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109: Why do I wake up early every morning when I’m depressed?

Masterjohn Q&A Files Episode 109


Carrie: Now, with depression, it's heavily studied if you have an elevated or excessive cortisol awakening response, meaning you go higher, your spike is higher and more dramatic than the average bear, then your risk for morning depression is much higher. The reason for that as we've already touched upon with estrogen and the serotonin versus kynurenine pathway because high excessive glucocorticoids or cortisol can also upregulate the pathway away from serotonin and down towards kynurenine.

If you wake up with excessive amounts of cortisol, for whatever reason, you're stressed out, you're anticipating your day, you wake up in pain, you wake up with inflammation, something startled you awake, your kid is throwing up, it can increase your risk for morning depression because it pushes all that excessive cortisol, pushes your tryptophan away from serotonin and down towards kynurenine.

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here: 

Harnessing the Power of Nutrients
050: Ask Us Anything About Hormones with Dr. Carrie Jones | May 10, 2019
Watch now (125 min) | On May 10, members of the CMJ Masterpass joined me and Dr. Carrie Jones in a live Zoom meeting to ask us anything about hormones, and here’s the full recording! We talk about things like: What time of day is best to take T4 and/or T3? How to use pregnenolone to manage perimenopausal insomnia…
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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

PLEASE NOTE: As a result of the COVID-19 crisis and the time I am committing to staying on top of relevant research, as well as the high volume of questions I receive, it may take me extra time to respond to questions here. For an up-to-date list of where I respond to questions most quickly, please see the contact page on

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The Masterjohn Q&A Files
We use Zoom, a video chatting software, in webinar mode. You can ask your question anonymously in text, but you can also ask it publicly, and you can even get "on stage" and share your mic, web cam, or screen with everyone.
Chris Masterjohn, PhD