Inflammation and Depression

What Exactly is Dynamic Balance – Homeostasis?

By Veronique Desaulniers

We all know by now how eating certain foods can cause inflammation and even how certain substances in the environment, like pollens or molds, can lead to sneezing, skin rashes, aches and pains and a whole host of other more serious conditions.

But did you know that more and more research is pointing to the fact that depression may also be caused by inflammation?

The Harms of Inflammation

Inflammation plays a role in many serious dis­ease conditions, including breast cancer. The research regarding this connection is abundantly clear. In fact, studies have found that 95 percent of all cancers have inflammation, and in particular, a protein called Nf­8 that is involved in cellular stress, as a common factor. Inflammation is mostly caused by:

  • Chronic Pain
  • Low-­Grade Infections
  • Chronic Injuries
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Chronically High Stress
  • Insulin Resistance and Elevated Blood Sugar That Becomes Chronic
  • Environmental Toxins of All Kinds
  • Omega 6, “Trans” Fats or Unhealthy Saturated Fats
  • Overuse of Alcohol Smoking
  • Auto-Immune Responses
  • Emotional Wounds That Remain Unhealed

Inflammation can be thought of as a “slow­-burning fire.” When this fire continues or even increases because of the factors mentioned above, the body simply becomes overloaded and disease can happen. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease and mental imbalance can be the result.

Inflammation and Depression: The Link is Established

Studies have long shown that inflammation in the body can create an environment that can trigger cancer growth. According to a 2011 joint US­German study:

“Inflammatory responses play decisive roles at different stages of tumor development, including initiation, promotion, malignant conversion, invasion, and metastasis.”

In addition, signs of inflammatory processes (as indicated by pro­-inflammatory cytokines as well as other factors) in patients with major depression (MD) had been proven as well. And cancer patients who are given the pharmaceutical interferon alpha (which boosts inflammatory response to help combat cancer cells) often become depressed as a side­-effect.

A 2006 study presented at the 43rd meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry was one of the first to discover the link between depression and allergic reaction, i.e. inflammation. This study found that individuals with MD made significant improvements in their condition by treating the inflammation alone. Inflammation may just be the “glue” that links many disease states with depression. For example, researchers have shown that people with chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis have a higher than average rate of depression. A similar link has been made between depression and other autoimmune conditions.

The specific substances that make these connections are called cytokines. When the body is inflamed, it will produce more of these “inter­cellular communication” enhancers in the bloodstream. Interestingly, people who are battling depression are often saturated with cytokines. “Cytokines skyrocket during depressive episodes and, in those with bipolar disorder, halt in remission,” said Eleanor Morgan, a health writer, author, and anxiety/depression-sufferer, in an article for VICE UK. “The fact that “normal,” healthy people can become temporarily anxious or depressed after receiving an inflammatory vaccine — like typhoid — lends further credence to the theory. There are even those who think we should re­brand depression altogether as an infectious disease…”

These new findings over the last decade are exciting because they validate and explain the connection between the emotions and disease on a biological level. This connection also lends itself to the question: if biology can affect the emotions as well as the disease process, would the reverse also be true? In other words, can healing the emotions also heal disease? Of course, studies were done on EFT as well as in the field of psycho-oncology already point to this being the case.

A component of the Breast Cancer Conqueror 7 Essentials System™ is Healing Emotional Wounds (Essential No. 4). My emphasis on the emotional factors that contribute to cancer is based on the evidence-­based connection between mood, emotions, and disease.

Next Steps

What can you do if you find yourself falling into a depressive state? Traditional doctors would more than likely prescribe you anti­depressants and perhaps anti-inflammatory drugs. We all know, however, that taking pharmaceuticals will only make things worse in the long run since these meds come with intense side effects. There is another, more natural, way. Here is a list of some “top foods” to help reduce inflammation:

  • Curcumin
  • Resveratrol
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Vitamin C
  • Spirulina
  • Broccoli Sprouts
  • Bromelain (from pineapple)
  • Organic Green Vegetable Smoothies
  • Organic Flax Seeds and Flax Seed Oil
  • Vitamin D3

For years, the main components in cannabis – CBD and THC — have both been shown to help subtly balance the endocannabinoid system when taken regularly in moderate amounts. A 2000 Italian study revealed that other substances found in cannabis sativa may also have a positive effect on inflammation. Those include the endocannabinoids anandamide (arachidonoylethanolamide) and bioactive fatty acid amides palmitoylethanolamide and oleamide. According to the researchers, fatty acid substances found in cannabis could be studied more for their effects on cachexia, wasting syndrome, and chronic pain.

Depression: Mystery Solved?

The World Health Organization states that major depression will soon be the second leading cause of disease worldwide. If that doesn’t convince you of the connection between depression and disease I am not sure what will!

For years the medical establishment did not know why depression was occurring in so many people globally. Now researchers may have found the answer: inflammation. This is good news for those who wish to be proactive with their depression and their overall health. By focusing on nutrition and other modalities that can decrease inflammation in the body in general, you can be proactive with prevention for depression—and breast cancer.

Author:

Veronique Desaulniers

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