Inflammation seems to be a hot (pun intended) topic these days. Everyone’s talking about anti-inflammatory diets and supplements. There’s a reason for this. Inflammation seems to be the root cause of almost every chronic illness, including mental health conditions!
Yep, that’s right.
Let’s take a closer look at what’s happening in depression.
To measure levels of inflammation, we can look at blood tests. Several studies show that people with major depressive disorder have high levels of inflammatory markers in their blood. Most studies look at the levels of inflammatory cytokines, signaling proteins involved with regulating inflammation and immunity. The following studies showed significantly higher concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha, IL-6, and sIL-2R in people diagnosed with depression. These studies are suggesting that immune dysregulation and inflammation can cause or be a contributing factor to some mental health disorders.
You can check out the studies here:
Another study published by Biological Psychiatry found that people with major depressive disorder with suicidal thoughts, had significantly higher levels of translocator proteins (an indicator of brain inflammation) compared to normal controls.
So does this mean that inflammation is what’s making you feel bad?
Possibly. More and more research is coming out indicating that inflammation could be a major (and often untreated) factor in mental health disorders. It makes sense when you stop and think about it. An inflamed brain is not a happy brain.
Finding the root cause(s) of your problem is the first step in helping you to feel better. Because if inflammation is the main cause of your depression, an antidepressant medication is probably not going to help, but treating that underlying inflammation will.
Stay tuned for more information on where all this inflammation is coming from and what you can do to decrease it!