

実際、ダイエットのしすぎで、気持ちが落ち込むなどうつの症状を持ってしまう方もいます。ダイエットもうつ病予防も、どちらも重要ということができます。そのため、うつ病を予防するという観点とダイエット効果を期待するという双方の観点からは、過剰なダイエットは避けて、脂質・糖質も適量摂取することが重要ということができます。

規則正しい生活をするようにする

セロトニンは、朝おきて夜は眠るという規則正しい生活リズムによって作られるという性質があります。そのため、深夜まで起きていたり、あまり外出しないなど不規則な生活をすることでセロトニンの分泌量は減少し、うつ病の遠因となりえます。

うつ病とはやや違う問題ではありますが、最近、子供による短絡的な暴力事件(「キレる」など)が増えているのは、生活リズムの乱れによってセロトニンの分泌が減少していることが原因とも言われます。24時間稼動する社会やインターネットなどが生活リズムを乱し、セロトニンの生成を阻害しているという理解です。

規則正しい生活をすることはうつ病の対策に加えて仕事の効率を上げるなど様々な効能を期待することができます。このような観点からも、規則正しい生活をすることは、うつ病対策という意味だけではなく生活の質を向上させるという意味でも有意義ということができます。

その他、運動をすることなどもセロトニンの分泌を増やし、うつ病の対策になると言われています。うつ病の対策については、政治的な面からも厚生労働省が中心となり、国を挙げての政策となっているというのが現在のうつ病対策の現状です。

セロトニンとうつ病の関係

以上、本文で述べましたうつ病やセロトニンについてのポイントをまとめますと以下のようになります。

  • セロトニンは気持ちを落ち着かせ、リラックスさせるなどの作用がある脳内物質です。セロトニン不足するとうつ病の原因となります。
  • セロトニンの減少を防止してうつ病を予防するためには様々な方法がありますが、トリプトファンを含む食品(肉・豆・穀物・乳製品など)を多めに摂取することなどがおすすめできます。また、トリプトファンを減らさないという観点から、過剰なダイエットはうつ病防止のためにはあまりしない方が良いということができます
  • セロトニンを増やしてうつ病を予防するためには、規則正しい生活をすることや運動をすることなども効果的です

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