Metabolic disturbances connecting obesity and depression

Front Neurosci. 2013 Oct 7:7:177. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2013.00177.


Obesity markedly increases the odds of developing depression. Depressed mood not only impairs motivation, quality of life and overall functioning but also increases the risks of obesity complications. Abdominal obesity is a better predictor of depression and anxiety risk than overall adipose mass. A growing amount of research suggests that metabolic abnormalities stemming from central obesity that lead to metabolic disease may also be responsible for the increased incidence of depression in obesity. As reviewed here, a higher mass of dysfunctional adipose tissue is associated with several metabolic disturbances that are either directly or indirectly implicated in the control of emotions and mood. To better comprehend the development of depression in obesity, this review pulls together select findings addressing the link between adiposity, diet and negative emotional states and discusses the evidence that alterations in glucocorticoids, adipose-derived hormones, insulin and inflammatory signaling that are characteristic of central obesity may be involved.

Keywords: abdominal obesity; adiponectin; inflammation; insulin; leptin; mood disorders; resistin; saturated fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Review