Exercise, Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and Mood Change: A Rationale for the "Runners High"? A rationale for the “runners high”?

Yosef Sonnenblick, Michal Taler, Yaacov G. Bachner, Rael D. Strous

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Although exercise has been shown to improve mood and well-being, the precise mechanism remains unknown. Neurosteroids are important neuroactive molecules with demonstrated involvement in several neurophysiological and disease processes. Previous research has noted neurosteroid changes in dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels following exercise. Objectives: To determine whether changes in DHEA levels are associated with mood improvement after exercise and whether there are any differences in the effects on younger and older individuals. Methods: Individuals ≤ 50 years of age or > 65 years of age were recruited for study participation. Before and after 30 minutes of a standardized cycling regimen, each patient provided a blood sample and completed a questionnaire on mood and well-being. Results: Findings confirmed a significant increase in DHEA levels post-exercise. A decrease in negative factors (fatigue, tension, depression, anger) and an increase in positive mood factors were noted. No difference in change of measures was noted between younger and older subjects. A positive correlation was noted between mood change and DHEA blood-level changes in older subjects. Among older males, DHEA appeared to be associated with mood change after exercise. Conclusions: While preliminary, findings indicate a possible association between mood improvement following exercise and DHEA blood level changes. Understanding the biological mechanisms of exercise-induced mood changes is critical to utilizing exercise as a treatment for mood disorders.

Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)335-339
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Volume20
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Keywords

  • dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
  • exercise
  • mood
  • neurosteroid
  • runner's high

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