How could bodybuilding cause depression? Afterall, bodybuilding is supposed to get the endorphins going and as you see positive progress, you feel good about yourself. With all those endorphins running around, there shouldn't be even the slightest case for depression.
For the most part, lifting weights, doing aerobic exercises and overall physical activity can be very effective to keep depression away and help with a cheerful outlook. Although sometimes things don't always come out the way we expect them to and our mood can swing up and down, even with proper exercise.
Ask anyone that exercises and they'll time you the time spent is worth it. But if depression hits while doing these things already, the depression can be really hard to shake.
Let me show you some of the symptoms. Anyone that's lifted weights for a period of time has hit that proverbial "wall" where it just feels like you can't make any progress. Or sometimes there can be a period of time where one feels "burnt out" or just tired of lifting weights. If these feelings last longer than three weeks, these could be signs of depression.
Fortunately, I've talked to lots of bodybuilders and found something that may offer a quick "real" solution. If you're feeling tired, unexplained sadness, or you don't want to work out or you just feel like you're not making any progress in the gym, this may be the answer you're looking for.
In my research on how to overcome bodybuilding induced depression, I uncovered a supplement called Vinpocetine. It is known for helping mental concentration and is a derivative of an extract taken from the lesser periwinkle plant (Vinca minor), an evergreen undershrub. The shrub is native to Europe, where it has been been studied since the 1950s and has been found to boost stroke- and age-related declines in brain function.
Vinpocetine also enhances the brain's use of oxygen by increasing the amount of available ATP (adenosine triphosphate, those in bodybuilding are familiar with this as being the body's cellular fuel). So far, there hasn't been any serious side effects found with this supplement, however if you feel a dry mouth, continued weakness or accelerated heart rate, then discontinue the use as you may have a more serious condition requiring expert medical care.
What I found in my research is that vinpocetine works well in conjunction with vincamine and vinburnine (both are also extracts). It has been noted that these help with cognitive function to enhance memory and concentration.
As a result of this, it appears that these help the brain to feel "peppy" and thereby reduce the effects of depression. That's what it did for me.
My purpose in writing this is not to endorse any single product but to let you know that there is a supplement that costs less than a single visit to the doctor, yet has the right amount of vinpocetine (and vincamine and vinburnine) and it helps with other functions of bodybuilding and muscle development. It is called NO-Xplode from BSN. I'm sure there's other supplements out there that have the vinpocetine, you'd have to do some checking around.
I really like NO type products, and my first choice is NO2 by MRI and then the Trac-Extreme NO by MHP (both can be found at General Nutrition Center).
But if I start getting that "burned out" or sad feeling, I'll buy some NO-Xplode (one container will last me over a month) and I'll have a scoop once a day in the early afternoon. That seems to help me feel more cheerful.
So... if you're doing good workouts and yet start to feel burned out, tired, sad or depressed, try some vinpocetine and see what happens. This article is not meant to replace medical advice. If you feel any prolonged symptoms for a lengthy period of time, see your medical professional. Copyright 2005, all rights reserved.